China is much more ethnically diverse than you could imagine. In total there are 56 different ethnicities living in China. Not counting foreign expats and students but just citizens of China. Chinese people are too broad term and it includes all ethnic groups including majority one. When we speak about Chinese people we mostly refer to Han people a majority population which counts 90% of total population of China. Most of history, culture, tradition, cuisine, customs and religion that I wrote so far is related to this people majority population of China.  They are largest ethnic group in world. Even Han people are very diverse in terms of traditions, language, cuisine, customs and clothing across all China. Chinese people say for China Zhonguo what means middle land or middle kingdom. Chinese people is said in Chinese Zhonguoren what mostly refers to all Chinese people not just Han but ethnic minorities.A lso there is term known as Zhonghua minzu which means Chinese nation which includes all ethnicities too. Hanzu refers only to Han majority population.  Han people counts for about 1 billion. When it comes to language Chinese language is said in Chinese Hanyi or Zhongwen and it is language of the Han people but is official language of China. Official language is Mandarin Chinese or Putonghua in Chinese. It is one of two standardized versions of Chinese. Mandarin is official in all China except in Hong Kong. In Hong Kong official standardized language is Cantonese. Mandarin was used by bureaucrats and officials during imperial China while ordinary people spoke regional dialects. Later it was imposed as obligatory  and official language so all people could learn and speak one dialect and communicate easier. But in provinces are spoken many unstandardized dialects in unofficial communication. Only in Hong Kong, Macau and Guangzhou regional dialect is standardized which is known as Cantonese.  Mandarin itself has many dialects and subdialects determined by province and smaller areas than province but are informal. There are other dialects sucha sGuan, Wu, Min, Yue, Haka and Xiang.  All of them have regional variations.

languages of China
ethnic groups of China,

There are 55 other ethnic groups of China which have unique language, customs, clothing, cuisine and beliefs. Some are more or less influenced by majority Han culture and customs and traditions. So as far as you know a lot from my writings and will know about Han people now it is time to write shortly about 55 minorities. They enjoy equal rights as majority Han population.  They can use own languages in some local administration, their children can attend school in native language but they learn Mandarin Chinese too. During one child policy between 1978 and 2015 they could have two children. Also they get different benefits such as smaller quota for entering universities.  In past most of minorities  were regionalized in particular areas and provinces but today they move to cities and different parts of China.  Some still stay indigenous in their home region in villages or towns. Yunnan province is home to most minorities there live 25 different ethnic groups and 16 million of them.  Lets review all

Zhuang–  ethnic group of Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region. There are almost 20 million of them and they were farmers traditionally. Now they live in various cities too. When it comes to beliefs they believe in animism, totemism and accepted Taoism partially. They have own language.

Manchu–  originate from Heilongjiang, Jilin and Liaoning province. Their language belongs to Tungustic languages. In past they mostly held shamanistic beliefs while today most of them are followers of Tibetan Buddhism or Taoism. Twice they held big parts of China during  governance of Jin dynasty and during Qing they controlled all China.

Uighur- Turkic ethnic group with Islamic faith. They mostly live in Xinjiang autonomous region.

Mongol- traditionally were nomads and today they mostly live in Inner Mongolia autonomous region. During Yuan dynasty they governed all China. Most of them are followers of Tibetan Buddhism but still practice shamanic rituals.

Tibetan- mostly live in Tibetan autonomous region and on smaller scale in Sichuan, Qinghai, Gansu and Yunnan. Believe in Tibetan Buddhism but also in indigenous Bon practices.
Miao- mainly live in Yunnan, Guizhou, Hunan, Hubei and Guangxi region. Most famous for handicrafts and colorful dance. They believe that everything in nature has spirit and they worship nature.

Nu or Mosuo- live near Lugu lake in Yunnan province. Live traditionally and is only ethnicity in world where matriarchate still exists. Women can have several lovers and children inherit their lineage. Mostly believe in natural worship while some believe in Taoism or Tibetan Buddhism.

Achang– live in Yunnan province and are famous as rice cultivators. Mostly believe in Buddhism and Taoism.

Bai- live in Yunnan, are good in arts and crafts and mostly follow natural worships and Buddhism.

Blang- still practice folk beliefs and mostly live nearby Dali in Yunnan province. Most of them are farmers.

Bonan- Their language descends from Mongolian. They are Muslims and are one of smallest ethnic groups in China and there are only 16 000 of them. They live in Gansu province mostly.

Boueyi– Live mostly in Guizhou province. They worship various deities of nature and believe in some Taoist beliefs too.

Chaoxia- are Koreans. Traditionally migrated from Korean peninsula to Jilin, Heilongjiang and Liaoning province. Today live also in other parts of China. Some of them hold folk beliefs similar to Han, follow Taoism or Buddhism. Some of them are Christians.

Dai– Live  in Yunnan province mostly and are ancestors of Thai people which migrated to todays Thailand. It is actually Chinese name for Thai people. Most of them are Buddhists. Famous for sending some children to temples to learn ethics there.

