Identity The Rawang have been officially included as part of the Derung nationality in China. Although the Rawang and Derung are related, their languages are inherently unintelligible. The Rawang consist of between 75 and 100 dialect groups in Myanmar, each with a different name. The Derung are the largest subgroup found in China, and so they were granted status by that name. The particular Rawang group referred to in this profile call themselves Zerwang. The Zerwang in Myanmar are located in the Mondam area.
History When Rawang and Nu people greet each other they say, "In the remote past, we were brothers." They believe that they were separated by the river and then evolved into different groups. In the past, each Rawang clan had a shaman who directed warfare and settled disputes. The clans were "politically separate entities, which formed political alliances in times of danger from other communities."
Customs Many of the Rawang in China have intermarried with Tibetans and formed mixed communities. Rawang men are renowned for their hunting skills.
Religion The mass movement of the Rawang in Myanmar to Christ is one of the great mission stories of the twentieth century. It is said that when the Morse family started ministering to them there were no Rawang Christians, but by the time they were forced to leave Burma in the 1960s there were just a few old men who were not believers.
Christianity Today almost all of the Rawang in Myanmar, and at least half of them in China, are Christians. They have proven faithful to Christ and have taken the responsibility to send evangelistic teams to other groups in the Tibet-Yunnan-Myanmar border region. Largely because of the Morse family's labors, the full Bible exists in the Rawang language and they have their own gospel radio broadcasts.
Several villages of Rawang are located in an extremely remote area on the Yunnan-Tibet border in China. The Rawang, who are a collection of related dialect groups and clans, number more than 80,000 in northern Myanmar and 50,000 in northeastern India. The Rawang in China often visit their relatives in Myanmar by walking across the mountains, but "the way is difficult. They must follow trails through the mountains all night." The Rawang area in China can only be accessed by hiking three days from the nearest village. They are isolated most of the year because of snow. (Source: Operation China, 2000)