Qiang, Mawo in China

Qiang, Mawo
Photo Source:  Copyrighted © 2023
Operation China, Asia Harvest  All rights reserved.  Used with permission
Map Source:  Bethany World Prayer Center
People Name: Qiang, Mawo
Country: China
10/40 Window: Yes
Population: 20,000
World Population: 20,000
Primary Language: Qiang, Northern
Primary Religion: Buddhism
Christian Adherents: 0.01 %
Evangelicals: 0.01 %
Scripture: Unspecified
Online Audio NT: No
Jesus Film: No
Audio Recordings: No
People Cluster: Tibeto-Burman, other
Affinity Bloc: Tibetan-Himalayan Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

During certain occasions in the past, whole Qiang communities were wiped out because of plagues and disease. In recent years the government has given mass treatment of black fever and hookworm to the Qiang, which has greatly reduced the danger of these epidemic diseases.

The Mawo Qiang are one subgroup of the official Qiang nationality in China. Interestingly enough, some Qiang claim to be descended from sheep, hence the character for their name. (The upper radical of the Chinese character for Qiang defines "sheep," the lower one "son.")

Mawo Qiang is one of four varieties of Northern Qiang spoken in Sichuan Province. It takes its name from Mawo District which was the location chosen by scholars to study this language. Many Mawo Qiang are bilingual in Tibetan or multilingual in both Tibetan and the Sichuan dialect of Mandarin Chinese.

What Are Their Lives Like?

Qiang men and women typically wear homespun linen gowns with sheep-skin vests called guagua. They wear their vests with the fur turned inward for cool weather and turned outward during rainy weather. Both men and women wear variously colored scarfs on their heads. Qiang women wear embroidered shoes called Yun Yun shoes. An old legend says that long ago a Han girl named Yun Yun enjoyed close friendship with her Qiang sisters and taught them spinning, weaving, and embroidery. One day Yun Yun and her Qiang sisters went up a mountain to cut firewood and got caught in a storm; Yun Yun slipped and fell into a deep valley, leaving behind only her embroidered shoes. In memory of Yun Yun the Qiang girls wear shoes patterned after hers and call them Yun Yun shoes. Unmarried girls often send their painstakingly embroidered Yun Yun shoes as gifts to the man they love. When they marry, they place several pairs in their dowry.

What Are Their Beliefs?

One of the festivals celebrated by the Qiang is called Zhuanshan (Mountain Circling). In the past, villagers led an ox and carried food and wine up a mountain to sacrifice to the mountain gods. Monkeys, wild boars, and rats, all made of paper, were set on fire to symbolize the destruction of the pests that devoured the Qiang's grain.

The Mawo Qiang are possibly the most unevangelized of the Qiang groups in China. Their language is very different from the Southern Qiang language groups, which contain most of the known Qiang believers. If evangelists were to visit the Mawo Qiang they would need to communicate in Chinese which, although it is understood by some of the people, is not their heart language. Mission history shows that the gospel must be presented in the local language of a people group for Christianity to reach to the core of a community and change it.

What Are Their Needs?

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

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 Mawo Qiang 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