Nisu, Jianshui in China

Joshua Project has identified the Nisu, Jianshui only in China





Largest Religion

Main Language



The Jianshui Nisu are part of the Yi nationality in China. Chinese records invariably mention two designations of Nisu in this part of the country: Hua Yao (Flowery Belt) and San Dao Hong (Three Stripes of Red). As one scholar found: "The Han titles are used in reference to costume differences; nevertheless, in this case, clothing styles correspond directly with the linguistic and cultural differences of two people groups - both of whom call themselves Nisu. ... Garment differences vary among some of the Jianshui Nisu in Gejiu and Mengzi counties, however, and the title San Dao Hong is not always used to refer to this people."


The Jianshui Nisu have been a dominant group in southern Yunnan for many centuries. Only during the past century have a small number of Jianshui Nisu been assimilated by Han Chinese who have settled in the area.


Women of this group living in Jianshui and Shiping counties wear three tightly wound stripes of red yarn in their hair, often partially covered by a red or white headdress. In Shiping County, "the family of the bride is to make a new costume to present to the bride on her wedding day. She is to keep this set of garments until the day she dies. The bride, in turn, makes a pair of pants from coarse cloth, with the leg holes sewn closed, and presents them to her groom on the wedding day. The groom, much to his chagrin, must put the pants on in front of all his guests during the wedding ceremony. The party judges the groom's intelligence based on how soon he is able to break his feet through the cuffs and put the pants on."


The Jianshui Nisu worship numerous spirits, some of whom are considered benevolent and others evil.


The first missionaries in Jianshui arrived in 1933 and stayed for two years. In 1945 a Presbyterian work began in Jianshui and was joined by two Italian missionaries. By 1950 there were a reported 200 Christians in Jianshui - all of them Han Chinese. In Shiping, a female missionary from the Seventh Day Adventists arrived in 1932. After a number of years she had gained about 30 disciples. All missionaries were expelled in 1949, but by 1958 there were still 50 believers in Shiping. Today there are a small number of Nisu Christians in the Gaoda District of Tonghai County.

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

People Name General Nisu, Jianshui (Nee-soo, Jee-uhn-shway)
People Name in Country Nisu, Jianshui
Population in China 226,000
World Population 226,000
Countries 1
Progress Scale 1.2
Least-Reached Yes
Indigenous Yes
Alternate Names Lolo, Luoluo, Luozu, Neisu, Niesu, Nisu, Nisupo, Nosu, San Dao Hong, Southern Yi, Yi, Yizu
Affinity Bloc Tibetan-Himalayan Peoples
People Cluster Tibeto-Burman, other
People Name General Nisu, Jianshui (Nee-soo, Jee-uhn-shway)
Ethnic Code MSY50i
People ID 18636
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 370,000 Jianshui Nisu people are located in southern Yunnan Province, primarily in Shiping, Jianshui, Gejiu, and Mengzi counties in Honghe Prefecture. About 13,000 live in Tonghai and Eshan counties of Yuxi Prefecture..   Source:  Operation China, 2000
Languages & Dialects on file:  1  (up to 20 largest shown)
Nisu, Southern (226,000)
Languages & Dialects (speakers if known) - up to 20 shown
Nisu, Southern 226,000
For Primary Language: Nisu, Southern

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible Portions No
New Testament No
Complete Bible No
Resource Format
Jesus Film: view in Nisu, Southern Film / Video
Primary Religion: Ethnic Religions

Major Religion Percent
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.20 %)
1.00 %
Ethnic Religions
93.00 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
6.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %

Christian Segments Percent
0.0 %
40.0 %
0.0 %
Other Christian
0.0 %
20.0 %
Roman Catholic
40.0 %
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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