Identity Officially considered part of the large Yao nationality in China, the Biao-Jiao Mien group is not the same as the Biao Mien - another Yao group which has been profiled separately in this book.
History The Biao-Jiao Mien migrated to their present locations in Guangxi and Hunan at least several hundred years ago. They found the best land had already been taken and were forced to locate near the summits of mountains. Although most Yao people acknowledge some historical affinity with each other, there are ethnic tensions between some of the groups. Some groups like the Biao-Jiao Mien have little to do with other Yao groups and would never consider intermarriage with them.
Customs The Biao-Jiao Mien are extremely poor people. Some families have walked off their farms in recent years to join the mass of unemployed workers seeking jobs in China's major cities. The Biao-Jiao Mien construct their villages on flat land near river banks. Their homes are built with brick and wood. Most villages contain 20 to 50 households.
Religion The Biao-Jiao Mien are one of a small number of non-Han Chinese peoples in China who predominantly adhere to Daoism. Daoism, called Dao-Jiao in Chinese, is the only true "homegrown" religion of China. Founded around 604 BC by a mystical figure named Laozi, Daoism is a belief that spiritual power is the force of the universe and the order behind all life.
Christianity The Biao-Jiao Mien, and all other Yao groups in China, are unreached and unevangelized. The situation in Guangxi seems to have remained unchanged since the 1920s, when one observer lamented, "If we draw a line across the map ... we will find by far the greater half of the province, has, as yet, no established Christian work. In these neglected regions there are 58 cities, 700 market towns, and over 17,000 villages, all teeming with human lives for whom no effort whatever is being put forth. The great majority of the inhabitants of these unoccupied sections are aborigines."
Biao-Jiao Mien is a distinct Yao language described as "spoken by about 40,000 people" in an area straddling the Guangxi- Hunan provincial border. The majority of Biao-Jiao Mien are found in Quanzhou and Guanyang counties in northeast Guangxi, as well as in Shuangpai, Lingling, and Daoxian counties in southern Hunan. (Source: Operation China, 2000)