China's 56 Ethnic Groups China officially registers 56 ethnic groups. The ethnic Chinese, known as the Han Chinese, compose 92 percent of the population. Han Chinese speak seven languages, with Mandarin or Putonghua - which means "common speech" -- being the official and most-used. Cantonese, which is spoken in Hong Kong and in China's other southern provinces, is the second most popular. Most of the 55 other ethnic groups use their own languages. China's minorities account for a small 8 percent of the entire population. They live along the country's borders and some of them live on both sides. China has five Autonomous Regions for its minorities: Guangxi, Xinjiang, Tibet, Inner Mongolia and Ningxia. Chinese has high numbers of Chinese troops stationed in Tibet, Xinjiang and along the border provinces. The Western powers have attempted many times to separate these areas from China ever since early 19th Century. The independent groups are based in USA and supported mainly by the American political parties. China was ruled by Han most of the time in the past except in Yuen Dynasty that Mongols ruled for less than 100 years and in Qing Dynasty, Manchuria ruled for almost 300 years. China's boundary today was solidified in early Qing Dynasty in early 17th Century. China is a multi-culture and multi-disciplined society for a few thousand years. All minorities in China today have the equal right as Han Chinese. Since minorities reside in the remote area and usually poor, Chinese government has preference policy to provide training for the minorities to progress, govern and manage. Chinese would like to enjoy the peaceful environment and definitely can accommodate all religions and nationalities if there is no foreign interference. Powerpoint by Oei Hui Kiat, Singapore, Early July 2009.
An interpretation of the flag under a more historical context is the four stars represent the traditional four categories of the people in the state, which are Workers (gong, 工 ), Farmers (nong, 农 ), Intellectuals (shì, 士 ), and Businessmen (shang, 商 ) under the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party which is represented by the big star. Another interpretation is that the big star represents the majority Han and each of the four small stars represents Man (Manchu) , M e ng (Mongolian) , Hui (Muslim Hui) and Cang (Tibetan). Flag of the People's Republic of China
汉族 Han Han are an ethnic group native to China and, by most modern definitions, the largest single ethnic group in the world . Han Chinese constitute about 92 percent of the population of the People's Republic of China (mainland China), 98 percent of the population of the Republic of China (Taiwan), 75 percent of the population of Singapore , and about 20 percent of the entire global human population . An alternate name that many Chinese peoples use to refer to themselves is "Descendants of the Dragon " (Chinese: 龙的传人 ).
满族 Man (Manchu) Population: 9.8 million Location: Northern China Manchu has a history more than 2,000 years. They mainly live in Liaoning and East Northern China. Their ancestors mixed with Han Chinese, Mongolian and Koreans in their early settlement. They governed China for more than 300 years during Qing Dynasty. Unfortunately Qing brought great disaster to China. The imperial court failed to stop the Western power invading China with their newest arms and opium. It took Chinese 80 years to clean up the mess and only until December 20, 1999, the last colony, Macao, reverted back to China from 500 years occupation by Portuguese. The only Chinese land still under foreign occupation is Diaoyutai Island, which was given to Japan by American at the end of the World War II.
蒙古族 Mongolian Population 5 million Location Inner Mongolia and northern China. Religion Tibetian Buddhsm, Muslims Mongolian led by Genghis Khan governed China and established Yuan Dynasty from 1846-1890. They have their own languages and three dialects. Inner Mongolia is now an Autonomous Region in China. They are mostly practitioners of Tibetian Buddhism and Muslims.
回族 Hui LOCATION: NORTH- WESTERN CHINA POPULATION: 8,130,000 LANGUAGE: KUOYU (MANDARIN) RELIGION: MUSLIM The Hui have a long history of intermarriage with other nationalities such as Arabs, Han Chinese, etc. They follow many Muslim rules and taboos, such as not eating any pork. The men wear white or black skullcaps. Women cover themselves with white, black or green veils.
藏族 Tibetan Population 4.6 million Location Tibet Religion Tibetan Buddhism Tibetans and Han Chinese have been living together for thousand of years. China' sovereignty over Tibet can be traced back to 13th Century. Before becoming an Autonomous Region in China, Tibet was under a feudal serfdom characterized by the dictatorship of upper-class monks and nobles. The feudal lords who constituted only five percent of the population possessed 95 percent of the means of production. Tibet serfs were even more miserable than the black slaves in the United States before the civil war. Tibet was at that time not peaceful at all because the struggles between the slaves and their lords were very fierce. There were no other religions allowed in Tibet. There were evidences that missioners were killed in Tibet in the past. Tibet is now an Autonomous Region in China. Tibetans enjoy the same freedom of religions, education and other rights as other Chinese.
