Lalu, Xuzhang in China

Joshua Project has identified the Lalu, Xuzhang only in China






Largest Religion

Main Language



Although they have been officially placed under the Yi nationality in China, the Xuzhang Lalu are different from all other ethnic groups. They possess their own identity, language, and customs. A local government source, the Baoshan Xian Zhi, states, "There are numerous divisions of the Yi in Baoshan County; based on a combination of autonyms [self-names], languages, and distribution, there are five kinds all together." Three of the Yi groups in Baoshan, the book concludes, are legitimate, distinct people groups.


It seems likely that the Xuzhang Lalu were once part of the large and influential Laluo people of Menghua who dominated the region from at least the eighth century AD. For an unknown reason, perhaps as they searched for more arable land, the ancestors of the Xuzhang Lalu migrated westward from the main body of Laluo. After centuries of separation they developed their own language, customs, and identity, although their name is only slightly different from the Laluo today.


Every year during the sixth and seventh months of the lunar calendar, activities known as the Flower Street Festival are organized in some Lalu communities. "On these occasions, people from all over the district come to an open area on a mountain peak. ... The young boys and girls participate in singing and dancing. Should a boy wish to pursue a certain girl, he will throw a white handkerchief at her. If the girl is willing to take him as a boyfriend, she will indicate this by picking the handkerchief up."


When a Lalu man dies, his relatives hold a feast of mourning which they call za. "A pig or sheep is sacrificed in the doorway. ... The nearer kindred, on hearing of the death of a relative, take a fowl and strangle it. ... The mourner then proceeds to his house and sticks the fowl near the head of the corpse as an offering." This ritual represents the beliefs of the Xuzhang Lalu, which are a combination of spirit worship and ancestor worship.


Although Baoshan County contains a number of Lisu and Jingpo Christians, they have not been able to take the gospel to most Xuzhang Lalu because of communication barriers.

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

People Name General Lalu, Xuzhang (Lah-loo, Shoo-jung)
People Name in Country Lalu, Xuzhang
Population in China 5,200
World Population 5,200
Countries 1
Progress Scale 1.1
Least-Reached Yes
Unengaged Yes (per Finishing the Task)
Indigenous Yes
Alternate Names Lalu, Tuli
Affinity Bloc Tibetan-Himalayan Peoples
People Cluster Tibeto-Burman, other
People Name General Lalu, Xuzhang (Lah-loo, Shoo-jung)
Ethnic Code MSY50i
People ID 18535
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 small Xuzhang Lalu group, who number 4,100 people, live in several villages within the Xuzhang Community in Wafang District of Baoshan County. Baoshan is located in the western part of Yunnan Province. The principal village of the Xuzhang Lalu is named Sikeshu..   Source:  Operation China, 2000
Languages & Dialects on file:  1  (up to 20 largest shown)
Lalo, Dongshanba (5,200)
Languages & Dialects (speakers if known) - up to 20 shown
Lalo, Dongshanba 5,200
For Primary Language: Lalo, Dongshanba

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible Portions No
New Testament No
Complete Bible No
Resource Format
None reported  
Primary Religion: Ethnic Religions

Major Religion Percent
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.00 %)
0.00 %
Ethnic Religions
97.00 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
3.00 %
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

Copyright © 2015 Joshua Project.  A ministry of Frontier Ventures.