Tai Man, Shan in China






Largest Religion

Main Language



The inhabitants of the one Shan village in China have been included under the Dai nationality. The name Shan is used by different Tai groups in various ways throughout China. The predominant Tai group in the Dehong Prefecture are the Tai Mao, who sometimes call themselves Shan. Furthermore, the Tai Nua are often called Yunnanese Shan. The Shan are very proud of their racial identity. They call themselves Tai Yay, meaning "greater Tai." Although the different Tai peoples view themselves as from the same ethnic stock, for reasons of determining Christian strategy it is important to classify them according to their various ethnic and linguistic affiliations.


The Shan are one of the great peoples of Southeast Asia. They dominate the state in northern Myanmar that bears their name. Desiring their own independent homeland, rebel Shan armies have been fighting the Burmese since the end of World War II.


Traditionally all Shan boys are sent to a temple at the age of seven or eight, where they receive their education from Buddhist monks. In recent decades the region has seen rampant drug trafficking between China and Myanmar.


The Shan have been ardent followers of Theravada Buddhism for many centuries. Gold colored temples are scattered throughout the jungles and mountains of Shan State. All Shan community life is centered around their religion. Unlike most Buddhists who believe in karma, the Shan believe they are protected from evil by the spiritual power of Buddha idols and spirits.


Mission research ministries have designated the Shan of Myanmar the ninth largest unreached people in the world. Missionaries first started reaching out to the Shan in 1860, and the Shan New Testament was completed in 1882. Historically, few Shan have responded to the gospel, largely because of their ethnic pride and identity as Buddhists. In recent years some breakthroughs have occurred in Myanmar. There are no Christians reported among the Shan in China, even though the Bible, the Jesus film, and gospel radio broadcasts are all available in the Shan language.

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

Expanded PDF Profile

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People Name General Tai Man, Shan
People Name in Country Tai Man, Shan
Population in China 600
World Population 4,703,000
Countries 4
Progress Scale 1.1
Least-Reached Yes
Indigenous Yes
Alternate Names Burmese Shan, Cha Shan, Dai, Great Thai, Ngio, Nyaw, Red Shan, Sen, Sha, Sham, Shyam, Tai Jai, Tai Long, Tai Luang, Tai Neua, Tai Yai, Tai Yay, Tairong, Tairung, Thai Yai, Turung, Yunnanese Shan
Affinity Bloc Southeast Asian Peoples
People Cluster Shan
People Name General Tai Man, Shan
Ethnic Code MSY49c
People ID 18205
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 They are concentrated throughout Shan State, in north-east Myanmar. In Thailand, they inhabit the provinces of Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai and Mae Hong Son. A small group lives on the other side of Thailand in Mukdahan Province..   Source:  Peoples of the Buddhist World, 2004
Languages & Dialects on file:  1  (up to 20 largest shown)
Shan (700)
Languages & Dialects (speakers if known) - up to 20 shown
Shan 700
For Primary Language: Shan

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible Portions Yes   (1871-1995)
New Testament Yes   (1882-1995)
Complete Bible Yes   (1892-1995)
Audio Bible Online
Resource Format
Audio Bible teaching (GRN) Audio Recordings
Bible: The Holy Bible in Shan Common Language Text / Printed Matter
God's Story Video Film / Video
Jesus Film: view in Shan Film / Video
Online New Testament (FCBH) Audio Recordings
Shan Language Film Film / Video
Story of Jesus audio (Jesus Film Project) Audio Recordings
Primary Religion: Buddhism
Religion Subdivision: Theravada

Major Religion Percent
95.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.00 %)
0.00 %
Ethnic Religions
3.00 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
2.00 %
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: Kevin Morris, OMF International   Copyrighted ©   Used with permission
Map Source: Bethany World Prayer Center  
Video Source: Create 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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