Profile Source: Copyright © Operation China, Paul Hattaway
Although they have been classified as part of the large Zhuang nationality, the E cannot speak Zhuang. The Chinese call them Wuse, a derogatory name meaning "five colors." E is this group's autonym.
The north central part of Guangxi has long been a crossroads for many different races. Interaction between Han Chinese and minority people has resulted in the intermixing of ethnic groups such as the Mulao, Maonan, and Zhuang. These groups have many Chinese customs and linguistic influences. On the other hand, the Pinghua Chinese reveal many ethnolinguistic traits of minority groups.
The E celebrate the traditional Chinese festivals, the most important of which are the Spring Festival and the Chinese New Year.
Most E are animists, with many aspects of ancestor worship and traditional Chinese religions mixed into their rituals.
There are no known Christian fellowships or believers among the 19 E villages in northern Guangxi. The E still await the arrival of the gospel for the first time. Whitfield Guinness, a missionary-doctor who served in China until his death in 1927, summarized the condition of the lost tribes and individuals among whom he worked: "Men and women are toiling without a Bible, without a Sunday, without a prayer, without songs of praise. They have rulers without justice and righteousness; homes without peace; marriage without sanctity; young men and women without ideals and enthusiasm; little children without purity, without innocence; mothers without wisdom or self control; poverty without relief or sympathy; sickness without skillful help or tender care; sorrow and crime without a remedy; and worst of all, death without Christ."