The Jinou of China
The Jinuos, also known as the Yuole, are a small ethnic group living in the Yunnan province of southern China. Their language belongs to the Sino-Tibetan family and is most closely related to Yi and Burmese. In 1979, the Chinese government officially recognized the Jinuos as a distinct ethnic nationality on the basis that they had their own culture, oral language, and economic structure. Until then, they were merely regarded as a subgroup of the Dai nationality.
Because the Jinuos have never had a written script, their history is uncertain. According to one legend, a brother and sister survived a great flood and were later married. From a god who guided them, they received ten calabash seeds that eventually sprouted and produced the ancestors of neighboring peoples. Another legend says that the first settler there was a widow who gave birth to fourteen children (seven boys and seven girls). These children intermarried and became the ancestors of the Jinuos.
What are their lives like?
Prior to 1949, the Jinuos used a "slash-and-burn" farming method, rotating their crops on different pieces of land. Now, with the introduction of irrigation and the help of electric pumps, they successfully raise dry rice, wet rice, maize, and cotton. They are also major producers of Pu'er Tea, which is famous all over China.
The Jinuos are hunters and gatherers. The men hunt with crossbows, poisoned arrows, shotguns, and traps. The meat is divided equally among all members of the hunting party, but the hides go to the hunters who shot the animals. Every village has blacksmiths and silversmiths. Men also make bamboo and wood furniture and other household items. The women gather wild fruit and edible herbs in the forests, and also spin and weave cloth. They carry things in baskets on their backs with straps tied on their foreheads.
Marriages between siblings were common in the past. Today, marriages between cousins are still permitted in some villages. The Jinuos also allow courtship and premarital sex, attaching no shame to illegitimate children.
The boundaries which separate the Jinuo mountain villages are marked by wooden and stone tablets, each bearing the emblem of a sword or spear. Until the early 1950's, all descendants of one ancestor lived in bamboo "long" houses that were built on stilts. The largest long house known sheltered 127 people! Although some still live in such houses today, smaller family groups usually live in thatched cottages. A few even live in brick homes with modern conveniences.
Jinuo customs include piercing and decorating their earlobes, teeth painting, and wearing pointed bonnets.
What are their beliefs?
The Jinuos practice ethnic religions such as animism. This means that they believe that all things on earth have souls. Ancestor worship also constitutes an important part of their religious activities. They worship Kong Mine, a Chinese war hero who lived in the 2nd century AD. When there is a drought or something disturbing happens, a shaman, or medicine man, is sent for to make incantations and animal sacrifices to appease the trouble-making spirits. Shamans are also called upon to cure diseases with herbal medicines.
An oral legend that was handed down for centuries tells of a time when the whole human race--except for the Jinuos--perished in a great flood. The Jinuos were able to survive by taking shelter in a huge drum. This event is celebrated each New Year by dancing around a large ox-hide drum.
When Jinuos die, they are buried in hollowed-out trees, and small bamboo huts are built over the graves. The family takes daily offerings of food to the huts for two to three years.
What are their needs?
Since the Jinuos have no written language, the Bible has not been translated into Jino. Currently, there are no missions agencies targeting them, and there are only a handful of known Jinuo Christians.
- Take authority over the spiritual principalities and powers that are keeping the Jinuos bound.
- Ask the Lord to call people who are willing to go to China and share Christ with the Jinuos.
- Pray that the doors of China will soon open to missionaries.
- Ask God to strengthen, encourage, and protect the small number of believers.
- Pray that God will raise up qualified linguists to develop a written language and translate the Bible into Jino.
- Ask the Holy Spirit to soften the hearts of the Jinuos towards Christians so that they will be receptive to the Gospel.
- Pray that God will open the hearts of China's governmental leaders to the Gospel.
- Ask the Lord to raise up a strong local church among the Jinuos by the year 2000.
See also the following Group:
The Sham of Southeast Asia
Latest estimates from the World Evangelization Research Center.
- People name: Jinuo
- Country: China
- Their language: jino
- Largest religion:
- Christians: 1%
- Church members: 191
- Scriptures in their own language: None
- Jesus Film in their own language: None
- Christian broadcasts in their own language: None
- Mission agencies working among this people: None
- Persons who have heard the Gospel: 1,900 (10%)
- Persons who have never heard the Gospel: 17,200 (90%)
- Country: China
- Major peoples in size order:
- Major religions:
- Number of denominations: 42
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Bethany World Prayer Center
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