Bunuo in China

Joshua Project has identified the Bunuo only in China






Largest Religion

Main Language



The Bunuo qualify as a distinct ethno-linguistic people group, but their claims have been ignored by the Chinese authorities who have placed them in the Bunu group, which in turn is officially considered part of the Yao nationality. The Chinese call the Bunuo as Beilou Yao, which means "basket-carrying Yao". This is also the nickname given to the Dongnu people, but the Dongnu and Bunuo speak separate languages. For centuries the Chinese preferred to ignore the Bunuo; they considered the Bunuo to be ignorant barbarians living in the remote mountains. Not willing to study the ethno-linguistic composition of the Bunuo until recently, the Han gave nicknames like "Beilou Yao" to them in reference to visible attributes they saw on the Bunuo's infrequent trips down from their isolated mountain hideouts.


Most scholars suggest that the Miao, She, and Yao (including the Bunuo) minority groups today are probably from the same original race. As these peoples split geographically and separated into distinct entities, many of them suffered terrible harassment and persecution from the Chinese and other peoples. Those groups considered particularly violent and rebellious were treated the worst. The 1725 Guizhou Tongzhi, a book on the different subgroups of Miao, mentions a group called the Hei Sheng Miao. They were described as "a treacherous and aggressive people". One Miao album assures us that "about half of them were killed and the rest surrendered", while another album reassures the reader that "in 1736 they were conquered once and for all".


The Bunuo have also faced great hostility down through the centuries. This has resulted in them being a very secluded people who distrust outsiders to this day.


The religious beliefs of the Bunuo include many different rituals borrowed from Daoism and Buddhism. It is not known if the Bunuo worship Pan Hu, as do many other Bunu and Yao groups in Guangxi.


The Bunuo are a practically untouched people group, separated from the Gospel by geographical, political, cultural, and linguistic barriers. Because they are not officially recognized by the Chinese government, the Bunuo are unknown to both Chinese and Western Christians. There are very few believers of any kind in the part of Guangxi inhabited by the Bunuo.

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

People Name General Bunuo (Boo-nuoh)
People Name in Country Bunuo
Population in China 22,000
World Population 22,000
Countries 1
Progress Scale 1.1
Least-Reached Yes
Indigenous Yes
Alternate Names Basket-Carrying Yao, Beilou Yao, Bunu, Pu-No
Affinity Bloc Southeast Asian Peoples
People Cluster Yao-Mien
People Name General Bunuo (Boo-nuoh)
Ethnic Code MSY47b
People ID 11020
Country China
Region Northeast Asia
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
Persecution Rank 29  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Location in Country Approximately 17,000 Bunuo people live in a small area within Du'an County in the western part of the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region in southern China. Du'an is an isolated mountainous area on the road between Debao and Jingxi townships..   Source:  Operation China, 2000
Languages & Dialects on file:  1  (up to 20 largest shown)
Bunu, Bu-Nao: Bunuo (22,000)
Languages & Dialects (speakers if known) - up to 20 shown
Bunu, Bu-Nao: Bunuo 22,000
For Primary Language: Bunu, Bu-Nao

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible Portions No
New Testament No
Complete Bible No
Resource Format
Audio Bible teaching (GRN) Audio Recordings
Primary Religion: Ethnic Religions

Major Religion Percent
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.00 %)
0.00 %
Ethnic Religions
97.00 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
3.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %

Christian Segments Percent
0.0 %
0.0 %
0.0 %
Other Christian
0.0 %
0.0 %
Roman Catholic
0.0 %
Photo Source: Operation China, Paul Hattaway   Copyrighted ©   Used with permission
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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