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55 Chinese Ethnic Groups

1. Achang

Achang people mainly live in Yunnan, and they are one of earliest ethnic groups ever inhabited in Yunnan area. They have their own language, but no writing system. Most of them can speak more than two kinds of languages besides their own.

2. Bai

Most Bai people settle in Dali Bai Autonomous Prefecture of Yunnan, while some live in other parts of Yunnan, Bijie city of Guizhou and Liangshanzhou of Sichuan. Bai people have many traditional festivals, of which “Third Month Fair (三月街)” is the grandest one. They regard number 6 as a sacred number since ancient times. The amount of gifts they send are always about number 6.

3. Blang

Blang people are the descendants of ancient Pu people. They mostly live in Xishuangbanna Dai Autonomous Prefecture where the climate and environment conditions are favorable for tea planting. Therefore, Blang people have planted tea for a long time and became excel at tea planting and making. The Blang Mountain (where Blang people live) is an important base for Puer Tea production.

4. Bonan

Bonan people mainly inhabit in Jishishan county of Gansu. They believe in Islam like Hui people and abide by all kinds of Islamic doctrines. Bonan people began to smelt iron since old times. They are particularly good at making swords. The Bonan broadsword is very popular among the neighboring minorities.

5. Bouyei

Bouyei nationality is a relatively large minority group in southeast China. Most of the Bouyei people settle in south Guizhou areas. They believe in polytheism and worship nature. The places they live in are beautiful and uncontaminated, many outsiders like to travel there enjoy the freshening nature.

6. Chaoxian

Chaoxian people mainly reside in Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture of Jilin and other parts of northeast China. Yanbian area belongs to one of the important rice production bases in north China and one of the major places for flue-cured tobacco production. In addition, Chaoxian people are good at singing and dancing.

7. Dai

Dai nationality is a unique minority group in Yunnan. Dai people mainly dwell in the Xishuangbanna Dai Autonomous Prefecture where the climate is very favorable and natural resources are abundant. They love dancing, the Pavane is the representative dance of Dai people. They also have the biggest Water Sprinkling Festival in China during which people have banquets and send blessings by splashing water to each other.

8. Daur

Daur people mostly live in Inner Mongolia and Heilongjiang; a small amount of them live in Xinjiang. Their ancestors are Khitan people, who first resisted the attack of Tsarist Russia in the middle 17th century to safeguard the unity of China. The Daur people attach great importance to the Spring Festival, especially the Black-ash Day (lunar Jan.16) when they throw dirt to each other. They believe the blacker one gets, the more auspicious he will be in the next year.、

9. Deang

Deang nationality is one of the earliest groups ever live in the frontier area of southwest China. Deang people mainly reside in Dehong Dai and Jingpo Autonomous Prefecture of Yunnan. They love to drink strong tea and almost every family have tea plantation. Therefore, Deang people are regarded the “Ancient Tea Farmers”. They also excel at making silver products.

10. Dong

Dong people mainly dwell in Guizhou and Hunan. They are the descendants of “Luoyue” people in Qin and Han dynasties, which means that Dong nationality has a history of over 2000 years. Dong people are good at architecture. Every Dong village has its own unique wooden buildings.

11. Dongxiang

Dongxiang nationality is formed by mixing different minority groups lived in Dongxiang Autonomous County of Gansu in the latter half of 14th century. Most of them used to be Hui people and Mongolians who believed in Islamism. Apricots, fruits and red dates produced in Dongxiang are famous all over the country.

12. Dulong

Dulong people mainly resided in the Dulong Valley of Gongshan county, Yunnan. They still preserved their traditional lifestyles. Women still like to have facial tattoos. The most important festival for Dulong people is the Kaquewa, which is celebrated on a certain day in December. The duration of the festival depends on whether there are much food prepared.

13. Ewenki

Ewenki people mostly settled in Heilongjiang and Inner Mongolia areas. Ewenke means people live in forests. In fact, some Ewenki people still live in primitive forests of Greater Khingan.

14. Gaoshan

Gaoshan nationality is the collective term for minorities live in Taiwan. Most Gaoshan people live in Taiwan, only a small amount of them dwell in Fujian and Zhejiang. They have many festivals, the most important one is Harvest Festival.

15. Gelao

Gelao people are scattered in western areas of Gansu. They are good at forging irons, therefore, they are referred as “Iron Forging Gelao”. As they live together with Han people for a long, Gelao people adopted the lifestyles and customs of Han people and act nothing different to Han people.

