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Azong in China


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Azong in China map
Population [2] Language Religion % Christian % Evangl Online NT Jesus Film Progress
1,300 Nisu, Eastern Ethnic Religions 0.00 % 0.00 % No No   

Azong in China

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Introduction / History
The Azong are one of 120 different subgroups of the officially recognized Yi nationality in China. One ethnographer, who has researched the Yi, wrote, "If the 'Yi' had a mutual and continuous history, perhaps this would lend some credence to their common classification, yet even here one is hard-pressed to find similarities or continuity. The official stance on the origin of the 'Yi' usually states they were descendants from the Qiang who migrated south from Qinghai and Gansu 2,000 to 3,000 years ago. While this is plausible and even probable in many cases, it does not follow, therefore, that this nationality has remained one homogeneous people group some 2,000 years later. ... How long have the 'Yi' been in existence? The answer is clear: 'they never were'."

When Marco Polo passed through the Yi areas of "Caindu" in the late thirteenth century, he recounted some of the unique sexual practices of the people at the time: "I must tell you of a custom that they have in this country regarding their women. No man considers himself wronged if a foreigner, or any other man, dishonor his wife, or daughter, or sister, or any woman of his family, but on the contrary, he deems such intercourse a piece of good fortune. And they say that it brings the favor of their gods and idols, and great increase of temporal prosperity."

What are their lives like?
Until recent years, when burial has been gradually phased out in favor of cremation by the central government, the Azong placed silver in the mouths of their dead. The body was buried in a favorable place with the name of the deceased written on the headstone. The oldest son was required to use the blood from his own finger to write the names of his parents on a wooden tablet, using Yi characters.

What are their beliefs?
These tablets were then kept for three generations and used in ancestral rites, before they were burned. Ancestor worship mixed with animism remain the major religious beliefs among the Azong.

Although there are about 2,000 Christians among the "Yi" in Jiangcheng County, all of them are believed to be from among the Yuanyang Nisu group. There are no known Christians among the Azong. The languages of the Azong and Yuanyang Nisu are divergent enough to make mutual communication impossible. This has created a barrier to the spread of the gospel between different ethnic groups in this part of the country.

What are their needs?
The Azong 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 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 that the Azong 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.

Operation China, Asia Harvest, Copyrighted © Used with permission

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Prayer Links
Global Prayer Digest: 2017-07-25
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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:According to Jamin Pelkey, 1,000 people belonging to the Azong ethnic group live in Jiangcheng County within Simao Prefecture of southern Yunnan Province. Other people groups included in the official Yi nationality who live in Jiangcheng County are the Xiangtang, Yuanyang Nisu, Alu, and Laowu. The area is hilly and lush, with abundant rainfall. Many of the ethnic groups in the region spill over into neighboring Vietnam and Laos.
(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: Azong
People Name General: Azong
ROP3 Code: 114002
Joshua Project People ID: 18408
Indigenous: Yes
Population in Country: 1,300
Population all Countries: 1,300
Least-Reached: Yes
Affinity Bloc: Tibetan-Himalayan Peoples
People Cluster: Tibeto-Burman, other
People Name General: Azong
Ethnic Code: MSY50i
Ethnic Relationships: Affinity Bloc -> People Cluster -> Peoples Ethnicity Tree
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Primary Language: Nisu, Eastern (1,300 Speakers)
Language Code (ISO): nos    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
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

Azong in China

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

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