Jiarong, Chabao in China

Jiarong, Chabao
Photo Source:  Copyrighted © 2024
Operation China, Asia Harvest  All rights reserved.  Used with permission
Map Source:  People Group location: IMB. Map geography: ESRI / GMI. Map design: Joshua Project.
People Name: Jiarong, Chabao
Country: China
10/40 Window: Yes
Population: 18,000
World Population: 18,000
Primary Language: Jiarong
Primary Religion: Buddhism
Christian Adherents: 0.00 %
Evangelicals: 0.00 %
Scripture: Portions
Online Audio NT: No
Jesus Film: No
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: Tibetan
Affinity Bloc: Tibetan-Himalayan Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

The Jiarong population has been kept relatively low over the centuries because of wars and disease. In the 1930s it was reported: "Aborigines [minorities] seize and kill members of other nationalities. Abandoned hovels and wasteland due to pillage … are common sights. Violent attacks on communities as well as government punitive actions against them, cost many tens of thousands of lives."

The Chabao Jiarong have been counted as part of the Tibetan nationality by the Chinese. "Barkam has a mixed population of Chinese, Jiarong, and Khampa Tibetans. The town was constructed in the 1950s on the site of a regionally important monastery after the Chinese built a road to open up this mountainous region."

Chabao Jiarong - which is not mutually intelligible with the other Jiarong languages - is part of the Qiangic branch of Tibeto-Burman. The Chabao Jiarong have been influenced by the Tibetans, more than the four other Jiarong language groups. Most group members can also speak the local dialect of Khampa. Jiarong adults are reported to have a 27% literacy rate. Most scholars in the West (and some in China) believe Jiarong is an independent language, while others think it is merely a dialect of Tibetan. "Political and sociological arguments brought into this discussion tend to cloud objectivity."

What Are Their Lives Like?

The Chabao Jiarong have survived the extreme Barkam winters for centuries. Little fruit or vegetables grow in the area. Their main crop is barley. The Jiarong diet mainly consists of fat, meat and soured yogurt.

What Are Their Beliefs?

Approximately one-fifth of the Jiarong follow the Bon religion. Bon, a mixture of black magic and shamanism, was the religion of all Tibetans before Buddhism arrived from India during the seventh century AD. Buddhism was incorporated into existing Bon rituals.

The good news that Christ has defeated the devil has not yet reached the ears of the Chabao Jiarong. Isobel Kuhn once wrote, "The only person who does not believe that the devil is a person is someone who has never attempted to combat him or his ways. The simple tribesman going through his animistic incantations is wiser than such a drugged intellectual. He, at least, knows there is a devil; and he has ways to appease him temporarily."

What Are Their Needs?

Without the guidance of Christ, these people will be lost in this life and the life to come. They need someone to go to them as Christ-bearers.

Prayer Points

Pray for the Lord to provide for their needs as a testimony of his power and love.
Pray workers arise to help the Chabao Jiarong realize that they are loved and accepted by Christ, and that the people group can pursue worshipping Him instead.
Pray for the work of the Holy Spirit to move mightily among the Chabao Jiarong.

Text Source:   Joshua Project