Wopu in China

Joshua Project has identified the Wopu only in China






Largest Religion

Main Language



Being one of numerous subgroups of the official Yi nationality in China, the Wopu are commonly called Da Hei Yi (Big Black Yi) by their Chinese neighbors. In this regard they are similar to the Da Hei Neisu, although the two groups speak different languages.


The Wopu were formerly slave-owners and landlords. Considered the highest class of Yi people, they inherited the privilege to keep slaves and could demand free labor on their lands by force.


Like other Yi groups in Yunnan, Guizhou, and Sichuan provinces, the Wopu have "emerged from a slavery society in which they were the infamous landlords and slave-owners; and just as the Liangshan Nosu [in Sichuan], this society of 'Black People' evidently had structured a multi-tiered class system - four castes to be exact. The top ruling classes were both termed 'Black' while the bottom two were referred to as 'White'. Although their counterparts in Sichuan emerged from the slave system as late as the 1950s, this people seem to have begun slowly adopting new ways hundreds of years ago. ... Although the slaves of this system - the Gepo - seem to have spoken the same language, the ruling castes felt it important to distinguish themselves by using two different dialects."


The religious beliefs of the Wopu appear to be a combination of spirit worship, black magic, and ancestor worship. The center of a Wopu home is the kitchen fire-pit. They believe a "spirit of the kitchen" resides there. They also appease the spirit of the village, house, mountains, rivers, and forest. Some elements of Daoism, which have been absorbed from the Chinese, are also present.


Unlike many of their Yi counterparts in northwest Guizhou, most of the Wopu have never received a witness of the gospel. They remain an unreached people group. Having been forced to give up their former identity as slaveholders, the Wopu are facing something of an identity crisis and may be open to the claims of Christ at the present time. Their remote location, distinct language, and small numbers have contributed to a lack of interest in their evangelization.

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

People Name General Wopu (Woh-poo)
People Name in Country Wopu
Population in China 3,900
World Population 3,900
Countries 1
Progress Scale 1.1
Least-Reached Yes
Indigenous Yes
Alternate Names Big Black Yi, Da Hei Yi
Affinity Bloc Tibetan-Himalayan Peoples
People Cluster Tibeto-Burman, other
People Name General Wopu (Woh-poo)
Ethnic Code MSY50i
People ID 18712
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 3,000 members of the Wopu ethnic group live in Xingyi County of Guizhou Province and in adjacent areas of Luoping County of Yunnan Province. Although the specific location of the Wopu in Guizhou is uncertain, in Yunnan they are known to inhabit the Dayiben, Jiudaogou, and Jigu villages within the Magai District; and Satuge Village of Agang District in Luoping County. According to the 1990 census, there were a total of 7,337 Yi people in Xingyi County of Guizhou Province. This figure includes the Wopu. There may also be a small number of Wopu living in the western extremity of the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region..   Source:  Operation China, 2000
Languages & Dialects on file:  1  (up to 20 largest shown)
Nasu, Wusa (3,900)
Languages & Dialects (speakers if known) - up to 20 shown
Nasu, Wusa 3,900
For Primary Language: Nasu, Wusa

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible Portions No
New Testament No
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
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

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