Luzu in China

Joshua Project has identified the Luzu only in China






Largest Religion

Main Language



The Luzu have been officially classified as part of the Tibetan nationality, even though their language is not related to Tibetan and they have a distinct ethnicity. Several small ethnic groups in Muli were also classified as Tibetan, seemingly on the basis of their adherence to the Tibetan Buddhist religion rather than for ethnolinguistic reasons. One observer notes that "the Xifan [Chrame] of southwestern Sichuan [including the Luzu] ... are a member of the Tibetan minzu [nationality], but feel that they have little in common with the Tibetans."


The Luzu are one of numerous ethnic groups who speak a Qiangic language. In addition to the Qiang nationality presently recognized in China, smaller groups such as the Ersu, Ergong, Namuyi, Luzu, and Chrame have spread throughout southern Sichuan Province. Muli was a monastery town, presided over by a king until the 1950s. One foreign visitor to Muli commented, "The villagers occupy wooden shanties scattered over the hillsides below the town. They are very poor, and live in constant fear of the lama king and his parasitic satellites."


Almost half of the families living in Muli practice either polyandry (brothers sharing a wife) or polygamy (sisters sharing a husband). These practices probably started because of the large numbers of men who join the Buddhist monkhood, thus taking a vow of celibacy. To accommodate the needs of the women, nonconventional marriages were adopted.


All Luzu are followers of Tibetan Buddhism. Every aspect of their daily lives is influenced by their beliefs. Pilgrimages to important Buddhist sites are undertaken by all Luzu at some stage of their lives.


The Luzu as a people group in China is completely unreached by the gospel. Muli is a desperately needy and vitally strategic area for evangelists and church planters to focus on with the gospel, for there are several untouched people groups living there. The Luzu will need to be visited by evangelists in order for them to hear the gospel, as shortwave gospel radio broadcasts are unable to reach the high mountains.

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

People Name General Luzu (Loo-zoo)
People Name in Country Luzu
Population in China 1,200
World Population 1,200
Countries 1
Progress Scale 1.1
Least-Reached Yes
Unengaged Yes (per Finishing the Task)
Indigenous Yes
Alternate Names
Affinity Bloc Tibetan-Himalayan Peoples
People Cluster Tibetan
People Name General Luzu (Loo-zoo)
Ethnic Code MSY50r
People ID 18571
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 1,000 ethnic Luzu people live in several villages within Muli County in the isolated southern part of Sichuan Province. The area was previously known as Xikang, before it was incorporated into Sichuan in the 1930s. Muli itself has been described as "a rich possession, and all the rivers, especially the Litang, carry gold and produce a considerable revenue..   Source:  Operation China, 2000
Languages & Dialects on file:  1  (up to 20 largest shown)
Ersu (1,200)
Languages & Dialects (speakers if known) - up to 20 shown
Ersu 1,200
For Primary Language: Ersu

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Translation Need Questionable
Resource Format
None reported  
Primary Religion: Buddhism

Major Religion Percent
90.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.00 %)
0.00 %
Ethnic Religions
10.00 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
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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