Qiang, Mawo in China

Joshua Project has identified the Qiang, Mawo only in China





Largest Religion

Main Language


The Qiang

Source:  Asia Harvest      Download

The Mawo Qiang are one subgroup of the official Qiang nationality in China. Interestingly enough, some Qiang claim to be descended from sheep, hence the character for their name. (The upper radical of the Chinese character for Qiang defines "sheep," the lower one "son.")

Mawo Qiang is one of four varieties of Northern Qiang spoken in Sichuan Province. It takes its name from Mawo District which was the location chosen by scholars to study this language. Many Mawo Qiang are bilingual in Tibetan or multilingual in both Tibetan and the Sichuan dialect of Mandarin Chinese.


During certain occasions in the past, whole Qiang communities were wiped out because of plagues and disease. In recent years the government has given mass treatment of black fever and hookworm to the Qiang, which has greatly reduced the danger of these epidemic diseases.


Qiang men and women typically wear homespun linen gowns with sheep-skin vests called guagua. They wear their vests with the fur turned inward for cool weather and turned outward during rainy weather. Both men and women wear variously colored scarfs on their heads. Qiang women wear embroidered shoes called Yun Yun shoes. An old legend says that long ago a Han girl named Yun Yun enjoyed close friendship with her Qiang sisters and taught them spinning, weaving, and embroidery. One day Yun Yun and her Qiang sisters went up a mountain to cut firewood and got caught in a storm; Yun Yun slipped and fell into a deep valley, leaving behind only her embroidered shoes. In memory of Yun Yun the Qiang girls wear shoes patterned after hers and call them Yun Yun shoes. Unmarried girls often send their painstakingly embroidered Yun Yun shoes as gifts to the man they love. When they marry, they place several pairs in their dowry.


One of the festivals celebrated by the Qiang is called Zhuanshan (Mountain Circling). In the past, villagers led an ox and carried food and wine up a mountain to sacrifice to the Mountain gods. Monkeys, wild boars, and rats, all made of paper, were set on fire to symbolize the destruction of the pests that devoured the Qiang's grain.


The Mawo Qiang are possibly the most unevangelized of the Qiang groups in China. Their language is very different from the Southern Qiang language groups, which contain most of the known Qiang believers. If evangelists were to visit the Mawo Qiang they would need to communicate in Chinese which, although it is understood by some of the people, is not their "heart language." Mission history shows that the gospel must be presented in the native language of a people group for Christianity to reach to the core of a community and change it.

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

People Name General Qiang, Mawo (Chee-ung, Mah-wo)
People Name in Country Qiang, Mawo
Population in China 20,000
World Population 20,000
Countries 1
Progress Scale 1.1
Least-Reached Yes
Indigenous Yes
Alternate Names Chiang, Mawo, Mawo, Qiang, Thochu
Affinity Bloc Tibetan-Himalayan Peoples
People Cluster Tibeto-Burman, other
People Name General Qiang, Mawo (Chee-ung, Mah-wo)
Ethnic Code MSY50r
People ID 18665
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 In 1990 there were 12,000 speakers of the Mawo Qiang language reported in China. They live wholly within the borders of Heishui County (in the districts of Mawo, Zhawo, Shuangliusuo, Xi'er, Hongyan, and E'en) in northwestern Sichuan Province..   Source:  Operation China, 2000
Languages & Dialects on file:  1  (up to 20 largest shown)
Qiang, Northern (20,000)
Languages & Dialects (speakers if known) - up to 20 shown
Qiang, Northern 20,000
For Primary Language: Qiang, Northern

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

Major Religion Percent
95.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.01 %)
0.01 %
Ethnic Religions
4.00 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
1.00 %
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: Bethany World Prayer Center  
Video Source: Asia Harvest
Profile Source: Operation China, Paul Hattaway  Copyrighted ©   Used with permission  
Data Sources: Data is compiled from various sources. Read more

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