De'ang, Shwe in China






Largest Religion

Main Language


Shan State

Source:  Asia Harvest      Download


The Shwe De'ang language is officially labeled the Liang dialect of De'ang in China. The Chinese do not use the same terms as linguists but refer to the different groups of De'ang as the Red, Black, White, and Flowery De'ang. It is uncertain how these names match the four De'ang languages. In Myanmar, they are known as the Shwe Palaung. Their self-name is De'ang, which means "rock."


The De'ang believe they were once brothers with the Karen of Myanmar. The two tribes went out hunting with the intent of sharing their food with each other. The Karen caught an elephant, and a huge feast was held for all to enjoy as much meat as they could eat. The De'ang, however, could only manage to catch a porcupine. They skinned it and cooked the small amount of meat for the Karen to eat. The Karen did not mind, as they thought the De'ang had only been able to catch a small animal. But when they finished their meal, they saw the large pile of needles and claimed the De'ang had only given them a small portion of their meat. The two groups have been separated ever since that time, but even today the De'ang long to be reconciled with their Karen brothers. Some De'ang homes in Myanmar have an opening on one side, signifying that the Karen are welcome to return to live with them.


In the past the De'ang were great hunters, but today most earn their living by growing tea or bamboo.


Among the De'ang, "two schools of Theravada Buddhism are followed, the Burmese and the Yuan or Shan forms. Daily life is thought to be face to face with the actions of spirits. Ordinary people make a variety of offerings to placate them. Illness is attributed to the actions of evil spirits and the services of a diviner/medical practitioner serves to identify and counteract the proper spirit."


There are no known Christians among the Shwe De'ang in China. A tiny percentage of the more than 150,000 in Myanmar have accepted Christ, but they live scattered across a wide area. On the rare occasion of a Shwe De'ang's becoming a Christian, the new believer is usually persecuted and driven from the village.

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

People Name General Palaung, Golden
People Name in Country De'ang, Shwe
Population in China 7,800
World Population 237,000
Countries 2
Progress Scale 1.1
Least-Reached Yes
Unengaged Yes (per Finishing the Task)
Indigenous Yes
Alternate Names Bulai, De'ang Shwe, Dlang, Golden Palaung, Palay, Palong, Pulei, Reang, Samlon Ta-ang, Shwe
Affinity Bloc Southeast Asian Peoples
People Cluster Mon-Khmer
People Name General Palaung, Golden
Ethnic Code AUG03z
People ID 11921
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 Southwest Yunnan, Lincang Prefecture, Zhenkang County; Baoshan Prefecture, Longyang County.   Source:  Ethnologue 2010
Languages & Dialects on file:  1  (up to 20 largest shown)
Palaung, Shwe (7,800)
Languages & Dialects (speakers if known) - up to 20 shown
Palaung, Shwe 7,800
For Primary Language: Palaung, Shwe

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

Major Religion Percent
96.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.00 %)
0.00 %
Ethnic Religions
2.00 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
2.00 %
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: Terence Roberts  
Map Source: Joshua Project / Global Mapping International  
Video Source: Asia Harvest
Profile Source: Operation China, Paul Hattaway  Copyrighted ©   Used with permission  
Data Sources: Data is compiled from various sources. Read more

Copyright © 2015 Joshua Project.  A ministry of Frontier Ventures.