Chinese Ethnic Groups

About Chinese Ethnic Groups

Chinese Ethnic GroupsThe Han Chinese are the largest ethnic group, where some 91.59% of the population was classified as Han Chinese (~1.2 billion). Besides the majority Han Chinese, 55 other "nationalities" or ethnic groups are recognised in mainland China by the PRC government, numbering approximately 105 million persons, mostly concentrated in the northwest, north, northeast, south, and southwest but with some in central interior areas.

The major minority ethnic groups are Zhuang (16.1 million), Manchu (10.6 million), Hui (9.8 million), Miao (8.9 million), Uyghur (8.3 million), Tujia (8 million), Yi (7.7 million), Mongol (5.8 million), Tibetan (5.4 million), Buyei (2.9 million), Dong (2.9 million), Yao (2.6 million), Korean (1.9 million), Bai (1.8 million), Hani (1.4 million), Kazakh (1.2 million), Li (1.2 million), and Dai (1.1 million).

In order of population, this is the list of the 56 ethnic groups in China that are officially recognised by the government of the People's Republic of China. Members of several ethnic groups reside in Hong Kong and Macau, but due to the long separation from China, many of these ethnic groups are generally unknown to the Special Administrative Regions (of People's Republic of China) of Hong Kong and of Macau

Although they make up only a small proportion of the overall Chinese population, the 55 minority ethnic groups are distributed extensively throughout different regions of China. The regions where they are most concentrated are Southwest China, Northwest China and Northeast China. No matter whether it is Inner Mongolia, Xinjiang, Ningxia, Guangxi, Tibet, Yunnan, Guizhou, Qinghai or Sichuan, Gansu, Hubei, Hunan or another province, one can find Chinese ethnic minorities. From the areas listed above, the greatest number of minorities can be found in Yunnan Province (25 ethnic groups).

Zhuang has the largest population (more than 16 million) of minority ethnic groups. In order to ensure that the 56 Chinese ethnic groups live together in harmony, the Chinese government introduced a series of policies including ones to secure the equality and unity of ethnic groups, give regional autonomy to ethnic minorities and promote respect for the faith and customs of ethnic groups. Among these the policy of regional autonomy for ethnic minorities is the most fundamental. Under this policy, five autonomous regions; Inner Mongolia, Xinjiang, Guangxi, Ningxia and Tibet, as well as numerous autonomous prefectures, counties, nationality townships and towns have been set up. With guidance from the Chinese government, the ethnic minorities in areas that have been given regional autonomy are entitled to deal with their own affairs.

Together with the Han people, the Chinese ethnic minorities are making great efforts to build a prosperous China. Each of the minority ethnic groups has a distinctive and different character.

Achang : one of the earliest people in Yunnan; famous for being good at growing rice and forging iron weapons such as cutting tools Bai: the masters of artistic creativity and favor white clothes and decorations; creative in architecture, painting, music, sculpture and lacquer work Blang: live in Yunnan Province; mainly practice agriculture; good at planting tea trees and early rice; do many artistic practices such as literature and music Bonan: live in southwest of Gansu Province; mainly engage in handicraft industry; believe in Islam; play traditional woodwind or stringed instrument Bouyei: inhabit in Guizhou Province as early as in the Stone Age; advanced in agriculture and forestry; good at brocade and embroidery Chaoxian: dwell mainly in northeastern part of China; their ancestors are the immigrants from the Korean Peninsula; have similar festivals with Han People Dai: distribute in southern part of Yunnan Province; a versatile nation who has made certain achievement in music; believe in Southern Buddhism Daur: a considerably smaller minority who said to be the descendants of Khitan tribe in Liao Dynasty; lay stress upon etiquette; have many taboos of their own Deang: a small minority distributed in Yunnan Province; they are skilled craftsman, and have profound tea culture; rice, wheat, corn and legume are the staple foods Dong: living in the border regions between Hunan, Hubei and Guizhou Provinces; skilled in handcrafts; rice, millet, wheat sorghum are the staple foods Dongxiang: mainly inhabit in Gansu Province, with farming and stocking as their mode of production; believe in Islam; enjoy drinking tea Dulong: one of the smallest minority groups in China; believing that there are spirits who control everything; have two meals a day; carpet is their distinctive handicraft Ewenki: mostly live in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region; good at singing and dancing, horse-racing and wrestling; believe that Gods control their life Gaoshan: most live on Taiwan Island; like singing ballads and telling tales; have rituals for daily activities, such as sowing, harvesting, hunting and fishing Gelao: an old ethnic minority good at the refinement of forging, blacksmith and stonecutting; believe in the bless from many Gods and their ancestors Gin: most live in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region; make a living on farming and fishing; most believe in Taoism; seafood and rice are their staple foods