Ethnic minorities in China

Ethnic minorities in China are the non-Han Chinese population in the People's Republic of China (PRC). China officially recognises 55 ethnic minority groups within China in addition to the Han majority.[1] As of 2010, the combined population of officially recognised minority groups comprised 8.49% of the population of mainland China.[2] In addition to these officially recognised ethnic minority groups, there are Chinese nationals who privately classify themselves as members of unrecognised ethnic groups (such as Jewish, Tuvan, Oirat, Ili Turki, and Japanese).

The ethnic minority groups officially recognized by the PRC reside within mainland China and Taiwan, whose minorities are called the Taiwanese aborigines. The Republic of China (ROC) in Taiwan officially recognises 14 Taiwanese aborigine groups, while the PRC classifies them all under a single ethnic minority group, the Gaoshan. Hong Kong and Macau do not use this ethnic classification system, and figures by the PRC government do not include the two territories.

By definition, these ethnic minority groups, together with the Han majority, make up the greater Chinese nationality known as Zhonghua Minzu. Chinese minorities alone are referred to as "Shaoshu Minzu".

Ethnolinguistic map of China 1983
Ethnolinguistic map of China [note 1]

Naming

The Chinese-language term for ethnic minority is shaoshu minzu (simplified Chinese: 少数民族; traditional Chinese: 少數民族; pinyin: shǎoshù mínzú; literally: 'minority race"). In early PRC documents, such as the 1982 constitution,[3] the word "minzu" was translated as "nationality", following the Soviet Union's use of Marxist-Leninist jargon. However, the Chinese word does not imply that ethnic minorities in China are not Chinese citizens, as in fact they are.[4] Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, governmental and scholarly publications have retranslated "minzu" in the ethnic minority sense into English as "ethnic groups". Some scholars, to be even more precise, use the neologism zuqun (Chinese: 族群; pinyin: zǔqún) to unambiguously refer to ethnicity when "minzu" is needed to refer to nationality.[5]

History of ethnicity in China

Early history

Dinastia tang, shanxi, straniero dal volto velato, 600-750 ca
An 8th-century Tang dynasty Chinese clay figurine of a Sogdian man (an Eastern Iranian person) wearing a distinctive cap and face veil, possibly a camel rider or even a Zoroastrian priest engaging in a ritual at a fire temple, since face veils were used to avoid contaminating the holy fire with breath or saliva; Museum of Oriental Art (Turin), Italy.[6]

Throughout much of recorded Chinese history, there was little attempt by Chinese authors to separate the concepts of nationality, culture, and ethnicity.[7] Those outside of the reach of imperial control and dominant patterns of Chinese culture were thought of as separate groups of people regardless of whether they would today be considered as a separate ethnicity. The self-conceptualization of Han largely revolved around this center-periphery cultural divide. Thus, the process of Sinicization throughout history had as much to do with the spreading of imperial rule and culture as it did with actual ethnic migration.

This understanding persisted (with some change in the Qing under the import of Western ideas) up until the Communists took power in 1949. Their understanding of minorities had been heavily influenced by the Soviet models of Joseph Stalin—as has been the case for the neighbouring Communist regimes of Vietnam and Laos[8]—and the Soviet's definition of minorities did not map cleanly onto this Chinese historical understanding. Stalinist thinking about minorities was that a nation was made up of those with a common language, historical culture, and territory. Each nation of these people then had the theoretical right to secede from a proposed federated government.[9] This differed from the previous way of thinking mainly in that instead of defining all those under imperial rule as Chinese, the nation (as defined as a space upon which power is projected) and ethnicity (the identity of the governed) were now separate; being under central rule no longer automatically meant being defined as Chinese. The Stalinist model as applied to China gave rise to the autonomous regions in China; these areas were thought to be their own nations that had theoretical autonomy from the central government.[10]

During World War II, the American Asiatic Association published an entry in the text "Asia: journal of the American Asiatic Association, Volume 40", concerning the problem of whether Chinese Muslims were Chinese or a separate "ethnic minority", and the factors which lead to either classification. It tackled the question of why Muslims who were Chinese were considered a different race from other Chinese, and the separate question of whether all Muslims in China were united into one race. The first problem was posed with a comparison to Chinese Buddhists, who were not considered a separate race.[11] It concluded that the reason Chinese Muslims were considered separate was because of different factors like religion, culture, military feudalism, and that considering them a "racial minority" was wrong. It also came to the conclusion that the Japanese military spokesman was the only person who was propagating the false assertion that Chinese Muslims had "racial unity", which was disproven by the fact that Muslims in China were composed of multitudes of different races, separate from each other as were the "Germans and English", such as the Mongol Hui of Hezhou, Salar Hui of Qinghai, Chan Tou Hui of Turkistan, and then Chinese Muslims. The Japanese were trying to spread the lie that Chinese Muslims were one race, in order to propagate the claim that they should be separated from China into an "independent political organization".[12]

Distinguishing nationalities in the People's Republic of China

To determine how many of these nations existed within China after the revolution of 1949, a team of social scientists was assembled to enumerate the various ethnic nations. The problem that they immediately ran into was that there were many areas of China in which villages in one valley considered themselves to have a separate identity and culture from those one valley over.[13] According each village the status of nation would be absurd and would lead to the nonsensical result of filling the National People's Congress with delegates all representing individual villages. In response, the social scientists attempted to construct coherent groupings of minorities using language as the main criterion for differentiation. This led to a result in which villages that had very different cultural practices and histories were lumped under the same ethnic name. The Zhuang is one such example; the ethnic group largely served as a catch-all collection of various hill villages in Guangxi province.[14]

