Xiuba in China

Photo Source:  Copyrighted © 2022
Operation China, Asia Harvest  All rights reserved.  Used with permission
Map Source:  Joshua Project / Global Mapping International
People Name: Xiuba
Country: China
10/40 Window: Yes
Population: 1,200
World Population: 1,200
Primary Language: Nisu, Eastern
Primary Religion: Ethnic Religions
Christian Adherents: 0.00 %
Evangelicals: 0.00 %
Scripture: New Testament
Online Audio NT: No
Jesus Film: No
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: Tibeto-Burman, other
Affinity Bloc: Tibetan-Himalayan Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

Although they are one of many subgroups of the large Yi nationality, the Xiuba have their own unique customs, language and traditional dress. The Xiuba have little contact with the outside world; they have separated themselves from all other nationalities by dwelling in these remote mountains. Pingbian is an autonomous county of the Miao minority, who live in villages surrounding the Xiuba.

The origins of the small Xiuba tribe are uncertain, but it seems that they have been living in the same region of China for many generations. They claim to have first moved to Pingbian from Jianshui, farther to the northwest of their present location. Xiuba history has been one of isolation and hardship, struggling to survive from one harvest to the next.

What Are Their Lives Like?

Bad soil and lack of access to the outside world have resulted in the Xiuba continuing their traditional slash-and-burn agricultural practices. The Xiuba are described as "an honest and warm hearted people." When eating a meal, the Xiuba always honor the eldest guest by giving him the chicken's head. Xiuba women wear boots, colored belts and bow-shaped hats with two strings of chained tassels dangling from the ends. One researcher notes, "Xiuba women's headdresses are the most visible distinction of this resilient people: from a decorated cap, the headdresses rise into a magnificent arching display of silver-colored beads and balls of red yarn." The Xiuba love to sing and especially love to perform the Sanbuxian, a traditional Xiuba dance.

What Are Their Beliefs?

A mix of polytheism and spirit appeasement forms the religious worldview of the Xiuba. They believe large mountains, trees, rivers, and even rocks have a spirit living in them. The Xiuba seek to live in harmony with nature and are trapped in a cycle of fear to evil spirits. Atheistic education has somewhat eroded the superstitions of the current generation of Xiuba, but many continue to conduct their lives with an acute realization of the spiritual realm that surrounds them. Much of the Xiuba's material poverty is caused by their practice of sacrificing valuable cows and poultry in obedience to the demands of the village shamans.

The Xiuba are completely untouched by Christianity. There are small pockets of Miao Christians near the Xiuba in Pingbian County, but the various ethnic groups there have almost no contact with each other. The Xiuba were a completely undocumented people group prior to 1991 and have never appeared on Christian mission research lists.

What Are Their Needs?

The Xiuba people need to put their trust and identity in the hands of the loving God of Creation who sent his son to make it possible for them to enter the Kingdom of God.

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 the Xiuba 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