Bouyei people

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(Redirected from Buyi)
A Bouyei woman in front of her house
Regions with significant populations
 China 2,870,034 (2010)[1]
 Vietnam 3,232 (2019)[2]
BouyeiMandarin Chinese
Related ethnic groups
Bouyei minority Shitou village, West Guizhou
Geographic distribution of Bouyei people

The Bouyei (also spelled Puyi, Buyei and Buyi; self called: Buxqyaix, [puʔjai] or "Puzhong", "Burao", "Puman"; Chinese: 布依族; pinyin: Bùyīzú; Vietnamese: người Bố Y), otherwise known as the Zhongjia, are an ethnic group living in Southern Mainland China. Numbering 2.5 million, they are the 11th largest of the 56 ethnic groups officially recognized by the People's Republic of China.

The Bouyei mostly live in Qianxinan and Qiannan prefectures of Southern Guizhou Province, as well as in Yunnan and Sichuan Provinces.

Some 3,000 Bouyei also live in Northern Vietnam, where they are one of that nation's 54 officially recognized ethnic groups. In Vietnam, they are located in Mường Khương District of Lào Cai and Quản Bạ District of Hà Giang Province.


The Bouyei consist of various subgroups. Below are their autonyms written in the International Phonetic Alphabet with numerical Chao tones.[3]

  • pu˦˨ ʔjɐi˦˨, 濮越
  • pu˦˨ ʔji˨, 濮夷
  • pu˦˨ noŋ˧˩, 布侬
  • pu˦˨ loŋ˧˩, 补笼
  • pu˦˨ na˧˩, 布那
  • pu˦˨ tu˦˨, 布土、布都
  • pu˦˨ ʔjaŋ˧, 布央
  • pu˦˨ zoŋ˧˩xa˧˥, 布笼哈

Some clans within the Bouyei groups include:

  • pu˦˨ wu˦˨, 布武
  • pu˦˨ wei˧˩, 布韦
  • pu˦˨ lo˨˦, 布鲁

In Congjiang County, Guizhou, there is a group that refer to themselves as "Buyeyi, 布也益", but are officially classified by the Chinese government as ethnic Zhuang.[4]


In China by county[edit]

County-level distribution of the Bouyei, from the 2000 Chinese census

(Only includes counties or county-equivalents containing >0.1% of China's Bouyei population.)

