People-in-Country Profile

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

Gepo, Eastern in China

Gepo, Eastern

Send us a photo of this people.  [1]

Gepo, Eastern in China map
Population [2] Language Religion % Christian % Evangl Online NT Jesus Film Progress
83,000 Gepo Ethnic Religions 0.60 % 0.60 % No No   

Gepo, Eastern in China

Profile Text
Submit Profile Text:

Commonly called Bai Yi (White Yi) by the Chinese, this people group refers to itself as Gepo. Chinese sources further divide the Eastern Gepo - according to their style of headdress - into Pingtou Yi (Flathead Yi) and Jiantou Yi (Conehead Yi). Nevertheless, both of these groups refer to themselves as Gepo and speak the same language. The Eastern Gepo are different from the Depo of northern Yunnan. The Depo also sometimes refer to themselves as Gepo or Gepuo.

Before 1949 there seems to have been four classes among the Yi peoples of eastern Yunnan: two lower classes, both called Gepo; and two upper classes, both of whom referred to themselves as Neisu or Nasu. The Gepo "were further separated into Greater and Lesser Gepo as were the Nasu. In their own language, Gepo means 'white people'. They were enslaved by the Greater and Lesser Nasu. Many subtle social rules and marriage restrictions that existed between the Greater and Lesser Gepo are all but discarded today."

The Eastern Gepo are culturally distinct from all other surrounding communities. They are proud of their ethnic identity and prefer to be left alone by outsiders. Many of China's Yi people were decimated by disease in the past. Missionary Samuel Clarke explained the customs of one Yi group that were designed to limit the death toll caused by disease. "When it is known that disease has visited a neighbor's house, a pole seven feet long is erected in a conspicuous place in a thicket some distance from the house. ... On the pole an old plow-share is fixed, and it is supposed that when the spirit who controls the disease sees the plowshare he will retire to a distance from these homesteads."

The Eastern Gepo are polytheists: they worship a multitude of gods and deities. Each year they offer sacrifices of chickens and livestock to the god of the Harvest to ensure a successful crop. The Gepo also carefully observe customs relating to health and hygiene.

There are a small number of believers among the Eastern Gepo. The Christians in Huize County, including the Eastern Gepo, have experienced horrific persecution from local authorities in recent years. Land has been confiscated, believers beaten and tortured. One report stated, "The instruments of torture they use include clubs, firewood, ropes, handcuffs and electrically-charged stun-batons. They cuffed and kicked until these instruments broke." Evangelist Cui Chaoshu was "pounded to death with a thick stick, his nose and mouth bleeding profusely."

View Gepo, Eastern in all countries.

Prayer Links
  Submit Update:
Country: China
Continent: Asia
Region: Asia, Northeast
Persecution Rank:27 (Only top 50 ranked, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
10/40 Window: Yes
Location in Country:More than 64,000 Eastern Gepo live in the eastern part of Yunnan Province in southwest China. They are distributed in parts of ten different counties. Xundian County, with 23,000 Eastern Gepo, contains the largest concentration of this group.
(Source: Operation China, 2000)
Submit Map:
Ethnolinguistic Map:University of Texas or other map
Linguistic Map:Ethnologue language map
  Peoples [3]
Submit Update:
People Name in Country: Gepo, Eastern
People Name General: Gepo, Eastern
Alternate People Names:
Jiantou YiNasu
Pingtou YiWhite Yi
ROP3 Code: 114063
Joshua Project People ID: 18461
Indigenous: Yes
Population in Country: 83,000
Population all Countries: 83,000
Least-Reached: Yes
Affinity Bloc: Tibetan-Himalayan Peoples
People Cluster: Tibeto-Burman, other
People Name General: Gepo, Eastern
Ethnic Code: MSY50i
Ethnic Relationships: Affinity Bloc -> People Cluster -> Peoples Ethnicity Tree
Submit Update:
Primary Language: Gepo (83,000 Speakers)
Language Code (ISO): ygp    Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages: 1
Religion [4]
Submit Update:
Primary Religion: Ethnic Religions
Major Religions:
Buddhism0.00 % 
Christianity0.60 %(Evangelical: 0.60 %)
Ethnic Religions96.00 % 
Hinduism0.00 % 
Islam0.00 % 
Non-Religious3.40 % 
Other / Small0.00 % 
Unknown0.00 % 
Christianity Segments:
Anglican0.00 %
Independent100.00 %
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 2   Less than 2% Evangelical. Initial (localized) church planting within past 2 years
Bible Translation Status
Submit Update:
Bible Portions: 1913
New Testament: None Reported
Complete Bible: None Reported
Possible Bible Sources: Forum of Bible Agencies
 World Bible Finder
 World Christian Resource Directory
 Gospel Go
Ministry Resources [7]
None Reported
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

Gepo, Eastern in China

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

Direct link: