The Kado are one of 18 groups combined by the Chinese authorities to form the official Hani nationality. The Kado possess their own language, although diminishing numbers of Kado children are now able to speak it. Many Kado have become culturally indistinguishable from the Han Chinese.
The Kado language is part of the Bi-Ka branch of the Tibeto-Burman language family. It is most similar to Biyo and Woni. In Myanmar - there there are six Kado dialects reported - many scholars believe Kado and Ganaan to be separate languages. Kado is not the same as Katu, a Mon-Khmer language spoken in Vietnam and Laos, nor is it the same as Kaduo, the Tibeto-Burman language spoken by the Mongols in Yunnan.
Until recently the Kado lived under the yoke of powerful landlords who controlled their society. When the Communists attempted to condemn the oppressive landlords in the 1950s, the Kado Christians refused to be involved, saying it was better to forgive them.
For the past 200 years the Kado have been gradually Sinicized. Today few wear their traditional costume - the mark of their ethnic identity.
There are many strong Christian churches among the Kado. It was not always the case, however. In the past the Kado lived in deep spiritual bondage. A survey of one Kado village found 93% of the adults were infected with a sexually transmitted disease.
H. A. Baker, an independent Pentecostal missionary, commenced work among the Kado in 1932, sowing the seed for a great revival among them between 1940 and 1947. A 1941 report commented, "Several new stations have been added as the blessed message of Life spread from one village to another. Several thousands of these needy people have made a confession of Christ. Many of these are busy learning to read the newly translated Scriptures in their own language." By 1950, 33 Kado churches had been established, but all of them were forced to close between 1952 and 1953. Both the Assembly of God and the Seventh Day Adventists had many Kado converts. During the Cultural Revolution, the Communists hoped to destroy the Kado church by dividing them over the issue of the Sabbath. Sensing the principle of unity was more important than the letter of the law, the Adventists agreed to meet with the Assembly of God believers on Sundays. By 1986 the Kado numbered 40,000 believers - most of whom used Chinese Scriptures - and 156 Kado were engaged in full-time Christian work. A 1986 study of 5,201 believers in Mojiang County indicated that 31% were teenagers.