16. Gin

Gin people mainly reside in Wanwei, Wutou and Shanxin islands of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. Most of them believe in Taoism, only a small amount people believe Catholicism. The Changha (a kind of singing), Bamboo Dance and single-string instrument are the three treasures of Gin culture.

17. Hani

Hani people mainly dwell in southwest Yunnan. They mainly engage themselves in agriculture and tea planting. The tea production of Hani group accounts for about 1/3 of the whole tea production in Yunnan.

18. Hezhen

Hezhen people mainly live in Amur River, Songhua River and Wusuli River areas. They excel at fishing since old times, which makes them the only group in north China live on fishing and hunting. Every Jul.15th is the River Lantern Festival for Hezhen people when they float lanterns on rivers and offer sacrifice for River God, in hope of good harvest in fishing.

19. Hui

Hui group was formed in 13th century by integrating the local Han people, Uyghur people and Mongol people in Yellow River area. Hui people believe in Islamism. Every September is the Ramadan, all Hui people, including girls above 9 and boys above 12 years old, must abstain from meat and wine until the Lasser Bairam.

20. Jingpo

Jingpo people are evolved from part of the the “Xunchuan” tribe in Tang dynasty. They mainly settle in mountain areas of Dehong Dai and Jingpo Autonomous Prefecture where there are abundant rare woods and various herb medicines. Many Jingpo people still believe in primitive polytheism, while some turned to Christianity.

21. Jino

Jino people mainly inhabit in the Jino district and it surrounding areas of Jinghong city, Xishuangbanna Dai Autonomous Prefecture, Yunnan. They believe in animism and worship their ancestors, especially Zhuge Liang (an outstanding strategist and politician). They also have a long history of planting tea, particularly producing Puer Tea.

22. Kazak

Kazak people are descendants of Uisin people lived in northern part of the Tianshan Mountain in Western Han dynasty. They mainly reside in Xinjiang, small amount of them live in Gansu and Qinghai. Kazak people believe in Islamism since 11th century. They have Corban Festival and Eid ul-Fitr. They also have a special complex about number 7.

23. Kirgiz

Kirgiz people mainly reside in the Kirgiz Autonomous Prefecture of Kizilsu in south Xinjiang. They are authentic nomadic people. The grandest festival for Kirgiz people is Noroz Festival, which begins with the beginning of the first month of the year (based on the Kirgiz calendar).

24. Lahu

Lahu people mainly live in Lancang, Menglian, Shuangjiang and other counties in southern Yunnan. "La" means tiger and “Hu” means to roast meat. Thus, Lahu nationality was also regarded as "tiger hunting people" in history. The biggest festival for Lahu people is Spring Festival. One of the most important customs is to wash hands in gourd to wash away the old poverty.

25. Li

Li people mainly dwell in Wuzhishan city in Hainan island. They live on fishing, salt industry, and rubber production. As bamboos are very common in Hainan area, Li people excel at making buildings by using bamboos. They are also good at dancing, the “Bamboo Dance” is the most distinct dance in Hainan.

26. Lisu

Lisu people mainly live in Nujiang area of western Yunnan. They are very good at group dancing and antiphonal singing. Singing and songs are always performed in big occasions. Lisu people believe in primitive religion and worship nature. Some of them believe in Christianity and Catholicism.

27. Luoba

Luoba people mainly reside in the southeastern part of Tibet. There are only about 2,300 Luoba people nowadays, which makes it the least populated group in China. Luoba people have the similar customs and festivals as Tibetan people.

28. Man

Man people mostly live in northeast China. Their ancestors are Nvzhen people (also called Manchu people) who established the Qing dynasty (1644 - 1912) and ruled China for over 250 years. Man people were good at horse riding and archery. Man men used to wear unique costumes of long gown and mandarin jacket, and women wore Qipao, which became the traditional dress for Chinese women.

29. Maonan

Maonan people mostly dwell in Huanjiang county in Guangxi. Their favorite recreation is singing. They can even singing all day long without stop. The biggest festival for Maonan people is the Fenlong Festival, which is around the Summer Solace. During this festival, Maonan people usually offer sacrifice to Dragon King and perform sorcerer dance.

30. Miao

Miao people mainly reside in southeast Guizhou, Damiao Mountain in Guangxi and Hainan. It's said Chiyou tribes that used to live in central China area in primitive society were Miao people's ancestors. Miao people have created a brilliant culture. Their music, dance, and crafts like cross-stitch work, embroidery, brocade, batik and jewelry making are world-famous. They have a batik history of over one thousand years and over 130 kinds of national costumes. Miao people are also good at singing, especially the love songs and wine songs.

