Identity Although the Buyuan Jino belong to the official Jino minority group, they speak their own distinct language.
History In 1942 the Kuomintang authorities dispatched an officer to the Jino Mountains to collect a "tobacco tax." He died on the way back. The government used this incident to accuse the mountain people of poisoning the tax collector. The KMT "sent soldiers to loot, burn and kill. The Jino people rose up and notified the villages of the Tai Lu, Yao, Lahu, Akha and Han nationalities by urgent letter that their delegates should assemble on Jino Mountain. There they pledged in the blood of a slain ox to rally to the support of the Jino people. The armies attacked unmercifully and numerous Jino were slaughtered. Despite the failed uprising, the Tai Lu sing, 'The strongest animal in the forest is the rhinoceros, the bravest people on the mountain are the Jino!'"
Customs An aspect of Jino culture unique among China's peoples is the longhouse. Whole Jino extended families live together in the same home. In the early 1950s the largest home contained 127 people! In the past, the ears of newborn babies were pierced and inserted with decorated pieces of cork or bamboo. The Jino's village boundaries are marked by wooden or stone tablets bearing an emblem of a sword or spear.
Religion The Buyuan Jino are polytheists, worshiping a multitude of demons and gods. They also worship Kong Ming. Jino homes are constructed in the shape of a cube with a pointed roof to resemble the hat Kong Ming reputedly wore into battle. Jino boys wear shirts with a circular pattern embroidered on the back, alleged to be the eight diagrams Kong Ming used in his divination.
Christianity A small number of Buyuan Jino have been won to Christ by evangelists from Jinghong in recent years. All the new Christians are teenagers. This has prevented the gospel from permeating the authority structures of the Jino and from winning favor with the leaders of their communities. Most older Buyuan Jino view Christianity with suspicion.
One thousand speakers of the Buyuan Jino language were listed in a 1991 study. They live on the Buyuan Mountains in Jinghong County, Xishuangbanna Prefecture, located in the extreme southwest corner of China. Despite their close proximity to Laos and Myanmar, there is no evidence of Jino being found in either country. The Buyuan region is a thickly forested area. Over 200 wild elephants, as well as leopards, golden-haired monkeys, and wild oxen still roam the unspoilt forests. Small bears also inhabited the jungle, but their numbers have been reduced to near extinction by the expert Jino hunters. (Source: Operation China, 2000)