Peoples of china

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Wall with representation of the 56 peoples of China in Beijing opposite the Niujie Mosque

Over 90 ethnic groups are referred to as peoples of China , 56 of which are officially recognized as nationalities by the People's Republic of China . In addition to the Han , who make up the majority population in all of China (92% of the total population), there are another 55 nationalities . These peoples have a status that comes close to the European definition of a national minority , i.e. that is, they have a legal status that includes the guarantee of certain rights and the like. a. in the field of the education system and language promotionconnected is. It is irrelevant here whether the national minority also ethnically forms the national people of another state (e.g. Mongols , Koreans , Kazakhs , Vietnamese ), whether they live as minorities in several states ( e.g. the Lisu in China, Myanmar, Thailand and India) , the Jingpo and Wa in China and Myanmar) or as a closed ethnic group only native to China (for example the Salar , Naxi and She ).

In addition to these 56 recognized nationalities, there are also over 20 non-officially recognized ethnic groups (for example Sherpa , Khmu and Siraya ) among the peoples of China.

The traditional settlement areas of the ethnic minorities of China comprise over 60% of the area of ​​China. Only 18 of them have a population that exceeds the million mark.



Woman in a Naxi village near Lijiang

In German, the term “Chinese” does not clearly differentiate between nationals of China and members of the Han nationality , i.e. “ethnic (Han) Chinese”. In Chinese , on the other hand, the “Chinese” as citizens ( Chinese  中國 人  /  中国 人 , Pinyin Zhōngguórén  - “People from the Central Plateau ”) and the “ethnic Han Chinese” ( 漢族 人  /  汉族 人 , Hànzúrén or 漢人  /  汉人 , Hànrén  - "Man of the Han people") uses two completely different terms. The term "Chinese" (in the sense of Zhōngguórén ) does not contain any ethnic attribution.


The Chinese term mínzú ( Chinese  民族 ) covers a spectrum of meanings that is occupied by several words in European languages: nation , people , nationality , ethnic group , ethnicity , ethnic group. For example, the term Zhōnghuá mínzú ( Chinese  中华民族 ) has two translation options : 1) the "Chinese nation"; 2) the "peoples (nationalities) of China". Combined with a specific ethnonym, this replaces the sign mín (people, people, people) and now stands with the remaining (clan, clan, lineage) as a specifically named “nationality”, for example Hànzú ( Chinese  汉族 ) as the “ Han- Nationality ”, Miáozú ( Chinese  苗族 ) as the“ Miao nationality ”or Èwēnkèzú ( Chinese  鄂温克 族 ) as the“ Evenk nationality ”.

Zhōnghuá Mínzú has been used as an official term since the 1980s , although it had previously been rejected. As a result, the People's Republic moved away from the self-image of a state formed by independent peoples towards a state with ethnic groups of a common nationality. This common nationality, which is dominated by the Han, is perceived by the minority peoples as a degradation, since they consider themselves to be independent peoples with a right to self-determination .

shǎoshù mínzú

In the People's Republic of China , the “non-Han” are summarized with the term shǎoshù mínzú ( Chinese  少數民族  /  少数民族 ), which can be translated as “minority peoples” or “minority nationalities”. Due to the legal status associated with recognition as a mínzú , the term national minority is also justifiable. However, if the term is used unspecifically in Chinese, it usually also includes non-recognized ethnic groups. Then the more general term “ ethnic minorities ” is preferable in the translation . Another problem with the term is that it focuses on the fact that there is a quantitative majority of the Han across China. However, in many places - locally or regionally - the ethnic minorities make up the majority of the population.

In this sense, a distinction must be made between these 55 ethnic minorities (excluding the Han majority people) and the 56 ethnic groups (including the Han people).

native people

In China, the “non-Han” cannot be generally delimited from the Han with the term “indigenous people” or even “ indigenous peoples ”, since the Han are also “indigenous people” or “indigenous people” almost everywhere in China. To speak of “indigenous people” among the Tibetans would be correct in the literal sense, but it would have the wrong connotation, since they still make up the overwhelming majority of the population in most of their traditional settlement areas, especially in Tibet. Some ethnic groups of the People's Republic, for example the Russians and the Salar , could not (as immigrants) at all, while others - for example the Koreans - could only be described as "natives" or "indigenous people" to a very limited extent. A term like “fringe peoples” does not apply to all either, since the settlement areas of many groups run through the settlement areas of the Han like a patchwork quilt.

