Introduction / History The Yerong call themselves the Daban Yao to locals, or simply as Daban. Although there is a community of Daban Yao in Yunnan's Xishuangbanna Prefecture, the two groups are unrelated. The Yunnan Daban Yao speak the Iu Mien language. The Chinese government includes the Yerong as part of the Yao nationality in China, even though they speak their own, very different language. In 1945, the government described the Yao as being made up of 39 different tribes. Among these tribes, however, are a staggering number and variety of subgroups. "There are thought to be as many as 300 such different appellations among the Yao in China, making research and classification ethnically an impossible task.
In the past, a "tablet" system governed the numerous Yao groups in China. The inhabitants of several villages banded together and erected a stone tablet, engraved in Chinese characters, containing the rules and regulations members of the group must observe. It was a social pact with a set of rules and rights. It also defined sanctions for violating their tablet.
What are their lives like? The Chinese praise the Yerong as being an honest and hardworking people. Much intermarriage with other races and tribes has resulted in their small population. As more Yerong youth leave their home communities to marry and live with other people groups, the very existence of the Yerong is becoming increasingly endangered.
What are their beliefs? The Yerong practice animism. They do not observe the custom of worshiping Pan Hu, as do most of the other Yao groups in Guangxi.
They are still waiting to hear the gospel for the first time in their history. Foreign missionaries will struggle to effectively reach the isolated Yerong by themselves. Believers from related minority groups or from Han Chinese churches are best suited for effective evangelism. Because of the strong ethnic unity of the clan system, one observer points out, "Cross-cultural missionaries would have a very marginal part in such a thrust but would be needed for encouragement and counseling."
What are their needs? Like people everywhere, the Yerong people need to allow the loving Savior to direct their lives. They need his forgiveness for sin.
Prayer Points Pray for the Lord to intervene in Yerong families, calling them to his side.
Pray for loving, Holy Spirit led workers to go to the Yerong.
Pray for the Lord to send dreams and visions to Yerong elders.
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. * Pray for Gospel messages to become available in audio format for this people group.
Chinese scholar Liang Min listed a 1990 population of only 300 to 400 Yerong in China. In addition, about half of the members of the Buyang tribe (1,000 to 1,500 people) can also speak the Yerong language. The Yerong are located in the Longhe and Pohe townships of Napo County in the southwest corner of Guangxi, just north of the juncture where Yunnan, Guangxi and Vietnam intersect. (Source: Operation China, 2000)