Tibetan, Deqen in China

Joshua Project has identified the Tibetan, Deqen only in China





Largest Religion

Main Language


The Khamba

Source:  Asia Harvest      Download

The language and many customs of the Deqen Tibetans are distinct from other Tibetan peoples. One Chinese scholar was "surprised to find that the life and customs of the people of the Deqen Prefecture differ from those of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. Besides traditional Tibetan customs, they have developed quite a few of their own."


Formerly located in Tibet, Deqen was annexed by the Chinese in 1703 and has since been a part of Yunnan Province. Tibetans had migrated south into the region many centuries earlier.


The extreme north of Yunnan is an isolated, mountainous region with abundant rain and snowfall. Hot springs located throughout the region help the people alleviate their winter struggles.


Although most Deqen Tibetans are Buddhists, this group also has the largest number of professing Christians among any Tibetan group in the world.


Three Deqen Tibetan villages numbering 600 people, located on the Tibetan side of the border, are Catholic. Another 700 Tibetans meet in a large Catholic church in Yanjing. The area was first converted by workers with the Paris Foreign Missionary Society in the late 1800s. The mission reached out in love to people all over the Tibetan world. In 1905 Tibetan lamas killed all of the French missionaries and the head of Father Dubernard was hung on the monastery gate. The Chinese authorities responded by demolishing several Tibetan temples in the region. Around the same time, emissaries of the Dalai Lama were dispatched to a Christian village near Yanjing to order the people to renounce Christianity. They shot several Christian families in a field that is called the "Field of Blood" to this day. Instead of intimidating the believers, this cruel act solidified their faith and helped them to renounce Buddhism. It has remained Christian ever since. By 1922 there were a reported 1,610 Tibetan Catholic converts in the area. The Pentecostal Missionary Union commenced work in Deqen in 1912 but gained few converts. In recent years Lisu evangelists have been sent to the Deqen Tibetans and have discipled hundreds of Tibetans in the ways of Christ. According to a Tibetan priest, Lu Rendi, there are 6,500 Tibetan Catholics in Southeast Tibet and at least a further 3,000 in neighboring areas of Yunnan Province.

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

People Name General Tibetan, Deqen (Der-chen)
People Name in Country Tibetan, Deqen
Population in China 119,000
World Population 119,000
Countries 1
Progress Scale 1.2
Least-Reached Yes
Indigenous Yes
Alternate Names Anshuenkun, Atuence, Atuense, Atuentse, Deqen Tibetan, Deqin Tibetan, Kangba, Khamba, Mekong Tibetan, Nganshuekuan, Nganshuenkuan, Nyarong, Te-ch'in, Tibetan
Affinity Bloc Tibetan-Himalayan Peoples
People Cluster Tibetan
People Name General Tibetan, Deqen (Der-chen)
Ethnic Code MSY50r
People ID 18697
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 Much confusion surrounds the classification and population of the Deqen Tibetans, whom some researchers refer to as Atuence. Atuence is the old name for the Tibetan town of Deqen in northern Yunnan Province. Some sources list more than 500,000 Atuence speakers, but our research indicates there are only around 95,000. In addition, there are nine villages of Deqen Tibetans in the northernmost tip of Myanmar..   Source:  Operation China, 2000
Languages & Dialects on file:  1  (up to 20 largest shown)
Tibetan, Khams: Southern Khams (119,000)
Languages & Dialects (speakers if known) - up to 20 shown
Tibetan, Khams: Southern Khams 119,000
For Primary Language: Tibetan, Khams

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible Portions No
New Testament No
Complete Bible No
Resource Format
Audio Bible teaching (GRN) Audio Recordings
Four Spiritual Laws General
God's Story Video Film / Video
Jesus Film: view in Tibetan, Khams Film / Video
Story of Jesus audio (Jesus Film Project) Audio Recordings
World Missionary Press Booklets Text / Printed Matter
Primary Religion: Buddhism

Major Religion Percent
96.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.80 %)
2.00 %
Ethnic Religions
1.00 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
1.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %

Christian Segments Percent
0.0 %
10.0 %
0.0 %
Other Christian
0.0 %
0.0 %
Roman Catholic
90.0 %
Photo Source: COMIBAM / Sepal  
Map Source: Joshua Project / Global Mapping International  
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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