The Lao Theung or Lao Thoeng (Lao: ລາວເທິງ[láːo tʰə́ŋ]) is one of the traditional divisions of ethnic groups living in Laos (the others being the Lao Loum and the Lao Soung). It literally indicates the "midland Lao", and comprises a variety of different ethnic groups of mostly Austro-Asiatic origin. In 1993, the Lao Theung formed 24% of the country's population.
Within Laos, the Lao Theung are sometimes referred to by the pejorative term khaa (Lao: ຂ້າ), meaning "slave", reflecting the fact that they were traditionally used for labour by the lowland Lao. Midland Lao still have a lower standard of living than other ethnic groups.
^Murdoch, John B. (1974). "The 1901-1902 Holy Man's Rebellion"(free). Journal of the Siam Society. Siam Heritage Trust. JSS Vol.62.1 (digital): image 2. Retrieved April 2, 2013. Footnote 8) "Kha" is the common, though somewhat pejorative, term used for the Austroasiatic tribal people of Northeast Thailand, Laos, and Viet-nam. I use it here because it is common parlance in the literature and for lack of a better term.