Chinese ethnic minority
China's history is a story of an immense land with several diverse tribes. It is also one of migrations and conflict, and separation and fusion of cultures. The product of the intermingling of many tribes, the Han people were among the first to settle down and develop an agrarian society. The tribe occupying the Center of the World-- the only distinction was direction, and non-Han were called "Di" (northern), "Rong" (west), "Yi" (east), and "Man" (south).
As the Han prospered, they became the envy of the hearty horsemen of the north. Over a 2,000 year period, waves of invaders breached the Great Wall and poured into the Chinese heartland. The Huns, the Mongols, and Manchurians all came-- and unlike the plunder and destruction characterized by the barbarian invasions of Rome, these peoples admired what they saw, leading them to stay and assimilate. At the same time, the Han were also following migratory patterns. Seeking to avoid the invasions, or simply moving as burgeoning populations strained resources, the Chinese moved southward. And here, they met with an enormous diversity of cultures. Some would be pushed further south, others would stay and assimilate. No matter what the story, one enduring theme of Chinese history remains the stability of Han Chinese Culture.
China has some other unclassified or unspecified Nationalities numbering some 1,072,642 people. In the 1953 census 41 minority nationalities were specified. In the 1964 census, there were 183 nationalities registered, among which the government recognized only 54. Of the remaining 129 nationalities, 74 were considered to be part of the officially recognized 54, while 23 were classified as "other nationalities" and the remaining 32 were classified as "indeterminate."
As a large united multi-national state, China is composed of 56 ethnic groups. Among them Han Chinese account for 91.59% of the overall Chinese population and the other 55 make up the remaining 8.41% according to the Fifth National Population Census of 2000. As the combined population of these other ethnic groups is far fewer than that of the Han, they form the 55 ethnic minorities of China.
With a population of 1159.4 million, the Han Chinese can be found in almost every part of China. However, they mainly live in the middle and lower reaches of the Yellow River, Yangtze River and the Pearl River, and also in the Northeast Plain Region (Songliao Plain). They form the largest ethnic group within China and also the largest in the world.
The Han people have their own distinctive way of life. Please click to get more information about the Han.