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The Han Chinese (), or the Han people (), is an
East Asian East Asia is the east East is one of the four cardinal direction The four cardinal directions, or cardinal points, are the directions north North is one of the four compass points or cardinal directions. It is the opposite of south ...
ethnic group An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people A people is any plurality of person A person (plural people or persons) is a being that has certain capacities or attributes such as reason, morality, consciousness or self-consciousn ...
and
nation A nation is a community A community is a social unitThe term "level of analysis" is used in the social sciences to point to the location, size, or scale of a research target. "Level of analysis" is distinct from the term " unit of observation ...

nation
native to
Greater China "Greater China" is an informal geographical area that shares commercial and cultural ties with the Han Chinese, The notion of "Greater China" refers to the area that usually encompasses mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan in East Asia. ...

Greater China
. Historically, they were native to the Yellow River Basin region of modern China. They constitute the world's largest ethnic group, making up about 18% of the
global population upright=1.3, Population growth graph In demographics, the world population is the total number of human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and widespread species of primates, characterized by bipedality, opposable thumbs, ...

global population
and consisting of various subgroups speaking distinctive varieties of the
Chinese language Chinese ( or also , especially for the written language) is a group of s that form the branch of the , spoken by the ethnic majority and many minority ethnic groups in . About 1.3 billion people (or approximately 16% of the world's popula ...
. The estimated 1.4 billion Han Chinese people, worldwide, are primarily concentrated in the
People's Republic of China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in East Asia. It is the world's List of countries and dependencies by population, most populous country, with a Population of China, population of more than 1.4 billion ...

People's Republic of China
(
Mainland China Mainland China, also known as the Chinese mainland, China mainland, or the Mainland Area of the Republic of China is the geopolitics, geopolitical area under the direct jurisdiction of the People's Republic of China (PRC) since Proclamation of ...

Mainland China
), where they make up about 92% of the total population. In the
Republic of China Taiwan, officially the Republic of China (ROC), is a country in East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere, Eastern and No ...

Republic of China
(Taiwan), they make up about 97% of the population. People of Han Chinese descent also make up around 75% of the total population of
Singapore Singapore (), officially the Republic of Singapore, is a sovereign state, sovereign island city-state in maritime Southeast Asia. It lies about one degree of latitude () north of the equator, off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, bord ...

Singapore
. The Han Chinese trace their cultural ancestry to the
Huaxia ''Huaxia'' is a historical concept representing the Chinese nation ''Zhonghua minzu'' (; "Chinese nation") is a key political term in modern Chinese nationalism related to the concepts of nation-building, ethnic group, ethnicity, and race ...
, the initial confederation of agricultural tribes living along the
Yellow River The Yellow River (Chinese: , Jin Chinese, Jin: uə xɔ Standard Beijing Mandarin, Mandarin: ''Huáng hé'' ) is the second-longest river in China, after the Yangtze River, and the List of rivers by length, sixth-longest river system in ...
. The term ''Huaxia'' refers to the collective
Neolithic The Neolithic period is the final division of the Stone Age, with a wide-ranging set of developments that appear to have arisen independently in several parts of the world. It is first seen about 12,000 years ago when the first developments of ...
confederation of agricultural tribes Hua and Xia who settled along the around the middle and lower reaches of the Yellow River in Northern China. These tribes were the ancestors of the modern Han Chinese people who gave birth to Chinese civilization. Within the course of the
Warring States period The Warring States period () was an era in ancient Chinese history characterized by warfare, as well as bureaucratic and military reforms and consolidation. It followed the Spring and Autumn period The Spring and Autumn period was a period i ...
led to the emergence of the early discernible consciousness of the Zhou-era Chinese referring to themselves as being Huaxia (literally, "the beautiful grandeur"), which was distinctively used to adumbrate a "civilized" culture in contrast to what were perceived as "barbaric" towards the adjacent and adjoining vicinities bordering the Zhou Kingdoms that were inhabited by different non-Chinese peoples around them. In many overseas Chinese communities, the term ''Hua people'' (), ''Hua Qiao'' () or ''Huazu'' (), is used for people of Han Chinese ethnicity as distinct from ''Zhongguo Ren'' () which has connotations to being citizens of China, including people of non-Han Chinese ethnicity. The Han Chinese are bound together with a shared history inhabiting an ancient ancestral territory for over four thousand years, deeply rooted with many different cultural traditions and customs. The Huaxia tribes in Northern China experienced a continuous expansion into Southern China over the past two millennia. Huaxia culture spread southward from its heartland in the Yellow River Basin, absorbing various non-Chinese ethnic groups that became sinicised over the centuries at various points in China's history. The
Han dynasty#REDIRECT Han dynasty The Han dynasty () was the second Dynasties in Chinese history, imperial dynasty of China (202 BC – 220 AD), established by the rebel leader Liu Bang and ruled by the House of Liu. Preceded by the short-lived Qin dynas ...

Han dynasty
is considered to be one of the first great eras in Chinese history, as a unified and cohesive empire, Han China became East Asia's geopolitical power players, projecting much of its influence on its neighbours and was comparable with the contemporary
Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post- period of . As a it included large territorial holdings around the in , , and ruled by . From the t ...

Roman Empire
in population size, geographical and cultural reach. The Han dynasty's prestige and prominence influenced many of the ancient Huaxia to begin identifying themselves as "The People of Han". To this day, the Han Chinese have since taken their ethnic name from this dynasty and the Chinese script is referred to as "
Han characters Chinese characters, also called ''Hanzi'' (), are logograms developed for the writing of Chinese. They have been adapted to write other East-Asian languages, and remain a key component of the Japanese writing system The modern Jap ...
".


Names

The name ''Han'' was derived from the name of the , which succeeded the short-lived
Qin dynasty The Qin dynasty, or Ch'in dynasty in Wade–Giles Wade–Giles () is a Romanization of Chinese, romanization system for Standard Chinese, Mandarin Chinese. It developed from a system produced by Thomas Francis Wade, during the mid-19th ...