壮族 Zhuang Population: 15 million Location: Mainly in Guangxi, some in Guangdong, Guizhou, Yunnan and Hunan. Zhuang is the largest ethnic minority group in China. They settle in the Guangxi Autonomous Region and live on farming. Their tropical fruit and farming product are very famous. They have own language. Based on Han Chinese, They also created a written language, which is still being used widely today. Every March, they have a big festival to celebrate with folk dancing and singing.
苗族 Miao Population 7.4 million Location Sichuan, Guizhou and Yunnan Religion None Chinese historical records show that the Miao ethnic group used to live along the Yellow river, much earlier than any other ethnic group in China. Because of wars, and changes in the living environment, the Miao gradually established many tribes when they moved further south. These tribes have different lifestyles and different types of costume developed during cultural exchanges with other nationalities, while maintaining their own. There are 23 varieties of costume, falling into five types more prevalent in western Hunan Province, southeastern Guizhou, in the region where Sichuan, Guizhou and Yunnan provinces meet, and the Hainan Province. Among the five types, the popular styles in western Hunan Province, and eastern and southeastern Guizhou Province are typical and more distinguishable.
彝族 Yi Population: 6.6 million Location: Yunnan, Sichuan, Guizhou and Gunangxi Yi settles down in the valley surrounded by mountains and streams. Yi has a beautiful language, which is still being used today. There are many history records, literature, medication study all written in Yi language. Yi lives on farming and animal husbandry. Their traditional painting, sculpture and silversmith are beautiful. Fire Festival in June is a big day for Yi. Just like other minority groups, they are good in folk dancing and singing.
维吾尔族 Weiwuer Population 0.7 million Location Xinjiang Religion Muslims Xinjiang is a Uygur Autonomous Region. It is the largest region in China, covering one sixth of China's total. A great deal of it is desert and mountain. Weiwuer love dancing, singing and playing their own unique musical instruments. They are hospitable people. Visitors will be invited to taste sweet grapes, melons and plums, drink tea, and join the lively dancing.
布依族 Buyi Population: 2.5 million Location: Guizhou, Yunnan, Sichuan and Guangxi Buyi is the native ethnic group living in the highland, traced back to the Stone Age. They are mainly in farming and forest product. Has own language but not widely used. Their ancient architecture becomes hot spot for tourist. Their stone house is very unique and built based on the "Ying Yang" theory.
朝鲜族 Chaoxian (Korean) Population: 2 million Location: Jilin, Heilongjiang, Liaoning, Inner Mongolia Korean moved into China 300 years ago. They mainly live on farming. They brought with them their own language and traditions. Just like other Chinese, they respect elders and love their children. They have very good education system and achieve high level of education. They excel in the area of science and art.
侗族 Dong Population: 2.5 million Location: Guizhou, Guangxi, Hunan Dong lives on farming and fishing. They have own languages and know Han Chinese well. They have rich heritages in arts and music. Their poetry is very famous. The most amazing architecture is the drum tower, which was built thousand years ago, without using any nails or slots.
瑶族 Yao Population: 2.1 million Location: Guangxi, Hunan, Yunnan, Guangdong, Guizhou Yao originated in Yangtz River and later moved south into the mountain area in the Southern West of China. They have own language but most of them know a few other languages. In the remote area, some of them still keep own religion and traditions, and very primitive living condition by hunting and farming. They are good in dancing and music.
白族 Bai Population: 1.6 million Location: Mostly in Yunnan, Guizhou, Hunan, Sichuan Bai is a very old ethnic group in China. Dali of Yunnan is their capital. They are very good in science, architecture, medication and literature. They live mainly on farming and fishing. They have own language but also know Han Chinese very well. Dali is now a hot tourist area for its famous architecture, temples, sculpture, visual arts, etc.
