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The Lahu ethnic minority in Yunnan

(People's Daily Online)

09:11, May 28, 2012

(chinapic.people.com.cn)

Edited and translated by Huang Beibei, People's Daily Online

Pu'er city in southwest China's Yunnan Province is home to the world famous tea of the same name, which originates in the area.

The history of Pu'er tea can be traced back over 1,800 years to the ancient Tea Horse trade route that starts from Simao District in Pu'er. This route, often referred to as Tea Horse Road, stretches from its southern end in Yunnan throughout Southeast Asia, connecting Beijing in the north with Tibet in the west.

It was along this trade route many eons ago that pu'er's unique post fermentation characteristic was accidentally discovered. The high humidity, hot rainfall and sunlight of the area imbued the tea with its unique qualities that have made the product world famous.

The Lahus ethnic minority has a small population, mainly distributed in the Lancang Lahu Autonomous County in Simao Prefecture, Southern Lincang Prefecture and Menghai County in western Xishuangbanna in Yunnan Province. Others live in counties along the Lancang River.

The subtropical hilly areas along the Lancang River where the Lahu people live in compact communities are fertile, suitable for planting rice paddy, dry rice, maize, buckwheat as well as tea, tobacco, and sisal hemp. There are China fir and pine, camphor and nanmu trees in the dense forests, which are the habitat of such animals as red deer, muntjacs, wild oxen, bears, peacocks and parrots. Found here are also valuable medicinal herbs like pseudo-ginseng and devil pepper.

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