Identity Chinese linguistic and anthropological literature in the past frequently mentioned the Hmong Be, despite their small population. The Chinese call them Luzhai Miao after the name of their village. They call themselves Hmong Be (Mountain Hmong). The neighboring Hmong who live in Dananshan Village refer to them as Hmong Nzhil (Peppery Hmong), or Hmong Drout Raol (Six Village Hmong). They are one of several dozen ethnic groups combined to form the official Miao nationality in China. Although the Hmong Be speak the same language as the Hmong Dou, they claim a different ethnic identity. In addition, Hmong Be women wear their own unique style of dress.
History In China many of the branches of the Miao do not accept each other as members of the ethnic group. This is because the Chinese have used the name Miao as a generic cover term to refer to the original inhabitants of Guizhou for more than 2,000 years. Today, centuries after they have splintered into numerous separate entities, they are still called Miao by the Chinese. In comparison, the former great Mon- Khmer race was never called by one generic name. They have splintered into today's groups such as the Lahu, Wa, De'ang, and Bulang, each acknowledged by the government as distinct nationalities. Today's Miao groups show just as much ethnolinguistic variety as the Mon-Khmer groups, but they are all officially included in the same nationality.
Customs The Hmong Be celebrate several regional festivals, including an annual gathering when the youth come together to find partners.
Religion Animism is the primary religious belief system among the Hmong Be. Although animism is not technically an organized religion, the people's lives and communities reflect their bondage to the spirit world that surrounds them.
Christianity Many Hmong Be have heard something of the gospel, mostly through the temporary witness of Christians passing through the area. As a result, few Hmong Be today have a full understanding of the concepts of grace and salvation. It is unknown whether there are presently any active believers among the Hmong Be.
Approximately 1,000 members of the Hmong Be tribe live in a compact community in Luzhai Village near Babao Township. The area lies within Dafang County in the northwestern part of Guizhou Province. This part of southern China is a hilly region with lush forests watered by numerous rivers and streams. (Source: Operation China, 2000)