Coexistence of peoples in the past and present

Qidan hunters, painting from the Song Dynasty

Even in the process of its formation, China developed as an ethnically and culturally heterogeneous state . The unification of the empire by the first emperor of the Qin in the year 221 BC. BC not only made different states disappear, it also united different peoples with different languages ​​and cultures in one state. This created the prerequisites for the ethnogenesis of the Han , the majority population of today's China. But not all populations became part of this process. Regionally independent, ethnically and culturally autochthonous population groups were able to maintain and develop not only on the fringes of the Middle Kingdom, which had already expanded rapidly during the Han Empire , but also in its interior. The historical peoples of China who were also involved in the formation and development of today's ethnic diversity in the country include: a. - to name just a few of the most important: Dingling , Fufuluo , Gaoche , Huihe , Minyue , Nanyue , Qidan and Black Qidan , Rouran , Ruzhen (Dschurdschen), Saken , Sushen , Tabgatsch , Tanguten , Tiele , Tocharer , Tujue , Tuyuhun , Wuhu , Wuhuan , Wusun , Xianbei , Xiongnu , Xueyantuo , Yelang , Yuezhi . Some of them, for example the Tabgatsch ( Northern Wei Dynasty ), Qidan ( Liao Dynasty ) and Ruzhen ( Jin Dynasty ), ruled more Han in their empires than members of their own ethnic groups. There were even two Chinese dynasties that controlled the country and its rulers ethnic minorities were the Yuan Dynasty (1279-1368) the Mongols and the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) of the Manchu (Manju). They all did not see themselves as "foreign dynasties", as they are still called by the European-centered historiography, but as original representatives of the "China concept" ( Chinese  中國  /  中国 , Pinyin Zhōngguó  - "Central Plains") in the sense of "Land of Center". Regardless of the ethnic affiliation of the Chinese imperial family, population groups in all dynasties of Chinese history were repeatedly oppressed, expelled, persecuted and fought because of their affiliation to ethnically defined or ethnically defined communities.

Only after the founding of the PR China was the equality of all nationalities in China anchored in constitutional law. Today, in addition to the right to autonomy, there are numerous measures to positively discriminate against the “national minorities”: bilingual teaching is widespread today and is also anchored in law among the large peoples who have their own written language. Members of national minorities are generally exempt from the one-child policy and may have at least two children in any case. In rural, sparsely populated regions and with quantitatively very small nationalities, there are regional and even local regulations that sometimes allow significantly more children per family. The population censuses of 1982, 1990 and 2000 accordingly found a significantly higher population growth for almost all national minorities in China than for the Han. Due to fixed quotas, the national minorities are also over-represented in China's politics. Their percentage of MPs in the NPC and people's congresses at the lower levels, in the MPs of the CPPCC and consultative conferences at the lower levels, and even in the delegates to the CCP congresses is regularly higher than their share of the population. Many Chinese politicians are members of ethnic minorities. The highest office reached the Mongol Ulanhu , who was Vice President of the PRC from 1983 to 1988.

However, the changeable political history of the People's Republic of China often had a negative impact on relations with the Han majority of the population. Even if the Han and members of ethnic minorities were equally affected by the negative consequences of the Great Leap Forward (1958/59) and the Cultural Revolution (1966–1976), these political movements were largely perceived by the non-Han as something that the ethnic majority imposed on them. As a result, ethnic tensions grew and ethnic conflicts became more common.

In the partially still sparsely populated border regions of China ( Tibet , Xinjiang , Inner Mongolia ), the influx of Han is sometimes heavily criticized by the locals. In some of their traditional settlement areas, where they still make up the majority of the population, these nationalities now also threaten to become regional or local minorities. The government of the PR China justifies the Han migration to border areas with the economic development of unused resources. Above all, representatives of exiled Tibetans and exiled Uyghurs suspect measures against separatist movements in their regions.

List of the 56 peoples of China recognized as nationalities

The listing is in alphabetical order. The "official name" of the PR China follows GB / T 3304–1991 ( 中国 各 民族 名称 的 罗马 字母 拼写 法 和 代码 , Zhōngguó gè mínzú míngchēng de Luómǎ zìmǔ pīnxiěfǎ hé dàimǎ ).

