|Regions with significant populations|
|Burma; Yunnan, China|
The Jingpho people or Kachin people (Burmese: ကချင်လူမျိုး; MLCTS: ka. hkyang lu. myui:, pronounced [kətɕɪ̀ɴ lù mjó]; simplified Chinese: 景颇族; traditional Chinese: 景頗族; pinyin: Jǐngpō zú; also Jingpo or Singpho; endonyms:Jinghpaw, Tsaiva, Lechi, Theinbaw, Singfo, Chingpaw)) are an ethnic group who largely inhabit the Kachin Hills in northern Burma's Kachin State and neighbouring areas of China and India. The Jingpo form one of the 56 ethnic groupsofficially recognized by the People's Republic of China, where they numbered 132,143 people in the 2000 census. TheSingpho constitute the same ethnic identity, albeit living in the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh, an area also controversially claimed by China.
The Jingpo people are an ethnic affinity of several tribal groups, known for their fierce independence, disciplined fighting skills, complex clan inter-relations, embrace of Christianity, craftsmanship, herbal healing and jungle survival skills. Other neighbouring residents of Kachin State include the Shans (Thai/Lao related), the Lisus, the Rawangs, the Nagas, and the Burmans, the latter forming the largest ethnic group in Burma, also called Bamar.
Two different categorization schemes complicate the terms Jingpo and Kachin, which also operate as political geography terms of British origin.
In one form of categorization, a variety of different linguistic groups with overlapping territories and integrated social structures are described as a single people: the Jingpo or Kachin. In another form of categorization, the native speakers of each language in the area are treated as distinct ethnic groups. Both schemes treat theShan people who live in the same or contiguous areas as ethnically distinct. Jingpo people have frequently defied the Western expectation of lineage-based ethnicity by culturally "becoming Shans" (Leach 1965).
British colonial Burma
In British colonial Burma, Kachin people were categorized by the Census as separate different "races" or "tribes" according to languages, including Jingpo, Gauri, Maru, Lashi, Azi, Maingtha, Hpon, Nung (Rawang), Lisu, and Khamti (Shan). Other officials, missionaries, and the local administration recognized them as a single ethnic group (Leach 1965:43ff). In the early independence period, the Burmese government recognized the Kachin people as an overarching category.
The current Burmese government views the Kachin people as a "major national ethnic race" comprising the Jingpo, Lisu, Trone, Dalaung, Gauri, Hkahku, Duleng, Maru (Lawgore), Rawang, Lashi (La Chid), Atsi, and Taron as distinct ethnic nationalities.
Jingpo proper (spelled Jinghpaw in Burmese) is spoken by 425,000 people in Burma and by 40,000 people in China. It is classified as Sino-Tibetan, Tibeto-Burman,Kachin–Luic. Jingpho proper is also understood by many speakers of Zaiwa. The standard Jingpo language taught in China is based on the dialect of Enkun.
Zaiwa (also spelled Tsaiwa; called Atsi in Jingpo proper, Zǎiwǎyǔ 载瓦语 in Chinese, and Zi in Burmese) is spoken by approximately 80,000 people in China and 30,000 people in Burma. It is classified as Sino-Tibetan, Tibeto-Burman, Yi-Burman, and Northern Burmic. After the establishment of the People's Republic of China, a written language based on the dialect of the village of Longzhun (in Xishan district in Luxi county) and using the Latin alphabet was created and officially introduced in 1957.
Approximately half of the Jingpo declare themselves as Christians. There are also significant groups of aaaaa