Menia in China

Joshua Project has identified the Menia only in China






Largest Religion

Main Language



Although they are now officially included under the Tibetan nationality, the Menia formerly belonged to the Chrame group who are commonly called Xifan (Western Barbarians) by the Chinese. Other tribes or subgroups of the Chrame include the Manyak and Hor.


From the Menia's language it appears that they can trace their ancestry to the Qiang race who roamed northwest China in former times. Over the course of many centuries the various tribes became dispersed across the vast geographical area of Sichuan and surrounding provinces. Some groups have been completely assimilated by the Tibetans or by the Chinese. Others, including the Menia, still retain their original language but have ceased to be culturally different from the surrounding peoples.


When, in the 1920s, a Western explorer visited the region inhabited by the Menia, he wrote, "We pitched camp on the banks of the Muli River, 8,000 feet above the sea, and here we made our first acquaintance with Muli villagers, especially the women, who barter grass and barley for the horses of caravans. Their dress consisted of dark-gray woolen skirts with fringes, and leather jackets. Their wealth of hair, a good deal of it false, was decorated with garlands of gilded Szechwan [Sichuan] rupees, a coin common in this region."


The Menia were once controlled by the Chrame king, who was also the head lama of the Muli Monastery. Tibetan Buddhism still pervades every aspect of Menia society.


There has never been a known Christian among the Menia. This is the tragic result of never having heard the gospel throughout their long history. Although they may show some interest in Christ, Buddhists do not believe in a God or a Creator and do not view sin as an act of the will, but rather an external influence. These beliefs have created additional barriers to the gospel's advance.

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

People Name General Menia (Mee-nya)
People Name in Country Menia
Population in China 1,600
World Population 1,600
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 Menia (Mee-nya)
Ethnic Code MSY50r
People ID 18576
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 Although it is difficult to estimate the population size of the Menia, there are believed to be more than 1,200 speakers of the Menia language living in southern Sichuan Province. Few outsiders have ever ventured into the area in and around Muli County. Still today, access is difficult and foreigners are not allowed to enter the region. When Joseph Rock launched an expedition from Lijiang in northern Yunnan Province in 1925, he offered a glimpse of the geographic wonders encountered along the way: "The mountains are pierced by the mighty Yangtze, which has cut a trench 13,000 feet deep through a wall of limestone rock covered with eternal snow.… The whole region is a vast conglomeration of peaks and mighty gorges, with very little level ground.".   Source:  Operation China, 2000
Languages & Dialects on file:  1  (up to 20 largest shown)
Ersu (1,600)
Languages & Dialects (speakers if known) - up to 20 shown
Ersu 1,600
For Primary Language: Ersu

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

Major Religion Percent
95.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.00 %)
0.00 %
Ethnic Religions
5.00 %
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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