German name and other common names (also of subgroups) official name Chinese Pinyin Own name Population 2010 1 (2000) Distribution areas in China own written language
Achang , Ngac'ang, Maingtha Achang 阿昌族 Āchāngzú 39,583 96.15% in Yunnan , 1.57% in Guangdong , 0.37% in Henan No
Bai , Minjia, Bai 白族 Báizú Bairt‧zix [pɛ tsz̩] , Bairt‧zix‧Bairt‧yvnx [pɛ tsz̩ pɛ jṽ̩] , Bairt‧horx [pɛ xo] , Bairt‧ngvrt‧zix‧ horx [pɛ ŋv̩ tsz̩ xo] , Bairt‧yin [pɛ ĩ ] ; 1,936,155 80.83% in Yunnan , 9.27% ​​in Guizhou , 5.97% in Hunan , 0.86% in Guangdong , 0.60% in Zhejiang Latin script in the experimental stage
Blang , Bulang, Samtao, Puman Blang 布朗族 Bùlǎngzú 119,692 97.39% in Yunnan , 0.41% in Guangdong , 0.26% in Shandong , 0.25% in Zhejiang No
Bonan , Baoan, Pao-an Bonan 保安族 Bǎo'ānzú 20,077 90.50% in Gansu , 4.50% in Qinghai , 2.83% in Xinjiang No
Bouyei Buyei 布依族 Bùyīzú Buxqyaix [pu ʔjai] 2,871,825 87.42% in Guizhou , 4.38% in Zhejiang , 2.24% in Guangdong , 2.05% in Yunnan Bouyei font
Dai , Tai, Shan Dai 傣族 Dǎizú tai 1,261,905 98.55% in Yunnan , 0.6% in Sichuan Tai Lü , Tai Nüa , Tai Dam (is still written in Jinping ), Tai Pong (today only in Myanmar ); see also Tai Le and Tai Lüe
Daur , Dahuren, Daguren, Daghur Daur 达斡尔 族 Dáwò'ěrzú Daor 132,252 58.3% in Inner Mongolia , 32.9% in Heilongjiang , 4.2% in Xinjiang , 1% in Liaoning Latin script in the experimental stage
De'ang , Deang, Palaung, Benglong De'ang 德昂族 Dé'ángzú 20,557 99.3% in Yunnan No
Derung , Drung, Dulong Derung 独龙族 Dúlóngzú tɯɹɯŋ 6,933 79.2% in Yunnan , 2.6% in Inner Mongolia , 2.3% in Liaoning , 1.7% in Chongqing , 1.7% in Shanxi , 1.35% in Shandong , 1.3% in Anhui , 1.1% in Guizhou No
Dong , Kam Dong 侗族 Dòngzú Gaeml [kɐm] 2,882,866 55% in Guizhou , 28.45% in Hunan , 10.2% in Guangxi , 2.4% in Hubei , 1.9% in Guangdong , 0.6% in Zhejiang Dong script with Latin alphabet
Dongxiang , Santa Dongxiang 东乡族 Dōngxiāngzú Santa , Sarta 621,551 87.9% in Gansu , 10.9% in Xinjiang , 0.5% in Qinghai No
Evenks Evenki 鄂温克 族 Èwēnkèzú Eweŋki 30,960 84.43% in Inner Mongolia , 8.55% in Heilongjiang , 1.45% in Liaoning , 1.40% in Beijing not in china
Gaoshan Gaoshan 高山族 Gāoshānzú 4.015 19.43% in Henan , 10.54% in Fujian , 6.92% in Guangxi , 5.26% in Liaoning , 5.18% in Hebei , 4.76% in Guizhou and beyond all over China No
Gelao , Gelo Gelao 仡佬族 Gēlǎozú steal 551.378 96.5% in Guizhou , 1% in Guangdong , 0.7% in Guangxi No
Han Han 汉族 Hànzú 汉族 1,223,042,834 all of China Chinese letters
Hani , Akha, Aini, Yani, Woni Hani 哈尼族 Hānízú Haqniq 1,661,763 99% in Yunnan Hani script , with the Latin alphabet
Hezhen , Golden, Nanai, Kilen Hezhen 赫哲族 Hèzhézú xədʑən , nanio , kilən 5,378 84.3% in Heilongjiang , 4.1% in Jilin , 1.8% in Beijing , 1.8% in Liaoning , 1.2% in Inner Mongolia No
Hui Chinese , Hui, Huihui, Dungans , Chinese Muslims Hui 回族 Huízú 回民, 回族 10,595,946 20.52% in Ningxia , 11.88% in Gansu , 9.28% in Xinjiang , 9.04% in Henan , 7.87% in Qinghai , 6.59% in Yunnan , 5.38% in Hebei and above out all over China not in china
Jingpo , Kachin, Jingpho, Tsaiva, Lechi Jingpo 景颇族 Jǐngpōzú 147.919 98.5% in Yunnan Zaiwa script with Latin alphabet
Jino Jino 基诺族 Jīnuòzú tɕyno , cinema 23,165 99% in Yunnan No
Kazakhs Kazak 哈萨克族 Hāsàkèzú Қазақтар, Qazaqtar 1,463,012 99.6% in Xinjiang , 0.24% in Gansu Kazakh in slightly modified Arabic script
Kyrgyz Kyrgyzstan 柯尔克孜 族 Kē'ěrkèzīzú Кыргыздар, Kyrgyzdar 186,756 98.7% in Xinjiang , 0.9% in Heilongjiang Kyrgyz in slightly modified Arabic script
Korean Chosen 朝鲜族 Cháoxiǎnzú 조선족 [ʧʰosɔnʤuk] 1,832,179 59.6% in Jilin , 20.2% in Heilongjiang , 12.5% ​​in Liaoning , 1.4% in Shandong , 1.1% in Inner Mongolia , 1.1% in Beijing Korean script
Lahu , Lohei, Kawzhawd, Kucong Lahu 拉祜族 Lāhùzú 486.101 98.7% in Yunnan Lahu script with Latin alphabet
Lhoba , Lopa, Adi, Abor, Idu Mishmi, Midu, Miri, Tangam Lhoba 珞巴族 Luòbāzú 3,689 94.58% in Tibet , 2.3% in Guizhou , 0.43% in Fujian , 0.3% in Beijing , 0.3% in Liaoning No
Li Li 黎族 Lízú 1,464,074 93.9% in Hainan , 4.5% in Guizhou , 0.5% in Guangdong Li script with Latin alphabet
Lisu Lisu 傈 僳 族 Lìsùzú 703.126 96% in Yunnan , 2.9% in Sichuan Lisu script , see also Fraser script
