Profile Source: Copyright © Operation China, Paul Hattaway
The Asho Chin are part of the great Chin race of Myanmar and India. There are approximately 1.4 million Chin, speaking 19 distinct languages and more than 40 dialects. It is not known in what nationality, if any, the Asho Chin of China have been included by the authorities.
Chin history goes back to the dawn of time. "The Chins have a story of the Tower of Babel to account for the various clans that inhabit the range of hills ... and traditions of a deluge are found everywhere." In the past, whole communities of Asho Chin in Myanmar were decimated by malaria. Why this group of Asho Chin migrated from their Myanmar homeland to faraway China is not known.
The Asho Chin have many customs involving courtship and marriage. "All the marriageable girls have their own rooms where young men come courting at night. If a girl gets pregnant, the parents allow them to marry. If the girl's family agrees, they may demand five or six pigs or a couple of cows as a dowry."
Most Asho Chin are animists even though many of the other Chin groups in Myanmar have embraced Christianity. "The people are afraid of evil spirits and of the spirits of their dead ancestors. In order to appease the angry spirits, they offer sacrifices of cows, pigs, buffaloes, goats, dogs or chickens.
The status of Christianity among the Asho Chin in China is unknown. In Myanmar they were a completely untouched people group until native evangelists visited them in 1987: "The tribe was isolated from others - accessible only by dugout canoes, since there was not even a footpath or road to their villages. During the time the missionaries taught. 76 people invited Jesus into their lives." Gospel radio broadcasts are available in the Asho Chin language, but they are aimed at Myanmar and are probably not received in China.