Ethnic Groups in China

China is a large country noted for its dense population and vast territory. At present, there are altogether 1.3 billion people from 56 ethnic groups in China. The defining elements of an ethnic group are language, homeland, and social values. As the majority of the population is of the Han ethnic group, the other 55 ethnic groups are customarily referred to as ethnic minorities because of their relatively smaller population size compared with Han people.

Recommended China ethnic minority tours:

15-day Yunnan and Guizhou Getaway Tour

11-day Guangxi & Guizhou Mountain Tribe Adventure

11-day Tibetan New Year Monlam Festival Tour

Guizhou miao people

According to the fifth national census taken in 2000, the Han people made up 91.59 percent of the country's total population, totaling 1159.4 million; and the other 55 ethnic groups, 8.41 percent, totaling 106.43 million. The Han people can be found throughout the country, though mainly on the middle and lower reaches of the Yellow River, the Yangtze River and the Pearl River valleys, and the Northeast Plain. The ethnic minorities, though fewer in number, are also scattered over a vast area, mainly distributed in the border regions from northeast China to north, northwest and southwest China.

China exercises a policy of regional autonomy for various ethnic groups, allowing ethnic groups living in compact communities to establish self-government and direct their own affairs. In most of China's cities and county town, two or more ethnic groups live together.

ethnic people in China

The ethnic groups in China include: Han, Achang, Bai, Blang, Bonan, Bouyei, Dai, Daur, De'ang, Dong, Dongxiang, Dulong, Ewenki, Gaoshan, Gelo, Hani, Hezhe, Hui, Jing, Jino, Jingpo, Kazak, Kirgiz, Korean, Lahu, Li, Lisu, Lhoba, Manchu, Maonan, Miao, Moinba, Mongolian, Mulam, Naxi, Nu, Oroqen, Ozbek, Pumi, Qiang, Russian, Salar, She, Shui, Tatar, Tajik, Tibetan, Tu, Tujia, Uygur, Wa, Xibe, Yao, Yi, Yugur, Zhuang. The largest is the 12 million-strong Zhuang ethnic group in southwestern China. And Yunnan Province, home to more than 20 ethnic groups, has the greatest diversity of minority people in China.

According to the fifth national census in 2000, 18 ethnic minorities have a population of over one million, namely the Zhuang, Manchu, Hui, Miao, Uygur, Yi, Tujia, Mongolian, Tibetan, Bouyei, Dong, Yao, Korean, Bai, Hani, Li, Kazak and Dai.

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