Manchu , Manju, Manchurians Man 满族 Mǎnzú Manju 10,410,585 50.4% in Liaoning , 19.8% in Hebei , 9.7% in Heilongjiang , 9.3% in Jilin , 4.7% in Inner Mongolia , 2.3% in Beijing the Manchurian script is rarely used outside of Manchuristics
Maonan , Yanghuang Maonan 毛南族 Máonánzú 101,258 68.7% in Guangxi , 29.15% in Guizhou , 1.2% in Guangdong No
Miao , Mèo, Hmông ; Thai: แม้ว (Maew), ม้ ง (Mong) Miao 苗族 Miáozú 9,432,810 48.1% in Guizhou , 21.5% in Hunan , 11.7% in Yunnan , 5.6% in Chongqing , 5.2% in Guangxi , 2.4% in Hubei , 1.65% in Sichuan , 1 , 35% in Guangdong , 0.7% in Hainan , 0.6% in Zhejiang several Miao scriptures
Monba , Moinba, Monpa Monba 门巴族 Ménbāzú 10,573 95.05% in Tibet , 1.3% in Sichuan , 1% in Shanghai No
Mongols Mongol 蒙古族 Měnggǔzú Moŋgol 5,990,779 68.7% in Inner Mongolia , 11.5% in Liaoning , 3% in Jilin , 2.9% in Hebei , 2.6% in Xinjiang , 2.4% in Heilongjiang , 1.5% in Qinghai , 1 , 4% in Henan Mongolian script , see also Mongolian syllables
Mulam Mulao 仫佬族 Mùlǎozú 216,500 82.1% in Guangxi , 13.7% in Guizhou , 2.3% in Guangdong No
Naxi , Nahsi, Nakhi, Mosuo, Moso, Na, Malimasa Naxi 纳西族 Nàxīzú 326.770 95.7% in Yunnan , 2.8% in Sichuan only in the sacred area: Dongba script
Nu , Ayi, Lama, Nusu, Nung, Zaozou Nu 怒族 Nùzú 37,538 96.45% in Yunnan , 1.4% in Tibet No
Oroqen , Orotschonen, Birarch, Kumarchen, Mergen-Tungusen Oroqen 鄂伦春 族 Èlúnchūnzú Orončon 8,689 45.38% in Heilongjiang , 41.8% in Inner Mongolia , 2.26% in Liaoning , 1.9% in Beijing , 1.63% in Hebei , 1.28% in Jilin , 1.13% in Shandong No
Primi , Pumi, Xifan, Hsifan Pumi 普米族 Pǔmǐzú phʐẽmi 42,941 98% in Yunnan , 0.5% in Sichuan No
Qiang , Ch'iang Qiang 羌族 Qiāngzú 310.081 98.3% in Sichuan , 0.5% in Guizhou No
Russians Soot 俄罗斯 族 Éluósīzú Русские 15,416 57.2% in Xinjiang , 32.2% in Inner Mongolia , 1.7% in Heilongjiang , 1.4% in Beijing Russian writing
Salar Salar 撒拉族 Sālāzú Salar 130,633 81.98% in Qinghai , 10.35% in Gansu , 2.85% in Xinjiang , 0.72% in Shanghai , 0.63% in Guangdong No
She She 畲族 Shēzú 709.314 52.9% in Fujian , 24.1% in Zhejiang , 10.9% in Jiangxi , 6.3% in Guizhou , 4% in Guangdong No
Sui Sui 水族 Shuǐzú - 412.046 90.9% in Guizhou , 3.8% in Guangxi , 3.1% in Yunnan , 0.7% in Jiangsu the sui script is out of use
Tajiks Tajik 塔吉克 族 Tǎjíkèzú tuʤik, Тоҷик 51,075 92.53% in Xinjiang , 6.59% in Zhejiang , 0.32% in Guangdong not in china
Tatars Tartare 塔塔尔族 Tǎtǎ'ěrzú Татарлар 3,562 91.02% in Xinjiang , 1.54% in Guangdong , 0.67% in Guangxi , 0.65% in Beijing not in china
Tau , Tao, Dau, Dao, Yami, Yamei - 達 悟 族 Dáwùzú (3872) Lan Yu Latin script
Tibetans Pliers 藏族 Zàngzú 6,286,487 44.8% in Tibet , 23.4% in Sichuan , 20.1% in Qinghai , 8.2% in Gansu , 2.4% in Yunnan Tibetan script
Tu , Monguor, Chagaan Monggol ("White Mongols") Do 土族 Tǔzú maŋɡuer , moŋɡuer 289,850 77.8% in Qinghai , 12.6% in Gansu , 1.9% in Guangdong , 1.3% in Yunnan , 1.2% in Guizhou , 1.2% in Xinjiang Latin script in the experimental stage
Tujia Tujia 土家族 Tǔjiāzú 8,363,987 32.9% in Hunan , 27.1% in Hubei , 17.8% in Guizhou , 17.7% in Chongqing , 1.7% in Guangdong , 0.7% in Zhejiang No
Uyghurs , Uyghurs Uygur 维吾尔族 Wéiwú'ěrzú ئۇيغۇر (Uyƣur) 10,071,394 99.4% in Xinjiang , 0.1% in Hunan Uighur script
Uzbeks , Ozbek Uzbek 乌孜别克 族 Wūzībiékèzú O'zbeklar 10,582 97.8% in Xinjiang , 0.4% in Guangxi , 0.3% in Guangdong not in china
Va , Wa, Awa, Lawa, Parauk Va 佤族 Wǎzú Ba rāog 429,866 96.6% in Yunnan , 1.2% in Shandong , 0.4% in Henan Va font with Latin alphabet
Vietnamese , gin, kinh gin 京 族 Jīngzú 28,236 89.4% in Guangxi , 2.85% in Guizhou , 2.3% in Yunnan , 1.3% in Guangdong , 1.2% in Jiangxi , 0.6% in Hainan not in china
Xibe , Sibe, Sibo Xibe 锡伯族 Xíbózú 191.019 70.2% in Liaoning , 18.3% in Xinjiang , 4.7% in Heilongjiang , 1.7% in Jilin , 1.6% in Inner Mongolia Xibenische script
Yao , Mien Yao 瑶族 Yáozú 2,798,111 55.8% in Guangxi , 26.7% in Hunan , 7.7% in Guangdong , 7.2% in Yunnan , 1.7% in Guizhou two writings: Mian and Bunu
Yi , Lolo, Norsu, Sani Yi 彝族 Yízú ꆇꉙ (Nuoxhxop) 8,721,452 60.6% in Yunnan , 27.3% in Sichuan , 10.9% in Guizhou Yi script , see also Yi syllable characters
Yugur , Yellow Uyghur, Sari Yogur Yugur 裕固族 Yùgùzú 14,413 94.5% in Gansu , 2.2% in Xinjiang , 1% in Qinghai No
Zhuang Zhuang 壮族 Zhuàngzú Bouxcuengh (Bouчcueŋь) 16,937,662 87.8% in Guangxi , 7.1% in Yunnan , 3.5% in Guangdong Zhuang script