Qin dynasty
and is historically considered to be the first
golden age#REDIRECT Golden Age The term Golden Age comes from Greek mythology, particularly the ''Works and Days'' of Hesiod, and is part of the description of temporal decline of the state of peoples through five Ages of Man, Ages, Gold being the first a ...
of China's Imperial era due to the power and influence it projected over much of East Asia. As a result of the dynasty's prominence in inter-ethnic and pre-modern international influence, Chinese people began identifying themselves as the "people of Han" (), a name that has been carried down to this day. Similarly, the
Chinese language Chinese ( or also , especially for the written language) is a group of s that form the branch of the , spoken by the ethnic majority and many minority ethnic groups in . About 1.3 billion people (or approximately 16% of the world's popula ...
also came to be named the "Han language" () ever since. On
Oxford Dictionaries Lexico is an online dictionary website that provides a collection of English and Spanish dictionaries produced by Oxford University Press Oxford University Press (OUP) is the university press 200px, The Pitt Building in Cambridge, which us ...
, the Han are defined as "The dominant ethnic group in China". In the ''Encyclopedia of the Peoples of Asia and Oceania'', the Han are called the dominant population in "China, as well as in
Taiwan Taiwan, officially the Republic of China (ROC), is a country in East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere, Eastern and N ...
and
Singapore Singapore (), officially the Republic of Singapore, is a island in . It lies about one degree of latitude () north of the , off the southern tip of the , bordering the to the west, the () to the south, and the to the east. The country' ...
." According to the ''
Merriam-Webster Dictionary ''Webster's Dictionary'' is any of the Dictionary, dictionaries edited by Noah Webster in the early nineteenth century, and numerous related or unrelated dictionaries that have adopted the Webster's name. "Webster's" has become a genericized tra ...
'', the Han are "the Chinese peoples especially as distinguished from non-Chinese (such as Mongolian) elements in the population." The Han dynasty's founding emperor,
Liu Bang Emperor Gaozu of Han (256 – 1 June 195 BC), born Liu Bang () with courtesy name Ji (季), was the founder and first emperor of the Han dynasty, reigning in 202–195 BC. His temple name was "Taizu" while his posthumous name was Emperor ...

Liu Bang
, was made king of the
Hanzhong Hanzhong (; abbreviation: Han) is a prefecture-level city A road sign shows distance to the "Huangshi urban area" () rather than simply " Yangxin County from the neighboring Xianning), but still from the Huangshi main urban area. A prefect ...

Hanzhong
region after the fall of the Qin dynasty, a title that was later shortened to "the King of Han" () during the . The name "Hanzhong", in turn, was derived from the
Han RiverHan River may refer to: *Han River (Guangdong) (''Han-jiang'', 韩江), southeast China, flows into the South China Sea *Han River (Hubei) (''Han-shui'', 漢水 or ''Han-jiang'', 漢江), the longest tributary of the Yangtze, China *Han River (Korea ...
, which flows through the region's plains. Prior to the Han dynasty, ancient Chinese scholars used the term
Huaxia ''Huaxia'' is a historical concept representing the Chinese nation ''Zhonghua minzu'' (; "Chinese nation") is a key political term in modern Chinese nationalism related to the concepts of nation-building, ethnic group, ethnicity, and race ...
(, "the magnificent
Xia Xia (Hsia in Wade–Giles) may refer to: Chinese history * Xia dynasty (夏) (c. 2070 – c. 1600 BC) * Xia (Sixteen Kingdoms) (夏) (407–431), a Xiongnu state * Xia (夏) (617–621), a state founded by Dou Jiande near the end of the Sui dynast ...

Xia
") in texts to describe
China proper China proper, Inner China or the Eighteen Provinces was a term used by Western writers on the Manchu people, Manchu-led Qing dynasty to express a distinction between the core and frontier regions of China. There is no fixed extent for China pr ...

China proper
, while the Chinese populus were referred to as either the "various Hua" () or the "various Xia" (). This gave rise to a term commonly used nowadays by
overseas Chinese Overseas Chinese () refers to people of Chinese Chinese can refer to: * Something related to China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by populat ...

overseas Chinese
as an ethnic identity for the Chinese diaspora – ''Huaren'' (, "ethnic Chinese people"), ''Huaqiao'' (, "the Chinese immigrant" meaning
overseas Chinese Overseas Chinese () refers to people of Chinese Chinese can refer to: * Something related to China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by populat ...

overseas Chinese
) as well as a literary name for China – ''Zhonghua'' (, "the Central Chinese"). ''Zhonghua'' refers more to the culture of Chinese people, although it may also be seen as equivalent to ''
Zhonghua minzu ''Zhonghua minzu'' (; "Chinese nation") is a key political term in modern Chinese nationalism The current Flag of China, national flag of the China, People's Republic of China (1949–present), representing a variety of Chinese national ...
''. The overseas Chinese use ''Huaren'' or ''Huaqiao'' instead of ''Zhongguoren'' (), which commonly refers to citizens of the People's Republic of China. Among some southern Han Chinese varieties such as
Cantonese Cantonese ( zh, t=廣東話, s=广东话, first=t; Yale Yale University is a private Ivy League The Ivy League (also known as The Ancient Eight) is an American collegiate athletic conference comprising eight private research un ...
,
Hakka The Hakka (), sometimes also referred to as Hakka Han, or Hakka Chinese, are a Han Chinese Han Chinese subgroups, subgroup whose ancestral homes are chiefly in the Hakka Chinese, Hakka-speaking provincial areas of Guangdong, Fujian, Jiangxi, Gu ...
and Minnan, a different term exists – Tang Chinese (, literally "the people of Tang"), derived from the later
Tang dynasty The Tang dynasty (, ; ), or Tang Empire, was an imperial dynasty of China that ruled from 618 to 907, with an interregnum An interregnum (plural interregna or interregnums) is a period of discontinuity or "gap" in a government, organizat ...
, regarded as another zenith of Chinese civilization. The term is used in everyday conversation and is also an element in one of the words for
Chinatown A Chinatown () is an ethnic enclave of Chinese people located outside mainland China Mainland China, also known as the Chinese mainland, China mainland, or the Mainland Area of the Republic of China is the geopolitics, geopolitical area ...

