Khmu, Puman in China

Joshua Project has identified the Puman only in China






Largest Religion

Main Language



The Puman have been included as part of the Bulang nationality in China, although one linguist notes that they are "not very closely related." The Puman are not the same as the Hu, who live in the same general vicinity and speak a similar language.


The Puman are part of the great Mon-Khmer race of Asia. Over the centuries, the Mon-Khmer splintered into numerous groups and today are spread as far as India's Nicobar Islands and Indonesia.


Traditionally the Puman cast lots every year before a statue of Buddha to determine where they should farm. Puman women adorn themselves with colorful head scarfs, often decorated with pieces of silver in the shape of shells or fish. This has baffled experts since their region is located far from the coast.


The Puman are devoted members of the Theravada sect of Buddhism. In southwest China the Buddhists have many stories regarding the coming of a Savior, a blessed one who fits the description of Jesus Christ in many respects. Missionary William Clifton Dodd, who traveled extensively throughout the region in the 1930s, was intrigued to learn of some of the characteristics of this Theravada Buddhist messiah: "His coming is to be preceded by a falling away from the practice of religion, morality, and righteousness. His forerunner shall level every mountain, exalt every valley, make crooked places straight, and rough places smooth. ... Only the pure in heart and life shall be able to see him. But those who see are to be delivered from the thralldom of rebirth. He is to be recognized by his pierced hand. And his religion shall be introduced from the south [Christianity came into southern Yunnan from Thailand], by a man with a white face and a long beard [a description that fits both Donald McGilvary and Dr. Wilson - the first missionaries to bring the gospel to Xishuangbanna]."


Despite their belief in a Savior, most Puman have yet to hear about Jesus Christ. Locked away in remote mountains and deep forests, few Christians have ever endeavored to take the gospel to them. Robert Morrison, the first Protestant missionary to China, stated, "This Bible is the one thing that can burn gates of brass and penetrate walls of rock. ... I can secretly translate and circulate this Book, with the confidence that its divine message will operate with divine power."

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

Prayer Links
Global Prayer Digest: 2006-08-16
Global Prayer Digest: 2015-07-23
People Name General Puman (Poo-mun)
People Name in Country Khmu, Puman
Population in China 22,000
World Population 22,000
Countries 1
Progress Scale 1.1
Least-Reached Yes
Indigenous Yes
Alternate Names Kamhmu, Khmu, Ou, Phuman, P'uman, Tenh, U, Wa-la
Affinity Bloc Southeast Asian Peoples
People Cluster Mon-Khmer
People Name General Puman (Poo-mun)
Ethnic Code AUG03z
People ID 14473
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 A 1988 source lists 3,000 speakers of the Puman language, which is also called U. Another source lists a much higher population of 12,000 Puman. The majority live west of the Lancang (Turbulent) River in Shuangjiang County in southern Yunnan Province. Several small Puman communities are scattered throughout other parts of southern Yunnan. Outside China, the Lancang River is known as the Mekong. The Mekong is the life-source for millions of people in Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam..   Source:  Operation China, 2000
Languages & Dialects on file:  1  (up to 20 largest shown)
U (22,000)
Languages & Dialects (speakers if known) - up to 20 shown
U 22,000
For Primary Language: U

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible Portions No
New Testament No
Complete Bible No
Resource Format
Audio Bible teaching (GRN) Audio Recordings
Primary Religion: Buddhism
Religion Subdivision: Theravada

Major Religion Percent
90.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.00 %)
0.00 %
Ethnic Religions
10.00 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
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: Paul Noll  
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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