1 The reference date for the census was November 1, 2010 at midnight. With the exception of Hong Kong and Macau, the census took place in all areas in which the government of the PRC exercises actual administrative power, e.g. B. not in Taiwan , Penghu , Jinmen , Mazu , Taiping , Dongsha and southeast Tibet . For the areas in which the census was not carried out or could not be carried out, the following population figures were determined for the reference date (no ethnic breakdown was carried out): Hong Kong: 7,097,600; Macau: 552,300; all areas under the control of the Republic of China : 23,162,123; Southeast Tibet: no information.

Peoples and ethnic groups of China not recognized as (independent) nationalities

There are numerous ethnic groups in China that have not been officially recognized by either Chinese government. For example, the Hui are not recognized as a nationality by the government of the Republic of China , but instead are considered Han Muslims. For all unrecognized ethnic groups, in Chinese, after the ethnonym, they are not designated with the addition ( Chinese   ) for “nationality”, but with the addition rén ( Chinese   ) for “people”. Basically, however, one has to distinguish between two variants of “non-recognition”: some ethnic groups are recognized as part of a nationality , but not as an independent nationality. Other ethnic groups are not (yet) recognized as nationalities at all . In the 2000 census, 734,438 people were counted in this second category in the PRC. In the Republic of China, the population of the eleven unrecognized indigenous groups is estimated to be around 100,000.

Ethnic groups that are not recognized as independent nationalities

Qiakala family (1940s)

Some of these ethnic groups were - from the point of view of some of their representatives - assigned to a "wrong" nationality and either want to constitute themselves as an independent nationality or to be assigned to another, already existing nationality. This category includes: a. the Abdal (officially Uighurs ), the Mosuo (officially partly Naxi , partly Mongols ), the Baima (officially Tibetan), the Gejia ( Gě-chinese.png家人, officially Miao ) and the Kucong (officially Lahu ).

Other ethnic groups have been assigned a nationality to which they do not belong from an ethnological and historical point of view, at the express request of their own. These include, for example, the Tuwins in Xinjiang, who wanted to be and remain part of the Mongols , and the Yao on the island of Hainan , who absolutely wanted to be part of the Miao . Other, particularly small groups, such as the Qiakala , have resigned themselves to being assigned to a large nationality, here the Manchu. The same applies to the Utsul (or Hutsul or Utsat, a group from Cham who migrated to China ), who, like numerous other local Muslim groups, were officially classified as Hui . In a way, the subsets of some of the great peoples of China can also be included in this category. For example, Buryats and Oirats are independent peoples outside of China, but both belong to the Mongols within China , without ever questioning this. The same applies to the Tày and Nung , who are independent peoples in Vietnam , but regard themselves as one people in China, the Zhuang .

