Jiarong, Shangzhai in China

Jiarong, Shangzhai
Photo Source:  Copyrighted © 2023
Operation China, Asia Harvest  All rights reserved.  Used with permission
Send Joshua Project a map of this people group.
People Name: Jiarong, Shangzhai
Country: China
10/40 Window: Yes
Population: 5,200
World Population: 5,200
Primary Language: sTodsde
Primary Religion: Buddhism
Christian Adherents: 0.00 %
Evangelicals: 0.00 %
Scripture: Translation Needed
Online Audio NT: No
Jesus Film: No
Audio Recordings: No
People Cluster: Tibetan
Affinity Bloc: Tibetan-Himalayan Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

The Shangzhai Jiarong are one of many people groups in the area who inhabit what has been labeled an "ethnic corridor." "This corridor, a borderland of Sino-Tibetan and Yi-Tibetan contact, has been an arena of political tug-of-war. This is also the area where the so-called Qiang, Di, and Rong ethnic groups lived and thrived and where many local governments of varying power and duration have appeared This area should be fertile ground for exploration by historians as well as linguists."

Shangzhai is one of five distinct languages of the Jiarong ethnic group in China (six if Ergong is included). The Jiarong, in turn, were officially placed under the Tibetan nationality by the Chinese authorities, even though their languages are far removed from Tibetan. There has been some talk in Chinese circles of further investigation being conducted to see if the Jiarong should be classified as a separate minority, but officials in Beijing believe the task of classifying minorities has been completed and will not consider any more applications.

Shangzhai Jiarong, and the other Jiarong languages, are members of the Qiangic branch of Tibeto-Burman. Jonathon Evans notes, "This language remains almost totally unrepresented in the available literature except for isolated words and sample paradigms in one source." Shangzhai seems closer to Ergong than to any other Jiarong languages. The internal diversity of Shangzhai is uncertain but its major local varieties, Dayili, Zongke and Puxi, appear to be quite distinct. The Dayili dialect was included in a survey of Qiangic languages in 1993.

What Are Their Lives Like?

Visually and culturally the Jiarong are similar to the Tibetans who live in the area. Today, the Jiarong dress identically to the Tibetans, eat the same food, and celebrate the same festivals.

What Are Their Beliefs?

Tibetan Buddhism and spirit appeasement dominate every aspect of the daily lives of the Shangzhai Jiarong.

The area inhabited by the Shangzhai Jiarong has been blocked off from Christian presence throughout its history. Lawless bandits, remote mountain ranges rising to 7,000 meters (23,000 ft.) above sea level, lack of roads, and the powerful influence of Tibetan Buddhism have prevented news of Jesus Christ from ever reaching the ears of the unreached Shangzhai Jiarong.

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 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 that the Shangzhai Jiarong 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