Zhaba in China

Joshua Project has identified the Zhaba only in China






Largest Religion

Main Language



The Zhaba are counted as part of the Tibetan nationality, although they speak a Qiangic language. The Zhaba may call themselves Buozi. Zhaba appears to be the name used to describe them by their Khampa Tibetan neighbors.


When Marco Polo passed through rural Tibetan areas in the thirteenth century he found unique local customs. Polo wrote, "No man of that country would on any consideration take to wife a girl who was a maid; for they say a wife is worth nothing unless she has been used to consort with men. ... When travelers come that way, the old women of the place get ready, and take their unmarried daughters ... to whomsoever will accept them. ... In this manner people traveling in that way ... shall find perhaps 20 or 30 girls at their disposal."


Promiscuity continues to be rife among the Zhaba. A 1950s survey of the Garze area found the rate of venereal diseases was 40% among people in peasant areas and 50.7% among people living in the pasture areas.


The Zhaba worship a wide variety of demons and ghosts. These influences date back to the pre-Buddhist Tibetan religion of Bon. They believe large demons live inside mountains, and so they offer frequent sacrifices to appease them.


There are no known Christians among the Zhaba, although there are a few Tibetan Catholics farther west near Litang. The Zhaba lead hard lives. Workers seeking to reach them will need to help them physically and not just spiritually. Isobel Kuhn, a missionary to the Lisu, said, "I have been a missionary for 27 years, but have never met a heathen tribesman who was looking for salvation. ... They don't know enough to reach out a hand for heavenly aid. Their eyes look not up but down - down on the earth and upon their bodily appetites."

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

Prayer Links
Global Prayer Digest: 2010-07-11
Global Prayer Digest: 2013-07-15
Global Prayer Digest: 2013-07-16
People Name General Zhaba (Zhar-ba)
People Name in Country Zhaba
Population in China 8,400
World Population 8,400
Countries 1
Progress Scale 1.1
Least-Reached Yes
Indigenous Yes
Alternate Names Buozi, Zaba, Zhaboa
Affinity Bloc Tibetan-Himalayan Peoples
People Cluster Tibetan
People Name General Zhaba (Zhar-ba)
Ethnic Code MSY50r
People ID 16102
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 The Zhaba reside in parts of Yajiang and Daofu counties within the vast Garze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in western Sichuan Province. The main centre is Zhaba township in southern Daofu County..   Source:  Peoples of the Buddhist World, 2004
Languages & Dialects on file:  1  (up to 20 largest shown)
Zhaba (8,400)
Languages & Dialects (speakers if known) - up to 20 shown
Zhaba 8,400
For Primary Language: Zhaba

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible Portions No
New Testament No
Complete Bible No
Resource Format
None reported  
Primary Religion: Buddhism
Religion Subdivision: Tibetan

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: Anonymous  
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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