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Cao Lan in China

Cao Lan

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Cao Lan in China map
Population [2] Language Religion % Christian % Evangl Online NT Jesus Film Progress
51,000 Cao Lan Ethnic Religions 0.00 % 0.00 % No No   

Cao Lan in China

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Introduction / History
The Cao Lan in Vietnam migrated from southern China in the first half of the nineteenth century. Cao Lan communities are divided into various family lineages, each clan having their own peculiar customs and their own protective spirit. The Nung and Cao Lan joined with a powerful Hmong army in northern Vietnam in the 1860s. They took possession of large tracts of land and raided Buddhist temples of their gold. The Cao Lan were deceived into following Sioung - the charismatic, self-proclaimed Hmong king.

The Cao Lan are officially considered part of the Zhuang nationality in China. They speak a distinct language—different from other Zhuang varieties—and possess their own set of customs and traditions.

Cao Lan is part of the Central Tai linguistic family. "The Cao Lan, a Sinicized group, consists mainly in various areas of the delta of northern Vietnam; it is also found in smaller numbers in China." It is possible that the Cao Lan language in China is what linguists label the Yan-Guang dialect of Southern Zhuang.

What are their lives like?
Strict morality codes are practiced among the rural Cao Lan. Women must observe strict rules and customs. Whenever a woman encounters a man in a social position superior to her husband's, she is required to hide behind bamboo. The Cao Lan were traditionally buried when they died but, due to a lack of land, the government has recently begun demanding that the dead be cremated instead. Traditionally, when the body was placed in the coffin, seven coins were added for a man and nine for a woman. The coins represent the Khue star which they believe guides the person's soul to his or her ancestors in the other world.

What are their beliefs?
Spirit worship takes a major place in the lives of the Cao Lan population. Each branch of the nationality worships a different spirit such as the spirit of the river, the trees, the crops, etc. Elaborate festivals include the playing of castanets, copper bells, drums, cymbals, and wind instruments.

In China, as well as in Vietnam, the Cao Lan are unreached with the gospel, although 26 families in Vietnam came to Christ in 1999. Very few have had any exposure to the Christian message and the name of Christ remains unknown. Northern Vietnam and southern China have been Communist strongholds for three generations. No Christian ministries or Western mission organizations are known to be focusing on them.

What are their needs?
The Cao Lan people need to submit to Jesus Christ so they can experience the abundant life he offers in John 10:10.

Prayer Points
Pray for the Lord to intervene in their families, calling people to his side.

Pray for loving workers.

Pray for their hearts to be drawn to the Lord of lords.

Pray for a church planting movement to thrive in their communities.
* Pray for translation of the Bible to begin in this people group's primary language.
* Pray for the availability of the Jesus Film in the primary language of this people.

Operation China, Asia Harvest, Copyrighted © Used with permission

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Country: China
Continent: Asia
Region: Asia, Northeast
Persecution Rank:16 (Only top 50 ranked, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
10/40 Window: Yes
Location in Country:The Global Evangelization Movement listed a 1995 population of 36,677 Cao Lan in China. In addition, more than 114,000 live in northern Vietnam where they are known as San Chay. The Cao Lan are located along the Yunnan-Vietnam border in Xichou County. In Vietnam they inhabit the lower Red River area, with communities in seven different provinces: Tuyen Quang, Bac Thai, Ha Bac, Quang Ninh, Yen Bai, Lang Son, and Vinh Phu.
(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: Cao Lan
People Name General: Cao Lan, San Chay
Alternate People Names:
Hon BanHon Chung
San ChaySán Chay (CaoLan-SánChi)
San ChiSon Tu
ROP3 Code: 106205
Joshua Project People ID: 13474
Indigenous: No
Population in Country: 51,000
Population all Countries: 254,000
Least-Reached: Yes
Affinity Bloc: Southeast Asian Peoples
People Cluster: Tai
People Name General: Cao Lan, San Chay
Ethnic Code: MSY49d
Ethnic Relationships: Affinity Bloc -> People Cluster -> Peoples Ethnicity Tree
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Primary Language: Cao Lan (51,000 Speakers)
Language Code (ISO): mlc    Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages: 1
Religion [4]
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Primary Religion: Ethnic Religions
Major Religions:
Buddhism0.00 % 
Christianity0.00 %(Evangelical: 0.00 %)
Ethnic Religions95.00 % 
Hinduism0.00 % 
Islam0.00 % 
Non-Religious5.00 % 
Other / Small0.00 % 
Unknown0.00 % 
Christianity Segments:
Anglican0.00 %
Independent0.00 %
Protestant0.00 %
Orthodox0.00 %
Other Christian0.00 %
Roman Catholic0.00 %
(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
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]
Audio RecordingsMegaVoice Audio Bible and Stories
Audio RecordingsAudio Bible teaching
Ministry Activity
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Networking: Visit for networking possibilities.
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

Cao Lan in China

Global                 Global
  Affinity Bloc             Global  
People Cluster
    Tai     Asia, Northeast    
      Cao Lan, San Chay China    
            People-by-Country (Profile)          
            Cao Lan in China          
      Religion Language  
      Ethnic Religions     Cao Lan  
    All Religions                              

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