Profile Source: Copyright © Operation China, Paul Hattaway
Central Huishui is one of four Huishui Miao languages - totaling more than 140,000 speakers. They, in turn, are considered part of the official Miao nationality by the Chinese government.
Because they do not have a written language, Miao history is handed down by word of mouth and through songs. Miao legend tells how human life originated when a maple tree metamorphosed into a butterfly. The butterfly then laid twelve eggs from which hatched Jiangyang, the ancestor of the Miao. The other eggs hatched, giving birth to Thunder, Centipede, Dragon, Elephant, Tiger, Snake, Rooster, Dog, Fish, and Water Buffalo.
The lives of most Miao people in China have become more complicated in recent years as China's economic condition has improved. Today, a prospective partner for marriage is often required to own a television, radio, and motorbike before being considered marriageable.
Most Central Huishui Miao are animists, living in fear of a host of different demons and deities. Miao shamans and sorcerers possess great demonic power. An early missionary described his experiences: "As a rule I don't believe in devils but these wizards seem to have communications with a whole world of demons." He went on to describe some of the supernatural things done by these men, such as putting white hot chains around their necks without being harmed.
There are small numbers of indigenous Miao and ethnically mixed Christian fellowships in the Central Huishui Miao region. Few of the Central Huishui Miao are Christians, although most members of this group have yet to receive an adequate presentation of the gospel. The Miao language used for the Jesus film is not understood by the Central Huishui Miao. They are relatively open to change, but few evangelists or missionaries have ever specifically focused on the Central Huishui Miao.