Iu Mien, also called Mien, (in China) Yao, (in Vietnam) Dao, Zao, or Man, peoples of southern China and Southeast Asia. In the early 21st century, they numbered some 2,700,000 in China, more than 350,000 in Vietnam, some 40,000 in Thailand, and approximately 20,000 in Laos. Several thousand Mien refugees from Laos have also settled in North America, Australia, and France. Mien peoples speak dialects of the Hmong-Mien languages. In some areas, such as on Hainan Island, Mien are sometimes considered to be Hmong (Miao).
The Iu Mien bear a culture that opens before them a path of dignity, achieved ultimately beyond death in a position of honor among the gods and spirits in the celestial kingdom. Through astuteness and industry in the present life, the individual acquires the wherewithal to faultlessly fulfill obligations to the living and the dead and to fittingly honor the gods and spirits so as to merit their esteem and their aid in further advancement. Iu Mien culture emphasizes politeness, reserve and careful negotiation so as to discover common interests that will foster harmonious cooperation.
The Iu Mien language is one of the main languages spoken by the Yao people in China, Laos, Vietnam, Thailand and, more recently, the United States in diaspora. Like other Hmong-Mien languages, it is tonal and monosyllabic.
Linguists in China consider the dialect spoken in Changdong, Jinxiu Yao Autonomous County, Guangxi to be the standard. However, most Iu Mien people in the West are refugees from Laos, so they primarily speak dialects common in Laos.