Jiarong, Sidabao in China

Joshua Project has identified the Jiarong, Sidabao only in China






Largest Religion

Main Language



Although they have been officially included as part of the Tibetan nationality, Chinese scholars have considered the Jiarong distinct for several decades. In 1957 the Chinese Academy of Science listed a population of 70,000 Jiarong. One linguist notes, "The Jiarong are within the cultural orbit of Tibetan Buddhism but speak distinct languages."

Sidabao Jiarong is part of the Qiangic branch of Tibeto-Burman. There are two main dialects of Sidabao: Ribu and Caodeng. Ribu further divides into "several quite different local varieties, such as Shili in Zamtang County, Rongan in Aba County, Ribu proper and Dawei in Barkam County."


One Chinese source claims the Jiarong "are a branch of Tibetans who moved in remote antiquity from Qungbu in Tibet to live in the Songpan Plateau of northern Sichuan." Buddhism arrived in Tibet during the reign of King Songsten Gampo (c. AD 605-650). It officially replaced the Bon religion and gradually worked its way to the extremities of the Tibetan world, including the area inhabited by the Jiarong today.


The Jiarong are looked down upon by both the Chinese and the Tibetans. "Those Jiarong in the towns hold no more than low-level clerical jobs, as they are generally poorly educated."


There is a revival of the ancient Bon religion in recent years among the Jiarong. For the past 13 centuries, Buddhism has been something of a veneer on ancient Bon rituals. The spiritism and black magic, still prevalent in Tibetan Buddhism, stem from Bon.


The few attempts to evangelize the Jiarong in the past met with some success. In 1934 missionaries listed 34 Jiarong believers. Another book from the 1930s lists a number of Jiarong Christians, but presently there is no indication of any believers among them. "Social ostracism of possible converts, and persecution to the extent of the placing of severe curses by the lamas, or poisoning through family members, are other hindrances to spreading the Gospel."

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

People Name General Jiarong, Sidabao (Gee-ah-rong, See-da-baow)
People Name in Country Jiarong, Sidabao
Population in China 7,000
World Population 7,000
Countries 1
Progress Scale 1.1
Least-Reached Yes
Indigenous Yes
Alternate Names Gyarung, Jarong, Sidabao, Western Jiarong, Western Jyarung
Affinity Bloc Tibetan-Himalayan Peoples
People Cluster Tibetan
People Name General Jiarong, Sidabao (Gee-ah-rong, See-da-baow)
Ethnic Code MSY50z
People ID 18510
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 Approximately 5,500 Sidabao Jiarong live in an extremely remote and relatively widespread area of northwest Sichuan Province. "Most of its speakers live in the three townships of Caodeng, Kangshan and Ribu in the Sidabao District of Ma'erkang (Barkam) County, hence the language name Sidabao. Small outlying communities, however, exist both to the north in certain villages of Kehe and Rongan townships at the southwestern corner of Aba County, and, to the west, along the middle Doqu River between Wuyi and Shili townships in Zamtang County, spilling over even to a small area near the confluence of the Sertar and Doqu rivers in Sertar County..   Source:  Operation China, 2000
Languages & Dialects on file:  1  (up to 20 largest shown)
Lavrung (7,000)
Languages & Dialects (speakers if known) - up to 20 shown
Lavrung 7,000
For Primary Language: Lavrung

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible Portions No
New Testament No
Complete Bible No
Resource Format
None reported  
Primary Religion: Buddhism
Religion Subdivision: Tibetan

Major Religion Percent
90.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.00 %)
0.00 %
Ethnic Religions
9.00 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
1.00 %
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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