Prayer Profile
The Puyi of China

[IMAGE] The Puyi (also known as the Bouyei) live on the Yunnan-Guizhou plateau of China, which reaches about 400 meters in elevation in the south to 1,000 meters in the north. This rough remote region, locked in by mountains, has jestingly been described as having less than three square feet of flat land. Their climate is very humid, with an average temperature of 16 degrees C/61 degrees F and an average annual rainfall of between 1-1.4m or 3'- 4'6". The Puyi live in the province of Guizhou and speak a language that belongs to the Zhuang-Dong branch of the Sino-Tibetan family. Although there is now a writing system for the Puyi, Han is often used in written communications.

Villages are characteristically located away from the main roads and are enclosed by stone walls or bamboo stockades. The maximum size of villages may contain as many as 200 families. Bronze drums are found in many villages, and are beaten on festive occasions. They are the property of the whole village.

What are their lives like?
The Puyi benefit from a very fertile soil. For their own consumption they grow wet and dry rice, wheat, maize, millet, sorghum, buckwheat, potatoes, and beans. They also grow cotton, ramie, tobacco, sugarcane, tea, coffee, bananas, silk, hemp, and cocoa as cash crops. They produce batik, embroidery, sleeping mats, and bamboo hats for sale. The forests supply pine and fir lumber. The Puyi live in villages which often contain several clans. These villages are located in regions of the river valleys. Houses are either two-storied buildings, with livestock living on the ground floor, or bungalows. They are essentially peasants and only a few settle in towns and cities to engage in trade. Women work in the fields and generally have a low status. The husband controls all the finances.

The Puyi are skilled in arts and crafts and possess a rich folk literature which includes fairy tales, folk songs, proverbs and poems. Cloth plays a role in the recreational life of the Puyi who are well known for the colorful fabrics they produce. At weddings, attendees "sing for the lotus bag." These bags are made of multicolored cloth, sewn into the shape of a pillow. They are initially tossed at random, but later, each participant begins aiming for their choice of a dating partner.

What are their beliefs?
Several religions are represented among the Puyi. Some are Christian and some Taoists, but the majority are Polytheistic Animists, who practice ancestor worship. On the sixth day of the sixth lunar month, they worship their ultimate ancestor, Pan Gu, the human father of all Puyi. They believe that he will provide them with a plentiful harvest. On the third day of the third month of the lunar calendar, they celebrate the birthday of the god of the mountains by gathering together and singing songs of praise. Ancestral altars are set up in homes, but food offerings are left at the bases of trees and in small shrines located outside the village.

What are their needs?
Puyi villagers must walk long distances to obtain drinking water, sometimes taking five to six hours during the dry season. A project is currently underway to build cisterns for the Puyi in two villages. Until the project is completed, unsanitary conditions lead to intestinal diseases such as typhoid.

Poor housing is common among the Puyi. Even the good houses have inadequate roofs, providing little protection from frequent wind and hail storms.

There are no radio broadcasts, secular or Christian, in the language of the Puyi. Portions of the book of Matthew have been translated into the local Mandarin dialect, but no Puyi Bible exists.

The belief system of the Puyi is very strong and it may be difficult for most Puyi, who worship several gods, to grasp the concept of one true God. Grasping that concept, however, could break through centuries of religious beliefs such as Taoism, which teaches that human beings are very small parts of the universe.

Prayer Points

  • Pray that the Puyi will see the inadequacy of worshipping several gods, none of whom are able to minister to their needs.
  • Pray that those Puyi who have heard the Gospel of the One True God will accept Him and work to reach their own people for Chirst.
  • Ask God to open doors of opportunity (safe water supply, adequate housing and medical care) for reaching this region of China.
  • Pray that the team of Bible translators will determine which dialect they need to learn to begin translation of the Bible for the Puyi.
  • Pray that Christian broadcasters will take an interest in reaching China's people and that the finances would be there to make it possible.
  • Ask God to send Christians who will live among the Puyi to learn their language and their culture, so that they may effectively share Christ with them.

See also the following Group:
The Zhuang of China

Latest estimates from the World Evangelization Research Center.


  • People name: Puyi
  • Country: China
  • Their language: bouyei
  • Population: (1990) 2,548,100
    (1995) 2,693,700
    (2000) 2,833,500
  • Largest religion: Ethnic Religionists 80%
    Buddhists (Mahayana) 10%
  • Christians: 2%
  • Church members: 58,873
  • 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: 5
  • Persons who have heard the Gospel: 835,000 (31%) Those evangelized by local Christians: 215,500 (8%)
    Those evangelized from the outside: 61,500 (23%)
  • Persons who have never heard the Gospel: 1,858,700 (69%)
  • Country: China
  • Population: (1990) 1,135,043,400
    (1995) 1,199,901,200
    (2000) 1,262,195,800
  • Major peoples in size order: Han Chinese (Mandarin) 67.7%
    Han Chinese (Wu) 7.5%
    Han Chinese (Cantonese) 4.5%
  • Major religions: Nonreligious 55%
    Chinese folk-religionists 17%
    Atheists 12.7%
  • Number of denominations: 42

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Bethany World Prayer Center

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