31. Monba

Monba people are mostly scattered in southeast areas of the Himalaya Mountains where there are lush forests and fertile river valleys created by the galloping Yarlung Zangbo River. Due to the natural barriers, outsiders can't reach them until the previous few years when highways were finally paved. Monba people have beautiful folk song tunes, the Sama wine songs and Garru love songs are very effusive and moving.

32. Mongol

Mongol people is a legendary nationality with long history. They can’t live without horses. Mongolian ancestors used to expedite everywhere on horses and created the glorious history of Mongolia Empire. They built the Yuan dynasty (1271 - 1368) and ruled China for almost a hundred years. In modern times, Mongol people still preserved the splendid traditional cultures. The grandest festival for Mongols is the Nadam Fair when the Mongolian horse racing, wrestling, archery, chess playing, dance, and singing are held.

33. Mulam

Mulam people mainly inhabit in Luocheng, Guangxi. They live close to Han people and Zhuang people, which makes the most Mulam people speak mandarin and Zhuang language. The places where Mulam people live have rich coal resources. Mining became an important part of their life. In addition, the picturesque mountain areas are as beautiful as Guilin landscape.

34. Naxi

Naxi people mostly reside in the Lijiang Naxi Autonomous Prefecture in Yunnan. They invented an ancient pictograph Dongba script in 1000 years ago and they still use them in modern times, which makes it one of the few pictographs in the world that is still in use. The Lijiang city where Naxi people live in has a rich travel resources like Jade Dragon Snow Mountain and the forests nearby Jinsha River have many kinds of medicine materials.

35. Nu

Nu nationality is one of the ancient minority groups in Yunnan. Nu people live together with Lisu people, Dulong people, Tibetan people, Naxi people and many other groups. Like their neighbors, Nu people also used to believe in animism, some of them believe in Lamaism or Catholicism now.

36. Oroqen

Oroqen people mainly live in northeast Inner Mongolia and Xinlongjiang. They believe in Shamanism and have a special complex about fire. During the traditional Fire Festival, Oroqen people will light bonfire and sing and dance around it.

37. Primi

Primi people mainly inhabit in the Lanping Bai and Primi Autonomous County, Yulong Naxi Autonomous County, Yongsheng county, and Ninglang Yi Autonomous County. Primi people excel at raising livestock and grazing. Men often hunt in groups and distribute the prey in average, while women weave beautiful clothing with simply-structured tools.

38. Qiang

Qiang people mainly dwell in west Sichuan where rare animals like pandas, flying foxes and golden monkeys inhabit. Their traditional crafts are embroidery, cross-stitching and knitting. Qiang people are also good at singing, they have many kinds of songs like sorrow songs, mountain songs, love songs, wine songs, celebration songs and funeral songs.

39. Russ

Russ nationality refers to the minorities migrated from Tsarist Russia to Xinjiang, Inner Mongolia and Heilongjiang after the 18th century. They have the similar customs as Tasrist Russians. Most of them are Orthodox believers and speak Russian, mandarin, and Uygur language. Russ people attach great importance in traditional holidays, especially the Easter.

40. Salar

Salar people mainly live in Xunhua Salar Autonomous County and Dandu district of Hualong Hui Autonomous County. Salar men mostly excel at felling and pulling rafts on the Yellow River torrents. Besides, Salar people love bee-keeping and gardening. Each Salar family has its own orchard full of various fruits. Walnut is a local speciality of Salar community.

41. She

She people mainly dwell in the mountain areas of Fujian and Zhejiang where there are rich wood, moso bamboo, and non-ferrous metals resources. They are also good at planting tea.

42. Shui

Shui people mostly reside in the Sandu Shui Autonomous County, Kaili, Liping, Rongjiang and Congjiang counties of Miao and Dong Autonomous Prefecture. They are good at farming and fishing. The most important festival for Shui people is the “Jieduan”, which starts from the late lunar August and ends at early lunar October. They often perform gongs and drums, race horse, sing and dance to celebrate.

43. Tagik

Tagik people mainly live in the Tashkurghan Tagik Autonomous County in Xinjiang. They have the second tallest mountain Chogori (8,611 m) and Mustag Peak in the north, which is praised as the “Father of Iceberg”. Tagik people are tenacious and unrestrained. They love eagles and have the unique dance of eagle flying dance. Their traditions and customs are similar to the neighboring minorities who believe in Islamism.

