The vast aggregate of peoples who are generally classified as Mongoloid, who settled the Far East, have been a question as to where they fall into the Table of Nations. The evidence shows they are Hamitic, even though some have incorrectly reasoned that the Chinese were of Japhetic stock, and the Japanese were either Japhetic or Semitic. There are two names which provide clues. Two of Canaan's sons, Heth (Hittites) and Sin (Sinites), are presumed to be the progenitors of Chinese and Mongoloid stock. The Hittites were known as the Hatti or Chatti. In Egyptian monuments the Hittite peoples were depicted with prominent noses, full lips, high check-bones, hairless faces, varying skin color from brown to yellowish and reddish, straight black hair and dark brown eyes.
The term Hittite in Cuneiform (the earliest form of writing invented by the Sumerians) appears as Khittae* representing a once powerful nation from the Far East known as the Khitai, and has been preserved through the centuries in the more familiar term, Cathay. The Cathay were Mongoloids, considered a part of early Chinese stock. There are links between the known Hittites and Cathay, for example, their modes of dress, their shoes with turned-up toes, their manner of doing their hair in a pigtail, and so forth. Representations show them to have possessed high cheekbones, and craniologists have observed that they had common characteristics of Mongoloids.
*Khittae has, at times, been incorrectly associated with Kittim or Chittim (Greek Kition, Roman Citium, Jewish Cethimus), son of Javan, son of Japheth. Interestingly enough, Javan has been incorrectly interpreted to mean Japan. History distinctly shows Javan to be the ancestor of the Greeks and other related Mediterranean people groups.
Sin (or Seni), a brother of Heth, has many occurrences in variant forms in the Far East. There is one significant feature concerning the likely mode of origin of Chinese civilization. The place most closely associated by the Chinese themselves with the origin of their civilization is the capital of Shensi, namely, Siang-fu (Father Sin). Siang-fu appears in Assyrian records as Sianu. Today, Siang-fu can be loosely translated, "Peace to the Western Capital of China". The Chinese have a tradition that their first king, Fu-hi or Fohi (Chinese Noah), made his appearance on the Mountains of Chin, was surrounded by a rainbow after the world had been covered with water, and sacraficed animals to God (corresponding to the Genesis record). Sin himself was the third generation from Noah, a circumstance which would provide the right time interval for the formation of early Chinese culture.
Furthermore, those who came from the Far East to trade were called Sinæ (Sin) by the Scythians. Ptolemy, a Greek astronomer, referred to China as the land of Sinim or Sinæ. Reference to the Sinim in Isaiah 49:12 notes they came "from afar," specifically not from the north and not from the west. Arabs called China Sin, Chin, Mahachin, Machin. The Sinæ were spoken of as a people in the remotest parts of Asia. For the Sinæ, the most important town was Thinæ, a great trading emporium in western China. The city Thinæ is now known as Thsin or simply Tin, and it lies in the province of Shensi. Much of China was ruled by the Sino-Khitan Empire (960-1126 A.D.), which Beijing became the southern capital. The Sinæ became independent in western China, their princes reigning there for some 650 years before they finally gained dominion over the whole land.
In the third century B.C., the dynasty of Tsin became supreme. The word Tsin itself came to have the meaning of purebred. This word was assumed as a title by the Manchu Emperors and is believed to have been changed into the form Tchina. From there the term was brought into Europe as China, probably from the Ch'in or Qin dynasty (255-206 B.C.). The Greek word for China is Kina (Latin is Sina). As well, Chinese and surrouding languages are part of the Sino-Tibetan language family. Years ago, American newspapers regularly carried headlines with reference to the conflict between the Chinese and Japanese in which the ancient name reappeared in its original form, the Sino-Japanese war. Sinology refers to the study of Chinese history.
With respect to the Cathay people of historical reference, it would make sense to suppose that the remnants of the Hittites, after the destruction of their empire, traveled towards the east and settled among the Sinites who were relatives, contributing to their civilization, and thus becoming the ancestors of the Asian people groups. Still others migrated throughout the region and beyond, making up present-day Mongoloid races in Asia and the Americas. The evidence strongly suggests that Ham's grandsons, Heth (Hittites/Cathay) and Sin (Sinites/China), are the ancestors of the Mongoloid peoples.
I'm really glad you asked that question because though i've read that passage many times the name Sinim just went right past me. Never knew China was mentioned in the Bible. Always very glad to learn something new.