Profile Source: Copyright © Operation China, Paul Hattaway
The Budo are one of 18 distinct subgroups of the Hani nationality profiled in this book. Although there is some measure of linguistic intelligibility between the different Hani groups in the region, each tribe maintains its own ethnicity. Most of the inhabitants of the Honghe-Yuxi area can readily reel off the list of Hani subgroups who live there. Although they acknowledge cultural differences and peculiarities, the Budo are not upset at their inclusion as part of the Hani nationality. They do acknowledge historical kinship with the other groups included in the artificially constructed official classification.
Budo youth find the Han Chinese culture attractive, and few of their customs are being retained. One custom that has survived is the Budo's way of settling an engagement. "The parents of both the girl and boy ... walk some distance together, and so long as they meet no animals the engagement can go ahead."
Most Budo live in simple houses made of plaster or baked mud. Their small, crowded villages usually consist of between 30 and 60 households. Most Budo men are rice farmers who have skillfully built their terraces on mountain and hill slopes on the Ailao Range.
The majority of Budo today are animists, although there are also a significant number of Christians among them. Many Budo were converted to Christianity by missionaries in the 1930s. H. A. Baker, a Pentecostal missionary who worked in the area in the 1930s and 1940s, wrote, "In another Budo settlement there are a hundred or more real Christians who have long been faithful after several years of severe siftings and persecution. This congregation is made up mostly of young men and women who by their spiritually healthy and live, wide-awake testimony have impressed the Chinese living in surrounding sections. Now former persecution has turned into considerable admiration."
Danish Assemblies of God missionaries Axel and Christine Jensen were married in Yunnan in 1928. Jensen - also known as Yan Chung Ren - started work near Mojiang among a host of different tribes including the Nisu, Kado, Biyo, and Budo. The work gained many converts during the 1930s and 1940s. Today there are at least 2,000 believers among the Budo, and all but the most geographically remote have been evangelized and are aware of the gospel. Most Budo Christians today meet in Chinese-language congregations.