The actual census taking of who was and was not a minority further eroded the neat differentiating lines the social scientists had drawn up. Individual ethnic status was often awarded based on family tree histories. If one had a father (or mother, for ethnic groups that were considered matrilineal) that had a surname considered to belong to a particular ethnic group, then one was awarded the coveted minority status. This had the result that villages that had previously thought of themselves as homogenous and essentially Han were now divided between those with ethnic identity and those without.[15]

The team of social scientists that assembled the list of all the ethnic groups also described what they considered to be the key differentiating attributes between each group, including culture, custom, and language. The center then used this list of attributes to select representatives of each group to perform on television and radio in an attempt to reinforce the government's narrative of China as a multi-ethnic state and to prevent the culture of the minority ethnic groups from assimilating by the Han and the rest of the world.[16] However, with the development of modern technology, these attempts brought little effect. In fact, many of those labeled as specific minorities bore no relationship to the music, clothing, and other practices presented with images and representations of "their people" in the media.

Under this process, 39 ethnic groups were recognized by the first national census in 1954. This further increased to 54 by the second national census in 1964, with the Lhoba group added in 1965.[17] The last change was the addition of the Jino people in 1979, bringing the number of recognized ethnic groups to the current 56.[18]

Reform and opening up

However, as China opened up and reformed post-1979, many Han acquired enough money to begin to travel. One of the favorite travel experiences of the wealthy was visits to minority areas, to see the exotic rituals of the minority peoples.[19][20] Responding to this interest, many minority entrepreneurs, despite themselves perhaps never having grown up practicing the dances, rituals, or songs themselves, began to cater to these tourists by performing acts similar to what the older generation or the local residents told. In this way, the groups of people named Zhuang or other named minorities have begun to have more in common with their fellow co-ethnics, as they have adopted similar self-conceptions in response to the economic demand of consumers for their performances.

After the breakup of Yugoslavia and the dissolution of the Soviet Union, there was a shift in official conceptions of minorities in China: rather than defining them as "nationalities", they became "ethnic groups". The difference between "nationality" and "ethnicity", as Uradyn Erden-Bulag describes it, is that the former treats the minorities of China as societies with "a fully functional division of labor", history, and territory, while the latter treats minorities as a "category" and focuses on their maintenance of boundaries and their self-definition in relation to the majority group. These changes are reflected in uses of the term minzu and its translations. The official journal Minzu Tuanjie changed its English name from Nationality Unity to Ethnic Unity in 1995. Similarly, the Central University for Nationalities changed its name to Minzu University of China. Scholars began to prefer the term zuqun (族群) over minzu.[21] The Chinese model for identifying and categorizing ethnic minorities established at the founding of the PRC followed the Soviet model, drawing inspiration from Joseph Stalin's 1953 'four commons' criteria to identify ethnic groups- "(1) a distinct language; (2) a recognized indigenous homeland or common territory; (3) a common economic life; and (4) a strong sense of identity and distinctive customs, including dress, religion and foods."[22] Similarly, the CPC used virtually the same four official criteria, although these had their own nuances unique to the Chinese ethnic and cultural makeup. A good example is found in the designation of distinct languages: as Hasmath illustrates, "while there are virtually hundreds, perhaps thousands of dialects spoken across China, a minority language is not simply a dialect. It is a language with distinct grammatical and phonological differences, such as Tibetan," and furthermore twenty-one ethnic minority groups have their own writing systems.[23]

The categorization of 55 minority groups was a major step forward from denial of the existence of different ethnic groups in China which had been the policy of Sun Yet-Sen's Nationalist government that came to power in 1911, which also engaged in the common use of derogatory names to refer to minorities (a practice officially abolished in 1951).[24] However, the Communist Party's categorization was also rampantly criticized since it reduced the number of recognized ethnic groups by eightfold, and today the wei shibie menzu (literally "undistinguished ethnic groups") total more than 730,000 people.[25] These groups include Geija, Khmu, Kucong, Mang, Deng, Sherpas, Bajia, Yi and Youth (Jewish).[26]

Ethnic groups

Longhorn Miao China
The Long-horn tribe, a small branch of ethnic Miao in the western part of Guizhou Province

China is officially composed of 56 ethnic groups (55 minorities plus the dominant Han). However, some of the ethnic groups as classified by the PRC government contain, within themselves, diverse groups of people. Various groups of the Miao minority, for example, speak different dialects of the Hmong–Mien languages, Tai–Kadai languages, and Chinese, and practice a variety of different cultural customs.[27] Whereas in many nations a citizen's minority status is defined by their self-identification as an ethnic minority, in China minority nationality (shaosu minzu) is fixed at birth, a practice that can be traced to the foundation of the PRC, when the Communist Party commissioned studies to categorize and delineate groups based on research teams' investigation of minorities' social history, economic life, language and religion in China's different regions.[28]

The degree of variation between ethnic groups is not consistent. Many ethnic groups are described as having unique characteristics from other minority groups and from the dominant Han, but there are also some that are very similar to the Han majority group. Most Hui Chinese are indistinguishable from Han Chinese except for the fact that they practice Islam, and most Manchu are considered to be largely assimilated into dominant Han society.

