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A time of dramatic changes

By ZHANG LEI | China Daily | Updated: 2019-06-29 07:43

Li Wenshi (third left with face tattoos), 75, takes pictures with her children at home. Derung women used to have tattoos of different designs on different parts of the face. JIANG WENYAO/CHINA DAILY

For the Derung people, they seem to have entered a different era with seven decades of New China

Seventy years are just a blip in human history. But for the Derung people, they seem to have entered a different era with seven decades of New China. In the past 70 years they have bid farewell to seclusion and backwardness and have embraced modern civilization.

Recently, they announced that the Derung people have been lifted out of poverty and achieved the "millennium leap".

The Derung people live in extreme remote places.

The Gaoligong Mountain, where they live, stands beside Lika Mountain, and the Derung River rushes to the south, forming an alpine valley with two mountains and one river.

There are only about 7,000 Derung people in the country, and more than 4,200 of them live in the Derung River Grand Canyon.

Due to long-term isolation, the Derung are not well known to the outside world.

The ancestors of this ancient and mysterious people may be a part of the ancient Chinese tribe "Qiang".

And after a long migration, the Derung ancestors moved to the Derung River basin in northwestern Yunnan.

In today's Derung Museum, the first photo of the Derung comes from 1923.

In the photo, the Derung man has disheveled hair, bare feet, and is dressed in two pieces of linen, with a machete hanging from his waist.

The image is not far from some of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) history books that describe them as the people of the ancient times.

According to A Brief History of the Derung compiled by the National Ethnic Affairs Commission, prior to the founding of New China, the Derung people still lived as a primitive society.

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