Chinatown
: "street of the Tang people" (). The phrase , is also used to describe the same area).


Population

Listed below are Han Chinese subgroups by regional dialects spoken. The number of speakers is derived from statistics or estimates (2019) and is rounded:


Distribution


Mainland China

The vast majority of Han Chinese – over 1.2 billion – live in areas under the jurisdiction of the
People's Republic of China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in East Asia. It is the world's List of countries and dependencies by population, most populous country, with a Population of China, population of more than 1.4 billio ...

People's Republic of China
(PRC), where they constitute about 92% of its overall population.CIA Factbook
"Han Chinese 91.6%" out of a reported population of 1,384,688,986 billion (July 2018 est.)
Han Chinese in China have been a culturally, economically, and politically dominant majority vis-à-vis the non-Han minorities throughout most of China's recorded history. Han Chinese are almost the majority in every Chinese province, municipality, and autonomous region except for the autonomous regions of
Xinjiang Xinjiang (),, SASM/GNC: ''Xinjang''; zh, c=, p=Xīnjiāng; alternately romanized as Sinkiang officially the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region (XUAR) and formerly romanized as Sinkiang, is a landlocked autonomous region An autonomous ...

Xinjiang
(38% or 40% in 2010) and
Tibet Autonomous Region The Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) or Xizang Autonomous Region, called Tibet or Xizang for short, is a province A province is almost always an administrative division within a country or state. The term derives from the ancient Roman '' pr ...
(8% in 2014), where
Uighurs The Uyghurs ( or ; ug, ئۇيغۇرلار, , ; zh, s=, t=, p=Wéiwú'ěr, ), alternatively spelled Uighurs, Uygurs or Uigurs, are a Turkic peoples, Turkic ethnic group originating from and culturally affiliated with the general region of Central ...
and Tibetans are the majority, respectively.


Hong Kong and Macau

Han Chinese also constitute the majority in both of the special administrative regions of the PRC – about 92% and 88% of the population of
Hong Kong Hong Kong (; , ), officially the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China (HKSAR), is a and of China on the eastern in . With over 7.5 million residents of various nationalities in a territory, Hong ...

Hong Kong
and
Macau Macau or Macao (; ; ; ), officially the Macao Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China (MSAR), (RAEM) is a and of the in the western by the . With a population of about 680,000 and an area of , it is the most in the ...

Macau
, respectively. The Han Chinese in Hong Kong and Macau have been culturally, economically, and politically dominant majority vis-à-vis the non-Han minorities.


Taiwan

There are over 22 million Han Chinese in Taiwan. At first, these migrants chose to settle in locations that bore a resemblance to the areas they had left behind in mainland China, regardless of whether they arrived in the north or south of Taiwan.
Hoklo The Hoklo people are Han Chinese The Han Chinese,
. Huayuqiao.org. Retrieved on 2013-04-26.
immigrants from
Quanzhou Quanzhou, alternatively known as Chinchew, is a prefecture-level port city on the north bank of the Jin River, beside the Taiwan Strait The Taiwan Strait, also known as the Formosa Strait, is a -wide strait A strait is a naturall ...

Quanzhou
settled in coastal regions, and those from
Zhangzhou Zhangzhou (), alternately romanized Romanization or romanisation, in linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studying a ...

Zhangzhou
tended to gather on inland plains, while the
Hakka The Hakka (), sometimes also referred to as Hakka Han, or Hakka Chinese, are a Han Chinese The Han Chinese (), or the Han people (), is an East Asian East Asia is the east East is one of the four cardinal direction The fou ...
inhabited hilly areas. Clashes between these groups over land, water, and cultural differences led to the relocation of some communities, and, as time passed, varying degrees of intermarriage and assimilation took place. In Taiwan, Han Chinese (including both the earlier Han Taiwanese settlers and the recent Mainland Chinese that arrived in Taiwan with Chiang Kai-shek in 1949) constitute over 95% of the population. They have also been a politically, culturally, and economically dominant majority vis-à-vis the non-Han aborigines.


Southeast Asia

Nearly 30 to 40 million people of Han Chinese descent live in Southeast Asia. According to a population genetic study,
Singapore Singapore (), officially the Republic of Singapore, is a island in . It lies about one degree of latitude () north of the , off the southern tip of the , bordering the to the west, the () to the south, and the to the east. The country' ...
is "the country with the biggest proportion of Hans" in Southeast Asia. Singapore is the only country in the world where Overseas Chinese constitute a majority of the population and remain a cultural, economic, and politically dominant majority vis-à-vis the non-Han minorities. Up until the past few decades, overseas Han communities originated predominantly from areas in southern China (especially the
Guangdong Guangdong (, ), alternately romanized as Canton Province or Kwangtung, is a coastal province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, admin ...

Guangdong
,
Fujian Fujian (; alternately romanized as Fukien or Hokkien) is a province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnat ...

Fujian
, and
Zhejiang Zhejiang (, ; , Chinese postal romanization, also romanized as Chekiang) is an East China, eastern, coastal Provinces of China, province of the China, People's Republic of China. Its capital and largest city is Hangzhou. Zhejiang is bordered ...

Zhejiang
areas).


Others

The total "overseas Chinese" population worldwide number some 60 million people. Han Chinese have settled in numerous countries across the globe, particularly within the Western World where nearly 4 million people of Han Chinese descent live in the United States (about 1.5% of the population), over 1 million in Australia (5.6%) and about 1.5 million in Canada (5.1%), nearly 231,000 in
New Zealand New Zealand ( mi, Aotearoa ) is an island country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. It consists of two main landmasses—the North Island () and the South Island ()—and more than 700 List of islands of New Zealand, smaller islands, coveri ...

