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Poluo in China


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Poluo in China map
Population [2] Language Religion % Christian % Evangl Online NT Jesus Film Progress
33,000 Pholo Ethnic Religions 0.10 % 0.04 % No No   

Poluo in China

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Despite their large population, very little is known about the Poluo, who are officially counted as part of the Yi nationality. The Poluo have never before been listed in ethnographic or linguistic lists from China. One researcher has stated, "The Poluo never refer to themselves as 'Yi' in their own language; instead, Poluo is used. The Han Chinese in their areas are also apt to call this people Pu instead of Yi. The title Yi is virtually meaningless in reference to this people."

The Poluo are one of the most far-flung Yi groups in China today. They are believed to be the descendants of a large tribe that splintered into numerous ethnic groups during migrations many centuries ago.

Poluo houses are customarily built near streams or rivers to allow easy access to water. Bamboo pipes are arranged to carry the water into the village. Many Poluo live in extremely remote locations at the top of isolated mountains.

The vast majority of Poluo still adhere to the superstitions of animism, polytheism, and ancestor worship. In some locations a festival is observed on a dragon or ox day of the second lunar month. Each village chooses a day, and all the people gather around a large tree to hold a ceremony in worship of the dragon. The Poluo, along with many other peoples classified as Yi, believe the dragon is responsible for rainfall and other natural phenomena. They hope to appease the dragon in order to quell floods and prevent drought.

The first modern-day missionary in China, Robert Morrison, knew people must have the Word of God in their own language. He wrote, "I am still engaged in translation. My courage and perseverance almost fail me. This is a very lonely situation. I am under continual dread of the arm of the oppressor, and the natives who assist me are hunted from place to place and sometimes seized. ... What a blessing it is to have the hope of eternal life rising brighter and brighter as we enter the valley."

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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
Location in Country:With a relatively large population of 230,000, the Poluo inhabit a widespread area in southeastern Yunnan Province. The highest concentration are found in Yanshan, Wenshan, and Qiubei counties of Wenshan Prefecture. Smaller numbers live in Maguan, Pingbian, Guangnan, Xichou, and Hekou counties. Yanshan County was only opened to foreign travelers in mid-1997. The Poluo are the dominant Yi group in southeastern Yunnan Province.
(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: Poluo
People Name General: Poluo
Alternate People Names:
ROP3 Code: 114276
Joshua Project People ID: 18654
Indigenous: Yes
Population in Country: 33,000
Population all Countries: 33,000
Least-Reached: Yes
Affinity Bloc: Tibetan-Himalayan Peoples
People Cluster: Tibeto-Burman, other
People Name General: Poluo
Ethnic Code: MSY50i
Ethnic Relationships: Affinity Bloc -> People Cluster -> Peoples Ethnicity Tree
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Primary Language: Pholo (33,000 Speakers)
Language Code (ISO): yip    Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages: 1
Religion [4]
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Primary Religion: Ethnic Religions
Major Religions:
Buddhism0.00 % 
Christianity0.10 %(Evangelical: 0.04 %)
Ethnic Religions93.90 % 
Hinduism0.00 % 
Islam0.00 % 
Non-Religious6.00 % 
Other / Small0.00 % 
Unknown0.00 % 
Christianity Segments:
Anglican0.00 %
Independent100.00 %
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
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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Description: Register your ministry activity among this people group. Contact the Adopt-A-People Clearinghouse and Unleashed for the Unreached to learn about others that might be focused on this people group.
Data Notes
Data Sources

Poluo in China

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

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