Samadu, Western in China

Joshua Project has identified the Samadu, Western only in China






Largest Religion

Main Language



The Western Samadu were originally Han Chinese soldiers who were sent from eastern China to Yunnan many centuries ago. They stayed in Yunnan, married local Yi women, and gradually evolved into a distinct ethnic group called the Samadu. Based on cultural and linguistic factors, the Western Samadu were officially included under the Yi nationality in China.


The Samadu claim they originated in Jiangxi and Hunan provinces in eastern China. From there, they say they were sent to Kunming as soldiers in the Ming Dynasty armies, and from there some of them were dispatched to western Yunnan to patrol rebellious areas. In this regard they are similar to the Western Gaisu people, who also live in Yongde County.


Western Samadu culture is now virtually indistinguishable from the Han Chinese around them. The only factors that make them different today are their ethnic name, their history, and their language, which is fast becoming extinct.


Older Western Samadu practice animism and ancestor worship. The younger generation, having been educated in atheistic schools, are mostly non religious and view the superstitions of their forefathers with contempt. David Adeney, a former CIM missionary to China, found that Communism was not merely a political system but a religion set on conquering the hearts and minds of its subjects. "The Communist gospel says that God is not love, God is not personal; rather God is an inevitable necessity which moves in history to redeem men's bodies and minds from the slavery of hunger and injustice...Thus, while Communism has no concept of God, it supplies a substitute. Man in society becomes the God of Communism."


The Western Samadu are not known to contain any Christians. There are some Wa and Lahu believers in the general area they inhabit, but few believers have ever made a specific effort to reach out to the Western Samadu. There are several other Yi groups in Zhenkang and Yongde counties, including the Limi, Mishaba Laluo, Pengzi, Suan, Western Gaisu, and Yangliu Lalu, but all are unreached people groups in desperate need of the gospel. Because their language is on the verge of extinction, the Western Samadu could now best be reached by Chineselanguage media.

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

Video Links:
The Path to Truth and Life
People Name General Samadu, Western (Sah-mah-doo)
People Name in Country Samadu, Western
Population in China 9,800
World Population 9,800
Countries 1
Progress Scale 1.1
Least-Reached Yes
Unengaged Yes (per Finishing the Task)
Indigenous Yes
Alternate Names Samaduo, Samou
Affinity Bloc Tibetan-Himalayan Peoples
People Cluster Tibeto-Burman, other
People Name General Samadu, Western (Sah-mah-doo)
Ethnic Code MSY50z
People ID 18675
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 According to a 1999 source, 7,500 Western Samadu people live in the western part of Yunnan Province in southwest China. The majority (6,000) live in Zhenkang County, while an additional 1,500 inhabit areas within neighboring Yongde County..   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)
Chinese, Mandarin (9,800)
Languages & Dialects (speakers if known) - up to 20 shown
Chinese, Mandarin 9,800
For Primary Language: Chinese, Mandarin

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible Portions Yes   (1864-1986)
New Testament Yes   (1857-1981)
Complete Bible Yes   (1874-1983)
Audio Bible Online
Resource Format
Audio Bible teaching (GRN) Audio Recordings
Bible Gateway Scripture Text / Printed Matter
Bible Visuals General
Bible-in-Your-Language Text / Printed Matter
Bible: Chinese Union Version, Shangti Edition, Simplified Text / Printed Matter
Bible: Chinese Union Version, Shangti Edition, Simplified Text / Printed Matter
Bible: Chinese Union Version, Shen Edition, Simplified Text / Printed Matter
Bible: Chinese Union Version, Shen Edition, Simplified Text / Printed Matter
Bible: Revised Chinese Union Version, Traditional Text / Printed Matter
Bible: 新譯本(繁體字版) Text / Printed Matter
Bibles, Bible League Text / Printed Matter
Cartoon Gospel tract Text / Printed Matter
Chinese Blog about Unreached Peoples General
Christ for the Nations Audio Recordings
EasyBibles Text / Printed Matter
EasyBibles Text / Printed Matter
EasyBibles Text / Printed Matter
Fathers Love Letter Film / Video
Four Spiritual Laws General
General Ministry Resources Film / Video
Primary Religion: Ethnic Religions

Major Religion Percent
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.00 %)
0.00 %
Ethnic Religions
95.00 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
5.00 %
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
Video Source: Create 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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