Tanka at work in Sanya

Members of the numerous subgroups of the Han nationality represent a special case . Most of them consider themselves Han and at the same time as members of a distinct subgroup. But some, for example the Chuanqing in Anshun , Guizhou Province , campaign for their recognition as a minority nationality. Other important ethnic groups within the Han nationality are for example:

Ethnic groups that are not recognized as nationalities

Jews in Kaifeng , late 19th or early 20th century

Both Chinese governments, that of the People's Republic and that of the Republic of China, pursue a policy of "recognition" towards the ethnic minorities, albeit according to different criteria and of course on the basis of the different ethnic conditions of the areas they administer. While the state of the lack of recognition in the Republic of China has no special meaning and the groups concerned - as long as the recognition is lacking - are simply part of the majority population, in the People's Republic of China it is a status that is recorded separately in the regular censuses and so it has an official character. It means that the state officially recognizes that the ethnic group in question does not belong to any pre-existing nationality. This status is easier to accept for most of those affected than being assigned to an existing nationality with which they identify little or not at all. For example, the Gejia and the Chuanqing strive intensely to maintain this status and to regain it. However, there are differences here as well: One can assume that, for example, Caijia , Hu and Songjia will be assigned to an existing nationality in the next few years. On the other hand, the status of the Deng , Khmu , Mảng and Sherpa, for example , clearly has a permanent character, which makes it possible to equate them with the recognized minority nationalities at the provincial level (here: Tibet and Yunnan ).

Special case: Chinese Jews

The Jews in China ( Chinese  犹太人 , Pinyin Youtairen ) represent a special case . In the People's Republic they number about 1700 people (of which about 1000 in Hong Kong alone ), in the Republic of China (Taiwan) another 200 people. Some Jews had applied for recognition as a separate nationality in the 1950s and again in the 1980s. This was rejected. Many descendants of the Chinese Jews apparently now classify themselves as Han or Hui . However, some seem to insist on the status of not being classified. It can thus be assumed that the 30 people who, according to the 2000 census in Kaifeng, were granted the status of "not classified" were Jews or descendants of Jews. The same is presumably true for some of the “unclassified” people in Shanghai , Harbin and some other cities.

Location of Guizhou in China

Special case: Guizhou Province

In the 1982, 1990 and 2000 censuses, 748,080, 733,400 and 710,486 people were classified as "ethnically unclassified" in Guizhou Province alone . That was 93.5%, 97.5% and 96.74% of all people in this category in the entire People's Republic. While officially unrecognized ethnic groups from Tibet (Deng and Sherpa ) or Yunnan (Mang, Khmu and Hu) are repeatedly mentioned and described in detail in Chinese publications, information about the quantitatively large groups of Guizhou is rather sparse and mostly kept brief. One of the reasons for this is likely to be the view of the Chinese government that it had resolved the "special case of Guizhou" by the census (November 2010) at the latest. That is, to drastically reduce the number of people who do not have an officially recognized nationality, to a level that can also be found in other, average provinces. The various unrecognized ethnic groups were and are assigned to the closest related (or “suitable” for other reasons) recognized nationalities. In 1981 there were still 23 ethnic groups in Guizhou without any official assignment to a nationality. They were:

1981 not officially classified Chinese Pinyin Distribution areas Population (1985) Year of classification Classified as:
Caijia 蔡 家人 Càijiārén Qianxi , Qixingguan , Nayong , Hezhang , Zhijin , Shuicheng , Liuzhi 20,000 - -
Changpao Yao 长袍 瑶 Chángpáo Yáo Libo , Wangmo 300 (together with the Youmai, see below) 1982-1985 Yao
Chenzhou 辰州 人 Chénzhōurén Ping tang not clear 1982-1985 Han
Chuanqing 穿 青 人 Chuānqīngrén Bijie (especially Zhijin and Nayong ), Anshun , Liupanshui over 600,000 after 1996 Han (under review)
Diao 刁 人 Diāorén Congjiang 984 (together with the Xialusi, see below) 1982-1985 Dong
Dongjia 东 家人 Dōngjiārén Majiang , Kaili , Duyun , Fuquan over 40,000 1996 She
Gejia Gě-chinese.svg家人 Gějiārén Huangping , Kaili , Guanling , Shibing 40,000 after 1996 Miao (under review)
Laba 喇叭 人 Lǎbārén Qinglong , Pu'an , Liuzhi , Shuicheng , Pan , Longli over 60,000 1982-1985 Miao
Limin 里民 Lǐmín Qinglong , Guanling , Zhenning , Shuicheng 70,000 1982-1985 Yi
Liujia 六甲 人 Liùjiǎrén Rongjiang 152 1982-1985 Han
Longjia 龙 家人 Lóngjiārén Bijie , Anshun , Liupanshui over 10,000 1988 Bai
Lu 卢 人 Lúrén Qianxi , Jinsha , Dafang 7747 1982-1985 Manju
Mojia 莫 家人 Mòjiārén Dushan , Libo 17,017 1982-1985 Bouyei
Mulao 木 佬 人 Mùlǎorén Majiang , Kaili , Duyun , Fuquan , Weng'an 28,000 1993 Mulam
Nanjing 南京 人 Nánjīngrén Bijie , Anshun , Liupanshui 61.171 1982-1985 Han
Qixing 七 姓 民 Qīxìngmín Shuicheng , Weining , Hezhang 7589 1982-1985 Bai
Raojia 绕 家人 Ràojiārén Majiang , Duyun over 9000 1992 Yao
Sanqiao 三 撬 人 / 三 锹 人 Sānqiàorén / Sānqiāorén Liping 2374 1982-1985 z. T. Miao , e.g. T. Dong
Xialusi 下 路 司 人 Xiàlùsīrén Congjiang 984 (together with the Diao, see above) 1982-1985 Dong
Xijia 西 家人 Xījiārén Kaili , Duyun , Majiang over 9000 1982-1985 Miao
Yanghuang 佯 亻 黄 人 Yánghuángrén Pingtang , Dushan , Huishui , Luodian 40,000 1990 Maonan
Yiren 羿 人 / 弈 人 Yìrén / Yìrén Qixingguan ; in Sichuan : Xuyong and Gulin 1015 (in Sichuan: over 300) 1982-1985 Gelao ; in Sichuan: e.g. T. Yi , e.g. T. Han
Youmai 油 迈 人 Yóumàirén Libo , Wangmo 300 (together with the Changpao Yao, see above) 1982-1985 Yao

