BackgroundChina’s history is filled with the folklore of the different peoples who make up this extraordinary land that contains a vast mixture of cultures. Today the country regards itself as a multi-national state where its diverse population of 56 nationalities live and work within the national boundaries of the People’s Republic of China, and where traditions and customs are all interwoven to make up a unified nation.
The Han nationality represents 92% of the overall population - estimated now at over 1.3 billion - and plays a leading role in state affairs. Over the course of history the Han have established strong ties with other ethnic groups in political, economic and cultural spheres. The Han people, who can be found across the country, predominantly come from the Yellow, Yangtze and Pearl River Valleys and the Songliao Plain of the northeast of China.
The ethnic minorities of China, although relatively small in number, actually inhabit about 50% to 60% of the country’s landmass. They mainly hail from or live in Inner Mongolia, Xinjiang, Tibet, Guangxi and Ningxia, as well as in some regions of Heilongjiang, Jilin, Liaoning, Gansu, Qinghai, Sichuan, Yunnan, Guizhou, Guangdong, Hunan, Hebei, Hubei, Fujian and Taiwan.
According the census of 1990, the largest ‘minority’ group is the Zhuang with over 15 million people who largely come from Guangxi, Yunnan, Guangdong and Guizhou with the Manchu the second largest, numbering close on 9 million, and the Hui third with over 8.5 million. The Uygur people number over 7 million with the Tujia - who come from Hunnan and Hubei - reaching over 5.7 million, with Mongolians close on 5 million, and Tibetans around 4.5 million.
Apart from the Han, the other 55 nationalities are: the Zhuang, Hui, Uygur, Yi, Miao, Manchu, Tibetan, Mongolian, Tujia, Bouyei, Korean, Dong, Yao, Bai, Hani, Kazak, Dai, Li, Lisu, She, Lahu, Va, Shui, Dongxiang, Naxi,Tu, Kirgiz, Qiang, Daur, Jingpo, Mulam, Xibe, Salar, Blang, Gelo, Maonan, Tajik, Primi, Nu, Achang, Ewenki, Jino, Uzbek, Gin, De’ang, Yugur, Bonan, Monba, Drung, Oroqen, Tatar, Russian, Lhoba, Gaoshan and Hezhe.
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