New Zealand
(4.9%), and as many as 750,000 in Sub-Saharan Africa.


History

Because of the overwhelming numerical and cultural dominance of Han culture in China, most of the written
history of China The earliest known written records of the history of China date from as early as 1250 BC, from the Shang dynasty The Shang dynasty (), also historically known as the Yin dynasty (), was a Chinese dynasty that ruled in the middle and ...

history of China
can be read as "a history of the Han Chinese".


Prehistory

The prehistory of the Han Chinese is closely intertwined with both archaeology, biology, historical textual records and mythology. The ethnic stock to which the Han Chinese originally trace their ancestry from were confederations of late
Neolithic The Neolithic period is the final division of the Stone Age, with a wide-ranging set of developments that appear to have arisen independently in several parts of the world. It is first seen about 12,000 years ago when the first developments of ...
and early
Bronze Age The Bronze Age is a prehistoric that was characterized by the use of , in some areas , and other early features of urban . The Bronze Age is the second principal period of the , as proposed in modern times by , for classifying and studying a ...
agricultural tribes known as the
Huaxia ''Huaxia'' is a historical concept representing the Chinese nation ''Zhonghua minzu'' (; "Chinese nation") is a key political term in modern Chinese nationalism related to the concepts of nation-building, ethnic group, ethnicity, and race ...
that lived along the
Guanzhong Guanzhong (, formerly romanised as Kwanchung) region, also known as the Guanzhong Basin, Wei River Basin, or uncommonly as the Shaanzhong region, is a historical region Historical regions (or historical areas) are geographic areas which at some ...
and
Yellow River The Yellow River (Chinese: , Jin Chinese, Jin: uə xɔ Standard Beijing Mandarin, Mandarin: ''Huáng hé'' ) is the second-longest river in China, after the Yangtze River, and the List of rivers by length, sixth-longest river system in ...
basins in Northern China. In addition, numerous
ethnic groups An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people who identify with each other on the basis of shared attributes that distinguish them from other groups such as a common set of traditions, ancestry, language, history, society, culture, nation ...
were assimilated and absorbed by the Han Chinese at various points in China's history. Like many modern ethnic groups, the ethnogenesis of Han Chinese was a long and lengthy process that involved the expansion of the Chinese dynasties and their assimilation of various non-Chinese ethnic groups that became sinicised over the centuries. Writers during the
Western Zhou The Western Zhou ( zh, c=, p=Xīzhōu; c. 1045 BC – 771 BC) was the first half of the Zhou dynasty of ancient China. It began when King Wu of Zhou King Wu of Zhou () was the first king of the King of the Romans (variant used in the ...
and Han dynasties derived ancestral lineages based on
Shang dynasty The Shang dynasty (), also historically known as the Yin dynasty (), was a Chinese dynasty Dynasties in Chinese history, or Chinese dynasties, were hereditary monarchical regimes that ruled over China during much of its history. From ...

Shang dynasty
-era legendary materials, while the Han dynasty historian
Sima Qian Sima Qian (; ; ) was a Chinese historian of the early Han dynasty#REDIRECT Han dynasty The Han dynasty () was the second Dynasties in Chinese history, imperial dynasty of China (202 BC – 220 AD), established by the rebel leader Liu B ...

Sima Qian
's ''
Records of the Grand Historian The ''Records of the Grand Historian'', also known by its Chinese name ''Shiji'', is a monumental history of ancient China and the world finished around 94 BC by the Western Han Dynasty official Sima Qian after having been started by his father ...

Records of the Grand Historian
'' places the reign of the
Yellow Emperor The Yellow Emperor, also known as the Yellow Thearch, or by his Chinese name Huangdi (), is a deity A deity or god is a supernatural being considered divinity, divine or sacred. The ''Oxford Dictionary of English'' defines deity as "a God ( ...

Yellow Emperor
, the legendary leader of Youxiong tribes (), at the beginning of Chinese history. The Yellow Emperor is traditionally credited to have united with the neighbouring
Shennong Shennong (), variously translated as "Divine Farmer" or "Divine Husbandman", was a mythological Chinese ruler who has become a deity in Chinese and Vietnamese folk religion Vietnamese folk religion or Vietnamese indigenous religion ( vi, ...

Shennong
tribes after defeating their leader, the
Yan Emperor The Yan Emperor () or the Flame Emperor was a legendary ancient Chinese ruler in pre-dynastic times. Modern scholarship has identified the Sheep's Head Mountains (''Yángtóu Shān'') just north of Baoji () is a prefecture-level city Image:Y ...
, at the
Battle of Banquan The Battle of Banquan () is the first battle in Chinese history The earliest known written records of the history of China date from as early as 1250 BC, from the Shang dynasty (c. 1600–1046 BC), during the king Wu Ding's reign, who was me ...
. The newly merged
Yanhuang Yanhuang or Yan Huang (Chinese language Chinese ( or also , especially for the written language) is a group of language varieties that form the Sinitic branch of the Sino-Tibetan languages, spoken by the ethnic Han Chinese majority and m ...
tribes then combined forces to defeat their common enemy from the east,
Chiyou Chiyou (; Old Chinese Old Chinese, also called Archaic Chinese in older works, is the oldest attested stage of Chinese, and the ancestor of all modern varieties of Chinese. The earliest examples of Chinese are divinatory inscriptions on oracl ...

