Zauzou in China

Photo Source:  Paul Noll 
Map Source:  Joshua Project / Global Mapping International
People Name: Zauzou
Country: China
10/40 Window: Yes
Population: 3,800
World Population: 3,800
Primary Language: Zauzou
Primary Religion: Ethnic Religions
Christian Adherents: 5.00 %
Evangelicals: 3.37 %
Scripture: Translation Needed
Online Audio NT: No
Jesus Film: No
Audio Recordings: No
People Cluster: Tibeto-Burman, other
Affinity Bloc: Tibetan-Himalayan Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

The Zauzou have been officially included in the Nu minority in China, but they speak a different dialect from other Nu communities. A visitor in the 1920s commented on the dire state of the Zauzou, "They live solely on corn, their staple food, which they use for making a liquor of which they drink a great deal."

In the eighth century the whole of western Yunnan Province came under the control of the Nanzhao Kingdom. During the Yuan and Ming dynasties (1271-1644), Nanzhao came under the control of a Naxi headman in Lijiang. The Zauzou in Lanping County are the most Sinicized of the Nu groups in China. Prior to 1949 "their methods of production and standard of living were similar to those of the Hans, Bais, and Naxis."

What Are Their Lives Like?

The various Nu groups bury a man on his back with straightened limbs, while a woman is laid on her side with bent limbs. If both the husband and wife are buried together, the wife's body is bent toward her husband, symbolizing her submission. They announce deaths with the loud blowing of bamboo trumpets. The number of trumpet blasts is determined by the age and status of the deceased—one for an unmarried man, two for a married man, three for a married man with children, five or six for a village elder or clan leader. All the villagers go to the house of the deceased and mourn with the grieving family.

What Are Their Beliefs?

For centuries the Zauzou have been animists. They slavishly worshiped the sun, moon, stars, mountains, rivers, trees, and rocks. In recent decades the practice of animism has subsided due to pressure from the communist authorities who brand it "superstition." There are also believed to be a small number of Christians among the Zauzou.

During the Korean War the communists showed films of the war in one village, hoping to create anti-American fervor. However, the people responded, "American missionaries created written characters for us, enabling our adults and children to read and write. They told us about the benefits of believing in Jesus and abolishing superstition. They educated us to work hard and live thriftily. ... They have done so much good for us, we have been constantly concerned about them after they left. How could we say anything against them?"

What Are Their Needs?

The Zauzou 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 Zauzou 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.

Text Source:   Joshua Project