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Ai-Cham in China


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Ai-Cham in China map
Population [2] Language Religion % Christian % Evangl Online NT Jesus Film Progress
3,100 Ai-Cham Ethnic Religions 0.50 % 0.20 % No No   

Ai-Cham in China

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The Ai-Cham have been erroneously counted as part of the Bouyei nationality in China. The Ai-Cham believe themselves to be a separate ethnic group and are unwilling to be identified as part of the Bouyei. Whereas Bouyei is a Northern Tai language, Ai-Cham is part of the Dong-Shui branch of the Tai language family. The Ai-Cham were probably counted as Bouyei by Chinese researchers because most of them are able to speak Bouyei, which is the local trade language.

The Ai-Cham find themselves sandwiched between giant ethnic groups, including the Zhuang to the south, the Bouyei to the north, and more recently the Han Chinese who have migrated into southern Guizhou in large numbers since the 1950s. It is possible the Ai-Cham were originally a group of Dong or Shui who long ago moved south to their present location. The historical roots of the Ai-Cham remain uncertain.

The Chinese have long had this famous description of Guizhou: "There are not three days of sun, not three measures of flat land, and the people do not have three coins." This saying proves true today: Guizhou is still one of the poorest and least developed of China's provinces. Despite abundant rainfall, the inhabitants are cursed by poor harvests due to poor returns from the rocky ground.

The Ai-Cham are primarily polytheists. They worship a multiplicity of gods, ghosts, and spirit beings. They believe all of nature has a soul, including mountains, rivers, trees, and even large rocks. The Ai-Cham also worship their ancestors and put plates of food out several times a year for the souls of their deceased family members. In the past shamans held positions of great power among the Ai-Cham, but their influence was diminished during the anti-religion campaigns of the Cultural Revolution between 1966 and 1976.

The Ai-Cham are an unreached people group without a gospel witness. Few have any knowledge of Christ. Prior to the 1950s there were both Protestant and Catholic missionaries in southern Guizhou, although there is no record of any workers who specifically focused on the Ai-Cham. The Protestant efforts met with little success, but a small number of Catholic churches were established in some Bouyei villages.

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Prayer Links
Global Prayer Digest: 2017-07-13
Global Prayer Digest: 2020-11-28
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Country: China
Continent: Asia
Region: Asia, Northeast
Persecution Rank:17 (Only top 50 ranked, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
10/40 Window: Yes
Location in Country:Approximately 2,300 Ai-Cham people inhabit 13 isolated villages in southern Guizhou Province, near the Bouyei and the Baonuo people. Hidden away among the never-ending range of mountains and the gushing rivers of Guizhou, the majority of Ai-Cham are concentrated near the towns of Di'e and Boyao in Libo County.
(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: Ai-Cham
People Name General: Ai-Cham
Alternate People Names:
ROP3 Code: 100146
Joshua Project People ID: 10195
Indigenous: Yes
Population in Country: 3,100
Population all Countries: 3,100
Least-Reached: Yes
Engagement Status:Unengaged (per Finishing the Task)
Affinity Bloc: Southeast Asian Peoples
People Cluster: Bouyei
People Name General: Ai-Cham
Ethnic Code: MSY49z
Ethnic Relationships: Affinity Bloc -> People Cluster -> Peoples Ethnicity Tree
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Primary Language: Ai-Cham (3,100 Speakers)
Language Code (ISO): aih    Ethnologue Listing
Primary Dialect:Di'e
Dialect Code:6770
Total Languages: 1
Religion [4]
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Primary Religion: Ethnic Religions
Major Religions:
Buddhism0.50 % 
Christianity0.50 %(Evangelical: 0.20 %)
Ethnic Religions97.00 % 
Hinduism0.00 % 
Islam0.00 % 
Non-Religious2.00 % 
Other / Small0.00 % 
Unknown0.00 % 
Christianity Segments:
Anglican0.00 %
Independent40.00 %
Protestant0.00 %
Orthodox0.00 %
Other Christian0.00 %
Roman Catholic60.00 %
(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 0   No evangelical Christians or churches. No access to major evangelical print, audio, visual, or human resources
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]
None Reported
Ministry Activity
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Description: Register your ministry activity among this people group. Contact the Adopt-A-People Clearinghouse and Unleashed for the Unreached to learn about others that might be focused on this people group.
Data Notes
Data Sources

Ai-Cham in China

Global                 Global
  Affinity Bloc             Global  
People Cluster
    Bouyei     Asia, Northeast    
      Ai-Cham China    
            People-by-Country (Profile)          
            Ai-Cham in China          
      Religion Language  
      Ethnic Religions     Ai-Cham  
    All Religions                              

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