Province Prefecture County Bouyei Population % of China's Bouyei Population
Guizhou Qiannan Buyei and Miao Dushan (独山县) 194,468 6.54%
Guizhou Qiannan Buyei and Miao Duyun (都匀市) 190,347 6.41%
Guizhou Qianxinan Buyei and Miao Wangmo (望谟县) 174,806 5.88%
Guizhou Qiannan Buyei and Miao Luodian (罗甸县) 158,494 5.33%
Guizhou Qianxinan Buyei and Miao Ceheng (册亨县) 158,019 5.32%
Guizhou Qianxinan Buyei and Miao Anlong (安龙县) 139,930 4.71%
Guizhou Qiannan Buyei and Miao Huishui (惠水县) 135,943 4.58%
Guizhou Anshun Zhenning Buyei and Miao (镇宁布依族苗族自治县) 131,962 4.44%
Guizhou Qianxinan Buyei and Miao Zhenfeng (贞丰县) 125,058 4.21%
Guizhou Qianxinan Buyei and Miao Xingyi (兴义市) 124,901 4.2%
Guizhou Qiannan Buyei and Miao Pingtang (平塘县) 107,473 3.62%
Guizhou Qiannan Buyei and Miao Libo (荔波县) 93,681 3.15%
Guizhou Qiannan Buyei and Miao Guiding (贵定县) 92,607 3.12%
Guizhou Anshun Ziyun Miao and Buyei (紫云苗族布依族自治县) 86,513 2.91%
Guizhou Qiannan Buyei and Miao Changshun (长顺县) 81,022 2.73%
Guizhou Anshun Guanling Buyei and Miao (关岭布依族苗族自治县) 68,967 2.32%
Guizhou Qianxinan Buyei and Miao Qinglong (晴隆县) 64,001 2.15%
Guizhou Anshun Xixiu (西秀区) 62,497 2.1%
Guizhou Qianxinan Buyei and Miao Xingren (兴仁县) 50,210 1.69%
Guizhou Qiannan Buyei and Miao Sandu Shui (三都水族自治县) 49,877 1.68%
Guizhou Guiyang Huaxi (花溪区) 41,446 1.4%
Guizhou Liupanshui Shuicheng (水城县) 41,255 1.39%
Guizhou Liupanshui Liuzhi (六枝特区) 35,772 1.2%
Guizhou Qiannan Buyei and Miao Longli (龙里县) 34,259 1.15%
Guizhou Qiandongnan Miao and Dong Majiang (麻江县) 33,958 1.14%
Guizhou Anshun Pingba (平坝县) 29,452 0.99%
Yunnan Qujing Luoping (罗平县) 25,152 0.85%
Guizhou Guiyang Qingzhen (清镇市) 25,017 0.84%
Guizhou Qianxinan Buyei and Miao Pu'an (普安县) 23,639 0.8%
Guizhou Guiyang Wudang (乌当区) 23,597 0.79%
Guizhou Guiyang Kaiyang (开阳县) 22,611 0.76%
Guizhou Guiyang Nanming (南明区) 20,608 0.69%
Guizhou Qiannan Buyei and Miao Fuquan (福泉市) 19,520 0.66%
Guizhou Bijie Qianxi (黔西县) 17,447 0.59%
Guizhou Liupanshui Pan (盘县) 16,072 0.54%
Guizhou Guiyang Baiyun (白云区) 15,116 0.51%
Guizhou Anshun Puding (普定县) 15,083 0.51%
Guizhou Bijie Zhijin (织金县) 14,512 0.49%
Guizhou Guiyang Yunyan (云岩区) 14,293 0.48%
Guizhou Guiyang Xiaohe (小河区) 12,138 0.41%
Guizhou Bijie Weining Yi, Hui, and Miao (威宁彝族回族苗族自治县) 7,484 0.25%
Guizhou Bijie Nayong (纳雍县) 7,222 0.24%
Guangxi Hechi Nandan (南丹县) 6,822 0.23%
Guizhou Guiyang Xiuwen (修文县) 6,397 0.22%
Yunnan Wenshan Zhuang and Miao Maguan (马关县) 6,085 0.21%
Guangdong Dongguan none 5,584 0.19%
Guizhou Bijie Dafang (大方县) 5,294 0.18%
Guizhou Liupanshui Zhongshan (钟山区) 4,075 0.14%
Guizhou Bijie Jinsha (金沙县) 3,804 0.13%
Yunnan Kunming Guandu (官渡区) 3,582 0.12%
Yunnan Zhaotong Qiaojia (巧家县) 3,063 0.1%

In Vietnam[edit]

In Vietnam, the Bố Y are recognized as one in 54 official ethnic groups. They mainly live in two localities: Mường Khương district of Lào Cai province (Tu Dí subgroup) and Quản Bạ district of Hà Giang province.[citation needed]

Province-level distribution of the Bố Y, from the 2009 Census
Province Bố Y Population % of Vietnam's Bố Y Population
Lào Cai 1,398 61.5%
Hà Giang 808 35.5%
Other 67 2.9%


The Bouyei speak the Bouyei language, which is very close to Standard Zhuang language. There is a dialect continuum between these two. The Bouyei language has its own written form which was created by linguists in the 1950s based on the Latin alphabet and with spelling conventions similar for the Pinyin system that had been devised to romanise Mandarin Chinese.