China's official 55 minorities are located primarily in the south, west, and north of China. Only Tibet Autonomous Region and Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region have a majority population of official minorities, while all other provinces, municipalities and regions of China have a Han majority. In Beijing itself, the Han ethnic composition makes up nearly 96% of the total population, while the ethnic minority total is 4.31%, or a population of 584,692 (as of 2008).[29]

The degree of acceptance into and integration of ethnic minorities with the mainstream community also varies widely from group to group.[30] Notably, Beijing's neighbourhoods lack defined or distinct ethnic enclaves. Before Beijing embarked on a course of rapid and unprecedented development which drastically lessened physical space available, small Tibetan enclaves existed near the Central University of Nationalities in Haidan District, as well as several Manchurian enclaves in the city's outer parts, and Muslim Uyghur communities throughout the city.[31] However, virtually all ethnic enclaves have been eliminated as high-rise residential and corporate buildings have taken over these spaces.[32] Several Tibetan temples and Islamic mosques remain, but they "often do not reflect the local demographics of the local area."[33] For this reason, the Niujie area, which at its centre features one of the oldest mosques in China (built in 966 during the Liao Dynasty and enlarged by the Qing Emperors) remarkably survives as one of the "last important historical and present-day ethnic enclaves in Beijing."[34] Furthermore, the Beijing Municipal Government has invested over RMB10 million (about US$1.25 million) towards rebuilding a mainly-Muslim residential area.[35] Despite such measures, attitudes in China towards various minorities by the Han have long been afflicted by Han chauvinism, and is often resented by minority groups. Migration has also caused friction in some minority areas, such as Tibet and Xinjiang.[36]

There is some debate whether ethnic minorities experience clear patterns of wage discrimination or economic disadvantages, such as difficulty in finding jobs. Some studies find that urban minorities perceive lower wages compared to majority Han residents, or report difficulties either finding jobs or fitting into the workplace. Other studies find little or no evidence of wage gaps.[37] Reza Hasmath and Andrew MacDonald have posited that this discrepancy is largely due to the fact that data collection has neglected to disaggregate ethnic minorities' labour market experiences, and they utilize a new dataset that only examines the experiences of ethnic minorities. They find that while ethnic minorities in aggregate do not appear to experience any wage gap, some outsider minorities, particularly Tibetans and Turkic groups, "have a 20-25 percent wage penalty controlling for covariates [and that] these findings are robust across several different specifications."[38]

Hasmath found in a 2011 study, however, that labour market data examining the job-search, hiring and promotion experiences of ethnic minority workers and jobseekers in Beijing indicates a disadvantage faced by ethnic minorities compared to the Han group. This is especially true when it comes to employment in high-wage, skilled jobs.[39] These economic disadvantages faced by minorities may be attributable to the Chinese state's retreat from provision of welfare and social services in the wake of continuing market reforms. Until the late 1980s, ethnic minorities benefited from the Communist Party's job assignment system, whereby the government guaranteed jobs to graduates from secondary school and tertiary-level education, and all employees in government departments, state-owned enterprises (SOEs) were guaranteed lifelong job security regardless of ethnic background.[40] In the late 1980s and early 1990s, however, the Communist Party abandoned its job assignment system, urging individuals to create jobs for themselves and to seek jobs in the emerging private sector.[41] New types of jobs emerged, such as those offered by foreign companies operating in China, as well as part-time, temporary and seasonal employers, with their own hiring practices and preferences. This change proved challenging for ethnic minority jobseekers.[42]

One cohort of ethnic minority workers who encounter particular economic disadvantages are minority xiajang workers (ie. laid-off SOE workers who had "stepped down from their post").[43] Over 80% of ethnic minority xiagang workers are between the ages of 36 and 50. In no small part because of their distinct cultural backgrounds and values, most of them were "educated" during the Cultural Revolution. Therefore, their secondary schooling was interrupted when they were mobilized to countryside villages for 5 to 10 years, and as such, most were not highly skilled or educated, and had difficulty finding employment when they returned to cities, despite the efforts of the central government to assign them positions and re-train them in employment centres. These measures, together with attempts to hold city job fairs for xiagang jobseekers, were not very successful.[44] As Reza Hasmath illustrates, over 40 percent of workers from ethnic minorities enter labour-intensive, casual jobs in manufacturing, construction, household jobs or farming.[45] A 2000 census finds that the hotel, retail and manufacturing trades employ the greatest numbers of ethnic minorities.[46] Many of these labour-intensive jobs are "usually paid on a daily basis and offer very low job security."[47] As such, many ethnic minority xiagang workers often rely on their families for assistance.[48]

It is important to remember that the cultural practices of ethnic minorities in China vary widely, as do the perceptions the Han majority have of them. Korean ethnic minorities in Northeast China are stereotyped and also considered hard-working, the Dai (Thai) minority in southern China are exoticized and many Western minorities are considered 'fearsome.'[49] As Hasmath and MacDonald illustrate, the different portrayals of minorities has "waxed and waned over time"- in urban environments, minorities such as the Zhuang who are considered non-threatening by Han residents have integrated reasonably well into society and working life, while groups with fundamentally different cultures from the Han, such as Tibetans and Turkic groups like Uyghurs, Kazhaks, Salars, Kyrgyzs and Tajiks are still viewed with suspicion as largely unassimilable outsiders.[50]

