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Phowa, Hlepho in China

Phowa, Hlepho

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Phowa, Hlepho in China map
Population [2] Language Religion % Christian % Evangl Online NT Jesus Film Progress
52,000 Phowa, Hlepho Ethnic Religions 15.00 % 10.00 % No No   

Phowa, Hlepho in China

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The name Puwa is both the autonym and the name used by all other people in the area to describe this group. There may be several distinct tribes or clans among the Puwa. The Puwa are not related to the ancient Pu tribe who founded the Ailao Kingdom in Yunnan between the first and fifth centuries AD. Today's Mon-Khmer peoples in Yunnan, such as the De'ang, Wa, and Bulang, are thought to be descended from the former Pu Kingdom. The Puwa are related to the larger Poluo group who inhabit areas in southeast Yunnan.

These people have a reputation for being very independent and hostile to outsiders. They rarely venture into the townships and marketplaces and, therefore, have little contact with members of other nationalities. The Puwa prefer to stay in their mountain villages where they retain their customs, language, and lifestyle without interruption.

The Puwa celebrate many festivals throughout the year. One of the largest is the Cattle Festival that takes place during the second month of the lunar calendar. The people pick flowers and place them in the horns of their cows and water buffalo. They also place flowers above the doors of their homes and stables. The primary reason for the festival is the worship of the Mountain god. The Puwa believe large and powerful demons live inside the highest mountains. They offer sacrifices in honor of these spirits, which - they believe - if not kept happy, can cause disaster to fall on their communities.

The Puwa are a superstitious people who worship numerous spirits. The most revered is the Dragon god. The first "dragon day" of every third lunar month is set aside to appease the dragon. Every village stops work and sacrifices a pig under the village dragon's tree.

There is at least one Puwa Catholic village in Mengzi County. Mengzi has the longest history of Christianity in all of Yunnan. Catholic missionaries first entered the county in 1716 from Sichuan. Beginning in 1894, much work was done in Laozhai and Mingjiu districts, mostly impacting the Hmong but also reaching at least one Puwa village for Christ. Work was also started among the Puwa of Dayakou Village in Mengzi County in 1896. Through the years nine families believed, and a church was formed. After almost 50 years of persecution, however, none of the converts there still cling to Christ. Their church building still stands but has not been used since 1951.

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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:More than 29,000 members of the Puwa tribe live in thatched-roof huts throughout the southern and southeastern parts of Yunnan Province. The majority (23,000) live in Mengzi County, while 4,000 live in Yanshan County, and 2,000 in Kaiyuan. The Puwa are one the largest of the Yi groups in the China- Vietnam border region, but they do not spill across into northern Vietnam.
(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: Phowa, Hlepho
People Name General: Phowa, Hlepho
Alternate People Names:
Conehead PhulaCowtail Phula
Flowery PhulaGreen Pu
Hua PhulaJiantou Phula
ROP3 Code: 114283
Joshua Project People ID: 18657
Indigenous: Yes
Population in Country: 52,000
Population all Countries: 52,000
Least-Reached: No
Affinity Bloc: Tibetan-Himalayan Peoples
People Cluster: Tibeto-Burman, other
People Name General: Phowa, Hlepho
Ethnic Code: MSY50i
Ethnic Relationships: Affinity Bloc -> People Cluster -> Peoples Ethnicity Tree
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Primary Language: Phowa, Hlepho (52,000 Speakers)
Language Code (ISO): yhl    Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages: 1
Religion [4]
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Primary Religion: Ethnic Religions
Major Religions:
Buddhism0.00 % 
Christianity15.00 %(Evangelical: 10.00 %)
Ethnic Religions80.00 % 
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 Catholic100.00 %
(Evangelicals distributed across Christianity segments)
Progress Indicators [5]
Progress Scale[6]   Evangelicals have a modest presence.
Least-Reached: No
GSEC Status:Level 6   Greater than or equal to 10% Evangelical
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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Data Notes
Data Sources

Phowa, Hlepho in China

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