Amdo, Rtahu in China

Joshua Project has identified the Amdo, Rtahu only in China






Largest Religion

Main Language


The Amdo Tibetans

Source:  Asia Harvest      Download


Of the four Amdo languages, the Rtahu language is used in the most southern part. Linguists have identified Rtahu as a variety of Amdo, but the Rtahu claim to culturally belong to the Khampa Tibetans. They have been officially counted as members of the Tibetan nationality in China - which numbered almost 4.6 million people in the 1990 census.

The Rtahu language seems to be transitional between Amdo and Khampa Tibetan; these two are reported to have about 70% lexical similarity. The Rtahu language contains two dialects: Braghgo and Tahu.


Padmasambhava, a Tibetan sage, gave the following prophecy in the eighth century: "When the iron bird flies and horses run on wheels, the Tibetan people will be scattered like ants across the world and the Dharma will come to the land of the Red Man." In October 1950 the Chinese army invaded Tibet from Sichuan. Another garrison moved southward from Xinjiang into western Tibet. Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama - who himself is an Amdo Tibetan - fled into India. From his base in Dharamsala, northern India, the Dalai Lama has continued to lobby for the liberation of his people.


Between 1913 and 1950 Tibet tried to assert its authority as a separate nation, with its own flag, passports, and currency. Tibetan passports were only accepted as legal documents by Great Britain, India, and the United States. A Tibetan stamp was printed in India in 1910, bearing the image of the Dalai Lama. "These were rejected by the Tibetans. The Dalai Lama could not be placed on a stamp as it might get trodden underfoot, which would bring dishonor to him. Besides, who was going to strike his head with a great metal franking hammer?"


All Rtahu Amdo Tibetans are fervent Tibetan Buddhists. No more than a handful have ever heard of the existence of Jesus Christ.


In the past, some mission agencies considered working among the Tibetans but found excuses easier than the hardships the workers would have had to endure. In 1922, Dr. A. Reeve Heber of the Moravian Mission in Ladakh was challenged to expand his work into Tibet. He responded, "When once the country has been opened to the missionaries, I do not think that we are in a very good position to enter it from any of our present stations. It is almost entirely inhabited by nomads among whom it would be very difficult to work."

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

People Name General Amdo, Rtahu (Ahm-doe, Ta-hoo)
People Name in Country Amdo, Rtahu
Population in China 98,000
World Population 98,000
Countries 1
Progress Scale 1.1
Least-Reached Yes
Indigenous Yes
Alternate Names Amdo, Rtahu, Tahu
Affinity Bloc Tibetan-Himalayan Peoples
People Cluster Tibetan
People Name General Amdo, Rtahu (Ahm-doe, Ta-hoo)
Ethnic Code MSY50r
People ID 18395
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 Approximately 70,000 Tibetans in northwest Sichuan Province speak the Rtahu Amdo language. They live primarily on grasslands along the banks of the turbulent Xianshui River in Dawu and Luhuo counties. These two counties form part of the huge Garze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture which is home primarily to the fierce Khampa Tibetans..   Source:  Operation China, 2000
Languages & Dialects on file:  1  (up to 20 largest shown)
Tibetan, Amdo: Rtahu (98,000)
Languages & Dialects (speakers if known) - up to 20 shown
Tibetan, Amdo: Rtahu 98,000
For Primary Language: Tibetan, Amdo

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible Portions Yes
New Testament No
Complete Bible No
Resource Format
Audio Bible teaching (GRN) Audio Recordings
Central Tibetan Language Film Film / Video
Four Spiritual Laws General
God's Story Video Film / Video
Got Questions Ministry General
Jesus Film: view in Tibetan, Amdo Film / Video
My Last Day (Jesus Film Project Anime) Film / Video
Online Scripture / Portions Audio Recordings
Story of Jesus audio (Jesus Film Project) Audio Recordings
Primary Religion: Buddhism
Religion Subdivision: Tibetan

Major Religion Percent
100.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.00 %)
0.00 %
Ethnic Religions
0.00 %
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: Operation China, Paul Hattaway   Copyrighted ©   Used with permission
Map Source: Joshua Project / Global Mapping International  
Video Source: Asia Harvest
Profile Source: Operation China, Paul Hattaway  Copyrighted ©   Used with permission  
Data Sources: Data is compiled from various sources. Read more

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