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Asahei in China


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Asahei in China map
Population [2] Language Religion % Christian % Evangl Online NT Jesus Film Progress
11,000 Sani Ethnic Religions 0.00 % 0.00 % No No   

Asahei in China

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Introduction / History
The Asahei are not granted status as a minority group in China. They are one of five tribes the Chinese collectively call Aza, although the name is not used by any of the five groups themselves. The Aza, in turn, have been combined with approximately 120 different ethnolinguistic groups to form the large Yi nationality. Many of the groups within the Yi do not acknowledge kinship, and the linguistic diversity among many groups is so great that they are often forced to speak Chinese in order to communicate. One source from the early 1900s even divided the Yi into 485 clans! - "with each clan occupying a distinct territory."

Although today the Asahei and other Yi appear to live in relative peace and harmony with other groups, in the past they were known as an incredibly violent people. One observer remarked how "Clan feuds seem to have been endemic. ... They are caused by arguments over women, insults ... murder, theft (especially of slaves or horses), and defaulting on a debt; but, as elsewhere, the reasons for most feuds were long forgotten, and each clan had traditional enemies. Battles or war could be averted if the offenders paid an indemnity in silver or horses, or, if the offending clan were poor and no loss of life was involved, the wrong-doer might go on horseback (wearing a silk dress with a mirror in his hair and raw beef in his mouth) to apologize and to offer wine and beef to the offended party.

What are their lives like?
Today many customs and ceremonies among the Asahei are becoming extinct. Until recently they played traditional bamboo musical instruments and carried pouches which contained charms such as boar's teeth, tiger claws, bear claws, and prayers written by the shaman to guide their lives and bring good luck and prosperity.

What are their beliefs?
Ancestor worship is the predominant religion among the Asahei today. Many Asahei under the age of 40 are nonreligious and participate in the rituals of their parents only with reluctance.

There has never been a single known Christian church among the Asahei. French Catholic missionary Paul Vial, who worked among the related Axi and Sani peoples, found that he was accepted because the Yi believed they were also of Caucasian descent.

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

Prayer Points
Pray for the authority of Christ to bind hindering spiritual forces to lead them from darkness to light.

Pray for signs and wonders to happen among them and for great breakthroughs with a rapid multiplication of disciples and house churches.

Pray for bold workers who are driven by the love of the Holy Spirit to go to them.

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.

Operation China, Asia Harvest, Copyrighted © Used with permission

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  Submit Update:
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:A total of 8,400 Asahei people live in the north central part of Kaiyuan County in China's Yunnan Province. They inhabit the Jiufang and Hongshiyan villages of Lebaidao District and Chongmen Village of Mazheshao District.
(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: Asahei
People Name General: Asahei
Alternate People Names:
Asahei AzaAsaheipo
ROP3 Code: 113995
Joshua Project People ID: 18401
Indigenous: Yes
Population in Country: 11,000
Population all Countries: 11,000
Least-Reached: Yes
Affinity Bloc: Tibetan-Himalayan Peoples
People Cluster: Tibeto-Burman, other
People Name General: Asahei
Ethnic Code: MSY50i
Ethnic Relationships: Affinity Bloc -> People Cluster -> Peoples Ethnicity Tree
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Primary Language: Sani (11,000 Speakers)
Language Code (ISO): ysn    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 Religions75.00 % 
Hinduism0.00 % 
Islam0.00 % 
Non-Religious25.00 % 
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
GSEC Status:Level 1   Less than 2% Evangelical. Some evangelical resources available, but no active church planting within past 2 years
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

Asahei in China

Global                 Global
  Affinity Bloc             Global  
People Cluster
    Tibeto-Burman, other     Asia, Northeast    
      Asahei China    
            People-by-Country (Profile)          
            Asahei in China          
      Religion Language  
      Ethnic Religions     Sani  
    All Religions                              

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