For the most part, these classifications were made in agreement with the respective affected population and were also accepted. Four problems remain:

  • With the exception of the 1,140 people affected in the Liuzhi special area , who were classified as belonging to the Yi nationality at their own request in October 1989 , around 20,000 Caijia Guizhous still remain without official ethnic affiliation.
  • The Songjia ( 宋 家人 ) in Wudang , Kaiyang , Xiuwen , Longli and Guiding only made an application for classification in the 2000s, which has not yet been decided. The assignment to the Miao , the Bouyei or the Han is under discussion .
  • The 40,000 Gejia are so dissatisfied with their classification as Miao that they continue to fight for their recognition as a separate nationality. It remains to be seen whether they will be classified as “Miao” or “not classified” in the November 2010 census.
  • The over 600,000 Chuanqing are so far unwilling to accept their classification as Han . They made up the vast majority of the "unclassified" in Guizhou in the 2000 census. If they were counted as "Han" in the November 2010 census, the number of "unclassified" people in Guizhou would definitely fall below 100,000.

Within Guizhou, in the 2000 census, the vast majority of the “unclassified” were concentrated in a few counties, urban districts and cities. Especially in Zhijin, Nayong and Dafang it is almost completely Chuanqing.

District / City / Municipality Residents of which without ethnic classification Share of the district population Share of the unclassified population of Guizhou Proportion of the unclassified population of China
Zhijin 825.350 239.369 29% 33.69% 32.59%
Nayong 661.772 224,840 33.98% 31.65% 30.61%
Dafang 851.729 60,366 7.09% 8.5% 8.22%
Guanling 280.755 60,071 21.4% 8.45% 8.18%
Qingzhen 471.305 24,985 5.3% 3.52% 3.4%
Puding 353,803 23,256 6.57% 3.27% 3.17%
Huangping 292.121 19,733 6.76% 2.78% 2.67%
Zhongshan 453.293 16,712 3.69% 2.35% 2.28%
Kaili 433.236 12,078 2.79% 1.7% 1.64%

In addition to these problems and unresolved issues of ethnic classification in Guizhou, which are also evident from the census, there also seem to be a few problems that are not so obvious. An example is the alleged " Li " population of Guizhou. In the 2000 census in Guizhou, 56,082 alleged "Li" were counted. That number cannot possibly be correct. The Li are the indigenous people of the island province of Hainan and, before and after the founding of the PRC, only a relatively small number of them left their home island. Of course, the number of population movements in a modern society is increasing and so, of course, increasing numbers of Li are moving to other provinces for professional or personal reasons (marriage). The 316 Li who live in the Sichuan province according to the 2000 census or the 1426 Li who live in the Yunnan province can be taken seriously. The number for Guizhou is - calculated cautiously - at least 50 times too high. This riddle is relatively easy to solve: In the name of the 70,000 Limin listed in the above table of the 23 unclassified groups from 1981 , the Li stands for the ethnonym and min simply stands for “people”, “people”. The "real" Li von Hainan write themselves with the character , the Guizhouer Limin, however (actually) with the character , but a comparison of the main settlement areas of the Limin ( Qinglong , Guanling , Zhenning , Shuicheng ) with the districts in which the most people who managed to be classified as Li suggests that these two groups are likely to be identical, or at least largely identical:

circle Residents thereof classified as Li Share of the district population Share of the population of Guizhou classified as “Li”
Pu'an 259.881 13,045 5.02% 23.26%
Zhenning 308,569 10.135 3.28% 18.07%
Qinglong 258.031 7,778 3.01% 13.87%
Guanling 280.755 7,090 2.53% 12.64%
Pan 1,070,802 5,302 0.5% 9.45%
Shuicheng 678.228 2 0.0% 0.004%

Only in Shuicheng do the Limin seem to have accepted their classification as Yi . In any case, 44.6% of all people assigned to the “real” Li nationality in the census live in the districts that are named as the main settlement area of ​​the Limin. Whether it is also Limin in Pu'an and Pan, or whether another indigenous ethnic group calls itself “Li”, remains to be investigated. It also remains to be seen whether the coming census (November 2010) will succeed in drastically correcting the number of “Li” in Guizhou downwards.

