Palyu in China

Joshua Project has identified the Palyu only in China






Largest Religion

Main Language



The Palyu have not been included under any nationality in China. They were included in a generic list of Undetermined Minorities in the Chinese census. Palyu is this group's self-name. The Chinese and neighboring peoples call them Lai.


Although the Palyu are proud of their ethnic identity and are eager to preserve their customs, their language is gradually fading out and the people are fast being assimilated into the Han Chinese culture. According to Paul Benedict, the traditional homeland of the Palyu was in southwest Guizhou and southern Yunnan provinces, where the Palyu have assimilated to the cultures and languages of Yi groups.


The Palyu home is made of wood and consists of two stories. The lower area is for animals, while the upper level is where the family sleeps.


The Palyu have never been exposed to Buddhism, which many of the Mon-Khmer groups in western Yunnan have embraced. Instead, they practice animism and ancestor worship, and are careful not to offend the spirits they believe protect their communities.


Western Guangxi is one of the most gospel-neglected areas in all of China. There are a few believers in the region but none known among the Palyu. Rev. W. H. Oldfield, writing in 1922, said, "From Liuchowfu [Liuzhou] one may travel for twelve days either northward or westward without seeing a Gospel chapel or entering a district in which a witness is being given to the Gospel ... the districts surrounding these busy centers contain a large number of mixed tribesmen. These people are shut away from the rest of the province by huge mountain ranges. The greater part of this territory has not even been entered by a Gospel worker. No missionary in our province as yet speaks their language. To reach these people with the Gospel has for years been our hope and aim."

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

People Name General Palyu (Pal-yoo)
People Name in Country Palyu
Population in China 15,000
World Population 15,000
Countries 1
Progress Scale 1.1
Least-Reached Yes
Indigenous Yes
Alternate Names Bolyu, Lai, Palju
Affinity Bloc Southeast Asian Peoples
People Cluster Mon-Khmer
People Name General Palyu (Pal-yoo)
Ethnic Code AUG03z
People ID 14281
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 12,000 members of the Palyu tribe inhabit the farwestern part of the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region - that section of Guangxi which juts out into Yunnan Province. The Palyu have been reported with vastly differing population figures. This is the result of linguists and anthropologists reporting according to their specific fields of interests. Most Palyu can no longer speak their language; they use the Chinese, Miao, or Yi languages spoken in the area. Linguists have reported figures of only 150, 500, and 800 speakers of Palyu. Foreign travelers are presently not permitted to visit western Guangxi..   Source:  Operation China, 2000
Languages & Dialects on file:  1  (up to 20 largest shown)
Bolyu: Palyu (15,000)
Languages & Dialects (speakers if known) - up to 20 shown
Bolyu: Palyu 15,000
For Primary Language: Bolyu

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Translation Need Questionable
Resource Format
None reported  
Primary Religion: Ethnic Religions

Major Religion Percent
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.00 %)
0.00 %
Ethnic Religions
96.00 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
4.00 %
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: Operation China, Paul Hattaway   Copyrighted ©   Used with permission
Map Source: Joshua Project / Global Mapping 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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