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Qiangyi in China


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Qiangyi in China map
Population [2] Language Religion % Christian % Evangl Online NT Jesus Film Progress
14,000 Qiang, Southern Ethnic Religions 0.00 % 0.00 % No No   

Qiangyi in China

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The Qiangyi, who are officially classified as part of the Yi nationality, are one of the most interesting people groups in southern China. As Jamin Pelkey points out, "Many Tibeto-Burman peoples are said to have descended from the ancient Qiang tribes, but this is the only known case in Yunnan in which one of the people groups actually retains the name Qiang as part of their autonym. The suffix yi in the autonym is ... probably a traditional Han name for the people meaning 'the Qiang foreigners' and may have been picked up by this people after having had centuries of contact with the Han Chinese."

The history of the Qiangyi is fascinating in that they provide a living link between today's Tibeto- Burman-speaking tribes in southern China and the Qiang tribes who roamed China's northwest up to 4,000 years ago. One researcher has stated, "The Qiangyi are confirmed descendants of the ancient Qiang nation which migrated during the 'stone-ages' from Gansu to Sichuan - some of them moving into Yunnan. After crossing the Yangtze River into Yunnan, the Qiang separated into three distinct tribes, and slowly bifurcated into 11 other tribes which, in turn, became over 150 tribes. It seems that, finally, distinctions between tribes became so great and the multiplication and racial mixing so complex that historians lost count and the 'tribes' became known as separate 'peoples'."

Little is known about the culture of the Qiangyi today and, outside the area where they live, few people have heard of them. Although the Qiangyi used to wear their own traditional dress, it is believed they now wear standard Han clothing except during festivals and special occasions.

Polytheism (the worship of many gods) could accurately be described as the main religion among the Qiangyi. There are also elements of ancestor worship and Daoism present, which were probably adopted from their Bai and Chinese neighbors.

Despite their long history, the Qiangyi are not known to have been impacted by Christianity. Today, there are no known Christians among them. Xiangyun and Binchuan counties, where the Qiangyi are found, have very little Christian presence except for a few small governmentsanctioned churches affiliated with the TSPM. These churches are mostly comprised of elderly Han and Bai believers.

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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:Nine thousand Qiangyi people reside in the Xiangme, Ziqianglang, Huangcaoshao, Chuchang, and Chalangshao communities within the Midian District; and in the Daying and Xinxingzuo communities of Hedian District. These places are all within Xiangyun County in China's Yunnan Province. An additional 1,000 Qiangyi are believed to live in parts of southern Binchuan County as well.
(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: Qiangyi
People Name General: Qiangyi
Alternate People Names:
Qiang Yi
ROP3 Code: 114296
Joshua Project People ID: 18670
Indigenous: Yes
Population in Country: 14,000
Population all Countries: 14,000
Least-Reached: Yes
Affinity Bloc: Tibetan-Himalayan Peoples
People Cluster: Tibeto-Burman, other
People Name General: Qiangyi
Ethnic Code: MSY50r
Ethnic Relationships: Affinity Bloc -> People Cluster -> Peoples Ethnicity Tree
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Primary Language: Qiang, Southern (14,000 Speakers)
Language Code (ISO): qxs    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: Yes
New Testament: None Reported
Complete Bible: None Reported
Possible Bible Sources: Forum of Bible Agencies
 World Bible Finder
 World Christian Resource Directory
 Gospel Go
Ministry Resources [7]
Audio RecordingsMegaVoice Audio Bible and Stories
Audio RecordingsAudio Bible teaching (GRN)
Ministry Activity
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Data Notes
Data Sources

Qiangyi in China

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

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