People-in-Country Profile

People Selector:
Print version:
Step 1 - Select a Country:   Send us your updates!
Step 2 - Select a People:  

Tai Man, Shan in Myanmar (Burma)

Tai Man, Shan

Send us a photo of this people.  [1]

Tai Man, Shan in Myanmar (Burma) map
Population [2] Language Religion % Christian % Evangl Online NT Jesus Film Progress
4,493,000 Shan Buddhism 0.90 % 0.82 %   

Tai Man, Shan in Myanmar (Burma)

People Group Video [7]
Source:  The Waiting WorldWatchDownload
Profile Text
Submit Profile Text:

Introduction / History
The Burmese Shan are a large group of civilized people who migrated south from China in the twelfth century and established three small states in Myanmar. The Shan language belongs to the southwestern group of tonal languages. The people refer to themselves as the Great Tai.

Myanmar has a long history of coups, wars, and rebellions. Ethnic divisions and political unrest have been common since the first Burman kingdom in the eleventh century. Today, the Shan have their own army who fight against the current Burmese military regime. The Burmese military forcibly maintains control over the country's various ethnic groups, especially the Shan, who wish to have equal importance in government and commerce. As civil war divides families, many sons have died fighting against the Burmese government or have joined the secessionist Shan State Army.

What are their lives like?
Agriculture is the driving force in the Shan economy. Rice is the major cash and family crop. Other crops include tea, soybeans, peanuts, coffee, and cotton. People living near larger villages or towns grow vegetables to sell in the market. Shan farmers grow one other crop - it is estimated that as much as fifty percent of the world's illegal opium is produced in Shan State.

Traditionally, rice is grown in irrigated fields, especially along the Salween River. However, farmers sometimes resort to slash and burn cultivation to grow hill rice. Farmers raise cattle and buffalo, not for meat, but to draw heavy wooden plows since farming is not mechanized. Because many of their sons have lost their lives in the ongoing civil war, farmers are finding it necessary to hire outside labor.

Shan farmers live in villages of ten to five hundred or more households clustered or lined among trees along roads or riverbanks. The Shan have neither clans nor family lines. Marriages are monogamous, based on the couple's mutual consent. Newlyweds usually live with the bride's parents for the first two or three years or until they can set up their own home. Gossip and reputation are important social restraints.

Shan social culture is a hierarchy based on age, gender, and wealth. The Myanmar constitution dictates the political organization-an unbroken line of administrative authority from the Prime Minister to the village headman. The community, which elects a single headman, is accounted for in the national census as a territorial unit and accessed taxes. For the common citizen, the government is one of five traditional enemies along with fire, famine, flood, and plague.

Shan are wholesalers who move trade good through northwestern Thailand and eastern Myanmar. As a result of improved transportation, women have become retailers of domestic goods sold in village markets instead of individually trading with one another. The people are good silversmiths who make beautiful buttons and daggers. They also market bamboo products and paper.

What are their beliefs?
Buddhism was introduced into Myanmar in the fifth century and the majority of the Shan are Buddhists. The Buddhist's goal is to seek the middle path to nirvana, or ultimate peace. The Shan view of the world centers on the idea of 'power protection,' which protects people from the consequences of their actions, allowing them to do as they please. Buddha and Buddhist monks are the most powerful beings, followed by spirits of the village, spirits associated with fields, households, and the forest. For the Buddhist, death is not a threat if one has done good deeds; it is simply passing from one life to another.

What are their needs?
The tiny Shan Church needs more leadership and the opportunity to train their leaders within Myanmar. The Bible is available in the Shan language, as are the Jesus film and Christian radio broadcasts.

Prayer Points
* Ask God to strengthen, encourage, and protect Shan Christians.
* Ask the Holy Spirit to complete the work of adequate discipleship begun in the hearts of the Burmese Shan.
* Pray for the effectiveness of the Jesus film among the Burmese Shan.
* Pray that God will raise up prayer teams to break up the soil through worship and intercession.
* Ask God to grant wisdom and favor to missions agencies focusing on the Burmese Shan.
* Pray for opportunities to train Shan leaders within their country.
* Ask God to anoint the Gospel as it goes forth via radio to the Burmese Shan.
* Ask the Lord to raise up strong local Christian fellowships among the Burmese Shan.

