Buriat, Chinese in China

Joshua Project has identified the Buriat, Chinese only in China





Largest Religion

Main Language



The 1982 China language census listed 65,000 speakers of the Buriat language in China. In later censuses the Chinese authorities did not count the Buriat separately but included them under the Mongolian nationality. Large numbers of Buriat people also live in Russia and Mongolia but, because of historical and political influences, the Buriat in each country now speak different languages and should be considered three different groups from an ethnolinguistic standpoint. The Buriat in China are relatively recent arrivals, having migrated from Siberia to Inner Mongolia in 1917.


The Buriat in China inhabit grasslands in the Hulunbuir region of the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. This remote area is located where the three nations of China, Russia and Mongolia meet. The Buriat originally consisted of several Mongolian people groups and clans who were recognized as five distinct tribes. The Buriat—who claim to be descended from either a grey bull or a white swan—still share many common traits and customs with the Mongols.


The Buriat language spoken in China is different from the Buriat in Mongolia and Russia. They reportedly 'speak a highly distinctive dialect of Mongolian'. The two main dialects of Buriat in China are known as New Bargu (47,000 speakers) and Old Bargu (14,000). Some sources suggest these two dialects are so different that they may represent distinct languages, but more research needs to be done.

The yokhor folk dance plays an important role in the lives of the Buriat. Young girls imitate the actions and movements of birds and animals. Most Buriat live in mud and wood houses, although some are still nomads.


Historically, most Buriat believed in shamanism, allowing mediums to control all interactions between the gods and their communities. To be a shaman, a person had to be seen to possess utkha, a mystical spiritual energy. In the 1500s, Buddhist missionaries from Tibet travelled into Mongolia and introduced Tibetan Buddhism. It soon grew in influence, and a mixture of Buddhist teachings and shamanist practices emerged. In the past century many Buriat in Russia and Mongolia became atheists under the Communist system, but a significant number of Buriat in China have continued to believe in Buddhism. A new religion called Burkanism has also appeared among them in recent years.


A few of the Buriat in China have recently become Christians, resulting from Chinese house church efforts originating in a revival in Heilongjiang Province. Just one city, Daqing, has more than 200,000 Chinese believers. They took responsibility for evangelizing westward into Inner Mongolia, boldly preaching the gospel and seeing thousands of people converted in many locations, including Hulun Buir. The new Buriat believers are hampered by a lack of Scriptures and other resources in their language.

Profile Source:   Peoples of the Buddhist World, Paul Hattaway  Copyrighted ©   Used with permission  

Prayer Links
Global Prayer Digest: 2015-07-30
People Name General Buriat, Chinese (Boo-ree-aht)
People Name in Country Buriat, Chinese
Population in China 165,000
World Population 165,000
Countries 1
Progress Scale 1.2
Least-Reached Yes
Indigenous Yes
Alternate Names Bargu, Bargu Buriat, Buriat-Mongolian, Buryat, Northern Mongolian
Affinity Bloc East Asian Peoples
People Cluster Mongolian
People Name General Buriat, Chinese (Boo-ree-aht)
Ethnic Code MSY41y
People ID 19319
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 Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, Hulun-Buyr District, near Russia (Siberia) and Mongolia borders.   Source:  Ethnologue 2010

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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)
Buriat, China (165,000)
Languages & Dialects (speakers if known) - up to 20 shown
Buriat, China 165,000
For Primary Language: Buriat, China

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Translation Need Questionable
Resource Format
None reported  
Primary Religion: Buddhism
Religion Subdivision: Tibetan

Major Religion Percent
69.10 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.90 %)
1.00 %
Ethnic Religions
29.90 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %

Christian Segments Percent
0.0 %
100.0 %
0.0 %
Other Christian
0.0 %
0.0 %
Roman Catholic
0.0 %
Photo Source: Peoples of the Buddhist World, Paul Hattaway   Copyrighted ©   Used with permission
Profile Source: Peoples of the Buddhist World, Paul Hattaway  Copyrighted ©   Used with permission  
Data Sources: Data is compiled from various sources. Read more

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