Profile Source: Peoples of Laos, Paul Hattaway
Introduction / History
Approximately 3,500 Kui Lung people live in Luang Namtha and Bokeo provinces of northern Laos, near the Laos-Myanmar border. They are part of the officially-recognized Kui minority group, who totaled 6,268 in the 1995 national census of Laos. In a different study in the same year, French ethnographer Laurent Chazee listed a lower figure of 1,870 Kui Lung living in 18 villages. The Kui Lung are concentrated in the Long and Viangphoukha districts of Luang Namtha. A Diaspora group lives further east in the Nale District. A few Kui Lung spill across the provincial border into the Meung District of Bokeo Province.
Although they are closely related to the Kucong, who are also known in Laos as Kui Sung, there are cultural, ethnic and linguistic differences between the two groups. Originally, both the Kucong and Kui Lung were part of the Lahu in southern China. The Kui Lung are one of Asia's most isolated people groups. In China, when Communist cadres found them in the 1950's, they were on the brink of extinction: "There were only three hatchets available in the whole village.... Their clothing was plantain leaves, in which they also wrapped their babes.... In their naked-ness the Kui Lung dared not to go out, so they placed their rattan, animal hides and meats by the wayside and hid in the bushes waiting for a prospective barterer. Then they would call out: 'Take these. Leave in exchange clothes and salt.' Only when the takers were far away would the people emerge from the bushes and collect whatever had been left for them."
Although there are no known Christians among the Kui Lung in Laos today, missionaries briefly encountered them in 1892. Daniel McGilvary reported, "I found on approaching him that he was not a Muso [Lahu], but a Kui-of a tribe which we had planned to visit later.... The village was a large one, as mountain villages go, of twenty-five or thirty houses, and from two hundred and fifty to three hundred souls-in general not unlike the [Lahu] villages we had seen. The Kui language also, while different from [Lahu], is cognate with it....Our religion was explained in its two leading ideas- rejection of the spirit-cult, and acceptance of Jesus for the pardon of sin and the life eternal. Questions were asked and answered."
* Pray they will experience the peace of knowing God and will be released from all fear.
* Ask God to raise up laborers to plant churches among the Kui Lung.
* Ask God to prepare the hearts of the Kui Lung toward Him. Pray they would be a redeemed people.