Lipo, Eastern in China

Joshua Project has identified the Lipo, Eastern only in China





Largest Religion

Main Language



Strangely, the Eastern Lipo have been included in the Lisu nationality at local administrative levels but are considered part of the Yi nationality at the national level - a classification that angers them. They have more in common historically and linguistically with the Lisu than with the Yi. The Eastern Lipo have a different language, dress, and history from the Western Lipo.


The Eastern Lipo originally lived with the Lisu in the Salween Valley, but they migrated to the Wuding area after suffering a crushing military defeat at the Salween River in 1812. In October 1995 a huge earthquake struck the Wuding District. One hundred and thirty thousand homes - many belonging to Eastern Lipo people - were destroyed. Fifty people were killed, 1,000 wounded, and 200,000 people were left homeless.


The Eastern Lipo occasionally intermarry with neighboring tribes. Most of their culture is now centered around the church and their strong Christian faith.


The majority of Eastern Lipo are professing Christians. They were first converted by Australian missionary-doctor Arthur Nicholls, who traveled to the area in 1906. Conversions occurred almost immediately. In 1907, 60 Eastern Lipo believers traveled 97 kilometers (60 mi.) to Sapushan to participate in the Harvest Thanksgiving Service. In 1913 the four Gospels were translated into Eastern Lipo, using the Pollard script. By 1922 it was reported that the Lipo's "progress toward self-support is truly amazing and most gratifying. Already in many centers half of the working expenses are met by the native church." The Eastern Lipo church experienced severe persecution during the 1960s and 1970s. In 1978 one pastor "had both his arms crippled from being hung up for 15 days with galvanized wire which was wrenched tighter with pliers after every refusal to give up his faith."


In 1986 the Eastern Lipo, Naluo, Gesu, Eastern Nasu, A-Hmao, and Han believers in Sayingpan built Yunnan's largest church (1,500 seats) with their own labor and money. Their dedication and sacrifice was a tremendous witness to the local authorities. By 1988, in Luquan County alone, 475 Communist cadres and 390 Communist Youth League members had accepted the gospel. By 1990 there was estimated to be at least 60,000 Eastern Lipo believers. In early 1998 Eastern Lipo churches sent evangelists to ten unreached minorities throughout southern China.

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

People Name General Lipo, Eastern (Lee-po)
People Name in Country Lipo, Eastern
Population in China 114,000
World Population 114,000
Countries 1
Progress Scale 3.2
Least-Reached No
Indigenous Yes
Alternate Names Black Lisu, Eastern Lisu, He Lisu, Heipo, Li-a, Lipoo, Lipuo, Lisu Taku, Lizu, Machi, Machipuo, Taku
Affinity Bloc Tibetan-Himalayan Peoples
People Cluster Tibeto-Burman, other
People Name General Lipo, Eastern (Lee-po)
Ethnic Code MSY50l
People ID 18558
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 90,000 Eastern Lipo live in scattered communities across three counties in northern Yunnan and southern Sichuan provinces, primarily along the upper Yangtze River watershed. The majority live in Wuding and Yuanmou counties. Eastern Lipo communities are located from Panzhihua in Sichuan all the way down to the outskirts of Kunming city in Yunnan..   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)
Lipo (114,000)
Languages & Dialects (speakers if known) - up to 20 shown
Lipo 114,000
For Primary Language: Lipo

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible Portions Yes   (1912-1936)
New Testament Yes   (1951)
Complete Bible No
Resource Format
Audio Bible teaching (GRN) Audio Recordings
Jesus Film: view in Lipo Film / Video
My Last Day (Jesus Film Project Anime) Film / Video
Primary Religion: Christianity
Religion Subdivision: Independent

Major Religion Percent
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 50.00 %)
67.00 %
Ethnic Religions
31.00 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
2.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %

Christian Segments Percent
0.0 %
80.0 %
0.0 %
Other Christian
0.0 %
0.0 %
Roman Catholic
20.0 %
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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