Laba in China

Joshua Project has identified the Laba only in China

Population

286,000

Christian

0.30%

Evangelical

0.22%

Largest Religion

Main Language

Progress


Profile Source: Copyright © Operation China, Paul Hattaway


Identity

When Chinese scholars first visited the Laba in the 1950s they were unable to determine what ethnolinguistic relationship the Laba had with other groups. The Laba shared many of the customs of their Gha-Mu (Small Flowery Miao) neighbors yet seemed to only speak a form of Chinese. In the 1982 census the Laba were included in an extensive list of Undetermined Minorities, which included more than 900,000 people in 80 groups, most of which were located in Guizhou Province. In 1985 the government officially reclassified the Laba under the Miao nationality. One source says that although the Laba are now considered Miao, "really they are Han." The Laba are also widely known as the Huguang, or Huguangren. Laba is the name they call themselves.


History

One alternative name for the Laba is Huguangren. This is because they reportedly originated in Huguang County of Hunan Province, before migrating across Guizhou and settling in their present location. During the Qing Dynasty there were still 4,500 Laba in Hunan Province. The Laba were probably a garrison of Han Chinese soldiers who were sent to Guizhou to fight the Miao. After hostilities ceased, the soldiers stayed behind, married local women, and gradually developed a separate ethnicity until they forgot their roots as Han people.


Customs

The customs and celebrations of the Laba also reflect both Miao and Han influences. For many years the main cultural connection between the Laba and Miao was the fact that they prepared and ate the same kind of food, which is significant in China.


Religion

Ancestor worship and animism are the primary religious systems practiced by the Laba. In the past, a cow was sacrificed to the spirits of the Laba's ancestors every three years. The Laba believed the meat was able to nourish the souls of their forefathers in the next life.


Christianity

Although approximately 500 Laba follow Christ, the gospel has never taken root among this group as it has among other peoples in the area. More than two-thirds of the Gha-Mu (Small Flowery Miao), for example, are Christians. The first Protestant missionary in the area was J. R. Adam, who commenced work near Anshun in 1899. In 1998 gospel recordings were produced in the Laba language.



Profile Source: Operation China, Paul Hattaway Copyrighted ©: Yes Used with permission
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Country China
Continent Asia
Region Northeast Asia
10/40 Window Yes
Location in Country More than 200,000 people belonging to the Laba ethnic group live in Guizhou Province in southern China. The population of the Laba in 1982 was given at 150,000 by a Chinese official publication. The Laba predominantly live in Qinglong, Shuicheng, Pu'an, and Panxian counties in southwest Guizhou. There are also reports of Laba people in parts of Jiangxi, Hunan, and Sichuan provinces.
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People Name General Laba
People Name in Country Laba
ROP3 Code 105552
Joshua Project People ID 12935
Indigenous Yes
Population in China 286,000
Least-Reached Yes
Alternate Names for People Group Huguang, Huguangren, Laba Miao, Laobazi, Nabazi,
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Languages & Dialects (speakers if known) - up to 20 shown
Chinese, Mandarin 286,481
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Affinity Bloc Southeast Asian Peoples
People Cluster Miao / Hmong
People Name General Laba
Ethnic Code MSY47a
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Largest Religion Ethnic Religions
Buddhism
0.00%
Christianity
0.30%    ( Evangelical  0.22% )
Ethnic Religions
95.70%
Hinduism
0.00%
Islam
0.00%
Non-Religious
4.00%
Other / Small
0.00%
Unknown
0.00%
Christian Segments
Anglican
0.00%
Independent
100.00%
Protestant
0.00%
Orthodox
0.00%
Other Christian
0.00%
Roman Catholic
0.00%
Photo Source: Operation China, Paul Hattaway Copyrighted ©: Yes Used with permission
Map Source: Bryan Nicholson / cartoMission
Profile Source:
Data Sources: Data is compiled from various sources. Read more
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