Lopi, Shuitian in China

Joshua Project has identified the Lopi, Shuitian only in China

Population

18,800

Christian

0.70%

Evangelical

0.33%

Largest Religion

Main Language

Progress


Profile Source: Copyright © Operation China, Paul Hattaway


Identity

The Chinese authorities have counted the Lopi as part of the huge Yi nationality who, in 1945, were found to be a collection of 93 different tribes. This classification, however, has angered the Lopi who "do not even agree that they are Yi; they think of the Yi as mountain barbarians and have no wish to be associated with them; they are both puzzled and bitter that they have not won recognition as a separate minzu [nationality]. According to Harrell, the Han neighbors of the Lopi are aware of their claim of separate status, but "it is not much of an issue for them." The future of the Lopi as a distinct people is endangered. Harrell notes, "Their system of kinship terminology like their dress, their religion, and their language, is now identical with that of the Han; only their sense of self-identity and their official classification as members of a minority distinguish them from their Han neighbors." Lopi is the self-name of this group. The Chinese call them Shuitian, meaning "Watery fields people."


History

The Panzhihua area is a crossroads for many tribes and people groups. There are at least five kinds of Yi in the region, including the Eastern Lipo, Bai Yi, Nosu, and Michi who migrated from Guizhou. These groups are described as "all very different from each other."


Customs

The Chinese name for the Lopi, (Watery Fields People) indicates their occupation. They are primarily engaged in cultivating rice which they grow in irrigated fields. There are few distinct customs left among the Lopi, who have been gradually assimilated by the Han Chinese in much the same way as "stomach juices will treat a steak."


Religion

Most Lopi are nonreligious, although a few minor traces of animistic practices remain among the elderly Lopi in the mountains.


Christianity

Although there are few known Christians among the Lopi today, the area around Panzhihua has a rich missions history. The Catholic Paris Foreign Missionary Society commenced work in the region as early as 1790. In 1802 Monseigneur de Philomeile reported that "the Lolos [Yi] wish to become Christians in groups." In five or six days he counted as many as 500 potential converts. In 1809 Monsieur Hamel baptized 74 adults in Huili, northeast of the Lopi area. The neighboring Eastern Lipo group has many Christians.



Profile Source: Operation China, Paul Hattaway Copyrighted ©: Yes Used with permission
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Country China
Continent Asia
Region Northeast Asia
10/40 Window Yes
Location in Country More than 15,000 Lopi people live in small communities scattered throughout northern Yunnan and southern Sichuan. Anthropologist Stevan Harrell is the only scholar known to have researched the Lopi. He estimates between 2,000 and 3,000 Lopi live in Futian and Pingjiang districts, near Panzhihua in southern Sichuan Province. The large and polluted town of Panzhihua is an "iron, steel, vanadium and titanium mining complex built since 1965."
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People Name General Lopi, Shuitian
People Name in Country Lopi, Shuitian
ROP3 Code 114823
Joshua Project People ID 19177
Indigenous Yes
Population in China 18,800
Least-Reached Yes
Alternate Names for People Group
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Languages & Dialects (speakers if known) - up to 20 shown
Chinese, Mandarin 18,846
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Affinity Bloc Tibetan-Himalayan Peoples
People Cluster Tibeto-Burman, other
People Name General Lopi, Shuitian
Ethnic Code MSY50z
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Largest Religion Non-Religious
Buddhism
0.00%
Christianity
0.70%    ( Evangelical  0.33% )
Ethnic Religions
40.00%
Hinduism
0.00%
Islam
0.00%
Non-Religious
59.30%
Other / Small
0.00%
Unknown
0.00%
Christian Segments
Anglican
0.00%
Independent
40.00%
Protestant
0.00%
Orthodox
0.00%
Other Christian
0.00%
Roman Catholic
60.00%
Photo Source: Operation China, Paul Hattaway Copyrighted ©: Yes Used with permission
Profile Source:
Data Sources: Data is compiled from various sources. Read more
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