Tebbu in China

The Tebbu have only been reported in China
Population
Main Language
Largest Religion
Christian
Evangelical
Progress
Progress Gauge

Introduction / History

The Tebbu people live in one of the most dramatically remote regions of China. They inhabit villages in the midst of the imposing Min Shan Mountains along the Bailong River and its tributaries in southern Gansu Province, cut off from the rest of the world by their surroundings. The Tebbu are dispersed throughout rugged Tewo County and possibly into the eastern part of Zhugqu County.

When Joseph Rock visited the Tebbu in the 1920s he said, “The Min Shan, extending from east to west, is composed of fantastic limestone crags cut into huge turrets and pinnacles. Its northern slopes are cut into numerous deep valleys, densely forested with spruces, firs and rhododendrons, which debouch into the Tao River. The ridges and spurs separating these valleys...resemble huge sleeping dragons who guard the Tebbu Land.' Rock also noted, 'There are ten thousand of these warlike people belonging to the Tebbu tribe. These wild Tebbus that inhabit the most romantic spot of all China will perhaps remain an ethnological riddle; they call themselves Tewu and are divided into two or perhaps three clans known as the Upper or Shan Tebbu, the Lower or Ha Tebbu, and the most refractory of all, the Tara Tebbu. Today the Tebbu Land is practically closed to foreigners and Chinese alike, and he risks his life indeed who enters that forbidding natural fortress which the Tebbus claim for their own.”


What Are Their Lives Like?

Little has changed in the years since Rock's visit. The Tebbu homeland is still dangerous for visitors, and the people are still unpredictable. The Tebbu in China have largely become invisible to the outside world, due to the fact that the government has lumped them together under the general Tibetan nationality, even though the Tebbu are very different—historically, culturally and linguistically.


What Are Their Beliefs?

Although almost all Tebbu people profess Tibetan Buddhism as their religion, shamanist and animist rituals undergird all of their religious practices.

Christian and Missionary Alliance workers Edwin and Carol Carlson worked in this part of Gansu from 1922 to 1948. Their son, Bob Carlson, recalls the history of the outreach among the Tebbu people: 'It can be said that we were not received there with open arms, for my father was able to rent a house only because the landlord was having a dispute with the rest of the village, and figured the most spiteful thing he could do was to rent to foreigners. When we came on furlough in 1934, the men of a nearby village got together and burned the house to the ground. '

The famous missionary Robert Ekvall lived for a number of years in Lhamo, better known on today's maps as Langmusi. Carlson notes, 'He had many friends among the Tebbus. In 1940, as the direct result of the death of his wife Betty, a majority of the people in one Tebbu village became Christians. Bob left Lhamo in 1941 and, because of the war, was not able to return. Subsequently my dad had some contact with the believers up until 1948. What became of those believers is something I would dearly love to know!' It is now more than half a century since anything was heard about the Tebbu Christians. There is no evidence to suggest that their faith was passed on to the next generation.


What Are Their Needs?

The Tebbu people need to put their trust and identity in the hands of the loving God of Creation who sent his son to make it possible for them to enter the Kingdom of God.


Prayer Points

Pray for the spiritual blindness and bondage to the evil one to be removed so they can understand and respond to Christ.

Pray for the Lord to provide for their physical and spiritual needs as a testimony of his power and love.

Pray the Tebbu people will have a spiritual hunger that will open their hearts to the King of kings.

Pray for an unstoppable movement to Christ among them.


Scripture Prayers for the Tebbu in China.


References

Peoples of the Buddhist World, Asia Harvest, Copyrighted © Used with permission


Profile Source:   Joshua Project  

The Amdo Tibetans
Source:  Asia Harvest      Download

Additional Info
Global Prayer Digest: 2020-08-16
People Name General Tebbu
People Name in Country Tebbu
Population this Country 25,000
Population all Countries 25,000
Total Countries 1
Indigenous Yes
Progress Scale 1
Unreached Yes
Frontier People Group Yes
Pioneer Workers Needed 1
Alternate Names Diebu; Tebbus; Tewo; Tewo Tibetans; Tewu
People ID 19253
ROP3 Code 115401
Country China
Region Asia, Northeast
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank 17  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Location in Country Huangnan, Hainan, Haibei, and Guoluo (Golog) Tibetan autonomous prefectures; Qinghai Province, Haixi Mongolian-Tibetan-Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture; Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, southwest Gansu Province, Tianzhu Autonomous County; west and north    Source:  Ethnologue 2010
Country China
Region Asia, Northeast
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank 17  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Location in Country Huangnan, Hainan, Haibei, and Guoluo (Golog) Tibetan autonomous prefectures; Qinghai Province, Haixi Mongolian-Tibetan-Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture; Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, southwest Gansu Province, Tianzhu Autonomous County; west and north .   Source:  Ethnologue 2010
Primary Language Tibetan, Amdo (25,000 speakers)
Language Code adx   Ethnologue Listing
Language Written Yes   ScriptSource Listing
Total Languages 1
Primary Language Tibetan, Amdo (25,000 speakers)
Language Code adx   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages 1
People Groups Speaking Tibetan, Amdo

Primary Language:  Tibetan, Amdo

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible-Portions Yes  (2016)
Bible-New Testament Yes  (2016)
Bible-Complete No
Bible-NT Audio Online
Possible Print Bibles
Amazon
World Bibles
Forum Bible Agencies
National Bible Societies
World Bible Finder
Virtual Storehouse
Resource Type Resource Name
Audio Recordings Audio Bible teaching
Audio Recordings Online New Testament
Audio Recordings Online Scripture / Portions
Audio Recordings Story of Jesus audio
Film / Video God's Story video
Film / Video Indigitube.tv Video / Animation
Film / Video Jesus Film: view in Tibetan, Amdo
Film / Video My Last Day video, anime
Film / Video The Hope Video
General Biblical answers to your questions
General Four Spiritual Laws
General Gospel resources links
Mobile App Download audio Bible app as APK file
Mobile App Download audio Bible app from Google Play Store
Text / Printed Matter Tools for faith conversations
Text / Printed Matter Topical Scripture booklets and Bible studies
Primary Religion: Buddhism
Religion Subdivision: Tibetan
Major Religion Percent
Buddhism
95.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.00 %)
0.00 %
Ethnic Religions
5.00 %
Hinduism
0.00 %
Islam
0.00 %
Non-Religious
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
Unknown
0.00 %
Christian Segments Percent
Anglican
Unknown
Independent
Unknown
Orthodox
Unknown
Other Christian
Unknown
Protestant
Unknown
Roman Catholic
Unknown
Photo Source Copyrighted © 2022  Peoples of the Buddhist World, Asia Harvest  All rights reserved.  Used with permission
Map Source Bryan Nicholson / cartoMission  
Video Source Asia Harvest
Profile Source Joshua Project  
Data Sources Data is compiled from various sources. Read more