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Xiangtang in China


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Xiangtang in China map
Population [2] Language Religion % Christian % Evangl Online NT Jesus Film Progress
108,000 Lalo, Dongshanba Ethnic Religions 0.12 % 0.12 % No No   

Xiangtang in China

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The Chinese authorities have placed the Xiangtang under the official Yi nationality. Many Xiangtang in Simao have been thoroughly assimilated to Han Chinese culture and language. Only pockets of Xiangtang people living in more remote locations still retain their traditional way of life.

The Xiangtang are one of the southernmost Yi groups in China; this suggests that they may have been one of the earliest groups to migrate from the Yi homeland in today's Guizhou Province.

Since many Xiangtang have been gradually assimilated during the course of the twentieth century, most of their original customs have been lost. In the past, Xiangtang men had to pay a bride-price of five taels of silver to procure a wife. Alternatively, they could agree to work three years for the bride's family. In a Xiangtang home, guests of high status are seated behind the hearth, the host is seated on the right, and lower status people sit nearest the door. The main diet of the Xiangtang is maize, buckwheat, bean curd, pancakes, and sour and dried vegetables.

The Xiangtang in rural areas are a superstitious people. Ancestor worship, mixed with animism, remains the dominant religion among the Xiangtang, although many who live in urban areas have forsaken all religious practices. The Xiangtang living in Honghe are the only speakers of a Western Yi language in that prefecture. "While their language is widely different from the Yuanyang Nisu they live beside, the Xiangtang of Luchun County have been influenced by the Nisu culturally. Both groups worship and revere the dragon, but the Xiangtang also have reverence for the 'spirit of the ravine' whom they call to their aid every eighth day of the second lunar month."

The Xiangtang are one of many people groups in Yunnan Province with few or no known believers or Christian churches. It is possible that there are a few assimilated Xiangtang individuals attending Han Chinese churches. There are several thousand believers in the Jinghong and Mengla areas of Xishuangbanna Prefecture, but they are not known to be specifically focusing on unreached people groups for evangelism. The Xiangtang have been without a resident missionary or church-planting effort throughout their entire history.

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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:Approximately 80,000 Xiangtang people live in nine widely scattered counties in southwestern Yunnan Province. About 1,400 Xiangtang also live in the farwestern part of Luchun County in Honghe Prefecture. Missionary John Kuhn documented the existence of the Xiangtang in 1945. He called them Hsiangtan, which is the old way of spelling Xiangtang. Kuhn described them as living in "Mengka and Malipa." The first Western reference to the Xiangtang was by French ethnographer L. Gaide in 1903. Gaide called them the Siang-Tan He-lou-jen.
(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: Xiangtang
People Name General: Xiangtang
Alternate People Names:
HsiangtanSiang-Tan He-lou-jen
ROP3 Code: 114381
Joshua Project People ID: 18745
Indigenous: Yes
Population in Country: 108,000
Population all Countries: 108,000
Least-Reached: Yes
Affinity Bloc: Tibetan-Himalayan Peoples
People Cluster: Tibeto-Burman, other
People Name General: Xiangtang
Ethnic Code: MSY50i
Ethnic Relationships: Affinity Bloc -> People Cluster -> Peoples Ethnicity Tree
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Primary Language: Lalo, Dongshanba (108,000 Speakers)
Language Code (ISO): yik    Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages: 1
Religion [4]
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Primary Religion: Ethnic Religions
Major Religions:
Buddhism0.00 % 
Christianity0.12 %(Evangelical: 0.12 %)
Ethnic Religions94.88 % 
Hinduism0.00 % 
Islam0.00 % 
Non-Religious5.00 % 
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
GSEC Status:Level 2   Less than 2% Evangelical. Initial (localized) church planting within past 2 years
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

Xiangtang in China

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

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