Identity The Eastern Huishui Miao are one part of the Miao diaspora that has taken place at various stages over the last 1,000 years.
History The Chinese hatred of the Miao reached a feverish climax during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) when the Imperial Court attempted to completely isolate the Miao territory from the rest of China. They set up stone guard posts and military stations, and in many places even erected walls to keep the Miao in the mountains. The remains of these stone towers can still be seen along ridges in Guizhou today. In 1650 the Miao rebelled, tore down the guard posts and walls, and "demolished the border between themselves and the Chinese."
Customs The Miao have many oral legends of great heroes. One heroine often portrayed on embroidery is Wu Yaoxi. Born in Shidong in Guizhou, she joined the Miao rebellion against the Qing Dynasty (1855-1872) and became a famous general. She was finally killed, but she is still proudly remembered by her descendants.
Religion A sinister part of the traditional Miao religion was the role of some women who produced an evil poison called gu. It was used in secret black magic rituals to put curses on their enemies, who often died because of it. All Chinese people living near the Miao were afraid that these dark powers would be used against them and, therefore, lived in utter terror of the Miao.
Christianity In the early years of Protestant missionary work, most workers focused on the needs of the A-Hmao and Gha-Mu in northwest Guizhou because of the readiness with which these peoples responded to the gospel. The Miao groups in southern Guizhou, such as the Eastern Huishui Miao, were comparatively neglected. There may be small numbers of believers among all of the Huishui Miao groups, but there are few vibrant fellowships meeting regularly. The handful of Christians live in small, scattered communities. Few Eastern Huishui Miao have been so fortunate as to receive the offer of salvation.
More than 18,000 Miao in southern Guizhou Province speak the Eastern Huishui language. They live in the Gaobaibang District of Huishui County, in the Xiguan District of Luodian County, and in Pingba County. (Source: Operation China, 2000)