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Popei in China


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Popei in China map
Population [2] Language Religion % Christian % Evangl Online NT Jesus Film Progress
6,600 Lolopo Ethnic Religions 0.00 % 0.00 % No   

Popei in China

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The Popei have been officially combined with dozens of other distinct ethnolinguistic peoples to form the Yi nationality in China. The Popei are widely known by their Chinese name, Shui Yi, meaning "water Yi." The Popei (Shui Yi) are often mistaken for the Shuitian (Watery Fields) group, but the two groups are distinct and speak separate languages. Popei is this group's autonym.

Today's various branches of the Yi people, including the Popei, are believed to have come from common stock. Legends and records written in the ancient Yi script show that the Yi society was once matriarchal. The Annals of the Yis in the Southwest records that in ancient times the Yi people "only knew mothers and not fathers ... and women ruled for six generations in a row." As the Yi splintered into numerous divisions and migrated throughout southern China, each group gradually developed its own language and culture.

Although small in number, the Popei celebrate many traditional Yi festivals. Some of these include the Garment Contest Festival which takes place in Zhijie Township of Yongren County every February; and the Get-Together of Princes Festival which is held in Longjie Township of Dayao County on the eighth day of the fourth lunar month. The people throw water over each other, sing, dance, and create an edible "prince" which they bake and eat.

As the Popei were gradually absorbed by the Han Chinese, they adopted many of the Han's Daoist and ancestor worship rituals.

The region inhabited by the Popei is one of the least evangelized in all of Yunnan Province. Various hidden tribes and groups in the area are locked away by remote mountains and rushing streams. Roads into the area were only constructed in the 1950s. Before then access was only possible by foot or on horseback from the nearest town. The nearest churches are among the Nasu and Lipo in Wuding.

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Prayer Links
Global Prayer Digest: 2017-07-26
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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:Between 3,000 and 5,000 Popei people live in the northern part of Yunnan Province close to the border with Sichuan Province. About 1,000 Popei live in several villages in Huaping County which is part of Lijiang Prefecture. In addition, the Popei live in Dayao and Yongren counties of Chuxiong Prefecture. Other small pockets of Popei live scattered throughout the area. The Popei live in mountainous areas, alongside members of many other Yi subgroups such as the Eastern Nasu, Western Lipo, and Lopi.
(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: Popei
People Name General: Popei
Alternate People Names:
Shui YiShuitian
Water Yi
ROP3 Code: 114277
Joshua Project People ID: 18655
Indigenous: Yes
Population in Country: 6,600
Population all Countries: 6,600
Least-Reached: Yes
Affinity Bloc: Tibetan-Himalayan Peoples
People Cluster: Tibeto-Burman, other
People Name General: Popei
Ethnic Code: MSY50i
Ethnic Relationships: Affinity Bloc -> People Cluster -> Peoples Ethnicity Tree
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Primary Language: Lolopo (6,600 Speakers)
Language Code (ISO): ycl    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 (GRN)
Audio RecordingsOnline New Testament (FCBH)
Ministry Activity
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Data Notes
Data Sources

Popei in China

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

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