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56 Ethnic Peoples of China

中華56个民族


 

 

 

 

 

 

Ethnic Groups in China





 


ETHNIC GROUPS (ALL OF CHINA)

 

Han Chinese

The Han Chinese make up 91.9% of China's population. The Han people dominate all of China culturally and politically.

Other Nationalities

China's 55 recognized minority groups total about 8% of the nation's population. Major ethnic groups in China are:

Zhuang
Uigur
Hui
Yi
Tibetan
Miao
Manchu
Mongol
Buyi
Korean



ETHNIC GROUPS ALONG THE SILK ROAD

 

The majority of the population is of mixed Turkish descent. Uigurs are the largest ethnic group along the Silk Road. Kyrgyz, Kazaks, Uzbeks, and Tartars are other strongly represented ethnic groups along the Silk Road. Fifty percent of the population is Muslim. Different varieties of old Turkish is spoken. The Han are very much in the minority, making up less than 10% of the population in the Xinjiang province.

The Uigurs

Over half of the Silk Road population is Uigur. The Uigur are descendants of an empire in Mongolia in the 8th century. A nomadic tribe from the north drove the Uigurs into Xinjiang. The Uigurs are responsible for the spread of Buddhism into parts of central Asia. In the 10th century, the Uigurs embraced the arrival of Islam and are Muslims today.

Uigurs make their living through agriculture. They are also known for their cotton production and carpet weaving.

Sophisticated irrigation systems allowed the Uigur to live on the edges of the desert.

The Kazak and Kyrgyz

The Kazak and Kyrgyz are Nomadic people (estimated population in the region: 1,000,000 Kazak, 200,000 Kyrgyz). They are known historically for their expertise with horses, the same “heavenly horses" that the Han Dynasty emperors sought through warfare and tribute 2,000 years ago. They make up the majority populations in the neighboring Kazakstan and Kyrgystan (former republics of the Soviet Union).



REGIONAL MINORITIES

 

Southwest

Largest of the minorities, the Zhuang share with the Dai (ethnic kin to the people of Thailand) common linguistic roots and a love of festival singing and dancing. But unlike the more remote Dai, the Zhuang have had a close affiliation with the Han for centuries. So, too, have the Bai, rice farmers from villages in the high plains of Yunnan, whose ancestors were among the original inhabitants of the region.

Scattered in small stockaded villages in rugged mountains, the Yao raised rice, maize, and sweet potatoes by slash-and-burn farming. With the advent of better communications and transportation, they have a developing economy based on some hydroelectric power and increased irrigation. Fierce warriors, the Yi evolved an aristocratic society (even their slaves had slaves) and a religion based on the reading of scared writings.

Southeast

Some minorities had been so absorbed that their status as separate peoples was nearly lost. Despite their numbers, the Tujia were not recognized until the 1950s. (The Jino of Yunnan in the southwest were only designated a minority in 1979). The Tujia farm rice and corn, gather fruit and fell trees for lumber, produce an oil made from tea, and are adept at handicrafts. The She, who now mainly speak Chinese, may be descended from the Yao who retreated to the west 500 years ago under pressure of Han expansion.

Kaoshan is a general term applied to the aboriginal mountain peoples of Taiwan: millet farmers, hunters of game, and, until the early 20th century, hunters of heads. Their languages seem to stem from the Malayo-Polynesian group and may be the result of several migrations, perhaps from mainland 4,500 years ago or from the Malay Archipelago.

South

Dispersed from southern China across northern Vietnam, Laos, and into Thailand, the Maio (Hmong) vary in dialect, styles of farming, and designation: Black, White, Red, Blue, Flowery, and Cowerie Shell Miao among others. Forced southward by the Han, often despised and exploited, many settled in distant mountains, raising millet and buckwheat by slash-and-burn farming, their diet supplemented by domestic animals and hunting. Modernization - improved farming methods, organizations of communes, road building - has been made difficult by the ragged terrain in which the Miao are scattered.

Native to the mountains of Hainan Island, the Li long had a history of rebellion against Chinese authority. In 1943 they rose against the Nationalist occupiers and were joined by local Communist guerillas and later by the Chinese Read army in the first large-scale collaboration of a minority during the civil war.

North Central

The Mongol hordes of Genghis Khan and his successors swept as far as Vienna in the 13th century. Probably less than 10% of Inner Mongolia's people are Mongol today, but their population is increasing. Livestock, coal, iron, salt, steel, and grain are economically important, yet many Mongols remain semi-nomadic. They follow their flocks in summer, covering great distances and living in felt tents called yurts. Their yearly Nadam Fair features stock sales and contests of horsemanship, wrestling, shooting and archery.

