Although they speak a language mutually intelligible with other Western Miao (Hmong) varieties, the Hmong Dou possess their own ethnic identity. They do not consider other Miao/Hmong groups to be of the same ethnic stock and do not usually intermarry outside of their communities. The Chinese call them Hongxian Miao, which means "red thread Miao." The Hmong Be (Mountain Hmong) in Luzhai Village of Dafang County call them Hmong Dou which means "downhill Hmong."
Centuries of discrimination and military campaigns against them by the Chinese have splintered the Miao/Hmong into their numerous present-day ethnic groups and languages - including the Hmong Dou.
The Hmong Dou were given their Chinese name (Hongxian "red thread" Miao) because the women "often make their hair into a large bun that bulges on each side of the head. The bun is held in place by red thread wrapped around the forehead in a band about three inches in height."
For centuries the Hmong Dou have been diligent to appease demons, offering annual sacrifices in a bid to keep peace with the spirit world. They believe spirits can be either good or bad and can locate themselves in a person, animal, or some other object of nature.
Because they live alongside the Gha-Mu, who have thousands of Christians, most Hmong Dou have some awareness of the gospel, and a small number have placed their trust in Jesus Christ. Missionary J. R. Adam worked in the area in the early 1900s and included the Hmong Dou in one of his 1907 mission reports.