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Chinese People

Population
China, with over 1.31828 billion people (excluding Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan) as of May, 2007, is without doubt the most populous country in the world. According to the census at the end of 2004, the ratio of the sexes is about 51.5% male and 48.5% female. Some 41.76% of the population resides in the urban cities and towns while the rest is in rural areas.

Although most Chinese still live in rural areas, China's cities are growing rapidly as people move from rural areas to cities, seeking better economic opportunities. About 36 percent of China's population now lives in urban areas. About 64 percent live in rural areas. Most of the rural residents are involved in agriculture.

Of the total population, 93 percent are Han Chinese. These are the people whom non-Chinese often consider to be the Chinese Chinese.

THE FAMILY

China has 340 million families, with 3.63 people per household on average.  In general, a Chinese family is composed of a couple and their children, but big families with three or more generations can also be found in China.  Along with the pursuit of personal freedom, the trend of forming small families with only directly related members is now prevalent.

In the past, each Chinese family had a "head," who had absolute authority at home, and had the final say in family affairs.  But now in most Chinese families, the husband and wife, or a couple with other family members, work out together the household plans, and decide family affairs through consultation.

  Moreover, family members share the housework, making the division of labor at home more reasonable; and the husband and wife support each other's work.

The Chinese people have the tradition of respecting the old and loving the young.  Though many young couples do not live with their parents, they maintain close contact with them.  Grown up children have the duty to support and help their parents.  The Chinese people attach great importance to relations between family members and relatives, and cherish their parents, children, brothers and sister, uncles, aunts and other relatives.

China has 340 million families, with 3.63 people per household on average.  In general, a Chinese family is composed of a couple and their children, but big families with three or more generations can also be found in China.  Along with the pursuit of personal freedom, the trend of forming small families with only directly related members is now prevalent.

In the past, each Chinese family had a "head," who had absolute authority at home, and had the final say in family affairs.  But now in most Chinese families, the husband and wife, or a couple with other family members, work out together the household plans, and decide family affairs through consultation.

  Moreover, family members share the housework, making the division of labor at home more reasonable; and the husband and wife support each other's work.

The Chinese people have the tradition of respecting the old and loving the young.  Though many young couples do not live with their parents, they maintain close contact with them.  Grown up children have the duty to support and help their parents.  The Chinese people attach great importance to relations between family members and relatives, and cherish their parents, children, brothers and sister, uncles, aunts and other relatives.

China has 340 million families, with 3.63 people per household on average.  In general, a Chinese family is composed of a couple and their children, but big families with three or more generations can also be found in China.  Along with the pursuit of personal freedom, the trend of forming small families with only directly related members is now prevalent.

In the past, each Chinese family had a "head," who had absolute authority at home, and had the final say in family affairs.  But now in most Chinese families, the husband and wife, or a couple with other family members, work out together the household plans, and decide family affairs through consultation.

  Moreover, family members share the housework, making the division of labor at home more reasonable; and the husband and wife support each other's work.

FIFTY-SIX ETHNIC GROUPS

China is a united multi-ethnic nation of 56 ethnic groups.  According to the fourth national census, taken in 1990, the Han people made up 91.96% of the country's total population, and the other 55 ethnic groups, 8.04%.  As the majority of the population is of the Han ethnic group, China's other ethnic groups are customarily referred to as the national minorities.

The Han people can be found throughout the country, though mainly on the middle and lower reaches of the Yellow River, the Yangtze River and the Pearl River valleys and the Northeast plain.  The national minorities, though fewer in number, are also scattered over a vast areas, and can be found in approximately 64.3 percent of China, mainly distributed in the border regions from northeast China to north, northwest, and southwest China.

  Yunnan Province, home to more than 20 ethnic groups, has the greatest diversity of minority people in China.  In most of China's cities and county town, two or more ethic groups live together.  Taking shape over China's long history, this circumstance of different ethic groups "living together in one area while still living in individual compact communities in special areas: continues to provide the practical basis for political, economic and cultural intercourse between the Han and the various minority peoples, and for the functioning of the autonomous national minority areas system.

China is a united multi-ethnic nation of 56 ethnic groups.  According to the fourth national census, taken in 1990, the Han people made up 91.96% of the country's total population, and the other 55 ethnic groups, 8.04%.  As the majority of the population is of the Han ethnic group, China's other ethnic groups are customarily referred to as the national minorities.

The Han people can be found throughout the country, though mainly on the middle and lower reaches of the Yellow River, the Yangtze River and the Pearl River valleys and the Northeast plain.  The national minorities, though fewer in number, are also scattered over a vast areas, and can be found in approximately 64.3 percent of China, mainly distributed in the border regions from northeast China to north, northwest, and southwest China.

  Yunnan Province, home to more than 20 ethnic groups, has the greatest diversity of minority people in China.  In most of China's cities and county town, two or more ethic groups live together.  Taking shape over China's long history, this circumstance of different ethic groups "living together in one area while still living in individual compact communities in special areas: continues to provide the practical basis for political, economic and cultural intercourse between the Han and the various minority peoples, and for the functioning of the autonomous national minority areas system

The Chinese people have the tradition of respecting the old and loving the young.  Though many young couples do not live with their parents, they maintain close contact with them.  Grown up children have the duty to support and help their parents.  The Chinese people attach great importance to relations between family members and relatives, and cherish their parents, children, brothers and sister, uncles, aunts and other relatives.

However, China is an ethnically diverse country consisting of 55 ethnic groups. The non-Han ethnic groups are distributed throughout China's territory. Most of the non-Han ethnic groups differ fundamentally from the Han in their customs, traditions, languages, and cultures.

The non-Han minorities contribute very substantially to China's social fabric. Nearly all are well integrated into China's national unity.

Famine was once a serious, periodic problem in Chinese history. With China's historic famines having come to an end, China's birthrate reached its peak during the 1970s.

China's population was already very large. Most of China is agriculturally unproductive, so there is no surplus agricultural land. The high rate of population growth was impeding the country's socio-economic development. It was also stretching China's natural resources to their limits, and interfering with environmental protection.

FAMILY PLANNING

China's family planning policy combines government guidance with the wishes of the masses.  The basic requirements of family planning are late marriages and late child-bearing, so as to have fewer, but healthier, babies, especially one child per couple.  But a flexible family planning policy is adopted for rural people and ethnic minorities; in rural areas, couples may have second baby in exceptional cases, but must wait several years after the birth of the first child.

  In areas inhabited by minority peoples, each ethnic group may work out different regulations in accordance with its wish, population, natural resources, economy, culture and customs: In general, a couple may have a second baby or a third child in some places.  As for ethnic minorities with extremely small populations, a couple may have as many children as they want.

Profound changes have taken place in the people's viewpoints on marriage, childbearing and the family.  Late marriage, late childbearing and fewer but healthier babies are the accepted norms of the most people in China.  Now the people have a common understanding that there is no difference between a son or a daughter.

  It has become a custom to set up a small happy, harmonious family, and pursue a scientific and civilized lifestyle.  Meanwhile, family planning has helped Chinese women get rid of the burden of frequent childbearing and the heavy family burden after marriage, thus raising women's status and improving the health of both mothers and children.

China's family planning policy combines government guidance with the wishes of the masses.  The basic requirements of family planning are late marriages and late child-bearing, so as to have fewer, but healthier, babies, especially one child per couple.  But a flexible family planning policy is adopted for rural people and ethnic minorities; in rural areas, couples may have second baby in exceptional cases, but must wait several years after the birth of the first child.

  In areas inhabited by minority peoples, each ethnic group may work out different regulations in accordance with its wish, population, natural resources, economy, culture and customs: In general, a couple may have a second baby or a third child in some places.  As for ethnic minorities with extremely small populations, a couple may have as many children as they want.

Profound changes have taken place in the people's viewpoints on marriage, childbearing and the family.  Late marriage, late childbearing and fewer but healthier babies are the accepted norms of the most people in China.  Now the people have a common understanding that there is no difference between a son or a daughter.

  It has become a custom to set up a small happy, harmonious family, and pursue a scientific and civilized lifestyle.  Meanwhile, family planning has helped Chinese women get rid of the burden of frequent childbearing and the heavy family burden after marriage, thus raising women's status and improving the health of both mothers and children.

In 1978, the Chinese government set out to slow the increase of China's population. Family planning has been carried out throughout China. This effort combines governmental guidance with the people's voluntary compliance. The basic rights of every married couple are respected and protected. China's strict birth control policy is intended to provide the best future China for every Chinese baby. Out of respect for the non-Han ethnic minorities, they are exempted from the stricter policies and are allowed to have more children than the Han.

People's Character and Life
The Chinese are industrious, hardworking, peace-loving and a strenuous nation, while the numerous people are hospitable, conservative, modest and in general easy to approach.

Nowadays, Chinese people enjoy a higher standard of living, with greatly improved facilities for education, a fact that contributes much to the overall quality of life for the entire nation. Economic growth means that in time those in the poorer regions will enjoy a higher standard of living but with such a large population these improvements take time. There has been a distinct improvement in the status of women; while rights of senior citizens and children enjoy more protection and care. Chinese society has become more open, accommodating and self-sustaining in these new times. However, the people never forget to carry forward and develop the traditional Chinese virtues while they are willing to accept new ideas and try new things.

Chinese ethnic minority
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