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Labapo in China


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Labapo in China map
Population [2] Language Religion % Christian % Evangl Online NT Jesus Film Progress
8,500 Sani Ethnic Religions 0.00 % 0.00 % No No   

Labapo in China

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The Labapo have been combined with four other tribes in Kaiyuan County into a group called Aza.2 None of the five groups calls itself by that name. The Aza, in turn, have been officially included by the Chinese authorities under the large Yi nationality which contains 120 distinct ethnolinguistic groups. The Labapo (Laba Tribe) are not the same as the Laba, a large group in Guizhou Province who have recently been classified as Miao.

The Labapo know little of their history, except that they originated farther to the north of their present location and migrated across the mountains at least 300 years ago.

The Labapo still retain some of their customs and festivals. At various times of the lunar calendar, all Labapo gather for celebrations and festivities that last two and a half days; during this period they eat communal meals. Every family invites relatives from other villages to be their guests. The feasting is always accompanied by copious amounts of alcohol, singing, and revelry. It gives the Labapo a chance to unwind and also affords young people the opportunity to find a spouse.

The Labapo worship their ancestors. They also live in fear of the spirit world. Many Yi groups share a legend about a great flood that inundated the ancient world. Today, their ancestral tablets are still made of pieris wood (the same wood that the ark was constructed of, according to Yi legend). The Labapo believe in three main types of ghosts: spirits of accidental or unclean deaths, invisible demons, and slota (unusual phenomena which cause disasters). Twice a year a pig and a chicken are sacrificed at a worship stone near the sacred village tree which they believe houses a protective dragon.

There has never been a Christian church among the Labapo. They remain a completely unreached people. Whoever first takes the gospel to the Labapo will need to respect their customs and beliefs without compromising the essence of the gospel. Despite being almost 350 years old, the following Catholic declaration dating from 1659 contains sound advice for foreign missionaries that still applies today: "Do not regard it as your task, and do not bring any pressures to bear on the peoples, to change their manners, customs and uses, unless they are evidently contrary to religion and sound morals. What could be more absurd than to transport France, Spain or Italy, or some other European country to China? Do not introduce all that to them, but only the faith, which does not despise or destroy the manners and customs of any people, always supposing they are not evil, but rather wishes to see them preserved unharmed."

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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:Six thousand four hundred Labapo people were counted in a 1999 study of Honghe Prefecture. They inhabit more than 20 villages in the Baige and Dazhuang districts of Kaiyuan County in southern Yunnan Province. The Labapo live in the same district as the 9,400 Daizhan, who are a related people group.
(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: Labapo
People Name General: Labapo
Alternate People Names:
Laba AzaPula
ROP3 Code: 114146
Joshua Project People ID: 18530
Indigenous: Yes
Population in Country: 8,500
Population all Countries: 8,500
Least-Reached: Yes
Affinity Bloc: Tibetan-Himalayan Peoples
People Cluster: Tibeto-Burman, other
People Name General: Labapo
Ethnic Code: MSY50z
Ethnic Relationships: Affinity Bloc -> People Cluster -> Peoples Ethnicity Tree
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Primary Language: Sani (8,500 Speakers)
Language Code (ISO): ysn    Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages: 1
Religion [4]
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Primary Religion: Ethnic Religions
Major Religions:
Buddhism0.00 % 
Christianity0.00 %(Evangelical: 0.00 %)
Ethnic Religions95.00 % 
Hinduism0.00 % 
Islam0.00 % 
Non-Religious5.00 % 
Other / Small0.00 % 
Unknown0.00 % 
Christianity Segments:
Anglican0.00 %
Independent0.00 %
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 1   Less than 2% Evangelical. Some evangelical resources available, but no active 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]
Audio RecordingsMegaVoice Audio Bible and Stories
Audio RecordingsAudio Bible teaching (GRN)
Ministry Activity
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Data Notes
Data Sources

Labapo in China

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

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