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Monba, Cona in China

Monba, Cona

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Population [2] Language Religion % Christian % Evangl Online NT Jesus Film Progress
45,000 Tshangla Buddhism 0.03 % 0.02 % No   

Monba, Cona in China

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More than 34,000 speakers of Cona Monba - which is known as Tsangla in Bhutan and India - live in the southern part of Tibet, particularly in Cona County. Others are scattered far to the northeast in Medog County. The majority (138,000) of the speakers of this language live in eastern Bhutan. Approximately 44,000 also inhabit the Kameng District in Arunachal Pradesh, India.

Although the Monba are one of China's officially recognized nationalities, only 7,475 were listed in the 1990 census. Independent researchers agree there are more than 30,000 Cona Monba in China.

Cona Monba is "quite distinct linguistically" from Medog Monba. The speakers of the two Monba languages, which are part of the Eastern Himalayan branch of Tibeto-Burman, struggle to communicate with each other. The two groups must use Tibetan as a common language. Cona Monba has four tones, while Medog Monba does not contain any tones at all.

Nearly three centuries ago the Monba people migrated across the Himalayas from the Moinyu area to southeast Tibet. Numerous Monba speakers today still live within the borders of India. Until 1959 the Monba were oppressed serfs of the Tibetans. They had to ask permission from the Tibetans even just to make a journey.

The Monba are the only minority group in China to practice "river burial," by which a corpse is cut into 108 pieces and hurled into a rushing river to be washed away. The Tibetans consider this to be the lowest form of burial and only use it for children and lepers. Some Monba practice Tibetan bird burials. The number 20 is the basic counting unit of the Monba. Thus, 67 becomes three twenties plus seven, and so on. Monba silversmiths are renowned for their skill in making intricate jewelry and ornaments.

Although most Monba are outwardly Tibetan Buddhists, the majority continue to practice numerous shamanistic and polytheistic rituals. The Monba believe all disease is caused by demons. They feel they are forced to sacrifice their valuable cattle and horses in order to pacify these angry demons and cause the affliction to cease. They also believe humans can be demons who cause sickness. A boy or girl who marries into a "demon family" too becomes a demon. Therefore "demon families" are allowed to intermarry only.

The Monba are one of the most unreached and inaccessible people groups in all of China. They have no knowledge of the gospel. Few Christians have ever prayed for them. Foreigners are not permitted to enter their region from either the Tibetan or the southern side of the border. There are currently shortwave gospel radio broadcasts in the Tsangla language of Bhutan which perhaps can be heard and understood by the Cona Monba. In 1996 several Bhutanese Christians crossed into Tibet for the purpose of evangelism.

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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:Mongar district: east; Pemagatshel district: east; Samdrup Jongkhar and Trashigang districts; Trashiyangtse district: south.
(Source: Ethnologue 2016)
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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: Monba, Cona
People Name General: Monpa Tawang
Alternate People Names:
Tsangla Monpaमोनपा, तवांग
ROP3 Code: 113801
Joshua Project People ID: 19197
Indigenous: Yes
Population in Country: 45,000
Population all Countries: 53,000
Least-Reached: Yes
Affinity Bloc: South Asian Peoples
People Cluster: South Asia Tribal - other
People Name General: Monpa Tawang
Ethnic Code: CNN25
Ethnic Relationships: Affinity Bloc -> People Cluster -> Peoples Ethnicity Tree
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Primary Language: Tshangla (45,000 Speakers)
Language Code (ISO): tsj    Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages: 1
Religion [4]
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Primary Religion: Buddhism
Religion Sub-division:Tibetan
Major Religions:
Buddhism80.00 % 
Christianity0.03 %(Evangelical: 0.02 %)
Ethnic Religions19.00 % 
Hinduism0.00 % 
Islam0.00 % 
Non-Religious0.97 % 
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: 2000
New Testament:
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)
Audio RecordingsOral Bible stories in Tshangla
Audio RecordingsStory of Jesus audio (Jesus Film Project ...
Film / VideoGod's Story Video
Film / VideoJesus Film: view in Tshangla
Film / VideoMy Last Day (Jesus Film Project Anime)
Ministry Activity
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Data Notes
Data Sources

Monba, Cona in China

Global                 Global
  Affinity Bloc             Global  
People Cluster
    South Asia Tribal - other     Asia, Northeast    
      Monpa Tawang China    
            People-by-Country (Profile)          
            Monba, Cona in China          
      Religion Language  
      Buddhism     Tshangla  
    All Religions                              

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