Minorities' marginalization from the high-wage, education-intensive (HWEI) labour market occurs in spite of the fact that their overall educational attainments match or outperform those of Han residents,[51] and despite the central government's official goal of building a 'well-off,' 'equitable' and 'harmonious' society (xiaokang), which has indeed been successfully achieved in many respects.[52] This paradoxical situation- the discrepancy between minorities' education and their representation in high-earning jobs- has emerged in large part because of barriers to equitable minority prospects for high-earning positions stemming from Han stereotypes that because of their ethnicity, a prospective employee may have difficulty adjusting to a HWEI work environment.[53] This prejudice is exacerbated by a stigma of distrust among government officials against community ethnic associations that act as a forum or information point to create awareness of ethnic minority issues (eg. Muslim Association of Beijing, Tibetan Information Centre), as there is a prevailing belief in government circles that they are "there for malice."[54] For such reasons, as Hasmath (2007) notes, it is vital "that local government and ethnic community associations take a lead and not simply rest on the laurels that ethnic minority development is vastly superior in Beijing than China's Western provinces or other Chinese urban areas," adding that "the comparison should be made between Hans and ethnic minorities within the capital city."[55]

Among the pitfalls that such new initiatives for advancing ethnic minority development in the HWEI sector have to confront is the social culture of Beijing itself. Despite longstanding government efforts to integrate ethnic minorities, Beijing has a long history "of strained ethnic relations and tensions, rather than a Confucian-inspired Socialist vision of harmony in ethnic interactions."[56] In the 1990s there was a severe crackdown on Tibetan and Uyghur activities after separatist activities in Tibet and Xinjiang made their way into the streets of Beijing.[57] In February 1997, during former paramount leader Deng Xiaoping's funeral, bus bombings "signalled Uyghur contempt for the Chinese state."[58] Tibetan community associations were banned from meeting as part of government crackdowns in the midst of the march for Tibetan sovereignty.[59] These encounters between the state and ethnic minorities have generated a legacy of mistrust and the above-mentioned stigma within government circles that ethnic associations have malicious intent. They are suspected of a host of criminal activities, from promotion of the drug trade to incitement of "rebellious activities."[60] Such is the difficult environment that the continued effort to integrate ethnic minorities has to navigate.

The success of ethnic minorities' attempts to enter the HWEI labour market also, however, depends largely on individual efforts, experiences and circumstances, and it is at the individual level where "most opportunity lies for growth in improving the ethnic minority representation in HWEI sectors."[61] Young, soon-to-be university graduates have the best chance at breaking barriers, since they are most easily able to adapt to the rapidly shifting, urban lifestyle" of Beijing.[62] This is the case especially because many have grown up in Beijing, socializing within the dominant Han culture and at the same time being attuned to their family's ethnic background and culture, even if they have not engaged in those cultural practices themselves.[63] Consequently, as Hasmath posits, with the rising population of university-educated ethnic minorities, "the next generation of ethnic minorities have a chance to rid the paradox of ethnic minority development in the city."[64]

Evidence that widespread assimilation of ethnic minorities is occurring in Beijing (particularly among the younger generation) is especially patent on examination of the Muslim population of Beijing. Many of the elderly members of these communities assert that their children do not follow or adopt the Islamic culture; that they are Beijingers who have grown up and been educated in a Han-dominated community. As Hasmath illustrates, "their female children do not wear headscarves; the males do not wear Islamic topees. Nor do they eat traditional foods, except when going to "ethic" restaurants, which are often not staffed or owned by minorities and which are becoming popular among Beijingers overall.[65] These younger groups also do not generally speak the minority languages fluently. Muslim interviewees perceive these shifts in cultural orientation as "products of education and employment systems that promote a Han-dominated culture."[66] This process of assimilation continues despite government policy documents' promotion and attempt to preserve ethnic minority rights on paper.[67]

Much of the dialog within China regarding minorities has generally portrayed minorities as being further behind the Han in progress toward modernization and modernity.[68] Minority groups are often portrayed as rustic, wild, and antiquated. As the government often portrays itself as a benefactor of the minorities, those less willing to assimilate (despite the offers of assistance) are portrayed as masculine, violent, and unreasonable. Groups that have been depicted this way include the Tibetans, Uyghurs and the Mongols.[69] Groups that have been more willing to assimilate (and accept the help of the government) are often portrayed as feminine and sexual, including the Miao, Tujia and the Dai.[70]

The Taiwanese aboriginals include more than 14 Taiwanese aboriginal groups called Gaoshanzu by the mainland Chinese government. This is a special situation for Taiwanese minorities, because indigenous Taiwanese comprise a number of different ethnic groups with somewhat different languages and cultures. By the Taiwanese government's official records, Taiwan has 22 tribes with different cultures and languages. Among these are the Amis, Atayal, Bunun, Hla’alua, Kanakanavu, Kavalan, Taiwan, Puyuma, Rukai, Saisiat, Sakizaya, Seediq, Thao, Truku, Tsou, and Yami. According to the article "Taiwanese Aborigines – the Natives of Taiwan", there are about 530,000 indigenous Taiwanese, accounting for 2.3% of the population. While many indigenous Taiwanese lived in the mountains many have since migrated to the cities. Taiwanese Aboriginals also lived on the western plains. They were called Pingpu by Han settlers. They have been assimilated by them. 85% of all Taiwanese people might have some degree of aboriginal bloodline.[71]