The Hui are essentially the same as the Han, except that they are Muslim, the Islamic religion having been introduced by Arab soldiers and merchants 1,200 years ago. The Hui are widely dispersed in many occupations, notably as butchers and restauranteurs. The Tu (Monguor) clans once served as frontier defenders for imperial China, which earned them limited local autonomy.

Northeast

The Manchu, once herders and hunters, conquered China in the 17th century. They were gradually assimilated and are now found in all trades across the northeast, with little remaining of the ancient customs or language. Only in the past 25 years, however, have the Oroquen and Ewenki begun giving up the birch-bark and hide tents of migrant hunters for a more settled life. They still hunt, but also breed deer, tend flocks, and farm. Many now live in communes with warehouses, barns, and pens. The Daur have a tradition of grain and vegetable farming and animal husbandry, as well as logging, hunting, and fishing. Korean immigrants have been filtering into China for centuries. Once rice growers, they have lately joined in the industrialization of Manchuria.

Xinjiang

The Silk Road threading through Xinjiang's deserts and mountains carried China's trade westward and eventually opened the way for Islam's expansion eastward. Seven of the 12 minorities here are Muslim, most of whom speak Turkish languages and for centuries used Arabic script. The Uygur, once called "high carts," raise fruit, wheat, cotton, and rice by extensive irrigation. Their faces combine Indo-Iranian and Mongoloid features.

 

Wednesday
Jan122011

 

 

List of the 55 Ethnic Minorities in China: 

Each minority ethnic groups has its own distinctive character.

Achang:  one of the earliest people in Yunnan; famous for growing rice and forging iron weapons, such as cutting tools

Bai: the masters of artistic creativity, they favor white clothes and decorations; they are reative in architecture, painting, music, sculpture and lacquer work

Blang:  live in Yunnan Province. They mainly practice agriculture and are good at planting tea and rice. Renowned for 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: inhabited Guizhou Province from as early the Stone Age; advanced in agriculture and forestry; good at brocade and embroidery

Chaoxian: live mainly in northeastern part of China; their ancestors are immigrants from the Korean Peninsula; they have similar festivals with Han People

Dai: distributed throughout the southern part of Yunnan Province; a versatile group who have a disctinctive music; they believe in Buddhism

Daur:  a considerably smaller minority who are said to be the descendants of the Khitan tribe from the Liao Dynasty; they lay stress upon etiquette and have many taboos

De'ang:  a small minority distributed throughout Yunnan Province; they are skilled craftsman, and have a profound tea culture; their staple diet is made up of rice, wheat, corn and legumes

Dong:  live in the border regions between Hunan, Hubei and Guizhou Provinces; they are skilled in handcrafts; their staple foods are ice, millet, wheat sorghum

Dongxiang:  mainly live in Gansu Province, they are farmers and herders; they believe in Islam and enjoy drinking tea

Dulong: are one of the smallest minority groups in China; they believe there are spirits who control everything; they eat two meals a day; they are renowned for their disctinctive handicrafts, in particular carpets

Ewenki:  mostly live in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region; they good at singing and dancing, horse-racing and wrestling; they believe that Gods control their life 

Gaoshan:  mostly live on Taiwan Island; they like singing ballads and telling tales and have rituals for daily activities, such as sowing, harvesting, hunting and fishing

Gelao: an old ethnic minority who are skilled at forging, blacksmithing and stonecutting; they believe in the blessings from many Gods and their ancestors

Gin: mostly live in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region; they make a living from farming and fishing; they believe in Taoism; their staple foods are seafood and rice 

Hani: mainly inhabit within the Yuan and Lantsang Rivers; they have an interesting marriage custom and believe in the powerful influence of many Gods and their ancestors

Hezhen: the smallest minority in China; they believe in Shamanism, all have spirits and they worship many gods; fish is their staple food

Hui: believe in Islam; religious thoughts play an important role in their daily life; their life-style is very different from the other minority groups

Jingpo: mainly distribute in Yunnan Province; skilled at carving, painting, weaving and embroidering; believe everything has a soul which will never die

Jinuo:live mainly in Yunnan Province; it is an old minority which believes in animism; rice and corn are their staple food; the Iron Forging Festival is their main festival

Kazak: mainly dwell in Xinjiang, Gansu and Qinghai; love music and have many unique musical instruments such as Dongbula; believe in Islam

Kirgiz: most live in Xinjiang; they are skilled at literature, music, sports and handicrafts; they are also skilled at animal husbandry; some believe in Islam and some believe in Tibetan Buddhism

Lahu: most are scattered around the Lancangjiang Lahu Autonomous County; they believe in Mahayana and regard black as the most beautiful color