View Tai Man, Shan in all countries.

Prayer Links
Global Prayer Digest: 2006-07-18
Global Prayer Digest: 2008-06-10
Global Prayer Digest: 2009-06-17
Global Prayer Digest: 2009-06-18
Global Prayer Digest: 2009-06-19
Global Prayer Digest: 2009-06-20
Global Prayer Digest: 2012-06-05
Global Prayer Digest: 2014-06-04
Global Prayer Digest: 2017-06-29
Prayer Links
The Waiting World - The Shan
  Submit Update:
Country: Myanmar (Burma)
Continent: Asia
Region: Asia, Southeast
Persecution Rank:19 (Only top 50 ranked, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
10/40 Window: Yes
Location in Country:They are concentrated throughout Shan State, in north-east Myanmar. In Thailand, they inhabit the provinces of Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai and Mae Hong Son. A small group lives on the other side of Thailand in Mukdahan Province.
(Source: Peoples of the Buddhist World, 2004)
Submit Map:
Country Map:Political map
Ethnolinguistic Map:University of Texas or other map
  Peoples [3]
Submit Update:
People Name in Country: Tai Man, Shan
People Name General: Tai Man, Shan
Alternate People Names:
Burmese ShanCha Shan
DaiGreat Thai
Red ShanSen
ShyamTai Jai
Tai LongTai Luang
Tai NeuaTai Yai
ROP3 Code: 113721
Joshua Project People ID: 18205
Indigenous: Yes
Population in Country: 4,493,000
Population all Countries: 4,599,000
Least-Reached: Yes
Affinity Bloc: Southeast Asian Peoples
People Cluster: Shan
People Name General: Tai Man, Shan
Ethnic Code: MSY49c
Ethnic Relationships: Affinity Bloc -> People Cluster -> Peoples Ethnicity Tree
Submit Update:
Primary Language: Shan (4,493,000 Speakers)
Language Code (ISO): shn    Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages: 1
Religion [4]
Submit Update:
Primary Religion: Buddhism
Religion Sub-division:Theravada
Major Religions:
Buddhism99.10 % 
Christianity0.90 %(Evangelical: 0.82 %)
Ethnic Religions0.00 % 
Hinduism0.00 % 
Islam0.00 % 
Non-Religious0.00 % 
Other / Small0.00 % 
Unknown0.00 % 
Christianity Segments:
Anglican5.00 %
Independent5.00 %
Protestant75.00 %
Orthodox0.00 %
Other Christian0.00 %
Roman Catholic15.00 %
(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
GSEC Status:Level 2   Less than 2% Evangelical. Initial (localized) church planting within past 2 years
Bible Translation Status
Submit Update:
Bible Portions: 1871-1995
New Testament:
Complete Bible: 1892-1995
Possible Bible Sources: Forum of Bible Agencies
 World Bible Finder
 World Christian Resource Directory
 Gospel Go
Ministry Resources [7]
Audio RecordingsMegaVoice Audio Bible and Stories
Audio RecordingsAudio Bible teaching (GRN)
Audio RecordingsOnline New Testament (FCBH)
Audio RecordingsStory of Jesus audio (Jesus Film Project ...
Film / VideoGod's Story Video
Film / Video / Animation
Film / VideoJesus Film: view in Shan
Film / VideoRetaliate With Love
Film / VideoThe Gospel - Shan Animation
Film / VideoThe Way to Worship in God's House
GeneralShan Bible App
Text / Printed MatterBible: The Holy Bible in Shan Common Lan ...
Text / Printed MatterThe Ancient Path (Shan)
Ministry Activity
Register Ministry Activity:
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

Tai Man, Shan in Myanmar (Burma)

Global                 Global
  Affinity Bloc             Global  
People Cluster
    Shan     Asia, Southeast    
      Tai Man, Shan Myanmar (Burma)    
            People-by-Country (Profile)          
            Tai Man, Shan in Myanmar (Burma)          
      Religion Language  
      Buddhism     Shan  
    All Religions                              

Direct link: