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Population of China

China is a many people state and with 1.3 billion inhabitants it is the most populated country in the world. The term Chinese means the people of the Han. 93% of the population are the Han. Northeast China (without Mandchuria) down to the Chang Jiang is the historical Chinese heartland and so the settlement area of the Han. The Han were always a settled, good organized and disciplined people. In the Han dynasty (206 BC - 220 AD) the Han Chinese das expanded to the South and the West (Central Asia) and they had displaced many peoples. Today the Han Chinese also live in East China (historical heartland). In the Chinese language there are several dialects, but in generel we can say that it is the native language of the Han.

As already suggested many other peoples live in China. The expansions of the Han dynasty (206 BC - 220 AD) caused that some peoples were displaced, but other were integrated into the Chinese empire. Today there are 56 recognized ethnic groups. The regions were these peoples live have got the status of autonomous regions. So they can administer themself and keep their culture and language. The biggest minority are the Zhuang. They are related to the Thai. They live in the Southeast of China and above all in the autonomous region Guangxi. The second biggest minority are the Hui. They are islamic Han Chinese and above all they live in the autonomous region Ningxia. Another important minority are the Uygurs. They are a Turk people which is mostly islamic. They live in the Northwest of China in the autonomous region Xinjiang. Above all they are farmers and traders. Because of the Takla Makan desert in the Tarim basin not many people live in the autonomous region Xinjiang. People can only live in oases. Except the Uygurs also Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, Tajiki and Uzbeki live in Xinjiang. The Kazakhs and the Mongols live as nomads. Because of many raw materials and the increasing industrialization in the second half of the 20th century many Han Chinese had emigrated to Xinjiang. In North China in the autonomous region Nei Monggol (Inner Mongolia) there live Mongols. Most of them are nomads and they belong to the lamaistic buddhism. In the Northeast of China in Mandchuria there live Mandchurian. Since 1644, when the Mandchurian had conquered China, Mandchuria belongs to China. At the beginning of the 20th century Han Chinese had emigrated to Mandchuria, because there big sources of raw materials. In the Southwest of China in Tibet there live Tibetans and they are lamaistic buddhists. Many Tibetans are nomads. In 1950 China had occupied Tibet and now Tibet is the autonomous region Xizang.

Author and Webmaster: Lukas Czarnecki

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Last Update: 24.12.2004