Buddhist monk, Wat Saen, Luang Prabang, Laos
The Mien, commonly called Yao by other hill tribes, refer to themselves as Iu
Mien. Their origin is believed to be southern China as can often be seen
in their culture and language. More than a million Mien still live in
China but migrant settlements are found in Vietnam, Laos and Thailand.
The Mien stand apart from all the other hill ethnic groups because they
have adopted and preserved Chinese script. This literate tradition has
had an important effect: written records and sacred texts have to a
large extent replaced the need to commit history and religion to memory.