Gesu in China

Joshua Project has identified the Gesu only in China






Largest Religion

Main Language


The Path to Truth and Life

Source Create International


The Gesu have been officially included as part of the Yi nationality in China. In the 1950s the Gesu were one of 260 tribes and people groups in Yunnan Province who applied to be recognized as a separate minority. The Gesu are also called Gaoshanzu (High Mountain People) or Tuzu (Soil People) by their Han Chinese neighbors. It is possible that these two names represent two different subgroups of Gesu.


The various branches of the Yi are believed to have descended from the Di and Qiang peoples who migrated south to the Dianchi area in Yunnan and the Qiongdou area of Sichuan in the second century BC. After the Jin Dynasty (AD 265-420), the Cuan clan became rulers of the Dianchi region, northeastern Yunnan, and the Honghe River area. These places were later known as the Cuan area. Its people became the forerunners of today's various Yi tribes.


Every year on the eighth day of the second lunar month, the Gesu living near Tanhua Township in Dayao County celebrate the Flower- Decorating Festival. The people get together, worship the mali flower, and have flower decoration competitions. They also sing and dance and generally have a good time with relatives and friends. Because it is usually still quite cold, bonfires are built to give warmth and to roast meat and corn. A similar celebration, called the Festival of the Mali Flower, is held on the same day in Wuding County, although the Wuding version of the festival focuses more on paying respect to the Mali Flower god and on giving the youth a chance to meet prospective partners from other villages.


In addition to worshiping the Flower god, the Gesu worship the sun, stars, and moon. Perhaps their most-feared deity is the god of the Mountains. They believe large, powerful demons live inside the highest mountains in the area and must be placated to avoid disaster in their communities.


No mission agencies have ever included the Gesu on their lists of people groups in China. They are a largely unevangelized and unreached people group. Because their villages are remote and because the Gesu have an independent mindset, they rarely travel into the towns or have any contact with other tribes. There are no gospel recordings available in the Gesu language.

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

People Name General Gesu (Geh-soo)
People Name in Country Gesu
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 Gaoshan, Gesu Yi, Tu
Affinity Bloc Tibetan-Himalayan Peoples
People Cluster Tibeto-Burman, other
People Name General Gesu (Geh-soo)
Ethnic Code MSY50z
People ID 18464
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 authorities of the Chuxiong Prefecture in Yunnan Province listed a 1957 figure of 6,753 Gesu people. Their population is estimated to have grown to approximately 12,000 today. The Gesu inhabit villages in parts of Dayao and Wuding counties. Both are under the jurisdiction of Chuxiong Prefecture..   Source:  Operation China, 2000

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Enthologue Language Map

Ethnolinguistic map from University of Texas or other map

Languages & Dialects on file:  1  (up to 20 largest shown)
Chinese, Mandarin (16,000)
Languages & Dialects (speakers if known) - up to 20 shown
Chinese, Mandarin 16,000

For Main Lanugage: Chinese, Mandarin

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible Portions Yes   (1864-1986)
New Testament Yes   (1857-1981)
Complete Bible Yes   (1874-1983)
Audio Bible Online
Format Resource
Audio Recordings Audio Bible teaching (GRN)
Audio Recordings Christ for the Nations
Audio Recordings Online New Testament (FCBH)
Audio Recordings Online New Testament (FCBH)
Audio Recordings Online New Testament - Simplified (FCBH)
Audio Recordings Online New Testament - Traditional (FCBH)
Audio Recordings Online Scripture (Talking Bibles)
Audio Recordings Story of Jesus audio (Jesus Film Project)
Film / Video Fathers Love Letter
Film / Video General Ministry Resources
Film / Video General Ministry Resources
Film / Video God's Story Video
Film / Video Han Language Film
Film / Video Jesus Film: view in Chinese, Mandarin
Film / Video Magdalena (Jesus Film Project)
Film / Video My Last Day (Jesus Film Project Anime)
Film / Video Story of Jesus for Children (JF Project)
Film / Video The Hope Video
General Bible Visuals
General Chinese Blog about Unreached Peoples
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
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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