Katso in China

Joshua Project has identified the Katso only in China





Largest Religion

Main Language



The Katso are a distinct people group. They deliberately separate themselves and refuse to intermarry with people from other nationalities. Despite having been cut off from their homeland for seven centuries, the Katso proudly retain their ethnic identity as Mongols.


The Mongolian empire gained control over southwest China in 1252 when they overthrew the ancient Nanzhao Kingdom in Dali. They ruled Yunnan for 129 years, extracting annual taxes and tribute which were sent north to fill the coffers of the Yuan Dynasty rulers. In 1381, "Ming Dynasty troops routed the Yuan army by the shore of the Baishi River. The Mongol soldiers, their hopes to return to their homeland having been dashed, had no alternative but to settle down in the province." Their ancestors have today grown to 7,000 people around Jihulu Lake.


The Katso women's dress is said to resemble the uniform of the original Mongol soldiers. During the hotter part of the year, they wear cloth instead of fur and cut off the sleeves.

In the early 1980s, village elders sent a delegation to Inner Mongolia to learn about Mongolian culture. They immediately adopted customs similar to Mongols in the north. Wrestling became their favorite sport when they saw how popular it was with other Mongols.


The religion of the Katso is a mixture of Buddhism and Daoism. Posters of fierce Daoist deities hang on the doors and gates of their homes to ward off evil spirits. A few Mongol families are Muslims. They were converted to Islam by the neighboring Hui community, located near the entrance to the Mongolian village.


There is no Christian church among the Katso. The few efforts to take the gospel to them have been met with stubborn resistance and opposition from village leaders and local police who are eager to preserve the Mongolian traditions they had neglected for centuries and who are careful to shun all change to their society. In the 1980s, a Mongolian Christian from northern China visited this village, hoping he would be able to influence the Katso to become Christians. He too was rejected by the locals.

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

People Name General Katso
People Name in Country Katso
Population in China 8,200
World Population 8,200
Countries 1
Progress Scale 1.2
Least-Reached Yes
Indigenous Yes
Alternate Names
Affinity Bloc East Asian Peoples
People Cluster Mongolian
People Name General Katso
Ethnic Code MSY41f
People ID 19683
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 Yunnan Province, Yuxi Prefecture, Tonghai County, Xingmeng Mongolian Autonomous Township.   Source:  Ethnologue 2010
Languages & Dialects on file:  1  (up to 20 largest shown)
Katso (8,200)
Languages & Dialects (speakers if known) - up to 20 shown
Katso 8,200
For Primary Language: Katso

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Translation Need Questionable
Resource Format
None reported  
Primary Religion: Ethnic Religions

Major Religion Percent
10.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.05 %)
0.05 %
Ethnic Religions
60.00 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
29.95 %
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: 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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