This film is part of Free

Among the Tribes in South-West China

This alluring travelogue follows a missionary on his colourful journey into the ethnically diverse mountains of Yunnan, south west China.

Documentary 1948 37 mins Silent


A western missionary and his cohort of assistants and armed guards penetrate deep into the mountains of Yunnan in search of the Miao and Nosu minorities. This beautifully shot film shows the challenging terrain of this southwestern province, where ethnic tribes lived in isolation and primitive conditions. On reaching the villages, the party give medical treatment to members of the community.

Almost half of China’s 55 ethnic minorities inhabit Yunnan, on the border with Vietnam, Laos and Burma. Many lived in poverty and isolation due to the inaccessibility of their mountainous habitat. Before the Communists came to power in 1949, a year after this film was shot, missionaries were the only source of education, medical treatment and regular meals, which explains their success in converting large numbers of the populace as compared with the rest of China. While made to celebrate missionary achievements, the film nevertheless provides a good insight into the Miao tribe in the mid-20th century.