Achang, Maingtha in Myanmar (Burma)





Largest Religion

Main Language



The Achang are one of 55 minorities officially recognized by China. In Myanmar the Achang, traditionally known as Mongsha, are culturally and historically linked to the Shan. There is speculation that the Achang were originally Zaiwa who moved east to their present location.


The Achang have a rich heritage of singing ballads and telling folk tales to each other. These stories are the main way Achang culture and history are passed down to children. The Achang claim to have once lived in a matriarchal society in northwestern Yunnan. After the Achang migrated to their present location, they began to rely more on farming and less on hunting to feed themselves. During the Ming and Qing dynasties (1368-1911), the Achang were ruled by hereditary chiefs.


Achang women wear colorful skirts and wrap dark cloth high upon their heads. Traditionally, unmarried women tie their pigtails together on top of their heads. During an Achang funeral, a cloth ribbon, 10 to 20 meters (11 to 22 yds.) long, is attached to the coffin. A Buddhist monk is hired to walk in front of the procession holding the ribbon, which signifies the monk leading the soul of the deceased to the afterworld.


Although they are nominally Theravada Buddhist, the older generation of Achang exhibits many traits of polytheism and animism in their religious rituals and everyday lives. Most Achang homes have posters of deities and demons pasted on their walls. However, there are also some Christians in nearly every Achang village in China. The present generation, having been educated in atheistic schools, is gradually forsaking the religious practices of their parents.


A 1989 study reported that the Achang had "at least one known Christian". The situation appears to have improved rapidly; by 1992 the same source reported there was a church in nearly every Achang village in China. A strong, vibrant church also exists directly across the border among the Jingpo (Kachin), as well as among the Achang of Myanmar. Members of the new Achang church are often invited for training in northern Myanmar. The Achang New Testament was completed in 1992, using a script that was invented specifically for the Achang in Myanmar.

Profile Source:   Operation China, Paul Hattaway  Copyrighted ©   Used with permission  

People Name General Achang (Ah-tsung)
People Name in Country Achang, Maingtha
Population in Myanmar (Burma) 39,000
World Population 72,000
Countries 2
Progress Scale 3.2
Least-Reached No
Indigenous Yes
Alternate Names Acang, Achan, Ahchan, Atsang, Maingtha, Mongsha, Ngacang, Ngatsang, Ngochang
Affinity Bloc Tibetan-Himalayan Peoples
People Cluster Tibeto-Burman, other
People Name General Achang (Ah-tsung)
Ethnic Code MSY50f
People ID 10146
Country Myanmar (Burma)
Region Southeast Asia
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
Persecution Rank 25  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Location in Country Waimaw and Japhwi townships, east of Ayeyarwaddy (Irrawaddy) River near Bhamo (locally known as Manmaw), scattered among the Lashi [lsi]; Kachin state, China border.   Source:  Ethnologue 2010
Languages & Dialects on file:  1  (up to 20 largest shown)
Achang (39,000)
Languages & Dialects (speakers if known) - up to 20 shown
Achang 39,000

For Main Lanugage: Achang

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible Portions Yes
New Testament Yes   (1992-2005)
Complete Bible Yes   (2011)
Audio Bible Online
Format Resource
Audio Recordings Audio Bible teaching (GRN)
Audio Recordings Online New Testament (FCBH)
Film / Video God's Story Video
Text / Printed Matter Bible: Ngochang Common Language Bible
Primary Religion: Ethnic Religions

Major Religion Percent
20.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 20.00 %)
24.00 %
Ethnic Religions
56.00 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %

Christian Segments Percent
0.0 %
5.0 %
0.0 %
Other Christian
0.0 %
90.0 %
Roman Catholic
5.0 %
Photo Source: Wikipedia   Creative Commons  
Map Source: Joshua Project / Global Mapping International  
Profile Source: Operation China, Paul Hattaway  Copyrighted ©   Used with permission  
Data Sources: Data is compiled from various sources. Read more

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