Yonzhi in China

Joshua Project has identified the Yonzhi only in China






Largest Religion

Main Language


The Amdo Tibetans

Source:  Asia Harvest      Download

The Yonzhi are a distinct ethnic group who live in a remote area that has changed little for hundreds of years. They are considered by some to be a part of the Golog, who in turn are officially counted as part of the Tibetan nationality in China.


For countless generations the Yonzhi have lived simple lives, unaffected by events in the rest of the world. Joseph Rock, the famous botanist and explorer, stumbled across the Yonzhi in 1929. He recalls, "The people were astonished at sight of our party. One asked, 'Why this array of arms and force when visiting our territory?' We continued up the valley to the very foot of Amnyi Druggu, the mountain god of the Yonzhi tribe. The last few tents we passed were cursed by some plague, the nomads said. The inmates lay dying outside, covered with yak-hair rugs."


The Yonzhi are nomadic, living in yak-hair tents and moving every few weeks to find new pastures for their yaks, sheep, and goats.


In addition to worshiping Amnyi Druggu, the Yonzhi's Mountain deity, the Yonzhi live in the vicinity of Anye Machen Mountain. They believe it contains a powerful god of the same name. He is often represented in pictures riding a white horse, with the sun and a rainbow to his right and the moon to his left. "All Tibetans worship Anye Machen; every monastery has either a picture or image of him. Anye means 'old man' and corresponds to our 'saint'. Ma means 'peacock' and chen 'great'."


The Yonzhi are one of the most unreachable people groups in China - if not all the world. Their region is snowbound for most of the year with temperatures plummeting to minus 40° Celsius (-40°F). The Yonzhi move around frequently, relocating their homes and herds to new pastures. Their communities are only accessible by foot or horseback. To the Yonzhi, the gospel remains untold. It is possible no Yonzhi has ever heard the name of Jesus Christ.

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

People Name General Yonzhi (Yon-jee)
People Name in Country Yonzhi
Population in China 4,100
World Population 4,100
Countries 1
Progress Scale 1.1
Least-Reached Yes
Indigenous Yes
Alternate Names
Affinity Bloc Tibetan-Himalayan Peoples
People Cluster Tibetan
People Name General Yonzhi (Yon-jee)
Ethnic Code MSY50r
People ID 18731
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 Yonzhi tribe, a nomadic Tibetan people group, live in a virtually inaccessible area of eastern Qinghai Province. They primarily inhabit the Heha Chen Valley, near the town Tibetans call Cheb Chu. The Yonzhi area lies within Gonghe County, east of the Yellow River. The imposing Anye Machen Mountain range, considered sacred by all Tibetans, lies to the east of the Yonzhi tribe. The highest peak is the 6,282 meter (20,604 ft.) Machen Gangri. In the short summer months the area comes alive with flowers. "Red and blue poppies, bright, fresh, and unharmed, looked happily out of their bed of snow.… The scenery became more and more beautiful as we descended. The little meadows, clearings in the juniper forest, were full of flowers… out in all their glory." The Yonzhi share their homelands with many blue sheep, gazelles, and wolves..   Source:  Operation China, 2000
Languages & Dialects on file:  1  (up to 20 largest shown)
Tibetan, Amdo (4,100)
Languages & Dialects (speakers if known) - up to 20 shown
Tibetan, Amdo 4,100
For Primary Language: Tibetan, Amdo

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible Portions Yes
New Testament No
Complete Bible No
Resource Format
Audio Bible teaching (GRN) Audio Recordings
Central Tibetan Language Film Film / Video
Four Spiritual Laws General
God's Story Video Film / Video
Got Questions Ministry General
Jesus Film: view in Tibetan, Amdo Film / Video
My Last Day (Jesus Film Project Anime) Film / Video
Online Scripture / Portions Audio Recordings
Story of Jesus audio (Jesus Film Project) Audio Recordings
Primary Religion: Buddhism
Religion Subdivision: Tibetan

Major Religion Percent
60.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.00 %)
0.00 %
Ethnic Religions
40.00 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
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  
Video Source: Asia Harvest
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.