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Laka in China


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Population [2] Language Religion % Christian % Evangl Online NT Jesus Film Progress
8,000 Language unknown Christianity 41.00 % 32.52 % No No   

Laka in China

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The Laka are a subgroup of the Naluo, who are officially considered a subgroup of the Yi. The name "Laka" may originate from the Chinese term laogan "old workers" or a Yi term meaning "artisan." In the early 1900s the Laka may have been workers who helped construct the railroad in northern Yunnan. Samuel Clarke unflatteringly described them as "very drunken and immoral." The Laka are often confused with the Lakkia people of the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, a Yao group who are also sometimes called Laka.

The Laka are part of the splintering of people groups that has taken place in the mountains of southwest China over the past 2,000 years. One source states that the main difference between the Laka and the Naluo is that the Laka were slaves and serfs of the Nasu while the Naluo were not. This historical and social separation has created a distinct self identity among the two groups today.

The Laka earn their livelihood from the bounty of the Yangtze River. This part of the Yangtze contains a nearly extinct breed of albino dolphins found nowhere else in the world.

The Laka were traditionally animists and polytheists until they were converted by missionaries prior to 1949. Today many Laka are nonreligious and have adopted many of the customs of the Han Chinese people in the area.

Mission outreach to the Laka commenced in the early 1900s. In 1908 it was reported that "the work among the Laka is now being consolidated by the appointment of Mr. Metcalf as their own missionary." The Gospel of Mark was translated into the Laka language using the Pollard script and distributed between 1912 and 1936. Today most Laka are mixed in with Eastern Lipo communities and few outsiders know of their existence. Missiologist Ralph Covell has stated, "The name Laka people is repeatedly mentioned in missionary literature about Yunnan. Always it appears with the sorry refrain that although the Laka wanted to believe, no one was available to go to them, either to evangelize or disciple."

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Country: China
Continent: Asia
Region: Asia, Northeast
Persecution Rank:23 (Only top 50 ranked, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
10/40 Window: Yes
Location in Country:More than 6,000 members of the Laka group live in the northernmost reaches of Yunnan Province, on the southern banks of the Yangtze River in Wuding County. The Yangtze is the border between Yunnan and Sichuan. In 1911 missionary Samuel Clarke recounted the first visit to the Laka people by Australian missionary Arthur Nicholls: "The Laka are another branch of the Nosu [Yi] race. From the hill-tops, when Mr. Nicholls visited them, he saw the River of Golden Sand, as the Yangtze River is called in that part of its course. Across the river was the province of [Sichuan], which there, following the course of the river, projects like a promontory far away to the south."
(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: Laka
People Name General: Laka
ROP3 Code: 114854
Joshua Project People ID: 18901
Indigenous: Yes
Population in Country: 8,000
Population all Countries: 8,000
Least-Reached: No
Affinity Bloc: Tibetan-Himalayan Peoples
People Cluster: Tibeto-Burman, other
People Name General: Laka
Ethnic Code: MSY50i
Ethnic Relationships: Affinity Bloc -> People Cluster -> Peoples Ethnicity Tree
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Primary Language: Language unknown (8,000 Speakers)
Language Code (ISO): Unknown     
Total Languages: 1
Religion [4]
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Primary Religion: Christianity
Religion Sub-division:Independent
Major Religions:
Buddhism0.00 % 
Christianity41.00 %(Evangelical: 32.52 %)
Ethnic Religions20.00 % 
Hinduism0.00 % 
Islam0.00 % 
Non-Religious39.00 % 
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]   Evangelicals have a significant presence.
Least-Reached: No
GSEC Status:Level 6   Greater than or equal to 10% Evangelical
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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Data Notes
Data Sources

Laka in China

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

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