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Thami in China


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Population [2] Language Religion % Christian % Evangl Online NT Jesus Film Progress
600 Thangmi Buddhism 0.00 % 0.00 % Not available Not available   

Thami in China

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It is not known how the Thami in Tibet were classified in the Chinese census. The physical appearance of the Thami suggest they are of Mongoloid descent. In Tibet it is possible the Thami are known by a different name. It may be the Thami in Tibet are simply known as "Nepalese" to the local people. One publication comments on Zhangmu Township: "Crossing a bridge over the boundary river, you set foot [in Tibet]. Some, such as the Nepalese, have settled down here."

The Thami language is one of the few from the so-called Eastern Himalayish linguistic family. It is related to the Baraamu language of Nepal. Thami, which is not a written language, is still spoken in all Thami homes in Nepal, while the national Nepalese language is used for communication with other people groups.

Legend states that the first Thami couple had seven sons and seven daughters. In order to find suitable marriage partners for all of them, they were allowed to intermarry with other tribes.

Most Thami men are employed as stonecutters. Many Thami women wear large gold earrings and nose rings. Some still wear traditional labaedas, clothing made from plants that are beaten and woven together. The main diet of the Thami is fish and a porridge made with maize flour. Despite their poverty, the Thami willingly go into debt in order to host an elaborate feast or celebration. These festivals add color and variety to their otherwise mundane existence.

Most Thami are animists, but many Hindu influences are intermingled with their beliefs. Three days after the birth of a child, the house is cleaned with cow dung and water. The people are sprinkled with cow urine to purify them. The baby is then named in accordance with the day of birth. Those Thami in Tibet who are Hindus are possibly the only practicing Hindus in all of China apart from Indians in Hong Kong.

Twenty to thirty Thami in Nepal received Christ in 1993 after listening to gospel recordings in their language.6 Christian workers reported an "open heaven" as the Thami in Nepal eagerly received the message of salvation. The Thami believers meet in a small church. In 1997 an elderly Thami Buddhist monk in Nepal was visited by a missionary, whose arrival was expected. He explained, "I had a vision two years ago that a foreigner would come and give me a little golden book about the truth. I have been praying and watching each day. I know you are that man." Those inside Tibet have so far been cut off from receiving evangelists. Few have ever heard of Jesus Christ.

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Country: China
Continent: Asia
Region: Northeast Asia
Persecution Rank:43 (Only top 50 ranked, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
10/40 Window: Yes
Total Provinces on file:1
Location in Country:More than 20,000 Thami live in and around the town of Dolakha in eastern Nepal. Several hundred Thami also live in Zhangmu County, on the Tibetan side of the border. The Thami were originally a nomadic tribe who settled just east of Katmandu, Nepal. In recent years many Thami men have migrated to India to seek employment.
(Source: Operation China, 2000)
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Ethnolinguistic Map:University of Texas or other map
Linguistic Map:Ethnologue language map
  Peoples [3]
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People Name in Country: Thami
People Name General: Thami
Alternate People Names:
ROP3 Code: 110002
Joshua Project People ID: 15461
Indigenous: Yes
Population in Country: 600
Population all Countries: 31,000
Least-Reached: Yes
Engagement Status:Unengaged (per Finishing the Task)
Affinity Bloc: Tibetan-Himalayan Peoples
People Cluster: South Himalaya
People Name General: Thami
Ethnic Code: MSY50r
Ethnic Relationships: Affinity Bloc -> People Cluster -> Peoples Ethnicity Tree
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Primary Language: Thangmi
Language Code (ISO): thf    Ethnologue Listing
Primary Dialect:Thami
Dialect Code:4174
Total Languages: 1
Religion [4]
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Primary Religion: Buddhism
Religion Sub-division:Tibetan
Major Religions:
Buddhism55.00 % 
Christianity0.00 %(Evangelical: 0.00 %)
Ethnic Religions45.00 % 
Hinduism0.00 % 
Islam0.00 % 
Non-Religious0.00 % 
Other / Small0.00 % 
Unknown0.00 % 
Christianity Segments:
Anglican0.00 %
Independent0.00 %
Protestant0.00 %
Orthodox0.00 %
Other Christian0.00 %
Roman Catholic0.00 %
(Evangelicals distributed across Christianity segments)
Progress Indicators [5]
Progress Scale[6]   Few evangelicals and few who claim to be Christians. Little, if any, history of Christianity.
Least-Reached: Yes
Engagement Status:Unengaged (per Finishing the Task)
GSEC Status:Level 1   Less than 2% Evangelical. Some evangelical resources available, but no active church planting within past 2 years
Bible Translation Status
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Bible Portions: Help start a Bible Translation
New Testament: None Reported
Complete Bible: None Reported
Ministry Resources [7]
Audio RecordingsMegaVoice Audio Bible and Stories
Audio RecordingsAudio Bible teaching (GRN)
Ministry Activity
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Data Notes
Data Sources

Thami in China

Global                 Global
  Affinity Bloc             Global  
People Cluster
    South Himalaya     Northeast Asia    
      Thami China    
            People-by-Country (Profile)          
            Thami in China          
      Religion Language  
      Buddhism     Thangmi  
    All Religions                              

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