Ethnic minorities in China

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Ethnic minorities in China refer to the non-Han Chinese population in the People's Republic of China and the Republic of China. The People's Republic of China (PRC) officially recognizes 55 ethnic minority groups within China in addition to the Han majority.[1] As of the mid-2000s, the combined population of officially recognised minority groups numbered at 123.33 million, comprising 9.44% of mainland China and Taiwan's total population.[2] In addition to these officially recognized ethnic minority groups, there are PRC nationals who privately classify themselves as members of unrecognized ethnic groups (such as Jewish, Tuvan, Oirat and Ili Turki). Also, foreign nationals who have become Chinese citizens form another separate group.

The ethnic minority groups officially recognized by the PRC reside within mainland China and Taiwan, whose minorities are called the Taiwanese aborigines. The Republic of China (ROC) in Taiwan officially recognises 13 Taiwanese aborigine groups, while the PRC classifies them all as a single ethnic minority group, the Gaoshan. Hong Kong and Macau do not use this ethnic classification system, and figures by the PRC government do not include the two territories.

By definition, these ethnic minority groups, together with the Han majority, make up the greater Chinese nationality known as Zhonghua Minzu. Chinese minorities alone are referred to as "Shaoshu Minzu".



Ethnic groups in China are often called nationalities in official English-language documents of the People's Republic of China, such as the nation's 1982-adopted constitution.[3] This is in the naming style of the Soviet Union government. The Chinese word minzu (民族) is used to translate the German and Russian words for "people" and "nationality" as used in Marxist-Leninist ideology.[4] However, all the ethnic minorities in China are Chinese citizens, regardless of the fact that they are sometimes referred to as different "nationalities" in English, and the Chinese-language term that is used to refer to different ethnic groups, minzu, is not specific on citizenship status.

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