Chiyou
of the Jiuli () tribes, at the
Battle of Zhuolu A battle is an occurrence of combat in warfare between opposing military units of any number or size. A war usually consists of multiple battles. In general, a battle is a military engagement that is well defined in duration, area, and force c ...
, and established their cultural dominance in the Central Plain region. To this day, modern Han Chinese refer themselves as " Descendants of Yan and Huang". Although study of this period of history is complicated by the absence of contemporary records, the discovery of
archaeological site An archaeological site is a place (or group of physical sites) in which evidence of past activity is preserved (either prehistoric Prehistory, also known as pre-literary history, is the period of human history Human history, also kn ...

archaeological site
s has enabled a succession of
Neolithic cultures The Neolithic period is the final division of the Stone Age, with a wide-ranging set of developments that appear to have arisen independently in several parts of the world. It is first seen about 12,000 years ago when the first developments of ...
to be identified along the Yellow River. Along the central reaches of the Yellow River were the
Jiahu Jiahu () was the site of a Neolithic settlement based in the central plain of ancient China, near the Yellow River. It is located between the floodplains of the Ni River (China), Ni River to the north, and the Sha River to the south, north of ...

Jiahu
culture (c. 7000 to 6600 BCE), the
Yangshao culture The Yangshao culture was a Neolithic The Neolithic period is the final division of the Stone Age, with a wide-ranging set of developments that appear to have arisen independently in several parts of the world. It is first seen about 12,000 ye ...
(c. 5000 to 3000 BCE) and the
Longshan culture The Longshan (or Lung-shan) culture, also sometimes referred to as the Black Pottery Culture, was a late Neolithic The Neolithic period is the final division of the Stone Age, with a wide-ranging set of developments that appear to have arisen i ...
(c. 3000 to 2000 BCE). Along the lower reaches of the river were the Qingliangang culture (c. 5400 to 4000 BCE), the
Dawenkou culture Image:Dawenkou Gui Dazhucun.jpg, ''Guī'' (鬹) from Dawenkou Culture The Dawenkou culture is a name given by Archeology, archaeologists to a group of Neolithic communities who lived primarily in Shandong, but also appeared in Anhui, Henan and Jian ...
(c. 4300 to 2500 BCE), and the
Yueshi culture The Yueshi culture () was an archaeological culture in the region of eastern China, dated from 1900 to 1500 BC. It spanned the period from the to the early . In the Shandong area, it followed the period (c. 2600–1900 BC), and was later repl ...
(c. 1900 to 1500 BCE).


Early history

Early ancient Chinese history is largely legendary, consisting of mythical tales intertwined with sporadic annals written centuries to millennia later. Sima Qian's ''Records of the Grand Historian'' recorded a period following the Battle of Zhuolu, during the reign of successive generations of confederate overlords () known as the
Three Sovereigns and Five Emperors The Three Sovereigns and Five Emperors were two groups of Chinese mythology, mythological rulers or deities in ancient northern China. The Three Sovereigns lived before The Five Emperors, who have been assigned dates in a period from circa 3162 B ...
(c. 2852–2070 BCE), who, allegedly, were elected to power among the tribes. This is a period for which scant reliable archaeological evidence exists – these sovereigns are largely regarded as
cultural hero A culture hero is a mythological Myth is a folklore genre Folklore is the expressive body of culture shared by a particular group of people; it encompasses the traditions common to that culture, subculture or group. These include oral trad ...
es.


Xia dynasty

The first dynasty to be described in Chinese historical records is the Xia dynasty (c. 2070–1600 BCE), established by
Yu the Great Yu the Great (大禹) was a legendary king in ancient China The earliest known written records of the history of China date from as early as 1250 BC, from the Shang dynasty (c. 1600–1046 BC), during the king Wu Ding's reign, who was me ...
after
Emperor Shun Emperor Shun () was a legendary leader of ancient China The earliest known written records of the history of China date from as early as 1250 BC, from the Shang dynasty (c. 1600–1046 BC), during the king Wu Ding's reign, who was mentione ...
abdicated leadership to reward Yu's work in taming the
Great Flood A flood myth or deluge myth is a myth Myth is a folklore genre consisting of narratives that play a fundamental role in a society, such as foundational tales or origin myths. The main characters in myths are usually gods, demigods, or supe ...
. Yu's son, Qi, managed to not only install himself as the next ruler, but also dictated his sons as heirs by default, making the Xia dynasty the first in recorded history where genealogical succession was the norm. The civilizational prosperity of the Xia dynasty at this time is thought to have given rise to the name "Huaxia" (, "the magnificent Xia"), a term that was used ubiquitously throughout history to define the Chinese nation. Conclusive archaeological evidence predating the 16th century BCE is, however, rarely available. Recent efforts of the
Xia–Shang–Zhou Chronology Project The Xia–Shang–Zhou Chronology Project () was a multi-disciplinary project commissioned by the People's Republic of China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in East Asia. It is the world's List of c ...
drew the connection between the
Erlitou culture The Erlitou culture was an early Bronze Age The Bronze Age is a prehistoric that was characterized by the use of , in some areas , and other early features of urban . The Bronze Age is the second principal period of the , as proposed in ...
and the Xia dynasty, but scholars could not reach a consensus regarding the reliability of such history.


Shang dynasty

The Xia dynasty was overthrown after the
Battle of Mingtiao The Battle of Mingtiao was a battle between the Xia dynasty and the Shang dynasty, resulting in a Shang victory which created the elevation circumstances of the Duke of Shang to the Emperor of China, throne of China. Background When the throne o ...
, around 1600 BCE, by
Cheng Tang Cheng Tang (; – 1646 BC; ), recorded on oracle bones as Da Yi (大乙), was the first King of China, king of the Shang dynasty in Chinese history. He overthrew Jie of Xia, Jie, the last ruler of the Xia dynasty. Rise of Shang Tang ruled Shang, ...
, who established the Shang dynasty (c. 1600–1046 BCE). The earliest archaeological examples of Chinese writing date back to this period – from characters inscribed on
oracle bone Oracle bones () are pieces of ox scapula In anatomy, the scapula (plural scapulae or scapulas), also known as the shoulder bone, shoulder blade, wing bone, speal bone or blade bone, is the bone that connects the humerus (upper arm bone) with t ...

oracle bone
s used for divination – but the well-developed characters hint at a much earlier origin of writing in China. During the Shang dynasty, people of the Wu area in the
Yangtze River Delta The Yangtze Delta or Yangtze River Delta (YRD, or simply ) is a triangle-shaped megalopolis A megalopolis (), sometimes called a megapolis; also megaregion, city cluster or supercity, is a group of two or more roughly adjacent metropolitan a ...

