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China’s Peoples

There are about 55 different ethnic minorities in China, each with their own distinctive customs, costumes and, in many cases, languages. Though rich in culture, and varied, together they make up only about seven percent of the population, with the main group, known as Han Chinese, accounting for the rest. Modernization of society and intermarriage are inevitably leading to a dilution of these differences, but many groups remain proud of their heritage and retain their traditional beliefs and customs. Many have beautiful styles of dress (especially the women), and these costumes and cultures have become a major attraction to visitors, who bring trade to communities.


A variety of mostly Islamic people inhabit this area dominated by desert, semi-desert, and mountains. The Uighur are the dominant minority and have their own Autonomous Region. Other groups include the Hui, Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, Uzbeks, Tajiks, and Tatars.

Naxi of Lijiang

have strong traditions and are guardians of an ancient script.

Bai people live mainly in Sichuan, Yunnan, Guizhou, and Hunan, and number some 1.6 million. Their capital is Dali (Yunnan). Although traditionally farmers and fishermen, their colorful costumes attract a lot of tourism.

Over 1 million Kazakh

 Muslims live in the north of Xinjiang Province. Renowned for their horsemanship, the Kazakhs center their lives around their precious horses and farming.

The Dai and Hani

of Xishuangbanna in southern Yunnan in the tropical south are mainly Buddhist farmers, and have a deep respect for the natural world

Central & East

The 630,000 She live mainly in Fujian and Zhejiang Provinces. They are farmers, with a strong artistic tradition using bamboo. Another small group, the Gaoshan (about 400,000) are from Taiwan, but many have settled on the eastern mainland, notably in Fujian Province.


The largest minority in China is the Zhuang (15.5 million), who live mainly in their Autonomous Region of Guangxi, famous for the dramatic dragon-back rice terraces of Longsheng. They have linguistic and cultural links with the Dai who are ethnically related to Thai peoples. Renowned for their crafts and colorful festivals , the Miao (7.4 million) inhabit many areas in the southern provinces.

China’s Peoples China’s Peoples Reviewed by MELANIE INFINITY on January 07, 2020 Rating: 5

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