Lagou in China

Joshua Project has identified the Lagou only in China





Largest Religion

Main Language



The self-name of this people group is Lagou, although few people apart from the members of the group know it. The Han Chinese call them Hong Yi (Red Yi). The Lagou were former slaves of the Nasu. In the 1950s they were liberated by the Communist authorities.


Weining County in Guizhou has long been viewed as a strategic location by military leaders. To the dismay of the Chinese, however, Weining was inhabited by a large number of Yi people who steadfastly resisted Chinese rule, giving rise to many armed conflicts. In 1381 Weining was selected by Fu Youde, "the general who conquered the south," as a defense post. A garrison of 5,600 Imperial troops was stationed there. Later, when the Manchus assumed rule of China (1644), they launched a massive campaign against the Yi of Zhaotong and Weining. For the first time the area was fully brought under Chinese control. It was at this time that many Yi people left the area, crossed the Yangtze River, and fled into the Daliangshan Mountains in southern Sichuan.


Despite their history of oppression, the Lagou today are a very colorful and fun-loving people. One visitor to Majie in Guizhou commented: "The Yi people of Majie are Red Yi [Lagou]; in the old days, they would have been slaves of the Black Yi [Nasu], in other words, at the very bottom rung of the social ladder. The Red Yi of today's world have gained a reputation for their expertise in basketry, as well as in the manufacture of other bamboo articles, so that they are now often referred to jokingly as 'that tribe of bamboo craftsmen'. I was much taken by the blue dress of their womenfolk with collar, shoulders, front opening and sleeves all trimmed with broad bands of embroidery and braiding. A villager told me that the clothing worn by Yi women around Majie is oldfashioned, reflecting the styles of the Ming and Qing dynasties, and is rarely seen elsewhere, even within the area of Weining."


Ancestor worship and Christianity are the two main religious beliefs among the Lagou.


Before 1949 the China Inland Mission planted 16 churches among the Yi in Weining County. The Methodists also joined in the work, so that by 1950 there were 25 private Christian schools in the county. Today there are an estimated 2,000 Lagou believers in China - or approximately one-third of the population. One official publication estimates that half of all Yi in Weining County are Christians.

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

People Name General Lagou (Lah-gaow)
People Name in Country Lagou
Population in China 7,800
World Population 7,800
Countries 1
Progress Scale 3.2
Least-Reached No
Indigenous Yes
Alternate Names Hong Yi, Lagoupu, Red Yi
Affinity Bloc Tibetan-Himalayan Peoples
People Cluster Tibeto-Burman, other
People Name General Lagou (Lah-gaow)
Ethnic Code MSY50i
People ID 18531
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 6,000 people belonging to the Lagou ethnic group live in Weining County in northwestern Guizhou Province, and in Yiliang County in northeastern Yunnan Province. Two thousand Lagou live within Yunnan Province. In Guizhou, the Lagou are concentrated near the town of Majie..   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)
Nasu, Wusa (7,800)
Languages & Dialects (speakers if known) - up to 20 shown
Nasu, Wusa 7,800
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 35.00 %)
35.00 %
Ethnic Religions
64.00 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
1.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %

Christian Segments Percent
0.0 %
100.0 %
0.0 %
Other Christian
0.0 %
0.0 %
Roman Catholic
0.0 %
Photo Source: Operation China, Paul Hattaway   Copyrighted ©   Used with permission
Profile Source: Operation China, Paul Hattaway  Copyrighted ©   Used with permission  
Data Sources: Data is compiled from various sources. Read more

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