List of the peoples and ethnic groups of China not recognized as nationalities

Name, name variants Chinese Pinyin Subgroups Classification of the language population Distribution areas in China status
Caijia 蔡 家人 Càijiārén no Sino-Tibetan , Sinitic , Bai over 20,000 Qianxi , Qixingguan , Nayong , Hezhang , Zhijin , Shuicheng and Liuzhi in Guizhou officially not recognized
Deng , Dengba 僜 人 / 僜 巴 人 Dèngrén / Dèngbārén Darang ( 达 让人 ) and Geman ( 格曼 人 ) Sino-Tibetan , Tibeto-Burmese , North Assamese over 1000 Zayu in Tibet officially not recognized
Hu 户 人 Hùrén no Austro-Asiatic , Mon-Khmer , Northern Mon-Khmer about 1500 Mengla and Jinghong in Yunnan officially not recognized
Ili Turks 伊犁 土 尔克 人 Yīlí Tǔ'ěrkèrén no Altaic , Turkish , East Turkish 100-200 Gulja in Xinjiang unclear (may have since been classified as "Uzbeks")
Khabit , Buxing 必定 人 Bìdìngrén no Austro-Asian , Mon-Khmer , Northern Mon-Khmer, Khmuisch, Khao over 600 Mengla in Yunnan unclear (may now be considered part of the Khmu)
Khmu , Kammu, Khammu 克 木人 Kèmùrén Manmet ( 克 蔑 人 ) and Kuanren ( 宽 人 ) Austro-Asian , Mon-Khmer , Northern Mon-Khmer, Khmuisch, Mal-Khmu ' approx. 5000 Mengla and Jinghong in Yunnan officially not recognized
Mảng 1 莽 人 Mǎngrén no Austro-Asiatic , Mon-Khmer , Northern Mon-Khmer over 500 Jinping in Yunnan officially part of the Blang since 2009
sherpa 夏尔巴 人 Xià'ěrbārén no Sino-Tibetan , Tibeto-Burmese , Bodisch , Tibetan approx. 2600 Dinggyê and Nyalam in Tibet officially not recognized
Songjia 宋 家人 Sòngjiārén no not clear Wudang , Kaiyang , Xiuwen , Longli and guiding in Guizhou officially not recognized
Thami , Tami 塔米 人 Tǎmǐrén no Sino-Tibetan , Tibeto-Burmese , West Himalayan about 500 Nyalam in Tibet not clear

1 The Mảng are not to be confused with the Mường ( 芒 族 ) in Vietnam . The majority of the Mang also live in Vietnam and are called Mảng (approx. 2100 people) there.

See also


  • June Teufel Dreyer: China's forty millions. Minority nationalities and national integration in the People's Republic of China. Harvard University Press, Cambridge 1976, ISBN 0-674-11964-9 .
  • Wolfram Eberhard: China's minorities. Yesterday and today. Wadsworth, Belmont 1982, ISBN 0-534-01080-6 .
  • Fei Hsiao Tung [Fei Xiaotong]: Toward a people's anthropology. New World Press, Beijing 1981.
  • Thomas Heberer : Nationality Policy and Ethnology in the People's Republic of China. Übersee-Museum, Bremen 1982, ISBN 3-88299-035-X .
  • Thomas Heberer: Nationality Policy and Development Policy in the Areas of National Minorities in China. University of Bremen, Bremen 1984, ISBN 3-88722-087-0 .
  • Thomas Heberer (Ed.): Ethnic minorities in China. Tradition and transformation. Rader, Aachen 1987, ISBN 3-922868-68-1 .
  • Ma Yin: The national minorities in China. Foreign Language Literature Publishing House, Beijing 1990, ISBN 7-119-00010-1 .
  • Colin Mackerras : China's minorities. Integration and modernization in the twentieth century. (Hong Kong etc., Oxford University Press 1994), ISBN 0-19-585988-X .
  • National minorities in new China. (Beijing, Foreign Language Literature Publishing House 1954).
  • Ogawa Yoshikazu 小川 佳 万: Shakaishugi Chūgoku ni okeru shōsū minzoku kyōiku: "minzoku byōdō" rinen no tenkai. 社会主義 中国 に お け る 少数民族 教育: 「民族平等」 理念 の 展開. Tōshindō 東信 堂, Tokyo 2001, ISBN 4-88713-384-7 .
  • Edgar Tomson: The People's Republic of China and the Rights of National Minorities. Metzner, 1963.
  • Zhang Weiwen; Zeng Qingman: In search of China's minorities. New World Press, Beijing 1993, ISBN 7-80005-176-5 .

Web links

Commons : Peoples of China  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Nationalities and nationality politics in the PR China. Marxist papers, July 2008, accessed June 25, 2015 .
  2. ^ A b Donald Bloxham, A. Dirk Moses: The Oxford Handbook of Genocide Studies . Oxford University Press, April 15, 2010, ISBN 978-0-19-161361-6 , pp. 150 ff.
  3. Klemens Ludwig : Multiethnic China. The national minorities in the Middle Kingdom. CH Beck, Munich 2009, ISBN 978-3-406-59209-6 , pp. 13-16.