Li: mainly live in the middle and southern part of Hainan Province; their favorite foods are corn, rice and sweet potatoes; they depend on agriculture, breeding and handicrafts industries

Lisu: most live in Yunnan and Sichuan Provinces; they mainly live on corn and buckwheat; they have created their own calendar composed of ten months governed by the natural cycle

Luoba: dwell at the foot of Himalayas, and live by both agriculture and hunting; they have unique food customs. Their staple foods are corn, rice and a kind of local grain

Man (Manchu): originated from the Jurchen tribes; they have a long history and a brilliant culture; the founder of the Jin and Qing Dynasties; they have had a great influence on Chinese history

Maonan: mainly distributed in the Huanjiang County of Guangxi Province; they live on agriculture and the hveandicraft industry; their staple foods are rice and corn

Miao: has a relatively larger popular compared with other minorities in China; they are skilled in handicrafts such as paper-cutting, embroidery, weaving, and jewelry casting

Monba: are mainly distributed in Tibet and haves a long history; their staple foods are corn, rice and buckwheat; they are adept at weaving with vines and bamboo vines; they have an interesting wedding ceremony

Mongol: primarily live in Inner Mongolia; they are famous horsemen; their staple foods are meat and milk; their main festival is Nadam Fair

Mulam: a smaller minority group dwelling mainly in Guangxi Province; they believe in natural spirits and are skilled at pottery and iron forging

Naxi: mainly live in Yunnan, Sichuan and Tibet; their main activities are handicrafts, stock breeding and farming; most of them believe in Dongba Religion

Nu: mostly live in the southwest of Yunnan Province; they believe everything has spirit; some believe in Christianity and Lamaism; they good musicians

Oroqen: dwell mainly in Inner Mongolia and Heilongjiang Province; they are good at hunting and making wares with iron, wood and bone; their staple food is meat

Primi: their main activities are agriculture and livestock; they believe life is influenced by gods and ancestors; they celebrate the Spring Festival, Pure Brightness Festival and Dragon Boat Festival

Qiang: mainly live in Aba, Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Sichuan Province; their staple foods are beef, mutton, chicken, fish, corn, wheat and potatoes

Russ: derived from Russian immigrates in 18th Century; most live in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region; they celebrate Christmas Day and Easter Day

Salar: mainly live in Qinghai, Gansu and Xinjiang Provinces; they make a living from horticulture, handicrafts and agriculture

She: most live in Fujian and Zhejiang Provinces; they believe in the influence of ancestors and totems; their staple foods are corn, rice, beans and potatoes

Shui: are  mainly distributed in Guizhou Province; they have their own language; they are good at stone-carving, paper-cuts, silver jewelry-making and batik techniques

Tagik: have splendid culture and a long history; their main occupations are agriculture and stock husbandry; they believe in Islam and lay great stress upon day to day etiquette

Tatar: mainly live in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region; they have their own language; follow Islam; their main activities are agriculture, stock husbandry and handicrafts

Tu: are mainly distributed throughout the Qinghai and Gansu Provinces; they practice Animism and Taoism; their main activities are agriculture, stock husbandry and sheep breeding

Tujia: are distributed widely throughout Hunan, Hubei, Guizhou and Sichuan Provinces; they believe in the great influence of their gods and ancestors; their main activities are agriculture and fishing

Uygur: mainly live in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Regions; they believe in Islam; their unique staple foods are nang, zhuafan and noodles

Uzbek: mainly live in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Regions; they believe in Islam; their main activities are stock breeding and handicrafts industries

Wa: mainly live in Yunnan Province; thier main activity is agriculture; some believe in Buddhism and some belive in Christianity; their staple diet is rice

Xibe: are distributed throughout Jilin, Liaoning and Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region; their main activities are stock husbandry and agriculture; their staple foods are wheat flour, rice and mutton

Yao: are distributed widely throughout the mountainous areas in the south of China; their staple foods are corn, rice and potatoes and they like drinking tea and homemade wines

Yi: widely live in Yunnan, Guizhou, Sichuan and Guangxi Provinces; they have a long history and a splendid culture; they have many beliefs and unique customs

Yugur: mainly live in Gansu Province; they are typical nomads and depend on stock breeding; they believe in Lamaism and preserve many traditional cultures through folk tales, legends and ballads

Zang (Tibetan): mostly live in the Tibetan Autonomous Region; they believe in Tibetan Buddhism (also called Lamaism); their staple foods are Tsamba, butter tea, mutton and beef

Zhuang: are the largest minority group in China; they mainly living in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region; they have a long history and splendid culture

 

Wednesday
Jan122011