土家族 Tujia Population: 5.7 million Location: Hunan, Hubei, Sichuan Tujia's history can be traced back 2,000 years ago. They have been living in Hunan and the neighboring provinces for years. They have own languages. They have mixed with other minorities and Han since early days. Most of them know a few languages, including Han Chinese. They have no specific religion and worship "White Tiger" as their ancestor.
哈尼族 Hani Population: 1.25 million Location: Yunnan Hani lives on farming, usually 800 to 2500 above sea, high into the mountain area. They are very good in creating farming field on the slop of hills with unique watering system. They have own language but have no specific religion. They do worship nature and ancestors. Their New Year starts on October.
哈萨克族 Hasake (Kazakh) Population: 1.1 million Location: Xinjiang Kazakh settles in the north of Xinjiang. They live on animal husbandry and farming. They have own language and believe in Islam. Their beautiful song and dancing are famous in China.
傣族 Dai Population: 1 million Location: Yunnan Dai is one of the largest minority groups in Yunnan. Their own language is very closed to India. All the history and literature were recorded in Dai. They live on farming and have many tropical plants. Their new year starts in June. The Water Splashing Festival falls during the New Year of the Dai Calendar. It is not only the first Buddhist festival of a new year, but also the most important festival observed by the Dai.
黎族 Li Population: 1.11 million Location: Hainan Li is the native in Hainan and can be traced back to "Stone Age". They live in farming and have the earliest weaving technology in Chinese history. The technology was then transferred to mainland China in Tang/Song Dynasties. Li has no written language and use Han Chinese.
傈僳族 Lisu Population: 575,000 Location: Yunnan Lisu migrated into this area since 8th Century. They live on hunting, forest product and mineral. They have own language and wear traditional cloth. Lisu is a very open and friendly.
佤族 Wa Population: 352,000 Location: Yunnan Wa has settled in this area for a few thousand years. They live on farming and hunting. There are many forest products and animals such as tiger, bear, deer and elephant. Their language is closed to the languages used in Burma and other neighboring countries.
畲族 She Population: 630,000 Location: Fujian, Zhejiang Since the years, 'She' has spread into several provinces along the east coast. They live on farming. They have own language but use Han Chinese. They are very artistic and use bamboo to make furniture, decoration and many other products.
高山族 Gaoshan Population: 400,000 Location: Fujian, Taiwan Gaoshan settles in Taiwan mountain areas for centuries. Some of them migrated to the east coast of mainland China. They have 15 languages, some of them are closed to the languages used in Indonesia. They live on farming. Gaoshan people are organized into commune and every one in the commune has clear responsibility.
拉祜族 Lahu Population: 415,000 Location: Yunnan Lahu settles in the tropical mountain area. They live on farming and forest industry. They have own language but most of them use Han Chinese and Dai language. Their written language was greatly influenced by the missionary from the West in late 19th Century. They like dancing and music. Girls favor dark color cloth as traditional fashion.
水族 Shui Population: 346,000 Location: Guizhou Shui is a native in Guizhou. They live mainly on farming. They have an old language with 400 words and only used for religion activities. They also have own calendar. September is the starting of a new year. They are very good in painting and have a 700 years old history of diet technology.
东乡族 Dongxiang Population: 374,000 Location: Gangsu, Qinghai, Ningxia Dongxiang has same language as Mongolia. They are Islam in religion and maintain all the Islam traditions. They are a very open nation and like dancing, singing and other activities. They live on farming. Most of them use Han Chinese.
纳西族 Naxi Population: 278,000 Location: Yunnan Naxi migrated from Qing Hai to Yunnan long time ago. They live on farming and forest industry. The forest there is unspoiled and can be a good place for adventure. There are few thousand of different types of flowers, flora and plants. They have own language but often use Han Chinese
景颇族 Jingpo Population: 119,000 Location: Yunnan Jingpo settles in high mountains. They live on farming and forest. Their products include red wood, rubber, coffee, tea and many other tropical products. They have five dialects and they mixed in using these dialects in different situations.
柯尔克孜族 Keerkezi (Khalkh) Population: 140,000 Location: Xinjiang Khalkh migrated from Mongol. They mixed with Uighur and Kazakh. They have own language but also know Uighur, Kazakh and Han Chinese. They are Islam and live on farming and animal husbandry. Their literature is very famous and like dancing and music.