Demographics of the ethnic minorities

The largest ethnic group, Han, according to a 2005 sampling, constitute about 91.9% of the total population. The next largest ethnic groups in terms of population include the Zhuang (18 million), Manchu (15 million), Hui (10 million), Miao (9 million), Uyghur (8 million), Yi (7.8 million), Tujia (8 million), Mongols (5.8 million), Tibetans (5.4 million), Buyei (3 million), Yao (3.1 million), and Koreans (2.5 million). Minority populations are growing fast due to their being unaffected by the One Child Policy.[72]

Guarantee of rights and interests

Ethnic minorities areas in Yunnan
Major Autonomous areas within Yunnan. (excluding Hui)
Ethnic minorities areas in Guizhou
Major Autonomous areas within Guizhou. (excluding Hui)

The PRC's Constitution and laws guarantee equal rights to all ethnic groups in China and help promote ethnic minority groups' economic and cultural development[73] One notable preferential treatment ethnic minorities enjoy was their exemption from the population growth control of the One-Child Policy. Additionally, ethnic minorities enjoy other special exemptions which vary by province- these include lower tax thresholds and lower required scores for entry into university, as well as funding enabling them to "express their cultural difference through the arts and sports."[74] The use of these measures to raise ethnic minorities' human capital is seen by the central government as important for improving the economic development of ethnic minorities and ultimately attaining a xiaokang, or "well-off society that promotes 'equitable' and 'harmonious' stability among the ethnic minority population."[75] As Hasmath and MacDonald illustrate, universities are "expected to 'contribute to national integration and the breaking down of ethnic hatred, and to help encourage a national identity.'"[76] Ethnic minorities are represented in the National People's Congress as well as governments at the provincial and prefectural levels. Some ethnic minorities in China live in what are described as ethnic autonomous areas. These "regional autonomies" guarantee ethnic minorities the freedom to use and develop their ethnic languages, and to maintain their own cultural and social customs. In addition, the PRC government has provided preferential economic development and aid to areas where ethnic minorities live. Furthermore, the Chinese government has allowed and encouraged the involvement of ethnic minority participation in the party. Even though ethnic minorities in China are granted specific rights and freedoms, many ethnic minorities still have headed towards the urban life in order to obtain a well paid job. [77]

Minorities have widely benefited from China's minimum livelihood guarantee program (known as the dibao) a programme introduced nationwide in 1999 whose number of participants had reached nearly twenty million by 2012.[78] Reza Hasmath and Andrew MacDonald have found that minorities appear to be more likely to be enrolled in the dibao programme than the Han majority. In this programme, local officials employ a great deal of street-level discretion in selecting recipients.[79] The nature of the selection process entails that the programme's providers be proactive and willing in seeking out impoverished prospective participants, as opposed to more comprehensive welfare schemes such as the Urban Resident Basic Medical Insurance Scheme (URBMI), which is universally implemented. As such, the selection process for participants in the dibao programme has generated a perception among observers of the scheme that this programme and "other forms of discretionary government attention" to residents have been used to mitigate dissent and neutralize any threat to the government that could lead to unrest- including negative performance evaluations of local officials.[80] As Hasmath and MacDonald have illustrated, "the central government's discourse surrounding minorities is that they are generally poorer and needier than the average population due to their less advanced population status"- this is patently untrue[81] but appears to have led welfare providers in programmes such as the dibao to disproportionately seek out minority participants. Hasmath and MacDonald further found evidence to suggest that officials "use discretionary welfare measures to buy off potentially troublesome poorer minority households at a higher rate than Han households."[82] Conversely, minorities do not appear to encounter the same level of bias from central or local government welfare providers in more comprehensive schemes such as the URBMI, and thus are not disadvantaged as they are under the dibao scheme.[83]

Undistinguished ethnic groups

"Undistinguished" ethnic groups are ethnic groups that have not been officially recognized or classified by the central government. The group numbers more than 730,000 people, and would constitute the twentieth most populous ethnic group of China if taken as a single group. The vast majority of this group is found in Guizhou Province.

These "undistinguished ethnic groups" do not include groups that have been controversially classified into existing groups. For example, the Mosuo are officially classified as Naxi, and the Chuanqing are classified as Han Chinese, but they reject these classifications and view themselves as separate ethnic groups.

Citizens of mainland China who are of foreign origin are classified using yet another separate label: "foreigners naturalized into the Chinese citizenship" (外国人入中国籍). However, if a newly naturalized citizen already belongs to a recognized existing group among the 56 ethnic groups, then he or she is classified into that ethnic group rather than the special label.

Religions and their most common affiliations

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Source: United States Central Intelligence Agency, 1983. The map shows the distribution of ethnolinguistic groups according to the historical majority ethnic groups by region. Note this is different from the current distribution due to age-long internal migration and assimilation.

