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Bokha in China


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Bokha in China map
Population [2] Language Religion % Christian % Evangl Online NT Jesus Film Progress
12,000 Bokha Ethnic Religions 0.10 % 0.05 % No No   

Bokha in China

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The Bokha are one of more than 100 distinct tribes and people groups that comprise the official Yi nationality in China. The Bokha speak their own language which is not mutually intelligible to any of the Yi varieties in the area. They also possess their own unique dress, customs, and festivals.

The Bokha appear to consist of people from more than one historical migration. Most Bokha claim to have first arrived in the area after fleeing the chaos of war in Hunan Province more than 1,000 years ago. Their migration route took them through Wenshan Prefecture and into Honghe where they finally settled in Pingbian County. Some Bokha people living near Pingbian Township, however, claim to have migrated from Guizhou and Sichuan provinces only about 200 years ago.

The Bokha are skilled at making rice and corn whiskey, which they consume in copious quantities. As soon as a guest enters a Bokha home, he or she is offered a bowl of powerful whiskey which the host clasps in two hands as a mark of respect for the guest. To refuse to drink the whiskey is considered a grave insult by the Bokha, and a visitor may not be allowed to stay if they cannot offer a good excuse. The Bokha have many superstitions relating to preparation of food and eating.

On certain occasions throughout the year, the polytheistic beliefs of the Bokha come to the fore. The Bokha set aside the 16th day of the eighth month of the lunar calendar to worship the dragon. Each village has a sacred tree on the outskirts of their village. They believe the tree is home to the spirit of the dragon. The entire village gathers around the tree to offer prayers, incense, and sacrifices. They plead with the dragon to protect them and cause them to prosper in the coming year, and to cause all calamities and disease to stay far from their communities. The Bokha living in the northeast corner of Pingbian County "appease the dragon god by placing spicy whiskey on an altar beneath the dragon tree. They then take the whiskey and pour it into a basin in the altar. Having filled the basin they use a hollowed reed and take turns sucking the potent brew from the altar."

There are just a few Christians among the unreached Bokha people. There are a large number of Catholic Hmong believers in Pingbian County, some of whom have contact and exchanges with believers in France. The only known Yi Christians in Pingbian are about 150 Puwa in Beihe District. They were led to faith in Christ by the Hmong Catholics. The Bokha, however, have never been focused on by the gospel. They remain unevangelized and devoid of any Christian witness.

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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
Total Provinces on file:1
Location in Country:Yunnan province: Hekou county, Lianhuatan township; Jinping county, Mengqiao and Ma’andi townships; Pingbian county, Dishuiceng township.
(Source: Ethnologue 2017)
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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: Bokha
People Name General: Bokha
Alternate People Names:
BakaBlack Muji
BokhoFlowery Phula
Hei MujiHua Phula
Lao PhulaPao Tle
ROP3 Code: 114012
Joshua Project People ID: 18417
Indigenous: Yes
Population in Country: 12,000
Population all Countries: 12,000
Least-Reached: Yes
Affinity Bloc: Tibetan-Himalayan Peoples
People Cluster: Tibeto-Burman, other
People Name General: Bokha
Ethnic Code: MSY50i
Ethnic Relationships: Affinity Bloc -> People Cluster -> Peoples Ethnicity Tree
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Primary Language: Bokha (12,000 Speakers)
Language Code (ISO): ybk    Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages: 1
Religion [4]
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Primary Religion: Ethnic Religions
Major Religions:
Buddhism0.00 % 
Christianity0.10 %(Evangelical: 0.05 %)
Ethnic Religions95.90 % 
Hinduism0.00 % 
Islam0.00 % 
Non-Religious4.00 % 
Other / Small0.00 % 
Unknown0.00 % 
Christianity Segments:
Anglican0.00 %
Independent50.00 %
Protestant0.00 %
Orthodox0.00 %
Other Christian0.00 %
Roman Catholic50.00 %
(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

Bokha in China

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

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