Yangtze River Delta
were considered a different tribe, and described as being scantily dressed, tattooed and speaking a distinct language. Later,
Taibo Taibo ()(circa 1150 BCE) or Wu Taibo was the eldest son of King Tai of ZhouKing Tai of Zhou () or Gugong Danfu () was a great leader of the predynastic Zhou, Zhou clan during the Shang dynasty. His great-grandson King Wu of Zhou, Fa would later c ...
, elder uncle of – on realising that his younger brother, Jili, was wiser and deserved to inherit the throne – fled to Wu and settled there. Three generations later, of the Zhou dynasty defeated
King Zhou King Zhou (/oʊ/; ) was the pejorative posthumous name A posthumous name is an honorary name given to royalty, nobles, and sometimes others, in East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most ...
(the last Shang king), and
enfeoffed In the Middle Ages In the history of Europe, the Middle Ages or medieval period lasted approximately from the 5th to the late 15th centuries, similarly to the Post-classical, Post-classical period of global history. It began with the fal ...
the descendants of Taibo in Wu – mirroring the later history of
Nanyue Nanyue () or Namz Yied ( za, Namzyied), was an ancient kingdom ruled by Chinese monarchs of the Triệu dynastyTriệu is a Vietnamese surname, it is the equivalent of the Mandarin Chinese surname Zhou (surname), Zhao (趙). Trieu is the anglic ...

Nanyue
, where a Chinese king and his soldiers ruled a non-Han population and mixed with locals, who were
sinicized Sinicization, sinofication, sinification, or sinonization (from the prefix , 'Chinese, relating to China') is the process by which non-Chinese societies come under the influence of Chinese culture, particularly Han-Chinese culture, language, so ...
over time.


Zhou dynasty

After the
Battle of Muye The Battle of Muye or Battle of Mu () was a battle fought in ancient China The earliest known written records of the history of China date from as early as 1250 BC, from the Shang dynasty (c. 1600–1046 BC), during the king Wu Ding's ...

Battle of Muye
, the Shang dynasty was overthrown by Predynastic Zhou, Zhou (led by Ji Fa), which had emerged as a western state along the Wei River in the 2nd millennium BCE. The Zhou dynasty shared the language and culture of the Shang people, and extended their reach to encompass much of the area north of the Yangtze River. Through conquest and colonization, much of this area came under the influence of sinicization, and this culture extended south. However, the power of the Zhou kings fragmented not long afterwards, and many autonomous vassal states emerged. This dynasty is traditionally divided into two eras – the Western Zhou (1046–771 BCE) and the Eastern Zhou (770–256 BCE) – with the latter further divided into the Spring and Autumn period, Spring and Autumn (770–476 BCE) and the Warring States period, Warring States (476–221 BCE) periods. It was a period of significant cultural and philosophical diversification (known as the Hundred Schools of Thought) and Confucianism, Taoism and Legalism (Chinese philosophy), Legalism are among the most important surviving philosophies from this era.


Imperial history


Qin dynasty

The chaotic Warring States period of the Eastern Zhou dynasty came to an end with the unification of China by the western state of Qin (state), Qin after its Qin's wars of unification, conquest of all other rival states under King Ying Zheng. King Zheng then gave himself a new title "First Emperor of Qin" (), setting the precedent for the next two millennia. To consolidate administrative control over the newly conquered parts of the country, the First Emperor decreed a nationwide standardization of currency, writing scripts, and measurement units, to unify the country economically and culturally. He also ordered large-scale infrastructure projects such as the Great Wall of China, Great Wall, the Lingqu Canal and the Qin road system to militarily fortify the frontiers. In effect, he established a centralized bureaucratic state to replace the old feudal confederation system of preceding dynasties, making Qin the first Qin dynasty, imperial dynasty in Chinese history. This dynasty, sometimes phonetically spelt as the "Ch'in dynasty", has been proposed in the 17th century by Martin Martini and supported by later scholars such as Paul Pelliot and Berthold Laufer to be the etymological origin of the modern English word "China".


Han dynasty

The reign of the first imperial dynasty was to be short-lived. Due to the First Emperor's autocratic rule and his massive labor projects, which fomented rebellion among the populace, the Qin dynasty fell into chaos soon after his death. Under the corrupt rule of his son and successor Huhai, the Qin dynasty collapsed a mere three years later. The Han dynasty (206 BC–220 CE) then emerged from the ensuing Chu-Han contention, civil wars and succeeded in establishing a much longer-lasting dynasty. It continued many of the institutions created by the Qin dynasty, but adopted a more moderate rule. Under the Han dynasty, arts and culture flourished, while the Han Empire History of the Han dynasty, expanded militarily in all directions. Many Chinese scholars such as Ho Ping-ti believe that the concept (ethnogenesis) of Han ethnicity, though an ancient one, was formally entrenched in the Han dynasty. The Han dynasty is considered one of the golden ages of Chinese history, and to this day, the modern Han Chinese people have since taken their ethnic name from this dynasty and the Chinese script is referred to as "
Han characters Chinese characters, also called ''Hanzi'' (), are logograms developed for the writing of Chinese. They have been adapted to write other East-Asian languages, and remain a key component of the Japanese writing system The modern Jap ...
".


Three Kingdoms to Tang

The fall of the Han dynasty was followed by an age of fragmentation and several centuries of disunity amid warfare among rival kingdoms. During this time, areas of northern China were overrun by Five Barbarians, various non-Han nomadic peoples, which came to establish kingdoms of their own, the most successful of which was Northern Wei (established by the Xianbei). Starting from this period, the native population of China proper began to be referred to as Hanren, or the "People of Han", to distinguish them from the nomads from the steppe. Warfare and invasion led to one of the first great migrations of Han populations in history, as they fled south to the Yangtze, Yangzi and beyond, shifting the Chinese demographic center and speeding up sinicization of the far south. At the same time most of the nomads in northern China came to be sinicized as they ruled over large Chinese populations and adopted elements of their culture and administration. Of note, the Xianbei rulers of Northern Wei ordered a policy of systematic sinicization, Change of Xianbei names to Han names, adopting Han surnames, institutions, and culture. The Sui (581–618) and Tang (618–907) dynasties saw the continuation of the complete sinicization of the south coast of what is now China proper, including what are now the provinces of
Fujian Fujian (; alternately romanized as Fukien or Hokkien) is a province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnat ...