References

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Further reading

External links

Affirmative action in China

In the People's Republic of China, the government had instated affirmative action policies for ethnic minorities called Youhui zhengce (simplified Chinese: 优惠政策; traditional Chinese: 優惠政策; pinyin: Yōuhuì zhèngcè; literally: 'preferential policy") or Shaoshu minzu jiafen (simplified Chinese: 少数民族加分; traditional Chinese: 少數民族加分; pinyin: Shǎoshù mínzú jiāfēn; literally: 'add point for minority ethnic groups" in College Entrance Examination) when it began in 1949 and still had impact until today. The policies giving preferential treatment to ethnic minorities in China. For example, Minority ethnic groups in China are not subjected to its well-publicized One-child policy. Three principles are the basis for the policy: equality for national minorities, territorial autonomy, and equality for all languages and cultures.

Baishou Dance

The Baishou Dance or baishouwu (摆手舞, literally 'hand-waving dance') is a 500-year-old historic group dance of the Tujia, one of 55 ethnic minorities in China. The dance uses 70 ritual gestures to represent war, farming, hunting, courtship and other aspects of traditional life.

Chinese

Chinese can refer to:

Something of, from, or related to China

Chinese people, people of Chinese nationality, or one of several Chinese ethnicities

Zhonghua minzu, the supra-ethnic Chinese nationality

Han Chinese, the dominant ethnic group in China, Singapore, and Taiwan

Ethnic minorities in China, non-Han Chinese people in China

Overseas Chinese, people of Chinese ancestry outside China Mainland, such as Taiwan

Chinese language, a language or family of languages spoken predominantly in China

Standard Chinese, the standard form of Chinese in China, Taiwan and Singapore

Varieties of Chinese, the dialects or languages grouped under "Chinese"

Written Chinese, the writing system used for Chinese

Chinese cuisine, styles of food originating from China

American Chinese cuisine

Chinese people

Chinese people are the various individuals or ethnic groups associated with China, usually through ancestry, ethnicity, nationality, citizenship or other affiliation. Han Chinese, the largest ethnic group in China, at about 92% of the population, are often referred to as "Chinese" or "ethnic Chinese" in English, however there are dozens of other related and unrelated ethnic groups in China.

Civil Servant-Family Pair Up

Civil Servant-Family Pair Up (結對認親) is a governmental policy that forces designated families to be matched with civil servants to form a nominal kinship. As a result, the families need to host the civil servants in their home for weeks or even months. Since late 2010s, China has vigorously promoted the pair up policy in Xinjiang. By 2018, 1.1 million Chinese civil servants were paired with more than 1.69 million Xinjiang families .

Dance in China

Dance in China is a highly varied art form, consisting of many modern and traditional dance genres. The dances cover a wide range, from folk dances to performances in opera and ballet, and may be used in public celebrations, rituals and ceremonies. There are also 56 officially recognized ethnic groups in China, and each ethnic minority group in China also has its own folk dances. The best known Chinese dances today are the Dragon dance and the Lion dance.

Hmong textile art

Hmong textile art (RPA:Paj ntau or Paj ntaub, or "flower cloth" in the Hmong language; sometimes transliterated as pa ntau) consists of textile arts traditionally practiced by Hmong people. Closely related to practices of other ethnic minorities in China, the embroidery consists of bold geometric designs often realized in bright, contrasting colors. Different patterns and techniques of production are associated with geographical regions and cultural subdivisions within the global Hmong community. For example, White Hmong are typically associated with reverse appliqué while Green Mong are more associated with batik. Since the mass exodus of Hmong refugees from Laos following the end of the Secret War, major stylistic changes occurred, strongly influenced by the tastes of the Western marketplace. Changes included colors that are more subdued and the invention of a new form of paj ndau often referred to as "story cloths." Because Hmong language did not become alphabetized until 1950, many Hmong refugees did not record their histories in writing. These “story cloths” became a recording and expression of both individual and collective experiences including trauma and loss across generations.These cloths, ranging in size up to several square feet, use figures to represent stories from Hmong history and folklore in a narrative form. Today, the practice of embroidery continues to be passed down through generations of Hmong people and paj ndau remain important markers of Hmong ethnicity. While traditional designs are not an alphabet in any strict linguistic definition, the patterns were a shared visual language or alternative text that fellow Hmong understood and that were important in the ritual functions of paj ndaub.Traditionally, paj ndau were applied to skirts worn for courtship during New Year festivals, as well as baby-carriers, and men's collars. The core visual elements of "layered bands of

appliqué, triangles, squares tilted and superimposed on contrasting, squares, lines and dots, spirals, and crosses." The use of border patterns may show the influence of Chinese embroidery techniques.

