Identity Today, the Yangliu Lalu are different from the Xuzhang Lalu. The two groups possess different customs and cannot easily understand each other's language.
History The Yangliu Lalu are believed to have migrated to their present location from Menghua (present-day Weishan and Nanjian counties) at different stages during the Ming and Qing dynasties (1368-1911). They fled Menghua to escape the wars between the Laluo and the Han Chinese immigrants who flooded into the area. The Chinese seized the best land and forced the Laluo into the mountains, from where they launched military attacks and wrought revenge for their losses. Many Yi groups in Yunnan have had a long history of violence against their oppressors. Pressured by unfair taxes, they killed many Han landowners between 1847 and 1872: "Though pacified and forced to return the land, the Yi had put an end to the feudal system. Eventually some even bought land. In the traditional serf system, the land was divided among 42 families, each paying dues in kind, plus 15 days' service a year and building materials. They were not free to leave the village without permission. ... After the revolt, only rent was collected, not services. After revolt, the Chinese became absentee landlords and had difficulty in collecting rents, therefore they were eager to sell."
Customs Yangliu Lalu homes are constructed of wood and customarily consist of three rooms. The central room serves as a kitchen and as a place for receiving guests and relatives. At the same time that other Yi groups in Yunnan celebrate the Torch Festival, "the Yangliu Lalu celebrate Girl's Day. All females return to the home of their mother and father for a time of rest."
Religion Being animists and ancestor worshipers, the Yangliu Lalu believe that the soul of a dead person does not go to the next world but rather stays to roam the earth.
Christianity There are many Tibeto-Burmanspeaking Christians in Dehong Prefecture, especially among the Jingpo, Lashi, Maru, and Achang; however, these groups do not live in the vicinity of the Yangliu Lalu, most of whom have never heard the gospel. The Yangliu Lalu have never had a known church or fellowship in their midst.
With a population of more than 37,000, the Yangliu Lalu inhabit areas in the western part of Baoshan County (11,000), Shidian (11,000), Zhenkang (9,000), Longling (5,000), and Luxi (1,000) counties. All of these places are situated within the boundaries of the Dehong Dai Autonomous Prefecture in the western part of Yunnan Province. The Yangliu Lalu are the nearest Yi group to Myanmar in this part of Yunnan. (Source: Operation China, 2000)