Muda in China

Joshua Project has identified the Muda only in China






Largest Religion

Main Language



The Muda are an ethnic subgroup of the Hani nationality in China. They call themselves Muda and speak a different language from other Hani groups in China. The Muda are possibly called Sangkong in Chinese.


Because of ethnic and linguistic differences from the Akha who dominate the area, it is likely the Muda are a tribe or group of people who migrated into the area from a different location. The Akha have been scattered throughout many parts of Southeast Asia during the last 150 years. It is possible that ethnic Muda families have also participated in this diaspora, although no record exists of the Muda being in surrounding countries.


Muda villages are built, where possible, on ridges along the Nanliangshan Mountains. Their houses are stilted, with enveloping thatched roofs that often reach down to touch the ground on the high side of the hill. Muda houses have no windows. Inside their homes, there is a strict division between males and females: each gender has its own room. The family's ancestral altar stands in the center of the main room. It is considered sacred and must never be dishonored. When they move into a new house, the Muda must bring the household items into the home in a prescribed manner. First, the altar is carried in, followed by a tripod that is used to cook rice. After that, the other pieces of furniture and belongings may be brought in.


The ancestral altar is the focus for all ceremonies relating to the Muda's ancestors. The Muda share the Akha belief in a supreme being, Apoe Miyeh, who is also considered the link between their ancestors and the present-day generation. The Muda believe Apoe Miyeh to be their original male ancestor and the progenitor of their race. Great care is taken during ancestral rituals to feed and honor the spirits of the deceased. In this way the Muda also hope their children will take care of their souls after death. The Muda also worship "inside" and "outside" spirits.


In recent years the church in Jinghong County has continued to grow, but so far almost all of the expansion has occurred among Han Chinese, Tai Lu, and Jino believers. Christianity has failed to make any impact among the Muda. Because of their small population, the Muda are likely to be passed over by mission agencies and evangelists, in favor of larger, more influential groups. It will require a specific, focused, crosscultural church-planting effort to see the Muda won for Jesus Christ.

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

People Name General Muda (Moo-dah)
People Name in Country Muda
Population in China 3,000
World Population 3,000
Countries 1
Progress Scale 1.1
Least-Reached Yes
Unengaged Yes (per Finishing the Task)
Indigenous Yes
Alternate Names Gashai, Muta, Sangkong
Affinity Bloc Tibetan-Himalayan Peoples
People Cluster Hani
People Name General Muda (Moo-dah)
Ethnic Code MSY50i
People ID 18612
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 2,300 people belong to the Muda ethnic group in China. They inhabit the Nanliangshan (Nanliang Mountains) in the Gashai District of Jinghong County. Jinghong is the prefectural seat for the Xishuangbanna Dai Autonomous Prefecture in southern Yunnan Province..   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)
Muda (3,000)
Languages & Dialects (speakers if known) - up to 20 shown
Muda 3,000
For Primary Language: Muda

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Translation Need Questionable
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
Profile Source: Operation China, Paul Hattaway  Copyrighted ©   Used with permission  
Data Sources: Data is compiled from various sources. Read more

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