Profile Source: Copyright © Operation China, Paul Hattaway
The Yongchun applied for status as a separate nationality in the 1950s. When their application was rejected - along with more than 350 other groups in China - the Yongchun leaders met and agreed to be combined into the official Zhuang nationality.
The Yongchun language has simply been described as "a variety of Zhuang spoken in Yunnan Province." The 1992 Ethnologue listed Yongchun as a separate language, but the 1996 edition did not mention them at all. Yongchun is a member of the Central Tai linguistic affiliation and is related to Southern Zhuang. There are more than 50 dialects of Zhuang in China, many of which are mutually unintelligible. Speakers from different Zhuang groups often greet each other in their respective Zhuang dialects before conducting business in Mandarin or Cantonese.
After centuries of isolation, the various Tai peoples of southern China, including the Yongchun, gradually splintered and became distinct ethnolinguistic people groups.
During holidays and festival times the Yongchun like to make multicolored eggs, which they use to find partners. "Chicken, duck, or goose eggs are boiled and then dyed red, yellow, orange, blue and purple. When a young man spots a woman he likes, he takes an egg and smashes it on the egg she is carrying in her hand. If the woman is interested, she allows her egg to be smashed and then the two of them wander away from the crowd to talk in private."
The Yongchun are polytheists. They are enslaved and tormented by the demands of evil spirits, to whom they offer regular sacrifices.
There are no known Christians among the Yongchun people. In the 1800s, famous missionary statesman Hudson Taylor motivated thousands to prayer and action for China's lost by his heartfelt challenges. Taylor once asked: "Shall not the low wail of helpless misery arising from one-half of the heathen world pierce our sluggish ear and rouse us, spirit, soul and body, to one mighty, continued, unconquerable effort for China's salvation, that strong in God's strength and in the power of His might, we may snatch the prey from the hand of the mighty; that we may pluck these brands from the everlasting burning, and rescue these captives from the thralldom of sin and Satan; to grace the triumph of our Sovereign King, and to shine forth forever as stars in His diadem."