Profile Source: Copyright © Operation China, Paul Hattaway
At the completion of studies based on the 1982 census findings, there were still eight unclassified Miao languages that did not fit into any of the government's recognized categories. One of these was a language labeled Qianxi, Pingba, Qingzhen after the names of three counties where it is spoken. In 1993 Chinese linguist Li Yunbing arrived at the conclusion that it was a part of the Guiyang Miao language cluster. It has subsequently been called Northwestern Guiyang Miao by the Chinese authorities. None of the other seven Miao languages has yet been classified.
The Northwestern Guiyang Miao have been forced from the best and most fertile land into the mountains by Han Chinese settlers. Organized and brutal attacks on the Miao were launched at regular intervals by the Chinese during the 1700s and 1800s when hatred for the Miao reached a fever pitch. Hundreds of thousands of troops were mobilized from all over China to attack the Miao. The official Chinese policy was one of genocide and complete extermination of the Miao race.
Linguists have ascertained that more than 5,000 people speak the Northwestern Guiyang Miao language. Within that number, however, there may be several ethno-socio subgroups, each wearing distinct dress and practising slightly different customs from the others.
The Miao believe that the gods are invisible unless they choose to reveal themselves. Among them, Ntzi is the highest god. He is kind, just, and powerful, controlling heaven and earth. Stories recount how he sent his daughter to earth to help the poor and unfortunate. Some Miao groups believe there was once a ladder that connected the earth with heaven, but the ladder was broken. Since that time no Miao have been able to visit heaven.
Most of the Northwestern Guiyang Miao have never heard the gospel and live hidden away from any Christian influence. Those few who have heard the good news in Mandarin have found it interesting, but because it was not presented to them in their own language, it has proven to be something abstract or foreign. Specific crosscultural evangelism will need to occur before the gospel takes hold in the hearts and minds of the Northwestern Guiyang Miao people.