Gese in China

Joshua Project has identified the Gese only in China






Largest Religion

Main Language



The Gese (pronounced "Geh-Seh") are one of the dozens of tribes which the Chinese authorities combined to form the official Yi nationality. Jamin Pelkey notes, "Though no Chinese sources firmly attest to this people group's existence, this people refer to themselves as Gese in their own language and think of themselves as different from Naisu. The Gese are not the same as the Gesu or the Gepo - two other Yi tribes in Yunnan Province.


A rich oral history recounts the Gese's victory over a terrible plague that struck the people in their region. Their stories may well refer to the Black Plague that decimated Yunnan Province between 1812 and 1903. It is estimated to have reduced the population from eight million to three million.


Gese women are easily identifiable by their habit of wearing long earrings and black turbans. On the 13th day of the third lunar month the Gese celebrate the Flower Festival. They worship the Medicine King, who they believe saved their race from the plague in the past. According to their folklore, people everywhere were dying. The first sign of impending death was to lose feeling in their arms and legs. The Gese say numerous bodies were being carried out of their villages daily. The people who carried the corpses out also died because of contact with the bodies. The Medicine King set out to find a cure for the plague. He tasted 99 herbs from 99 mountains and drank 99 gulps of water from 99 springs, but none of them provided a cure. Finally he climbed the "Third Month Mountain" in the Gese area and tasted the herbs and drank the water. Immediately, feeling returned to his limbs. He ran down the mountain and told the people, who were also healed when they ate and drank from the mountain.


The respect the Gese have for the memory of the Medicine King borders on worship. They also appease locality spirits, such as the spirit of the soil, the spirit of the water, and the spirit of the forests.


There are no known Christians among the Gese people. Few mission agencies have ever heard of this hidden people who go about their lives in the remote mountains of Lufeng County. The area where the Gese live has historically been devoid of gospel witness, although in recent years it has been rumored that some A-Hmao evangelists have reached out to people there. In 1998 gospel recordings were produced in the Gese language for the first time.

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

People Name General Gese (Geh-seh)
People Name in Country Gese
Population in China 16,000
World Population 16,000
Countries 1
Progress Scale 1.1
Least-Reached Yes
Unengaged Yes (per Finishing the Task)
Indigenous Yes
Alternate Names Baiyi, Gesu, White Yi
Affinity Bloc Tibetan-Himalayan Peoples
People Cluster Tibeto-Burman, other
People Name General Gese (Geh-seh)
Ethnic Code MSY50i
People ID 18463
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 More than 12,000 people belonging to the Gese tribe live in an isolated part of southwest China. They mainly live in the villages of eastern Tuo'an District and in the villages in the southern part of the Gaofeng District in Lufeng County..   Source:  Operation China, 2000
Languages & Dialects on file:  1  (up to 20 largest shown)
Nasu, Wusa (16,000)
Languages & Dialects (speakers if known) - up to 20 shown
Nasu, Wusa 16,000
For Primary Language: Nasu, Wusa

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 0.00 %)
0.00 %
Ethnic Religions
96.00 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
4.00 %
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  
Profile Source: Operation China, Paul Hattaway  Copyrighted ©   Used with permission  
Data Sources: Data is compiled from various sources. Read more

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