Human rights in China

Human rights in China is a highly contested topic, especially for the fundamental human rights periodically reviewed by the United Nations Human Rights Committee (UNHRC), on which the government of the People's Republic of China and various foreign governments and human rights organizations have often disagreed. PRC authorities, their supporters, and other proponents claim that existing policies and enforcement measures are sufficient to guard against human rights abuses. However other countries and their authorities (such as the United States Department of State, Canadian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, among others), international non-governmental organizations (NGOs), such as Human Rights in China and Amnesty International, and citizens, lawyers, and dissidents inside the country, state that the authorities in mainland China regularly sanction or organize such abuses. Jiang Tianyong, 46, is the latest lawyer known for defending government critics to be jailed. According to the news over the past two years more than 200 have been detained in the ongoing crackdown on criticism in China.NGOs such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, as well as foreign governmental institutions such as the U.S. State Department, regularly present evidence of the PRC violating the freedoms of speech, movement, and religion of its citizens and of others within its jurisdiction. Authorities in the PRC claim to define human rights differently, so as to include economic and social as well as political rights, all in relation to "national culture" and the level of development of the country. Authorities in the PRC, referring to this definition, claim that human rights are being improved. They do not, however, use the definition used by most countries and organisations. PRC politicians have repeatedly maintained that, according to the PRC Constitution, the "Four Cardinal Principles" supersede citizenship rights. PRC officials interpret the primacy of the Four Cardinal Principles as a legal basis for the arrest of people who the government says seek to overthrow the principles. Chinese nationals whom authorities perceive to be in compliance with these principles, on the other hand, are permitted by the PRC authorities to enjoy and exercise all the rights that come with citizenship of the PRC, provided they do not violate PRC laws in any other manner.

Numerous human rights groups have publicized human rights issues in China that they consider the government to be mishandling, including: the death penalty (capital punishment), the one-child policy (which China had made exceptions for ethnic minorities prior to abolishing it in 2015), the political and legal status of Tibet, and neglect of freedom of the press in mainland China. Other areas of concern include the lack of legal recognition of human rights and the lack of an independent judiciary, rule of law, and due process. Further issues raised in regard to human rights include the severe lack of worker's rights (in particular the hukou system which restricts migrant labourers' freedom of movement), the absence of independent labour unions (which have since been changing), and allegations of discrimination against rural workers and ethnic minorities, as well as the lack of religious freedom – rights groups have highlighted repression of the Christian, Tibetan Buddhist, Uyghur Muslim, and Falun Gong religious groups. Some Chinese activist groups are trying to expand these freedoms, including Human Rights in China, Chinese Human Rights Defenders, and the China Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group. Chinese human rights attorneys who take on cases related to these issues, however, often face harassment, disbarment, and arrest.According to the Amnesty International report from 2016/2017 the government continued to draft and enact a series of new national security laws that presented serious threats to the protection of human rights. The nationwide crackdown on human rights lawyers and activists continued throughout the year. Activists and human rights defenders continued to be systematically subjected to monitoring, harassment, intimidation, arrest and detention. The report continues that police detained increasing numbers of human rights defenders outside of formal detention facilities, sometimes without access to a lawyer for long periods, exposing the detainees to the risk of torture and other ill-treatment. Booksellers, publishers, activists and a journalist who went missing in neighboring countries in 2015 and 2016 turned up at detention in China, causing concerns about China’s law enforcement agencies acting outside their jurisdiction.

Human rights in Tibet

Human rights in Tibet is a contentious issue. According to a 1992 Amnesty International report, judicial standards in China, including in Tibet, were not up to "international standards". The report charged the Chinese Communist Party government with keeping political prisoners and prisoners of conscience, including the death penalty in its penal code, ill-treatment of detainees and inaction in the face of ill-treatment of detainees, including torture, the use of the death penalty, extrajudicial executions, forced abortions and sterilisation. The status of religion, mainly as it relates to figures who are both religious and political, such as the 14th Dalai Lama, is a regular object of criticism.Reported abuses of human rights in Tibet include restricted freedom of religion, belief, and association. Specifically, Tibetans have faced arbitrary arrest and maltreatment in custody, including torture at the hands of Chinese authorities. Freedom of the Press in the PRC is still absent, and Tibet's media is tightly controlled by the Chinese leadership, making it difficult to determine accurately the scope of human rights abuses. A series of reports published in the late 1980s claimed that China was forcing Tibetans to adhere to strict birth control programs that included forced abortions, sterilizations, and even infanticide.Before the Invasion of Tibet in 1951, Tibet was ruled by a theocracy and had a caste-like social hierarchy. Official crackdowns in the region generally center on “the three evils of separatism, terrorism and religious extremism,” which give pretext for abuses.

List of endangered languages in China

An endangered language is a language that it is at risk of falling out of use, generally because it has few surviving speakers. If it loses all of its native speakers, it becomes an extinct language. UNESCO defines four levels of language endangerment between "safe" (not endangered) and "extinct":

Vulnerable

Definitely endangered

Severely endangered

Critically endangered

List of ethnic groups in China

Multiple ethnic groups populate China, where "China" is taken to mean areas controlled by either of the two states using "China" in their formal names, the People's Republic of China (China) and Republic of China (Taiwan).

The typical use of the English phrase Chinese people generally refers to the Han 漢 people, also known as Han Chinese; they are the largest ethnic group in mainland China, where (as of 2010) some 91.51% of the population was classified as Han (~1.2 billion). Han is the name the Chinese have used for themselves since the Han Dynasty BC 202, whereas the name "Chinese" (used in the West) is of uncertain origin, but possibly derives ultimately from Sanskrit Cina-s "the Chinese," which in turn perhaps comes from the Qin dynasty which preceded the Han dynasty. Besides the Han-Chinese majority of 92%, 55 other ethnic (minority) groups are categorized in present China, numbering approximately 105 million people (8%), mostly concentrated in the bordering northwest, north, northeast, south, and southwest but with some in central interior areas.

