People-in-Country Profile

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

Ati in China


Send us a photo of this people.  [1]

Ati in China map
Population [2] Language Religion % Christian % Evangl Online NT Jesus Film Progress
17,000 Sani Ethnic Religions 0.30 % 0.20 % No No   

Ati in China

Profile Text
Submit Profile Text:

The Ati are one of dozens of distinct tribes and ethnolinguistic groups the Chinese authorities combined to form the official Yi nationality. There are 120 distinct subgroups of Yi in China. The Ati are only distantly related to other Yi groups in the area, such as the Axi, Adu, Long, Xiqi, and Sani.

Several hundred years ago, tribes like the Ati lived relatively uninterrupted lives in the hills of central Yunnan. The Han Chinese then flooded the area in massive waves of migration, especially over the last 150 years. Today groups like the Ati, swamped amid the sea of Han Chinese, are barely noticeable to outsiders. As the Han grew in numbers and influence, they forced the Ati off the best land and into the mountains. The Ati were forced to move in order to retain their own customs and ethnicity. Those who stayed in the rural areas were soon absorbed culturally and linguistically.

The Ati share many cultural traits with the Adu, Long, and Xiqi groups who also inhabit Huaning County and speak Yi languages. The Ati live in two-story wooden homes that are built as a safeguard against intruders and wild animals. Most Ati are engaged in agriculture, but in recent years many youth have ventured into the cities and towns of Yunnan looking for work. Those fortunate enough to gain employment send most of their income home to support their families.

The Ati are ardent animists and polytheists. In particular they revere and worship the Dragon god. Most Ati villages have a "dragon tree" set aside for this purpose. The antireligion and antisuperstition campaigns of the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) caused many Ati rituals to cease. As government opposition has eased, the Ati have slowly revived their former beliefs.

A Chinese government survey in 1989 found there to be 23 Christians among the Yi in Huaxi District of Huaning County. These are probably people from the Ati tribe. Little mission work was done in this part of Yunnan Province, although some Catholic endeavors may have resulted in the small amount of fruit that remains today. Despite the presence of these few families of believers, most Ati are completely unaware of the gospel.

View Ati 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:In 1999 it was estimated that 12,600 Ati people lived in parts of central Yunnan Province in southwest China. The Ati have lived with a shrouded identity for centuries, known only to those who live close enough for direct contact. The majority live in Huaning County, situated south of Kunming City. Smaller numbers also live in neighboring Jianshui County.
(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: Ati
People Name General: Ati
Alternate People Names:
ROP3 Code: 114832
Joshua Project People ID: 18402
Indigenous: Yes
Population in Country: 17,000
Population all Countries: 17,000
Least-Reached: Yes
Affinity Bloc: East Asian Peoples
People Cluster: Mongolian
People Name General: Ati
Ethnic Code: MSY41y
Ethnic Relationships: Affinity Bloc -> People Cluster -> Peoples Ethnicity Tree
Submit Update:
Primary Language: Sani (17,000 Speakers)
Language Code (ISO): ysn    Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages: 1
Religion [4]
Submit Update:
Primary Religion: Ethnic Religions
Major Religions:
Buddhism0.00 % 
Christianity0.30 %(Evangelical: 0.20 %)
Ethnic Religions95.00 % 
Hinduism0.00 % 
Islam0.00 % 
Non-Religious4.70 % 
Other / Small0.00 % 
Unknown0.00 % 
Christianity Segments:
Anglican0.00 %
Independent70.00 %
Protestant0.00 %
Orthodox0.00 %
Other Christian0.00 %
Roman Catholic30.00 %
(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
Bible Translation Status
Submit Update:
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)
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

Ati in China

Global                 Global
  Affinity Bloc             Global  
People Cluster
    Mongolian     Asia, Northeast    
      Ati China    
            People-by-Country (Profile)          
            Ati in China          
      Religion Language  
      Ethnic Religions     Sani  
    All Religions                              

Direct link: