China is a multi-ethnic country composed of 56 nationalities. Since the majority of the population (91.6%) is Han Nationality, the other 55 ethnic groups in China are traditionally referred to as ethnic minorities, with about 105 million people, mainly in the northwest, north, northeast, south and southwest, but some in the central region. The largest group is the 12 million Zhuang Ethnic Group in southwest China. Although ethnic minorities make up about 7 percent of the population, they are spread over about 50 per cent of China's territory, mainly in border areas. Equality, unity and common prosperity are the basic objectives of the government in dealing with relations between ethnic minorities. China implements a policy of regional autonomy for all ethnic minorities, allowing ethnic groups living in compact communities to establish autonomous governments and direct their own affairs.
History of Ethnic Groups
In the first century BC, Han Emperors expanded their influence in the west and south, making China became a multi-ethnic country. Since then, Chinese culture has been enriched by many foreign elements. During the Tang Dynasty (618-907), China absorbed influences from Asian and even Mediterranean countries. The capital Chang 'an (Xi 'an) is the largest city in the world. In the north, the peoples gradually united over the two thousand years. Traditionally, Chinese people do not recognize geographical boundaries and there is no racial prejudice. Whoever accepts Chinese culture and Confucian codes of conduct considers themselves Chinese. For ethnic or historical reasons, people did not belong to the Chinese empire, but to cultural identity, way of thinking, and way of behaving toward others.
Ethnic Groups in China Include:
Han, Achang, Bai, Blang, Bonan, Bouyei, Dai, Daur, De'ang, Dong, Dongxiang, Dulong, Ewenki, Gaoshan, Gelo, Hani, Hezhe, Hui, Jing, Jino, Jingpo, Kazak, Kirgiz, Korean, Lahu, Li, Lisu, Lhoba, Manchu, Maonan, Miao, Moinba, Mongolian, Mulam, Naxi, Nu, Oroqen, Ozbek, Pumi, Qiang, Russian, Salar, She, Shui, Tatar, Tajik, Tibetan, Tu, Tujia, Uygur, Wa, Xibe, Yao, Yi, Yugur, Zhuang. The largest is the Zhuang Ethnic Group in southwest China, with a population of more than 12 million. With more than 20 ethnic groups, Yunnan is the most diverse province in China.
Self-government of Minority Ethnic Groups
Ethnic Self-government is realized through local people's congresses and local people's governments at various levels. China currently has five autonomous regions. They are the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region and Tibet Autonomous Region.
In addition, China has 30 autonomous prefectures and 121 autonomous counties. The committees of the people's congresses of autonomous regions, autonomous prefectures and autonomous counties and the chairmen of the people's congresses at the corresponding levels are all the designated ethnic groups in their respective regions.
The organs of self-government of the national autonomous areas enjoy extensive rights of self-government other than state organs at the same level. These include the enactment of self-government regulations and special regulations that conform to local political, economic and cultural conditions. We will make independent use of local revenue and independently arrange and manage local construction, education, science, culture, public health and other undertakings.
The central government has made great efforts to help train ethnic minority cadres and technicians by establishing institutions of higher learning and cadre schools to supplement the regular institutions of higher learning. China has also provided substantial financial assistance and material resources to the ethnic autonomous areas to promote their economic and cultural development.