土族 Tu Population: 192,000 Location: Qinghai Tu settles in the Qing Hai. They lived on animal husbandry and now mainly on farming. They have a few dialects and use Han Chines e or Tibetan language. They believe in Lama. They have the longest festival season and like dancing and music.
达斡尔族 D a woe r Population: 80,000 Location: Inner Mongolia Dawoe r mainly settles in Inner Mongolia. They live on animal husbandry. They have own language but they also know other languages such as Han Chinese, Mongolia and Uighur. it was claim that Henry Pu Yi's miss was actually a Dawoer. Another Daur who go under Mongol designation was Ulanhu. He was former Vice-Chairman of the " 达斡尔少年把小鹿姐姐 " 团团围住 People's Repubilc of China, Vice-Premier of the State Council and Chairman of the People's Government of the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, was concurrently first President of Inner Monglia University. (from Inner Mongolia University site)
仫佬族 Mulao Population: 159,000 Location: Guangxi Mulao settles in the mountain area. They live on farming and mining. In their area, there are rich minerals and coal mining is one of the major industries. They have own language but most of them know Han Chinese very well. They believe in Taoism and Buddhism.
羌族 Qiang Population: 198,000 Location: Sichuan Qiang has settle in the Qinhai and Tibet for more than 3,000 years. They live on farming and hunting. They have very old written language but lost. They are many remains that show the superior structure of the building constructed by Qiang.
布朗族 Bulang Population: 82,000 Location: Yunnan Bulang settles in the high mountain area. They live on farming and tea is one of the major products for them. There are many other tropical products also. They have own language and some of them also use Han Chinese, Dai and Wat languages.
撒拉族 Sala Population: 88,000 Location: Qinghai, Gansu and Xinjian g Sala migrated to this area from Middle Asian countries. They settle along the Yellow River and live on farming. They have own language and no written language. They believe in Islam and maintain Islam's tradition.
毛难族 Maonan Population: 72,000 Location: Guangxi Maonan is the native in Guangxi. They live on farming and animal husbandry. Cattle farming are a big industry for them. They have own language and no written language. Most of them know Zhang and Han Chinese.
仡佬族 Gelao Population: 438,000 Location: Guizhou, Guangxi and Yunnan Gelao is a very old nation in Guizhou. They live on farming and have own language. Most of Gelao now use Han Chinese. They worship old tree and have very unique "tree culture"
锡伯族 Xibo Population: 84,000 Location: Xinjiang, Liaoning and Jilin Some of the Xibo moved from the Northern East to the Northern West in the early 18th Century. They were part of the Qing army to station in the West of China. They now still maintain their own written language and live on farming. Some of them believe in Lama and other religions. Xibo is always good at horse riding. The date of the migration is still a big memory day for them.
阿昌族 Achang Population: 28,000 Location: Mostly in Yunnan Achan is the earliest native in Yunnan. They settle in the valley and live on farming. They have own language but most of them can speak Han Chinese, Dai and other languages. They have very unique native dress and the girls wear beautiful silver necklace and rings.
普米族 Pumi Population: 30,000 Location: Yunnan Pumi moved to Yunan from the north in 13th Century. They live on farming. Their culture is influenced by many others such as Tibet, Burma, Bai and Han Chinese. Most of them use Han Chinese. They have own religion but some of them believe in Lama or Taoism.
塔吉克族 Tajige (Tajik) Population: 33,500 Location: Xinjiang Tajik is one of the oldest minority groups in China. They settle on the main route of "Silk Road" and benefit from the culture exchanges to the West since the early day. They have own language and believe in Islam. They live on farming, animal husbandry and hunting. They are good at horse riding. Eagle is their hero symbol.
怒族 Nu Population: 27,000 Location: Yunnan and Tibet Nu settles in a very remote area and lived in a very poor conditions. They have own language but use Lisu and Han Chinese also. From the 17th century on, Bai, Naxi and Tibet an rulers governed the Nu area simultaneously. In addition, the newly immigrated Lisu headmen also oppressed the Nu People, usurping the Nu people's land and sometimes carrying many of them off as slaves. In 1949, the People's Liberated Army liberated the region peacefully and it was agreed upon that their official name would become Nu Ethnic Minority . Only in the last 50 years, they have ca ugh t up with other minority groups.