The major minority ethnic groups in China are Zhuang (16.9 million), Hui (10.5 million), Manchu (10.3 million), Uyghur (10 million), Miao (9.4 million), Yi (8.7 million), Tujia (8.3 million), Tibetan (6.2 million), Mongol (5.9 million), Dong (2.8 million), Buyei (2.8 million), Yao (2.7 million), Bai (1.9 million), Korean (1.8 million), Hani (1.6 million), Li (1.4 million), Kazakh (1.4 million), and Dai (1.2 million).

Mid-Autumn Festival

The Mid-Autumn Festival is a harvest festival celebrated notably by the Chinese and Vietnamese people. The festival is held on the 15th day of the 8th month of the lunar calendar with full moon at night, corresponding to late September to early October of the Gregorian calendar with a full moon at night.Mooncakes, a rich pastry typically filled with sweet bean paste or lotus seed paste are traditionally eaten during the festival.

Minzu

Minzu can refer to:

Ethnic minorities in China (Chinese: shǎoshù mínzú)

See also: List of ethnic groups in China

Minzu University of China

Minzu railway station (Inner Mongolia), on the Beijing–Baotou railway

Minzu railway station (Taiwan), on the Pingtung line in Kaohsiung

Minzu Township (民族乡) in Li County, Gansu, in China

Minzu University of China

Minzu University of China (MUC, simplified Chinese: 中央民族大学; traditional Chinese: 中央民族大學; pinyin: Zhōngyāng Mínzú Dàxúe) is a national-level university in Haidian District, Beijing, China designated for ethnic minorities in China. Minzu University is the top university in China for ethnic minorities. It aims to be one of the best universities of its kind in the world. With the strong support of Chinese government, it has developed rapidly over the years. MUC is one of the most prestigious universities in China in ethnology, anthropology, ethnic economies, regional economics, religion studies, history, dance, and fine arts.

MUC was selected as one of 38 national key universities to directly receive funding from Project 211 and Project 985, aspiring to become a worldwide leading university. It is a Chinese Ministry of Education Class A Double First Class University.

It is commonly regarded as one of the most respected institutes for higher learning in China. It is colloquially known as Míndà in Putonghua. It was formerly known in English as the Central University of Nationalities (CUN).

State Ethnic Affairs Commission

The State Ethnic Affairs Commission of the People's Republic of China (SEAC) is a cabinet-level department under the State Council of the People's Republic of China and responsible for relations between the Central Government and ethnic minorities in China.

Sven Hessle

Sven Hessle, born 1941, is a Swedish Authorized Psychologist, and Professor of Social work at Stockholm University.His research concerns the study of poverty and children and their families in an international perspective as well as International social work in general.

He has published alone, co-edited or contributed in some 35 books, most of them in Swedish.

Some of them translated to other languages: Danish, English, Finnish, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian, Serbo-Croatian and Vietnamese.

He is founder of and the Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Social Welfare.

He was given the Katherine Kendall Award from IASSW in August 2006, for his distinguished contributions in the international social work education. 2014 he received The Harald Swedner Award from ICSD (The International Consortium for Social Development) for exceptional international contributions for social development

He is Professor of honour at Beijing Normal University and Guizhou University for Ethnic Minorities in China.

He is a Senior advisor for different organisations including UNICEF, Sida, and Norad.

Xinjiang re-education camps

Re-education camps (Uyghur: قايتا تەربىيەلەش لاگېرلىرى‎; Chinese: 再教育营) are a title given to the internment camps operated by the People's Republic of China Xinjiang autonomous region's government since 2014. They have unprecedentedly intensified since a hardline party secretary, Chen Quanguo, took charge of the region in August 2016. These camps are operated secretly and outside of the legal system; many have been locked up without any trial or charges being levied. Local authorities are reportedly holding hundreds of thousands of Uyghurs and Muslims from other ethnic minorities in these camps, claiming the detentions are a bid to counter extremism and terrorism.It is estimated that Chinese authorities may have detained hundreds of thousands to millions of Uyghurs, Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, Hui (Muslims) and other ethnic Muslims, Christians, and also foreign citizens such as Kazakhstanis to be kept in these shrouded internment camps throughout the region. The United Nations and many international media reports have said as many as 1-3 million people are being held in such "re-education camps" in this region.On October 24, 2018, the BBC released the details of an extensive investigation into China's "hidden camps" and the extent to which the People's Republic goes to maintain what it calls "correct thought".These policies have been characterized by international academic journals as "cultural genocide".

Yao people

The Yao people (its majority branch is also known as Mien; simplified Chinese: 瑶族; traditional Chinese: 瑤族; pinyin: Yáo zú; Vietnamese: người Dao) is a government classification for various minorities in China and Vietnam. They are one of the 55 officially recognised ethnic minorities in China and reside in the mountainous terrain of the southwest and south. They also form one of the 54 ethnic groups officially recognised by Vietnam. In the last census in 2000, they numbered 2,637,421 in China and roughly 470,000 in Vietnam.

Zhêntang

Chentang, officially Zhêntang Town (Chinese: 陈塘镇) is a town in Dinggyê County, in the Shigatse prefecture-level city of the Tibet Autonomous Region of China. It is a border town on the China–Nepal border and lies on the Pum Qu River. At the time of the 2010 census, the town had a population of 2,043.As of 2013, it had 6 communities under its administration.

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