Fujian
and
Guangdong Guangdong (, ), alternately romanized as Canton Province or Kwangtung, is a coastal province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, admin ...

Guangdong
. The later part of the Tang era, as well as the Five Dynasties period that followed, saw continual warfare in north and central China; the relative stability of the south coast made it an attractive destination for refugees.


Song to Qing

The next few centuries saw successive invasions of Han and non-Han peoples from the north. In 1279, the Mongols conquered all of China, becoming the first non-Han ethnic group to do so, and established the Yuan dynasty. The Mongols divided society into four classes, with themselves occupying the top class and Han Chinese into the bottom two classes. Emigration, seen as disloyal to ancestors and ancestral land, was banned by the Song and Yuan dynasties. In 1644, the Ming capital, Beijing, was captured by Li Zicheng's peasant rebels and the Chongzhen Emperor committed suicide. The Manchu people, Manchus of the Qing dynasty then allied with former Ming general Wu Sangui and seized control of Beijing. Remnant Ming forces led by Koxinga fled to Taiwan and established the Kingdom of Tungning, which eventually capitulated to Qing forces in 1683. Taiwan, previously inhabited mostly by non-Han aborigines, was sinicized during this period via large-scale migration accompanied by assimilation, despite efforts by the Manchus to prevent this, as they found it difficult to maintain control over the island. In 1681, the Kangxi Emperor ordered construction of the Willow Palisade to prevent Han Chinese migration to the three northeastern provinces, which nevertheless had harbored a significant Chinese population for centuries, especially in the southern Liaodong area. The Manchus designated Jilin and Heilongjiang as the Manchu homeland, to which the Manchus could hypothetically escape and regroup if the Qing dynasty fell. Because of increasing Russian territorial encroachment and annexation of neighboring territory, the Qing later reversed its policy and allowed the consolidation of a demographic Han majority in northeast China.


Culture and society

China is one of the world's oldest and most complex civilizations, whose culture dates back thousands of years. Overseas Han Chinese maintain cultural affinities to Chinese territories outside of their host locale through ancestor worship and Chinese clan, clan associations, which often identify famous figures from Chinese history or myth as ancestors of current members. Such patriarchs include the Yellow Emperor and the
Yan Emperor The Yan Emperor () or the Flame Emperor was a legendary ancient Chinese ruler in pre-dynastic times. Modern scholarship has identified the Sheep's Head Mountains (''Yángtóu Shān'') just north of Baoji () is a prefecture-level city Image:Y ...
, who according to legend lived thousands of years ago and gave Han people the sobriquet "''Descendants of Yan and Huang Emperor''" (; ), a phrase which has reverberative connotations in a divisive political climate, as in that of between Cross-Strait relations, Mainland China and Taiwan. Chinese art, Chinese architecture, Chinese cuisine, Chinese fashion, Chinese festivals,
Chinese language Chinese ( or also , especially for the written language) is a group of s that form the branch of the , spoken by the ethnic majority and many minority ethnic groups in . About 1.3 billion people (or approximately 16% of the world's popula ...
, Chinese literature, Chinese mythology, and Chinese philosophy all have undergone thousands of years of development, while numerous Chinese sites, such as the Great Wall of China, Great Wall and the Terracotta Army, are World Heritage Sites. Since the start of the program in 2001, aspects of Chinese culture have been listed by UNESCO as Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. Throughout the
history of China The earliest known written records of the history of China date from as early as 1250 BC, from the Shang dynasty The Shang dynasty (), also historically known as the Yin dynasty (), was a Chinese dynasty that ruled in the middle and ...

history of China
, Chinese culture has been heavily influenced by Confucianism. Credited with shaping much of Chinese thought, Confucianism was the official philosophy throughout most of Imperial Chinese, Imperial China's history, institutionalizing values like filial piety, which implied the performance of certain Li (Confucian), shared rituals. Thus, villagers lavished on Chinese funeral rituals, funeral and Chinese wedding, wedding ceremonies that imitated the Confucian standards of the Emperors. Mastery of Confucian texts provided the primary criterion for Imperial examination, entry into the imperial bureaucracy, but even those degree-holders who did not enter the bureaucracy or who left it held increased social influence in their home areas, contributing to the homogenizing of Han Chinese culture. Other factors contributing to the development of a shared Han culture included urbanization and geographically vast but integrated commodity markets.


Language

Han Chinese speak various forms of the Chinese language that are descended from a common early language; one of the names of the language groups is ''Hanyu'' (), literally the "Han language". Similarly, Chinese characters, used to write the language, are called ''Hanzi'' (), or "Han characters". In the late imperial period, more than two-thirds of the Han Chinese population used a variant of Mandarin Chinese as their native tongue. However, there was a larger variety of languages in certain areas of southeast China, like Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Guangxi. Since the Qin dynasty, which standardized the various forms of writing that existed in China, a standard Classical Chinese, literary Chinese had emerged with vocabulary and grammar that was significantly different from the various varieties of Chinese, forms of spoken Chinese. A simplified and elaborated version of this written standard was used in business contracts, notes for Chinese opera, ritual texts for Chinese folk religion, and other daily documents for educated people. During the early 20th century, written vernacular Chinese based on Mandarin dialects, which had been developing for several centuries, was standardized and adopted to replace literary Chinese. While written vernacular forms of other varieties of Chinese exist, such as written Cantonese, written Chinese based on Mandarin is widely understood by speakers of all varieties and has taken up the dominant position among written forms, formerly occupied by literary Chinese. Thus, although residents of different regions would not necessarily understand each other's speech, they generally share a common written language, Standard Written Chinese and Literary Chinese (these two writing styles can merge into a 半白半文 writing style). From the 1950s, Simplified Chinese characters were adopted in mainland China and later in Singapore and Malaysia, while Chinese communities in Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan and overseas countries continue to use Traditional Chinese characters. Although significant differences exist between the two character sets, they are largely mutually intelligible.