乌孜别克族 Wuzibieke (Uzbek) Population: 12,000 Location: Xinjiang Uzbek migrated from Mongol. They mixed with Uighur and Kazakh. They have own language but also know Uighur , Kazakh and Han Chinese. They are Islam and live on farming, trading and education .
俄罗斯族 Eluosi (Russian) Population: 13,500 Location: Xinjiang Russian moved into China in 18th and 19th Century. They maintain their own language, religion and tradition. They have better than average education and live on farming, gardening, fishery, art and education. Most of them use Han Chinese for communication.
鄂温克族 E wenke (Ewenki) Population: 26,300 Location: Inner Mongolia Ewenki settles in Inner Mongolia and along the Heilongjiang. They mixed with Mongolian, Han Chinese and Olunchun. They use Mongolian or Han Chinese language and believe in Tibetan Buddhism. They live on farming and hunting. Their tradition is closed to Mongolian.
德昂族 Deang Population: 15,400 Location: Yunnan Deang is the oldest native in Yunnan. They are very close to Dai. They have own language and use Dai, Jingpo and Han Chinese. Tea is their main product. They are very good in silversmith.
保安族 Baoan Population: 12,000 Location: Mostly in Gansu Baoan settles in the border area of Gansu and Qinhai. They live on farming. They are very good in making sharp knife even since the early day. They believe in Islam and have the same tradition as other Islam people. They have no written language and use Han Chinese mainly.
裕固族 Yugu Population: 10,500 Location: Gansu Yugu has an old history traced back to the 9th Century. They live on animal husbandry and farming. There is very rich reserve of precious stones in the area and their jade is very famous. Their language and tradition is closed to Tibetan. Their religion is Lama.
京族 Jing (Vietnamese) Population: 18,900 Location: Guangxi Vietnamese immigrated into China 400 years ago and settles down in this area. They live on fishing along the seaside and fishery is the main industry for them. They have own language but know Han Chinese well. Catholic or Tao are the main religions in Vietnamese.
塔塔尔族 Tataer (Tatar) Population: 4,000 Location: Xinjiang Tatar migrated to China in the early 19th Century from Europe and Russia. They mixed with Uighur and Kazakh. They maintain their own language, tradition and Islam religion. Their house presents in European style, quite different from Uighur and Kazakh. Their living standard is higher at average since they are good at business and education.
独龙族 Dulong Population: 5,800 Location: Yunnan Dulong settles in the high mountain area by the border of Tibet and Burma. They still live in very primitive form. They have no written language and use either Tibetan or Hen Chinese language. They farm, hunt and maintain a very simple society with social order and discipline. They are well known as a nation with good credibility and morality. The Dulong people had the tradition of tattooing girl's face: at about 12 or 13 years old at the onset of puberty, the girls should be tattooed on their faces with the patterns varying according to the clan. It was not until 1967 that the custom was completely abolished. So far there are less than 40 Dulong women left that have tatooed faces.
鄂伦春族 E lunchun Population: 6,900 Location: Inner Mongolia E lunchun settles in Inner Mongolia and along the Heilongjiang. They mixed with Mongolian and Hen Chinese. They use Mongolian or Hen Chinese language and believe in religion. They live on farming and hunting.
赫哲族 Hezhe Population: 4,245 Location: Heilongjiang Hezhe settles along Heilongjiang River and lives on fishing and hunting. They have own language but most of the young generation now use Han Chinese as the common language. They create many innovative fishing tools and accumulate very rich experience in fishery industry.
门巴族 Menba Population: 7,475 Location: Tibet Menba settles in the high Mountain and seldom contacts with outside world. They are closely related to Tibetan. The sixth Dala Lama of Tibet was a Menba. They do not have own language but use Tibetan's language. They became part of China since 13th Century.
珞巴族 Luo b a Population: 2,300 Location: Tibet Luo ba is one of the smallest ethnic minority groups in China. They live in high mountain area and seldom contact with outside world. They still stay in very primitive society event today. They live on hunting and farming. They have no written language and only few of them know Tibetan or Chinese language.
基诺族 Jinuo Population: 18,000 Location: Yunnan Jinuo settles in Jinuo Mountain and lives on farming. Their tea is very famous. Their society was very backward and still stayed at very primitive stage until the 16th Century. They have own religions and own language but no written language. All Jinuo's women are good at weaving and making cloths.