44. Tatar

Tatar people mostly reside in Yining, Tacheng, and Urumqi, Xinjiang. Most Tatar people are engaged in education and business, they made great contributions to the development of Xinjiang. Tatar people make one of the best pancakes and pastries in Xinjiang. They also love drama, music and dance. Their vigorous, ebullient dance and melodious, lyrical music are extremely popular all over the China.

45. Tu

Tu people mostly inhabit in Huzhu, Minhe, and Datong counties of Qinhai. They mainly work on agriculture and animal husbandry, especially excel at raising sheep.

46. Tujia

Tujia people mainly reside in Hunan, Hubei, Guizhou and Chongqing. Most of them speak mandarin now, only a few communities still preserved the Tujia language. Tujia people mainly engage themselves in agriculture. Embroidery is a traditional craft of Tujia women, the most famous Tujia brocade is also one of the three well-known brocades in China. Tujia people also love singing folk songs.

47. Uygur

Uygur people mainly inhabit in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. Their ancestors are “Dingling” people in 3 B.C. Later, Han people, Tubo people, Qidan people and Mongol people lived together and formed the current Uygur people. The Uygur people mainly work on agriculture, and excel at gardening. They have the largest grape valley in China. In addition, Uygur people created distinct cultural art. The story collection Tales of Avanti, music and dance epic Twelve Muqam, and the Urgur dances are famous both domestically and overseas. Uygur people believe in Islamism and abide by Islamic doctrines.

48. Uzbek

Uzbek people live in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. Like the dominating Urygur people, Uzbek people also believe in Islamism and have all kinds of Islamic traditions and customs. They are also good at singing and dancing.

49. Wa

Wa nationality is a unique group in Yunan. Wa people only live in west, southwest Yunnan and the mountain areas between east Nujiang River and west Lancang River. They love drinking alcohol, particularly in big occasions. They also love to chew areca-nut. The long time of areca-nut chewing blackened many people’s teeth and reddened their tongues, which however is considered beautiful.

50. Xibe

Xibe people mainly inhabit in Xinjiang, east Inner Mongolia and Nenjang River area of Heilongjiang. They love riding horses and archery, and have worked on hunting and fishing for centuries. Xibe people are also good at singing and dancing, “Dongbuer” is a special plucked stringed instrument of Xibe people.

51. Yao

As a typical mountain minority group, Yao people mainly live in the mountain areas of Guangxi, Hunan, Yunnan, Guangdong, Jiangxi and Hainan. Due to the geographical limitations, most Yao people still maintain the traditional lifestyles of hunting, fishing  and agriculture. Besides, Yao people also have exquisite Yao brocade and costumes. The melodious Yao folk songs, elegant dance, unique marriage customs and religions make the Yao culture one of the most brilliant minority cultures.

52. Yi

Yi people mainly reside in Yunnan, Sichuan, Guizhou and Guangxi. They have a long history of culture. The masterpieces of history, literature, medicine, and calendar recorded in Yi languages are very valuable. The traditional craft arts like lacquer painting, embroidery, silver work, carving and painting are quite developed.

53. Yugur

Yugur people mostly live in Sunan Yugur Autonomous County and Yugur District of Huangnibao in Jiuquan, Gansu. They have engaged themselves in animal husbandry for a long time. Nowadays, the Yugur Autonomous County is one of the important graziery bases in Gansu. Yugur people also produce many kinds of rare medicines like velvet antler, musk, and fel ursi. The long-term grazing lifestyle also make most Yugur people excel at riding horses and archery. They even perform archery on weddings.

54. Zang

Zang people mainly reside in Tibet. They believe in Tibetan Buddhism, which is also called Lamaism. Zang people created a brilliant national culture. They have the unique Tibetan opera, dance, and singing. The arts of carving, painting, and architecture, are famous all over China. The highest palace complex - Potala Palace represents the highest level of Tibetan culture. In addition, Tibetan people excel at medicine. Traditional Chinese medicine absorbed a lot from Tibetan medicine.

55. Zhuang

Zhuang nationality is the most populated minority group in China and belongs to the indigenous people in Lingnan area. Most Zhuang people live in Guangxi, Guangdong, Yunnan, Guizhou and Hunan. Based on the traditional folk literature, music, dance and other skills, Zhuang people created Zhuang opera. Bronze drum is the representative folk instrument of Zhuang people.