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Profile Source: Copyright © Operation China, Paul Hattaway
The Liping Baheng have been counted by the Chinese authorities as one of more than ten Bunu groups. Bunu is a generic term, simply meaning "us people." The various groups of Bunu do not consider themselves related to each other and are dispersed over a vast geographical area. The Bunu were not granted status as its own minzu (nationality) in China but were included as part of the Yao nationality.
The Baheng consider themselves descended from eight ancient clans. Their name in Chinese, Ba Xing (Eight Clans), reflects this.
The women like to wear much jewelry, including large earrings and necklaces. In the past, a new husband was required to live in his in-law's house for 12 years. After six years, however, he was able to take his wife and build his own home if her family gave their consent. This custom has not been strictly observed in recent years, although most men still move to their wife's village after the wedding.
Ancestor worship is the primary religion among the Baheng and is the driving force behind many customs and prohibitions in their society. The Baheng believe that only sons can conduct ancestral rites. Boys are therefore highly sought after, especially since the implementation of China's strict family planning laws. In recent years, a growing number of Baheng women have aborted baby girls, since not having a son means that the souls of the parents may be lost in hell forever. The Baheng also observe many ancient animistic rituals relating to their practice of agriculture. They pray for the soul of the rice after planting, to ensure a successful crop. They have also been known to place drawings of corn, rice, or vegetables next to an altar in a bid to seek the blessings of the spirits.
The Liping Baheng are a colorful, friendly people, but few have ever had the opportunity to hear that Christ died for them. They remain a completely unreached people group without a single known Christian in their midst.