The Bouyei are the native Tai peoples of the plains of Guizhou. They are one of the oldest peoples of China, living in the area for more than 2,000 years. Prior to the establishment of the Tang dynasty, the Bouyei and Zhuang were linked together; the differences between both ethnic groups grew greater and from year 900 already they were two different groups. The Qing dynasty abolished the system of local heads and commanded in its place to officials of the army which caused a change in the local economy; from then on, the land was in the hands of a few landowners, which caused the population to revolt. During the Nanlong Rebellion(南笼起义) of 1797 led by Wang Nangxian, the Bouyei underwent a strong repression that caused many of them to emigrate to faraway Vietnam.


Many Bouyei are agricultural farmers who commonly cultivate crops for consumption or sale like rice, millet, wheat, potatoes, maize, cocoa, tea, silk and many other types of crops. The Bouyei have also played a major role as intermediate merchants in the region. Due to changing economies, the Bouyei engage in both small-scale and large-scale commercial or business operations.[5]

Traditional Bouyei handicrafts and batiks are renowned throughout the region. The Bouyei celebrate many festivals, both native and those derived from Han culture. One native festival is called the Ox King's Day(牛王节) on April 8, an annual celebration meant to honor oxen and their contribution to agricultural activities.[6] June 6 is an important traditional Buyei holiday for ancestral worship. The story behind this tradition exists. According to Bouyei mythology, after Pangu became an expert in rice farming after creating the world, he married the daughter of the Dragon King, and their union gave rise to the Buyei people.

The daughter of the Dragon King and Pangu had a son named Xinheng (新横). When Xinheng disrespected his mother, she returned to heaven and never came down, despite the repeated pleas of her husband and son. Pangu was forced to remarry and eventually died on the sixth day of the sixth month of the lunar calendar.

Xinheng's stepmother treated him badly and almost killed him. When Xinheng threatened to destroy her rice harvest, she realized her mistake. She made peace with him and they went on to pay their respects to Pangu annually on the sixth day of the sixth month of the lunar calendar.

There are christian churches among the Bouyei ethnic group in China. Most of them are in Guizhou and Yunnan. There is Catholic influence.[7][8][9]

Notable Bouyei people[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "2-1 全国各民族分年龄、性别的人口" (XLS). Retrieved 31 August 2017.
  2. ^ "Report on Results of the 2019 Census". General Statistics Office of Vietnam. Retrieved 1 May 2020.
  3. ^ 贵州省志. 民族志 [Guizhou Province Gazetteer: Ethnic Gazetteer]. Guiyang: 贵州民族出版社 [Guizhou Nationalities Press]. 2002.
  4. ^ 回族, 白族, 瑤族, 壮族, 畲族, 毛南族, 仫佬族, 满族, 羌族卷. 贵州"六山六水"民族调查资料选编. 贵州民族出版社 [Guizhou Nationalities Press]. 2008. p. 291.
  5. ^ Olson, James Stuart (1998). An Ethnohistorical Dictionary of China. Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 32–33. ISBN 978-0-313-28853-1.
  6. ^ Wu, Helen Xiaoyan (2009). "Culture of [the] Bouyei (Buyi)". Encyclopedia of contemporary Chinese culture. Routledge. pp. 46–47. ISBN 978-0-415-24129-8. OCLC 902156338.
  7. ^ World Christian Encyclopedia, 2001 edition, Volume 1, page 197
  8. ^ Elazar, Gideon (September 19, 2019). "Nominalism: Negotiating ethnicity and Christian identity in contemporary Yunnan". Modern Asian Studies. 53 (5): 1415–1449. doi:10.1017/S0026749X17000610. S2CID 191703741 – via Cambridge University Press.
  9. ^ Elazar, Gideon (July 3, 2017). "Translating culture: missionaries and linguists in contemporary Yunnan Province". Asian Ethnicity. 18 (3): 387–405. doi:10.1080/14631369.2016.1195248. S2CID 147948986 – via Taylor and Francis+NEJM.

External links[edit]