People-in-Country Profile

People Selector:
Print version:
Step 1 - Select a Country:   Send us your updates!
Step 2 - Select a People:  

Tai Ya in China

Tai Ya

Send us a photo of this people.  [1]

Tai Ya in China map
Population [2] Language Religion % Christian % Evangl Online NT Jesus Film Progress
67,000 Tai Ya Ethnic Religions 0.00 % 0.00 % No No   

Tai Ya in China

Profile Text
Submit Profile Text:

Despite being acknowledged as a separate language by the Chinese, the Ya were combined with other related groups to form the official Dai nationality. The Ya are also known locally as the Cung and Tai Ya. Subgroups of the Ya include the Tai Sai and Tai Ka.

The Ya were originally part of the great Tai group. Today, after centuries of migration, as many as 20 million people scattered across southern China still belong to Tai related groups - including members of the Zhuang, Bouyei, Shui, and Dai nationalities. Other Tai groups have migrated as far west as northeast India, and as far east as China's Hainan Island and Vietnam.

The practice of tattooing has long held a prominent place in Ya culture. Legend has it that a long time ago there was no sun in the sky. Instead, a big pearl on a pipal tree gave light to the people. One day a demon stole the pearl. Wannapa, a Tai hero, started a long expedition to the edge of hell to recover it. On his way he recorded line maps on his body using sap, to enable him to find his way back. However, he found that after a few days the lines faded from the rain and sweat so he courageously bore the pain of pricking thorns into his skin to make the maps sustainable. Chinese records from the Tang Dynasty (AD 618-907) nickname the Tai "those with embroidered feet" in reference to their custom of tattooing.

The Ya are polytheists and animists. "The Buddhist Tai call all these illiterate Tai, Tai Ya. They say that the Lord Buddha once tried to teach these Tai, but found them so 'thick' that he desisted," recorded a researcher in the 1920s. Each year before the Ya plant their seeds, offerings are made to the spirit of the field and the goddess of rice.

Few Ya today have ever heard of Christ. Little has advanced in regard to Christianity among the Ya since one missionary who worked in southern China in the 1920s wrote, "Most of the tribes people are very ignorant and many have no written language of their own. Throughout that part of the province which is inhabited by tribal people, little Christian work has yet been done. Many areas have never even been explored."

View Tai Ya in all countries.

Prayer Links
Global Prayer Digest: 2014-07-26
  Submit Update:
Country: China
Continent: Asia
Region: Asia, Northeast
Persecution Rank:23 (Only top 50 ranked, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
10/40 Window: Yes
Location in Country:The 1982 China language census listed 34,000 speakers of the Ya language. Ya villages are located in the Ya and Chung districts of Yuanjiang County and also in the Mosha District of the neighboring Xinping County. Both counties, which have only recently been opened to foreign visitors, are located in the southern part of Yunnan Province. The Ya language is also spoken in a few villages in Chiang Rai Province in northern Thailand.
(Source: Operation China, 2000)
Submit Map:
Ethnolinguistic Map:University of Texas or other map
Linguistic Map:Ethnologue language map
  Peoples [3]
Submit Update:
People Name in Country: Tai Ya
People Name General: Tai Ya
Alternate People Names:
Dai YaTai Chung
Tai Cung
ROP3 Code: 114360
Joshua Project People ID: 18725
Indigenous: Yes
Population in Country: 67,000
Population all Countries: 68,000
Least-Reached: Yes
Affinity Bloc: Southeast Asian Peoples
People Cluster: Tai
People Name General: Tai Ya
Ethnic Code: MSY49a
Ethnic Relationships: Affinity Bloc -> People Cluster -> Peoples Ethnicity Tree
Submit Update:
Primary Language: Tai Ya (67,000 Speakers)
Language Code (ISO): cuu    Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages: 1
Religion [4]
Submit Update:
Primary Religion: Ethnic Religions
Major Religions:
Buddhism10.00 % 
Christianity0.00 %(Evangelical: 0.00 %)
Ethnic Religions86.00 % 
Hinduism0.00 % 
Islam0.00 % 
Non-Religious4.00 % 
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
Submit Update:
Bible Portions: 1922
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]
None Reported
Ministry Activity
Register Ministry Activity:
Networking: Visit for networking possibilities.
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

Tai Ya in China

Global                 Global
  Affinity Bloc             Global  
People Cluster
    Tai     Asia, Northeast    
      Tai Ya China    
            People-by-Country (Profile)          
            Tai Ya in China          
      Religion Language  
      Ethnic Religions     Tai Ya  
    All Religions                              

Direct link: