Identity The Luoxiang Iu Mien are part of the Yao nationality in China. The Chinese call them Pan Yao, meaning "Yao who worship Pan." The other Yao groups in Jinxiu County are the Kiong Nai, Lakkia, Ao Biao, and Kim Mun.
History The Iu Mien and Kim Mun were the last two groups to migrate into the Dayao Mountains. They found the best land was already taken by the Ao Biao and the Lakkia. The Iu Mien struggled in extremely harsh conditions for many years, were forbidden to own land, and forced to live in bamboo sheds while rendering manual labor to the original inhabitants. Another source states the Iu Mien "came to the Dayaoshan Mountains rather late and found no space for settlement in the wooded hills or river valleys suitable for farming. So they had to live in scattered mountain villages at a high altitude. Earlier, they did not even have a fixed place to live in and, like nomadic tribes, roamed from one mountain to another. They are, therefore, also known as the Guoshan Yao (the Yao who keep crossing mountains)."
Customs Despite their extreme poverty, the dress of the Luoxiang Iu Mien is elaborate. Both men and women wear large turbans. The greatest festival for the Iu Mien is the annual Pan Hu Festival, dedicated to the legendary ancestor of the Iu Mien. The Changgu (Long Drum) Dance is the most famous dance of the festival. "The drums used in this dance are shaped like an egg-timer, and their ends are covered with goat's hide. Before the performance, the drums are smeared with yellow mud, presumably to alter the pitch."
Religion Numerous stories abound regarding the heroic exploits of Pan Hu, who is worshiped by the Iu Mien as a spiritual savior.
Christianity The first known penetration of the gospel among the Luoxiang Iu Mien occurred in 1996. A Hong Kong-based ministry won approximately 30 Ao Biao and Iu Mien in Jinxiu County to Christ.
Approximately 3,900 Luoxiang Iu Mien people live in the Dayaoshan (Big Yao Mountains) of the Jinxiu Yao Autonomous County within the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region in southern China. Jinxiu is one of the most fascinating areas in all of China for anthropologists and linguists. Five distinct Yao subgroups, each speaking a different language, live in a small area. (Source: Operation China, 2000)