Overview of Bouyei Ethnic Group

Buyi Ethnic People Living around waterfalls

The Buyi nationality is one of the ethnic minorities in China. It has a population of 2,545,059, among which more than 2 million live in Guizhou province, constituting 95% of the total number. They mainly live together in the two Buyi and Miao autonomous counties in the south and southwest of Guizhou province, and also in other 10 counties in Guizhou like Duyun, Dushan, Pingtang, Zhenning etc. The rest live scattered in Yunnan province, Sichuan province and Guangxi autonomous region. 

The region where the Buyi people live abounds in green hills and clean rivers, and has many diversified beautiful natural sceneries. Dozens of travel spots such as the famous Huang Guoshu Waterfall, the Flower Stream in Guiyang, the “Dragon Palace” stalactite caves in Anshun, and tbe iron chain bridge in Pan River will welcome tens of thousands of tourists each year. Besides the tour resources, the area is also rich in wild animals and plants, as well as the mineral resources. 

The Buyi people are mostly engaged in agriculture. They have a long history of growing rice. The region of Hong Shui River is also one of the most important forest areas in China.

The Buyi people are native inhabitants in the southeast part of Yungui Tableland. They have been working and living there even since the Paleolithic age. The Buyi people’s origin could be traced to “Liao”, “Bai Yue”, and “Bai Pu”(which were all old ethnic groups living around this area). In the history of Tang Dynasty, they were called “Barbarians in the Southwest”, and later in Song and Yuan Dynasty, the name changed into “Fan”, “The Barbarians of the Zhong Family”, and in Ming and Qing Dynasties, they were simply named “the Zhong Barbarians”. After the founding of the PRC, they are all called “the Buyi people”. 

The Buyi language belongs to Zhuang-Dai language subgroup, Zhuang-Dong language branch and Sino-Tibetan language family, and it does not have its written form. Buyi characters were created in 1950’s but not widely spread. Nowadays, most people use Chinese characters.

Since Song Dynasty, the Buyi people have struggled against the exploitation by Federalism and the ruling class nearly in every dynasty. In modern history, they again rebelled against some foreign churches, the Japanese imperialism and Kuo-Min-Tang reactionaries. Therefore, it is a people with a glorious revolutionary tradition.