Laba in China

Joshua Project has identified the Laba only in China





Largest Religion

Main Language



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.


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.


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.


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.


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 ©   Used with permission  

Video Links:
The Path to Truth and Life
People Name General Laba (Lah-ba)
People Name in Country Laba
Population in China 295,000
World Population 295,000
Countries 1
Progress Scale 1.2
Least-Reached Yes
Indigenous Yes
Alternate Names Huguang, Huguangren, Laba Miao, Laobazi, Nabazi
Affinity Bloc Southeast Asian Peoples
People Cluster Miao / Hmong
People Name General Laba (Lah-ba)
Ethnic Code MSY47a
People ID 12935
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 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..   Source:  Operation China, 2000
Languages & Dialects on file:  1  (up to 20 largest shown)
Chinese, Mandarin (295,000)
Languages & Dialects (speakers if known) - up to 20 shown
Chinese, Mandarin 295,000
For Primary Language: Chinese, Mandarin

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible Portions Yes   (1864-1986)
New Testament Yes   (1857-1981)
Complete Bible Yes   (1874-1983)
Audio Bible Online
Resource Format
Audio Bible teaching (GRN) Audio Recordings
Bible Gateway Scripture Text / Printed Matter
Bible Visuals General
Bible-in-Your-Language Text / Printed Matter
Bible: Chinese Union Version, Shangti Edition, Simplified Text / Printed Matter
Bible: Chinese Union Version, Shangti Edition, Simplified Text / Printed Matter
Bible: Chinese Union Version, Shen Edition, Simplified Text / Printed Matter
Bible: Chinese Union Version, Shen Edition, Simplified Text / Printed Matter
Bible: Revised Chinese Union Version, Traditional Text / Printed Matter
Bible: 新譯本(繁體字版) Text / Printed Matter
Bibles, Bible League Text / Printed Matter
Cartoon Gospel tract Text / Printed Matter
Chinese Blog about Unreached Peoples General
Christ for the Nations Audio Recordings
EasyBibles Text / Printed Matter
EasyBibles Text / Printed Matter
EasyBibles Text / Printed Matter
Fathers Love Letter Film / Video
Four Spiritual Laws General
General Ministry Resources Film / Video
Primary Religion: Ethnic Religions

Major Religion Percent
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.22 %)
0.30 %
Ethnic Religions
95.70 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
4.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %

Christian Segments Percent
0.0 %
100.0 %
0.0 %
Other Christian
0.0 %
0.0 %
Roman Catholic
0.0 %
Photo Source: Operation China, Paul Hattaway   Copyrighted ©   Used with permission
Map Source: Bryan Nicholson / cartoMission  
Video Source: Create 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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