Xiandao in China

Photo Source:  Copyrighted © 2024
Operation China, Asia Harvest  All rights reserved.  Used with permission
Send Joshua Project a map of this people group.
People Name: Xiandao
Country: China
10/40 Window: Yes
Population: 300
World Population: 300
Primary Language: Achang
Primary Religion: Christianity
Christian Adherents: 95.00 %
Evangelicals: 50.00 %
Scripture: Complete Bible
Online Audio NT: Yes
Jesus Film: No
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: Tibeto-Burman, other
Affinity Bloc: Tibetan-Himalayan Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

The Xiandao are counted as part of the Achang nationality, but they claim they are not related. The Xiandao language is distinct from the three Achang dialects. The Xiandao may be the group described by one writer as a "Burmese tribe living in the Chinese Shan States... spoken of as Lao-Mien, Old Burmese."
A recent interview with the Xiandao village leader recounts a bizarre history - no doubt a mixture of truth and legend: "A thousand years ago we numbered 400 people and were the richest tribe in the region. Then we had a fierce war with the De'ang. We lost and fled to the Huoyan Mountains on the Myanmar- China border. Slowly we filtered back into China. Because of the defeat we lost our wealth and have been poor to this day." They claim that after the war many died of disease. They "grew red lumps on their faces and died." It is uncertain what disease this is, but the Chinese authorities give regular vaccinations against it. More likely, the Xiandao are the descendants of one of the tribes who fled into China from Myanmar in 1885 to escape assaults by the British military.

What Are Their Lives Like?

The Xiandao live quiet lives cultivating the haoangong rice that grows in the area. In recent years almost all Xiandao youth have left their village to find work in the region's towns and cities. Many have gained employment in the logging industry. Because of their small numbers, the Xiandao have been forced to intermarry with Achang, Dai, Jingpo and the Han Chinese. The Xiandao share their village with Han Chinese families. All Xiandao can also speak Mandarin.

What Are Their Beliefs?

Almost the entire Xiandao population are Christians. They were first evangelized by Jingpo believers from a nearby village in the mid-1970s and embraced the gospel en masse.
The Xiandao have their own church in their village. The pastor is a Xiandao, even though they use the Jingpo Bible in their services. Of the 47 Xiandao left in Munmian Village, 46 are members of the church. The only one who is not is the village leader, who says that if he were a believer, he would not be allowed to represent his people to the communist government. In 1976 the leader's wife was one of the first Xiandao to be converted.

What Are Their Needs?

The Xiangdao people need new job opportunities.

Prayer Points

Thank the Lord for what he has done among the Xiandao people!

Text Source:   Joshua Project