Tagu in China

Joshua Project has identified the Tagu only in China






Largest Religion

Main Language



The Tagu are part of the official Yi nationality in China, although they view themselves as distinct from all other ethnic groups. The Tagu are not the same as the Talu - a different Yi group also found in Yongsheng and Ninglang counties.


The Tagu may have been a tribe who came out of southern Sichuan Province centuries ago to escape the slave system practiced by the Nosu people there. After several generations, the ancestors of the Tagu forgot their origins and developed their own ethnicity, language, and culture.


When a missionary visited a Yi village in the early 1900s, he was given a never-to-be-forgotten meal: "As we sat on bear rugs on the ground a goat was brought in and presented to us, and there and then they set to slaughter and prepare it for the meal. This is considered very respectful to the guest and assures him that the meat is fresh and that the animal has been killed especially for his benefit. When the carcass was ready, the heart and liver were thrown into the ashes of the wood fire and after a few minutes they were taken out, placed on wooden plates and handed to the visitors. I ate mine with as much delight as I could. ... Staying among these wild people convinces me that in their homes and among their own people they are worthy of our best efforts to evangelize among them. I found a warm welcome wherever I went and nowhere met with the ill-treatment predicted for me by the Chinese."


One of the main deities feared by Yi people everywhere, including the Tagu, are the powerful Mountain gods they believe dwell inside the largest mountains in each area. Offerings and sacrifices are made to placate these demons. It is possible that the legends related to the power of the Mountain gods started as a result of volcanic activity long ago: this convinced the people a powerful being was responsible for displaying his wrath and venting his anger through the mountain. The Tagu also worship many local spirits, such as the spirit of the soil, the spirit of the rice harvest, and the spirit of the forest.


Ninglang and Yongsheng, for all practical purposes, have only been connected to the rest of China for the last few decades. Before the 1950s there were few or no roads in the area and, therefore, they experienced little Chinese influence. For the same reason, no missionaries are known to have lived in the Ninglang or Yongsheng areas before 1949. They have little access to the gospel, and most Tagu have never yet met a Christian.

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

People Name General Tagu (Tah-goo)
People Name in Country Tagu
Population in China 4,600
World Population 4,600
Countries 1
Progress Scale 1.1
Least-Reached Yes
Unengaged Yes (per Finishing the Task)
Indigenous Yes
Alternate Names Tagupo, Taguren
Affinity Bloc Tibetan-Himalayan Peoples
People Cluster Tibeto-Burman, other
People Name General Tagu (Tah-goo)
Ethnic Code MSY50i
People ID 18688
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 3,500 people belong to the Tagu ethnic group in northern Yunnan Province of southern China. The Tagu mainly inhabit villages in the Dongshan and Gai communities of Dongshan District in Yongsheng County. The principal village of the Tagu is Taguping. The Tagu are also known to live in Ninglang County, but their specific location is unknown..   Source:  Operation China, 2000
Languages & Dialects on file:  1  (up to 20 largest shown)
Nuosu (4,600)
Languages & Dialects (speakers if known) - up to 20 shown
Nuosu 4,600
For Primary Language: Nuosu

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible Portions Yes
New Testament Yes   (2005)
Complete Bible No
Resource Format
Audio Bible teaching (GRN) Audio Recordings
Jesus Film: view in Nuosu Film / Video
My Last Day (Jesus Film Project Anime) Film / Video
Story of Jesus audio (Jesus Film Project) Audio Recordings
Primary Religion: Ethnic Religions

Major Religion Percent
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.00 %)
0.00 %
Ethnic Religions
96.00 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
4.00 %
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: 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

Copyright © 2015 Joshua Project.  A ministry of Frontier Ventures.