Identity Although they are officially (and ethnically) considered part of the Yao nationality, the Kiong Nai speak a language related to Miao. Kiong Nai is the selfname of this small tribe. The Chinese call them Hualan Yao which means "flowery blue Yao." It can also mean "Yao with baskets of flowers."
History The Kiong Nai live alongside the Iu Mien and Lakkia in the Dayaoshan Mountains. These groups migrated into the area at different times. The Kiong Nai's homes are "built with brick and wood. ... The Pan [Iu Mien] and Shanzi Yao [Kim Mun], however, had no land in the Dayaoshan, suggesting that these two groups were later arrivals in the area. They had to ask to use land from the three established Yao groups, and had to pay rent and render manual labor to them. These two groups could not settle down, but lived in rustic bamboo sheds."
Customs Kiong Nai women wear beautiful dress, which is "embroidered with fine lace and consists of three wraps, one large, one smaller, and one a medium size. ... A small bamboo basket is carried on the back and a long knife at the waist. A pair of short pants and a puttee completes the outfit." The Kiong Nai are renowned throughout the area for their skill in making silver ornaments.
Religion The Kiong Nai are polytheists. They worship a variety of gods and spirits. Their religion has made them indifferent to the sanctity of human life. "It is their custom ... to control the size of their population. They plan their families according to their wealth and the size of the land they will till. Generally, there will be one or two children in a family. In order to maintain their living standard, they do not hesitate to resort to abortion if and when their planning goes wrong."
Christianity The Kiong Nai are completely untouched by the gospel. They have never had a known believer or Christian fellowship among them. There are geographic, cultural, and linguistic barriers that prevent the Kiong Nai from hearing the message of salvation from other people groups.
The small Kiong Nai tribe, which numbered 1,500 people in a 1991 study, are one of five distinct Yao groups living in the Dayaoshan (Big Yao Mountains) in eastern Guangxi's Jinxiu County. The 1982 Chinese census listed only 822 Kiong Nai, but later research placed the number higher. The Kiong Nai are the smallest and most different of the five Yao groups, who together total 36,000 people. The various groups "speak different languages and each has its own peculiar customs and living habits." The Kiong Nai inhabit the nine villages of Longhua, Nanzhou, Dajin, Liuxiang, Mentou, Gubu, Ludan, Liutian, and Chang'e. (Source: Operation China, 2000)