Neisu, Xiao Hei in China

Joshua Project has identified the Neisu, Xiao Hei only in China





Largest Religion

Main Language



The Chinese call this group Xiao Hei Yi, meaning "small black Yi." They call themselves Neisu. The Chinese include the Xiao Hei Neisu as part of the official Yi nationality, a collection of 120 distinct ethnolinguistic groups. One scholar notes that there is "nothing in common between different Yi groups."


The Xiao Hei Neisu "were on the second tier of an ancient social stratum which evidently spanned the breadth of east-central Yunnan. Above them were the Greater [Da Hei] Neisu and below them were two slave classes of Gepo. Although the actual practice of slavery was lost long before Liberation, the Lesser [Xiao Hei] Neisu still retain a sense of distinct identity from the Greater Neisu and the Gepo, including a different dialect and different costume. In certain regions such as the common borders of Xiyi, Xinshao, and Wushan districts of Mile County, the Greater and Lesser Neisu, along with the Gepo can still be found living in very close proximity, suggesting the former nature of their distribution."


Many Yi groups believe the progenitor of their race was Ou-lang and that he invented hunting and agriculture. Today, many villages hold an annual ceremony to worship Oulang. It affords the people a chance to socialize, trade, and catch up with relatives who live in different areas.


The Xiao Hei Neisu are polytheists. In their worldview, the earth is controlled by good and bad spirits. They offer regular sacrifices of sheep to ensure that they do not cause offense to the spirits. French missionary Crabouillet in 1873 found the Yi often hired shamans to chase evil spirits away from their villages by chanting and banging drums. The shamans determined the future by studying the organs of sacrificed sheep.


A few Xiao Hei Neisu became Christians in 1998 after Chinese Christians were mobilized to take the gospel to them. Most of the members of this group, however, have never heard the name of Jesus Christ. The Christian ministry Gospel Recordings produced a tape in the Xiao Hei Neisu language in 1998. This audio recording will prove greatly beneficial in reaching the Xiao Hei Neisu since most of them are illiterate.

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

People Name General Neisu, Xiao Hei (Nay-soo, Shaow-Hay)
People Name in Country Neisu, Xiao Hei
Population in China 9,700
World Population 9,700
Countries 1
Progress Scale 1.2
Least-Reached Yes
Unengaged Yes (per Finishing the Task)
Indigenous Yes
Alternate Names Black Yi, Er Yi, Lesser Neisu, Nasu, Niesupo, Nisu, Small Black Yi, Wopu, Xiaoheiyi
Affinity Bloc Tibetan-Himalayan Peoples
People Cluster Tibeto-Burman, other
People Name General Neisu, Xiao Hei (Nay-soo, Shaow-Hay)
Ethnic Code MSY50i
People ID 18634
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 7,500 Xiao Hei Neisu people live in the mountains of central Yunnan Province. They are closely related to, yet distinct from, the Wopu ethnic group. The Xiao Hei Neisu are distributed throughout Malong (2,600), Mile (2,500), Shizong (2,000), and Luliang (300) counties in eastern Yunnan Province..   Source:  Operation China, 2000
Languages & Dialects on file:  1  (up to 20 largest shown)
Nasu, Wusa (9,700)
Languages & Dialects (speakers if known) - up to 20 shown
Nasu, Wusa 9,700
For Primary Language: Nasu, Wusa

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible Portions No
New Testament No
Complete Bible No
Resource Format
Audio Bible teaching (GRN) Audio Recordings
Primary Religion: Ethnic Religions

Major Religion Percent
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.13 %)
0.15 %
Ethnic Religions
95.00 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
4.85 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %

Christian Segments Percent
0.0 %
100.0 %
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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