Baihong in China

Joshua Project has identified the Baihong only in China





Largest Religion

Main Language



The Baihong are one of many people groups combined by the government to form the official Hani nationality in China. The Baihong were formerly named Mahei - which is the name they are still listed under in most mission publications today.

Baihong is one of at least five different Hani languages in Mojiang (Ink River) County alone. One visitor to the region "learned that there were around 14 different Hani dialect groups in just one area." Most of these dialects are mutually unintelligible. Linguist David Bradley places the Baihong language in the Hao-Bai branch of the Tibeto-Burman language family and notes that fewer than 80,000 Baihong are still able to speak their language.


The Baihong belong to a large historical group who are thought to have migrated from the Tibetan Plateau about 2,500 years ago. Legend says the ancestors of the Baihong, at that time numbering 7,000 households, "once lived on a vast fertile plain away in the east where the sun rises." The importance of preceding generations of Baihong is recognized by their saying, "With a strand of hair from each ancestor, one would have to hold nine handfuls of hair."


One visitor to the Baihong noted, "The dress of the women here is quite an unusual style. I saw a Baihong woman wearing short, tight pants and attached to her back was a piece of blue cloth about one foot long decorated with silver balls. As she moved, the cloth waved in the air, looking, when seen from a distance, for all the world like a tiny funny tail." They call this "armor". If armor is not worn by a Baihong woman she is considered indecent.


Because all Baihong youth have been educated in atheistic schools, most are not religious. Traditionally, however, the Baihong were animists. They believe spirits dwell in trees, water, mountains, and the sky. They believe that some of these spirits guard their villages, while others are bad spirits that bring disease and suffering. This has led to a complex set of superstitions and beliefs among the Baihong. For example, they are careful not to strike their hands together while washing because they do not want to offend the spirit of the water.


Some Baihong have heard the gospel from the neighboring Kado and Biyo, whose languages are related to the Baihong. As a result, there are some Baihong Christians today. Other Baihong who live in remote communities have yet to be visited by evangelists. The believers among the Baihong have at times encountered severe persecution from the local authorities, who are eager to arrest the spread of Christianity in their areas. Gospel recordings were recently produced in the Baihong language for the first time.

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

People Name General Baihong (Bai-hong)
People Name in Country Baihong
Population in China 244,000
World Population 244,000
Countries 1
Progress Scale 3.1
Least-Reached No
Indigenous Yes
Alternate Names Boo Ko, Buku, Mabe, Mahe, Mahei, Pai-hung
Affinity Bloc Tibetan-Himalayan Peoples
People Cluster Hani
People Name General Baihong (Bai-hong)
Ethnic Code MSY50i
People ID 18409
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 Baihong "have a larger population" among the various Hani subgroups in China. The Baihong live over a widespread area between Mojiang and Yuanjiang counties in southern Yunnan Province. Almost 200,000 Baihong live in villages that are "situated halfway up the mountain, shrouded by clouds and mists. Their houses are made of earthen walls and thatched roofs sloping down on four sides.".   Source:  Operation China, 2000
Languages & Dialects on file:  1  (up to 20 largest shown)
Honi: Baihong (244,000)
Languages & Dialects (speakers if known) - up to 20 shown
Honi: Baihong 244,000
For Primary Language: Honi

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 2.70 %)
2.80 %
Ethnic Religions
90.00 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
7.20 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %

Christian Segments Percent
0.0 %
100.0 %
0.0 %
Other Christian
0.0 %
0.0 %
Roman Catholic
0.0 %
Photo Source: Operation China, Paul Hattaway   Copyrighted ©   Used with permission
Map Source: Bethany World Prayer Center  
Profile Source: Operation China, Paul Hattaway  Copyrighted ©   Used with permission  
Data Sources: Data is compiled from various sources. Read more

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