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Bai Yi in China

Bai Yi

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Bai Yi in China map
Population [2] Language Religion % Christian % Evangl Online NT Jesus Film Progress
28,000 Language unknown Ethnic Religions 0.00 % 0.00 % No No   

Bai Yi in China

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Introduction / History
Until the 1950s, Nosu tribesmen regularly raided Chinese villages and seized the inhabitants to use them for slave labor. The Bai Yi, many of whom are a Yi-Han ethnic mix, are the descendants of these slaves. Samuel Clarke was one of the first to document their plight in 1911: "It is not uncommon to meet Chinese slaves, boys and girls, in Nosu families. They have either been kidnapped and sold, or their parents, unable to nourish them, have bartered them in exchange for food. ... The masters have absolute control over them. The girl slave he marries to other men's male slaves. The lot of these unfortunate people is hard beyond description. Being looked upon as of little more value than the cattle they tend ... the cruel beatings and tortures they have endured have completely broken their spirit, and now they seem unable to exist apart from their masters. Very seldom will any of them try to escape, for no one will give them shelter, and the punishment awarded to a recaptured slave is so severe as to intimidate the most daring. ... These poor creatures are born in slavery, married in slavery, and die in slavery."

The Bai Yi are the former slaves of the fearsome Nosu tribe. In the 1950s they were freed by the communists and the yoke of slavery was broken. Thousands of people who had been enslaved for decades were relocated to the southern Sichuan area. It is important to note this Profile only refers to those slaves who banded together to form their own communities after their liberation, and not to the lower class of Yi also formerly known as the White Yi. These latter White Yi have seen their low status gradually vanish. Today they are virtually indistinguishable from the Black Yi, the former ruling class. The Bai Yi speak a different language from the many other groups called "Bai Yi" in southern China.

What are their lives like?
The Bai Yi could scarcely believe it when they were liberated from the grip of the Nosu. One former slave explained, "In the beginning ... everyone was skeptical and refused to believe the ganbu's [cadre's] promises to end slavery. But then a few who dared to run away from their masters were protected by the ganbu and allowed to start new lives. Word got around, and eventually we all became free."

What are their beliefs?
The Bai Yi contain a mixture of polytheists, animists and atheists.

In the past a few Nosu slave owners who became Christians "changed their slaves into tenants, thus showing the way to the solution of this difficult problem. Missionaries were barred from speaking to the slaves and saw no hope for their conversion. One wrote, "Of the Nosu there are some believers. ... Of the serfs - well, what chance has a slave, anyway." There are presently only a handful of known Bai Yi believers.

What are their needs?
The Bai Yi people need to submit to Jesus Christ so they can experience the abundant life he offers 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 Bai Yi 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.

Operation China, Asia Harvest, Copyrighted © Used with permission

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Prayer Links
Global Prayer Digest: 2006-08-15
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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:Approximately 20,000 Bai Yi (White Yi) live along the Sichuan-Yunnan border, especially around the town of Panzhihua.
(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: Bai Yi
People Name General: Bai Yi
Alternate People Names:
BaiyiWhite Yi
Yi, White
ROP3 Code: 114004
Joshua Project People ID: 18410
Indigenous: Yes
Population in Country: 28,000
Population all Countries: 28,000
Least-Reached: Yes
Affinity Bloc: Tibetan-Himalayan Peoples
People Cluster: Tibeto-Burman, other
People Name General: Bai Yi
Ethnic Code: MSY50i
Ethnic Relationships: Affinity Bloc -> People Cluster -> Peoples Ethnicity Tree
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Primary Language: Language unknown (28,000 Speakers)
Language Code (ISO): Unknown     
Total Languages: 1
Religion [4]
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Primary Religion: Ethnic Religions
Major Religions:
Buddhism0.00 % 
Christianity0.00 %(Evangelical: 0.00 %)
Ethnic Religions80.00 % 
Hinduism0.00 % 
Islam0.00 % 
Non-Religious20.00 % 
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]
None Reported
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

Bai Yi in China

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

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