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Phola in China


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Phola in China map
Population [2] Language Religion % Christian % Evangl Online NT Jesus Film Progress
14,000 Phola Ethnic Religions 0.15 % 0.10 % No No   

Phola in China

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The Pula have been largely ignored in the complex ethnic patchwork of southern China. The Chinese authorities have included them as part of the Yi nationality. In 1903 the Pula were described as being only about 4 1/2 feet tall.

In China, the Pula are believed to have been among the first inhabitants of the areas where they now live. The Pula are believed to have migrated to Vietnam very long ago. Vietnamese writer Le Quy Don, famous for his book written in the mid-1700s, Kien Van Tieu Luc (Things Seen and Heard), described the Pula who at that time were already settled in northern Vietnam.

Traditional dress varies significantly among Pula in different areas along the Honghe River, a fact reflected in the headdress of different regions: "Pula women of southern Gejiu County wear multi-colored embroidered headpieces which stand up straight from their foreheads; Pula women in Yuanjiang County of Yuxi Prefecture often wear elaborate 'yarn bundle' headdresses, and married women of Honghe County plait their hair on the tops of their heads and wrap their heads with green turbans." There are numerous social rules and superstitions among the Pula in Yuanjiang County. For example, if a child's upper tooth falls out the parents take the tooth and put it under the bed. On the other hand, if a lower tooth falls out, the tooth is placed on the roof. Only in this way, it is thought, can one be sure a new tooth will grow in its place. The Pula consider it impolite to ride a horse into another village. No one is allowed to sit in the doorway of a home for fear that the god of Wealth will be blocked from taking up residence there. Inside a Pula home, people are forbidden to sit on the rice-husking mortar, which they believe can bring a curse of famine on the family.

The Pula believe that a god named Mumi created the heavens and earth, humans, and all spirits. "On the first 'rabbit' day after the Chinese New Year, the Pula worship the sky; on the first 'ox' day they worship the earth and the village god; and on the first 'tiger' day they call all the spirits to their aid in the new year. The Pula hold many ceremonies which ... sacrifice a pig. After the sacrifice a feast is held beneath the sacred tree of the village." In every Pula home the most sacred room is a central bay which contains the ancestral altar. Next to the altar is a tiny "spirit door" about 10 inches wide.

There are just a few known Christians among the Pula in China, while only one or two families are known to have found Christ among this unreached group in northern Vietnam. Pula gospel recordings were first produced in 1999.

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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:Approximately 20,000 Pula people live in China's southern Yunnan Province. They live in Honghe, Yuanyang, Gejiu, Shiping, and Jianshui counties in the Honghe Yi-Hani Autonomous Prefecture; and in Yuanjiang County of Yuxi Prefecture. In northwest Vietnam the Pula are better known as the Phula minority group. They numbered 6,424 people in the 1989 Vietnam census.
(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: Phola
People Name General: Phola
Alternate People Names:
Flowery PhulaHua Phula
PhulephoTai Lati
Tsha Phula
ROP3 Code: 111251
Joshua Project People ID: 16151
Indigenous: Yes
Population in Country: 14,000
Population all Countries: 14,000
Least-Reached: Yes
Affinity Bloc: Tibetan-Himalayan Peoples
People Cluster: Tibeto-Burman, other
People Name General: Phola
Ethnic Code: MSY50i
Ethnic Relationships: Affinity Bloc -> People Cluster -> Peoples Ethnicity Tree
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Primary Language: Phola (14,000 Speakers)
Language Code (ISO): ypg    Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages: 1
Religion [4]
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Primary Religion: Ethnic Religions
Major Religions:
Buddhism0.00 % 
Christianity0.15 %(Evangelical: 0.10 %)
Ethnic Religions95.00 % 
Hinduism0.00 % 
Islam0.00 % 
Non-Religious4.85 % 
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 3   Less than 2% Evangelical. Widespread 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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Data Notes
Data Sources

Phola in China

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

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