Lahu in China





Largest Religion

Main Language


The Jungles of Southern Yunnan

Source:  Asia Harvest      Download

The Lahu are one of China's 55 official minority groups. The name Lahu reportedly means "to roast tiger meat by fire," although others say the name has no particular meaning. Their skill as hunters has given them their nickname of Musso, which is used throughout Southeast Asia. Since 1890, when the Lahu surrendered their rebellion against their Yi and Tai landlords, they have been viewed as cowardly by other minority groups in Yunnan. An old Lahu man said, "Ever since the defeat, the Lahu lost heart and were despised by other groups."


The Lahu have a long history of war and armed conflict against their oppressors. They rebelled more than 20 times throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The region they occupied west of the Lancang River was branded "a place of constant riot."


Lahu women give birth in the privacy of their own rooms. Three days after the birth they invite old people to a small feast where a name is given to the child. However, if an unexpected visitor should come in the meantime, he or she is given the honor of naming the newborn. When a Lahu dies, three shots are fired into the air to scare away the spirits and to announce the news to the village. Lahu communities have long been plagued by stealing and rampant alcoholism. "It is common to see a group of Lahu drunk and beating their fists on the roadside and shouting as they are led homeward."


The Lahu believe in a supreme god named G'ui Sha. Many Lahu villages have a temple consecrated to this deity. This belief in One Supreme Being played a large part in their mass conversion to Christianity.


When American Baptist missionary William Young first preached the gospel to the Lahu in northern Burma in 1901, they exclaimed, "We as a people have been waiting for you for centuries. ... We even have meeting houses built in some of our villages in readiness of your coming." Many of the Lahu men wore strings on their wrists. They explained, "We Lahu have worn [strings] like these since time immemorial. They symbolize our bondage to evil spirits. You alone, as the messenger of G'ui Sha, may cut these manacles from our wrists - but only after you have brought the lost book of G'ui Sha to our very hearths!" Lahu tribesmen came all the way from China to hear Young preach. Six thousand Lahu were baptized in 1905 and 1906. Today there are between 35,000 and 50,000 Lahu Christians in China, "mostly concentrated in Banli, Mujia, Gengma and Menglian.

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

Prayer Links
Global Prayer Digest: 2009-06-08
People Name General Lahu (La-hoo)
People Name in Country Lahu
Population in China 308,000
World Population 579,000
Countries 5
Progress Scale 3.2
Least-Reached No
Indigenous Yes
Alternate Names Black Lahu, Kaixien, La Hủ, Lahuna, Laku, Launa, Lohei, Luohei, Mooso, Muhso, Mussar, Musso, Mussuh, Mussur, Namen, Red Lahu, White Lahu
Affinity Bloc Tibetan-Himalayan Peoples
People Cluster Tibeto-Burman, other
People Name General Lahu (La-hoo)
Ethnic Code MSY50i
People ID 12949
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 475,000 Lahu inhabit seven counties in the western part of Yunnan Province. Their villages are often situated on mountains at least 1,500 meters (4,920 ft.) above sea level. In addition, significant numbers of Lahu are located in Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, and Laos..   Source:  Operation China, 2000

No people group map currently available. Use the above button to submit a map.

Enthologue Language Map

Ethnolinguistic map from University of Texas or other map

Languages & Dialects on file:  1  (up to 20 largest shown)
Lahu: Shehleh (308,000)
Languages & Dialects (speakers if known) - up to 20 shown
Lahu: Shehleh 308,000
For Primary Language: Lahu

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible Portions Yes   (1924-1962)
New Testament Yes   (1932-1962)
Complete Bible Yes   (1989)
Audio Bible Online
Resource Format
Audio Bible teaching (GRN) Audio Recordings
Bible: Lahu Bible Text / Printed Matter
God's Story Video Film / Video
Jesus Film: view in Lahu Film / Video
Online New Testament (FCBH) Audio Recordings
Story of Jesus audio (Jesus Film Project) Audio Recordings
World Missionary Press Booklets Text / Printed Matter
Primary Religion: Christianity
Religion Subdivision: Independent

Major Religion Percent
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 33.00 %)
55.00 %
Ethnic Religions
40.00 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
5.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %

Christian Segments Percent
0.0 %
60.0 %
0.0 %
Other Christian
0.0 %
0.0 %
Roman Catholic
40.0 %
Photo Source: Anonymous  
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.