Tulung, Drung in China





Largest Religion

Main Language



The Derung are the fifth smallest of China's 55 official minority groups. Their self-name is Turung which the Chinese have transliterated as Derung. A visitor in the 1920s described them as "a primitive, harmless jungle people who live in trees like monkeys." The Derung and Nu claim they were once brothers who were separated and forced to live on different sides of the river.


Before 1949 there were 15 patriarchal clans called nile among the Derung. Each nile consisted of several family communes. Each commune possessed its own territory which was marked off by boundaries such as streams and mountain ridges. Each clan was further divided into keeng - villages where people lived in common long houses. The members of each ke-eng regarded themselves as descended from the same ancestor. The Derung gained notoriety for defeating a British military expedition in 1913.


The Derung are one of the most remote groups in China. There are no roads to their villages, many of which are only accessible by several days' walk over treacherous trails. The Derung wear their hair down to their eyebrows in the front. Until recently, Derung girls tattooed their faces at the onset of puberty with designs according to their respective clans. The dead are buried in hollow logs, except when death is the result of a major disease. Then the corpse is cremated and the ashes disposed of in the river.


In the past, each Derung clan had its own shaman who directed warfare and healed the sick. Modern health clinics have put the shamans out of business.


The first missionary among the Derung was a French Catholic priest in 1907. In 1935 the Morse family came to the Derung area. People from four villages accepted Christ and six churches were built. Through the work of the Morse family, almost the entire Rawang tribe in Myanmar was converted. Today the number of believers among the Derung in China is uncertain. One source states, "Some estimate that there are as many as 5,000 Derung Christians in China (85.97%) while 25% Christian (about 1,450) is estimated by one Western worker close to the situation."

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

People Name General Tulung, Drung
People Name in Country Tulung, Drung
Population in China 14,000
World Population 14,000
Countries 2
Progress Scale 3.2
Least-Reached No
Indigenous Yes
Alternate Names Derung, Drung, Dulong, Trung, Tulung
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 6,000 members of the Derung nationality live in some of the most isolated terrain in all of China. Ninety percent of the Derung live in the extreme northwestern part of Yunnan Province, along the Dulong River basin in Gongshan County. The Derung region is "highly mountainous and rainfall is abundant. Virgin forests cover the mountain slopes, and wild animals abound." Twenty-one Derung live in Zayu County, Tibet. In addition, the Derung are also found in northern Myanmar..   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)
Drung: Nu River (14,000)
Languages & Dialects (speakers if known) - up to 20 shown
Drung: Nu River 14,000
For Primary Language: Drung

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

Major Religion Percent
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 21.32 %)
25.00 %
Ethnic Religions
72.00 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
3.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %

Christian Segments Percent
0.0 %
85.0 %
0.0 %
Other Christian
0.0 %
0.0 %
Roman Catholic
15.0 %
Photo Source: Operation China, Paul Hattaway   Copyrighted ©   Used with permission
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.