Introduction / History The Zhaba are counted as part of the Tibetan nationality, although they speak a Qiangic language. The Zhaba may call themselves Buozi. Zhaba appears to be the name used to describe them by their Khampa Tibetan neighbors.
When Marco Polo passed through rural Tibetan areas in the thirteenth century, he found unique local customs. Polo wrote, "No man of that country would on any consideration take to wife a girl who was a maid; for they say a wife is worth nothing unless she has been used to consort with men. ... When travelers come that way, the old women of the place get ready, and take their unmarried daughters ... to whomsoever will accept them. ... In this manner people traveling in that way ... shall find perhaps 20 or 30 girls at their disposal."
What are their lives like? Promiscuity continues to be rife among the Zhaba. A 1950s survey of the Garze area found the rate of venereal diseases was 40% among people in poor areas and 50.7% among people living in the pasture areas.
What are their beliefs? The Zhaba worship a wide variety of demons and ghosts. These influences date back to the pre-Buddhist Tibetan religion of Bon. They believe large demons live inside mountains, and so they offer frequent sacrifices to appease them.
There are no known Christians among the Zhaba, although there are a few Tibetan Catholics farther west near Litang. The Zhaba lead hard lives. Workers seeking to reach them will need to help them physically and not just spiritually.
What are their needs? The Zhaba people need to put their trust and identity in the hands of the loving God of Creation who sent his son to make it possible for them to enter the Kingdom of God.
Prayer Points Pray for the spiritual blindness and bondage to the evil one to be removed so they can understand and respond to Christ.
Pray for the Lord to provide for their physical and spiritual needs as a testimony of his power and love.
Pray the Zhaba people will have a spiritual hunger that will open their hearts to the King of kings.
Pray for an unstoppable movement to Christ among them. * 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.
The Zhaba reside in parts of Yajiang and Daofu counties within the vast Garze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in western Sichuan Province. The main centre is Zhaba township in southern Daofu County. (Source: Peoples of the Buddhist World, 2004)