Tulao in China

Joshua Project has identified the Tulao only in China






Largest Religion

Main Language



Although they are a group with their own language, customs, and ethnicity, the Tulao in China have been placed under the massive Zhuang nationality. Because of this, they have become largely forgotten amid the numerous ethnic groups. Recent studies in China have brought them into the limelight after decades of obscurity. In Vietnam they have been included under the generic Tay minority group. The Tulao do not refer to themselves by that name but use the autonym Bu Dai.


The Tulao were probably part of the large migration of Tai-speaking peoples who moved into southern Yunnan and Southeast Asia at various stages over the past 1,000 years. The Taiping Rebellion of 1851-1864 caused tens of thousands of people to flee the carnage that was taking place as the Taiping troops marched throughout southern China. The leader of the Taiping armies, Hong Xiuquan, believed he was the brother of Jesus Christ and that he was called by God to set up an earthly kingdom in China. The Tulao may well have migrated to their present location at that time, but this cannot be proven as the Tulao have no written account of their past.


In the past, the Tulao in Vietnam say, they crossed the border into China for weddings, funerals, and other festival occasions. The Sino-Vietnam war in 1979 brought great tension between the two Communist governments which caused interaction between the Tulao to cease. The Tulao have their own festivals, customs, and marriage and funeral practices.


The Tulao are animists. Buddhism has not reached their part of the world. There are also elements of Daoism and ancestor worship among the Tulao, probably as a result of Han Chinese influence.


There are no known Christians among the Tulao on either side of the China-Vietnam border. Few have been exposed to the gospel.

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

Prayer Links
Global Prayer Digest: 2014-07-28
People Name General Tulao (Too-laow)
People Name in Country Tulao
Population in China 5,100
World Population 5,100
Countries 1
Progress Scale 1.1
Least-Reached Yes
Unengaged Yes (per Finishing the Task)
Indigenous Yes
Alternate Names Bu Dai, Budai, Thu Lao
Affinity Bloc Southeast Asian Peoples
People Cluster Zhuang
People Name General Tulao (Too-laow)
Ethnic Code MSY49a
People ID 18703
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 4,000 Tulao people live in southeastern Yunnan Province. They inhabit the villages of Xinhuilong and Luchaichong in Maguan County. Others are reported to live in Wenshan, Malipo, and Kaiyuan counties. In northern Vietnam the Tulao live in communities immediately facing their counterparts on the Chinese side of the border. They live in two villages in two different districts of Vietnam's Lao Cai Province: Thai Giang Sau Village in Ta Gia Khau Township of Muong Khuong district; and Doil Village in Xa Nam San Township of Bac Ha District. Their homeland is north of the Red River in an area that juts northward into China..   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)
Rukai (5,100)
Languages & Dialects (speakers if known) - up to 20 shown
Rukai 5,100
For Primary Language: Rukai

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible Portions Yes
New Testament Yes   (2001)
Complete Bible No
Resource Format
Audio Bible teaching (GRN) Audio Recordings
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
Profile Source: Operation China, Paul Hattaway  Copyrighted ©   Used with permission  
Data Sources: Data is compiled from various sources. Read more

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