Ayizi in China

Ayizi
Photo Source:  Copyrighted © 2022
Operation China, Asia Harvest  All rights reserved.  Used with permission
Map Source:  Joshua Project / Global Mapping International
People Name: Ayizi
Country: China
10/40 Window: Yes
Population: 2,200
World Population: 2,200
Primary Language: Chinese, Mandarin
Primary Religion: Ethnic Religions
Christian Adherents: 0.50 %
Evangelicals: 0.50 %
Scripture: Complete Bible
Online Audio NT: No
Jesus Film: Yes
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: Tibeto-Burman, other
Affinity Bloc: Tibetan-Himalayan Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

We know very little about the origins of the Ayizi, although they were probably fairly recent arrivals in the Shilin area - perhaps only about 200 years ago.

The Ayizi have been officially counted as part of the Yi nationality in China. Although they were a distinct ethnic group with a proud history until about 50 years ago, today many of the Ayizi have been culturally and linguistically assimilated by the Han Chinese. Within one or two generations the Ayizi may cease to exist as a distinct people. One writer explains, "Paradoxically, what the Chinese before 1950 could not accomplish by force, they are now accomplishing as a byproduct of a quite different goal, all the while encouraging respect for minority differences: the Yi minorities are becoming ever more assimilated into national political, economic, social, and cultural institutions. The Yi, formerly known as 'iron peas' because they could not be assimilated, are joining the stew."

What Are Their Lives Like?

The traditional dress formerly worn by Ayizi women has also been lost. Today the Ayizi celebrate Han Chinese festivals. Perhaps the only minority festival they still observe is the annual Torch Festival.

What Are Their Beliefs?

Most elderly Ayizi people practice spirit worship and ancestor worship, while the younger generation are nonreligious and consider their parents' beliefs to be foolish superstition.

There are almost no Christians among the Ayizi today, although there was extensive Catholic missionary work in the area prior to 1949. The gospel has not always been gladly received by the Yi in China. In 1910, writing of a related group, Samuel Pollard stated, "We met a Yi in the path. He was most unfriendly towards us. He said, 'We hate Pollard, because he has come into our midst and has destroyed the efficacy of our idols'. Two years ago in this village the Yi landlord oppressed the Miao dreadfully for becoming Christian. They were fined 103 taels of silver, their rents were increased, some were tied up by their hair and others by their hands under their knees - then he beat them and shouted, 'Call on your Jesus to save you? What can Jesus do for you? What can the teacher do for you?' And here they are still believing; we had a crowded house at night with some of the children standing on my bed. Eleven of them were baptized."

What Are Their Needs?

The Ayizi people need to submit to Jesus Christ so they can experience the abundant life he offers them in John 10:10.

Prayer Points

Pray for the authority of Christ to bind hindering spiritual forces to lead them from darkness to light.

Pray for signs and wonders to happen among them and for great breakthroughs with a rapid multiplication of disciples and house churches.

Pray for bold workers who are driven by the love of the Holy Spirit to go to them.

Pray for an unstoppable movement to Christ among them.

Text Source:   Joshua Project