Daur- A descendants of Khitan Mongols. Considerably small group.

Deang– Subgroup of Dai people in Yunnan and Buddhists.


ethnic groups


Dong- They live in Hunan, Guizhou and Hubei. Still mostly live in villages and believe in spirits of nature.  Are similar to Zhuang people.

Dongxiang- Mostly live in Xinjiang and speak Mongolic language. A lot of them are Muslims. Are famous for sheepbreeding.

Dulong- language similar to Tibetan and mostly live in Tibet. Believe in spirits of nature.   One of smallest ethnic groups in China there are a bit more than 7000 of them.

Ewenki- live in Inner Mongolia. Mostly busy with cattlekeeping. Are traditional horse riders.  Still practice shamanism.

Gaoshan- mostly live in Chinese Taiwan, Zhejiang and Fujian. Belong to Malay-Indonesian origin. Mostly believe in spirits and wizardry but also there is impact of Taoism on their life.

Gelao- Live in Guizhou, Yunnan and Guangxi Zhuang. Mostly live from agriculture. Believe in ancestral and natural spirits.

Gin- Mostly live in Guangxi Zhuang. Their language is similar to Vietnamese. When it comes to beliefs most of them follow Taoism and folk beliefs.

Hani- Live in Tibet mostly and are focused on agriculture. Believe in ancestral and natural spirits.

Hezhen- mostly live in Heilongjiang province. They are of Mongolic origin. Still practice shamanism.

Hui- are of Han origins but Islamized Han. Except Chinese they use some Arab and Persian which was inherited together with Islam during large trade during Tang dynasty. Majority of them lives in Ningxia autonomous region but they also live in almost every part of China.





Jingpo- mainly live in Yunnan and are famous for arts and crafts. Believe in shamanic ideas.

Jino- Live in Yunnan mostly famous for rice cultivation and animistic beliefs.

Kazakh- originate from neighboring Kazakhstan, believe in Islam and mostly live in Xinjiang.

Kyrgiz- originate from neighboring Kyrgistan, believe in Islam and mostly live in Xinjaing.

Lahu- mostly believe in Buddhism and live in Yunnan. Are of Burmese origin.

Lisu- Live in Sichuan and Yunnan. Are of Burmese origin and believe in animism.

Li- mostly live in Hainan. Famous for commerce. Belive in natural spirits.

Luoba–  live in Tibet and believe in spirits.

Maonan-  live in Guangxi region, famous for agriculture and follow Taoism.

Monba- live in Tibet and follow Buddhism. Famous for textile production.

Mulao- often work with rice and live in Guangxi. Practice folk beliefs, Taoism and Buddhism.

Naxi-  live in Yunnan. Traditionally famous as farmers and for very colorful traditional music and dance. Have folk spiritual beliefs but also there is some influence of Taoism and Buddhism.

Oroqen–  are of Manchu origin and live in Inner Mongolia. Mostly practice shamanism famous for hunting and boat building.

Pumi- most of them live in Sichuan and Qinghai. They practice Buddhism and Taoism.

Qiang- famous for handicrafts. Live in Sichuan mostly and believe in natural spirits.

Russians- originate from Russia mostly live in Heilongjiang, Inner Mongolia and Xinjiang. Unlike Russian expats they have Chinese citizenship. Mostly believe in Orthodox Christianity.

Salar- are of Turkic origin live in Qinghai, Gansu and Xinjiang. Famous for colorful dances and nice music. Most are Muslims.

She–  Most are famous for agriculture and music. Live in Fujian, Zhejiang, Anhui, Jiangxi and Guangdong.  Mostly believe in natural and ancestral spirits.

Shui-  live in Guizhou province and most famous for making crafts and in arts. Believe in natural spirits.

Tajiks- are of Persian origin and mostly live in Xinjiang. Are Muslims.

Tatars– are of Turkic origin and mostly live in Xinjiang. Are Muslims.

Tu- mostly live in Qinghai and Gansu provinces. Are famous for very colorful traditional clothing. Most are Taoists and Buddhists.

Tujia- mostly live in Sichuan, Hunan, Henan and Hubei. Are Taoists and  Buddhists.

Uzbeks- are of Turkic origin and are Muslims. Mostly live in Xinjiang. Traditionally were good merchants

Wa- are of Khmer origin and mostly live in Yunnan. Traditionally were famous for agriculture. Most are Buddhists.

Xibe-  are of Tungustic origin. Live in Xinjiang, Jilin and Liaoning. Are Taoists and Buddhists.

Yao-  mostly live in Guangxi Zhuang, Yunnan, Guangdong, Guizhou, Hunan and Jiangxi. Believe in natural spirits and follow Taoism.

Yi- mostly live in Sichuan, Guizhou, Yunnan and Guangxi Zhuang. Mostly were famous as farmers. Most believe in indigenous magic and Buddhism.

Yugur-  are of Mongolic origin. Mostly live in Gansu and are Buddhists.

ENjoy China 😉  video summary with all 56 ethnic groups and women in traditional costumes





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