Names

In China, the notion of Baixing, hundred surnames () is crucial identity point of Han people.Ebrey, Patrici
Surnames and Han Chinese Identity
University of Washington


Fashion

Han Chinese clothing has been shaped through its dynastic traditions as well as foreign influences. Han Chinese clothing showcases the traditional fashion sensibilities of Chinese clothing traditions and forms one of the major cultural facets of Chinese civilization. Hanfu () or traditional Han clothing comprises all traditional clothing classifications of the Han Chinese with a recorded history of more than three millennia until the end of the Ming Dynasty. During the Qing dynasty, Hanfu clothing was mostly replaced by the Manchu style until the dynasty's fall in 1911, yet Han women continued to wear clothing from Ming dynasty. Manchu and Han fashions of women's clothing coexisted during the Qing dynasty. Moreover, neither Taoist priests nor Buddhist monks were required to wear the queue by the Qing; they continued to wear their traditional hairstyles, completely shaved heads for Buddhist monks, and long hair in the traditional Chinese topknot for Taoist priests. During the Republic of China period, fashion styles and forms of traditional Qing costumes gradually changed, influenced by fashion sensibilities from the Western World resulting modern Han Chinese wearing Western style clothing as a part of everyday dress. Han Chinese clothing is influential to traditional East Asian fashion as both the Japanese Kimono and the Korean Hanbok were influenced by Han Chinese clothing designs.


Family

Chinese kinship, Han Chinese families throughout China have had certain traditionally prescribed roles, such as the family head (, ''jiāzhǎng''), who represents the family to the outside world, and the family manager (, ''dāngjiā''), who is in charge of the revenues. Because farmland was commonly bought, sold, or mortgaged, families were run like enterprises, with set rules for the allocation (, ''fēnjiā'') of pooled earnings and assets. Han Chinese houses differ from place to place. In Beijing, the whole family traditionally lived together in a large rectangle-shaped house called a ''siheyuan''. Such houses had four rooms at the front – guest room, kitchen, Toilet (room), lavatory, and servants' quarters. Across large double doors was a wing for the elderly in the family. This wing consisted of three rooms: a central room where the four tablets – heaven, earth, ancestor, and teacher – were worshipped, and two rooms attached to the left and right, which were bedrooms for the grandparents. The east wing of the house was inhabited by the eldest son and his family, while the west wing sheltered the second son and his family. Each wing had a veranda; some had a "sunroom" made with surrounding fabric and supported by a wooden or bamboo frame. Every wing was also built around a central courtyard that was used for study, exercise, or nature viewing.


Food

There is no specific one uniform cuisine of the Han people since the food eaten varies from Sichuan's famously Szechuan cuisine, spicy food to Guangdong's dim sum and fresh seafood. Analyses have revealed their main staple to be rice and noodles (different kinds of wheat foods). During China's Neolithic period, southwestern rice growers transitioned to millet from the northwest, when they could not find a suitable northwestern ecology – which was typically dry and cold – to sustain the generous yields of their staple as well as it did in other areas, such as along the eastern Chinese coast.


Literature

Han Chinese have a rich history of classical literature dating back to three thousand years. Important early works include Chinese classic texts, classic texts such as ''Classic of Poetry'', ''Analects of Confucius'', ''I Ching'', ''Tao Te Ching'', and the ''The Art of War, Art of War''. Some of the most important Han Chinese poets in the pre-modern era include Li Bai, Du Fu, and Su Shi, Su Dongpo. The most important novels in Chinese literature, otherwise known as the Four Great Classical Novels, are: ''Dream of the Red Chamber'', ''Water Margin'', ''Romance of the Three Kingdoms'', and ''Journey to the West''. Chinese literature continues to have an international reputation with Liu Cixin's San Ti series receiving international acclaim.


Science and Technology

Han Chinese have influenced and contributed to the development of human progress throughout history in many fields and domains including culture, business, Science and technology in China, science, and technology, and politics both historically and in the modern era. The invention of paper, printing, the compass, and gunpowder are celebrated in Chinese culture as the Four Great Inventions. Medieval Han Chinese astronomers were also among the first peoples to record observations of a cosmic SN 1054, supernova in 1054 AD. The work of medieval Chinese polymath Shen Kuo (1031–1095) of the Song dynasty theorized that the sun and moon were spherical and wrote of planetary motions such as retrogradation as well postulating theories for the processes of geological land formation. Throughout much of history, successive Dynasties in Chinese history, Chinese dynasties have exerted influence on their East Asian neighbors in the areas of culture, education, politics, science and technology, and business. In modern times, Han Chinese form the largest ethnic group in China, while an overseas Han Chinese diaspora numbering in the tens of millions has settled in and contributed to their host countries throughout the world. In modern times, Han Chinese continue to contribute to the progress of science and technology. Among them are Nobel Prize recipients Tu Youyou, Steven Chu, Samuel C.C. Ting, Chen Ning Yang, Tsung-Dao Lee, Yuan T. Lee, Daniel C. Tsui, Roger Y. Tsien, and Charles K. Kao (known as the "Godfather of Broadband" and "Father of Fiber Optics"); Fields Medal recipients Terence Tao and Shing-Tung Yau, and Turing Award recipient Andrew Yao. Tsien Hsue-shen was a prominent aerospace engineer and rocket scientist who helped to found NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The geometer Shiing-Shen Chern was one of the leaders in differential geometry of the 20th century and was awarded the 1984 Wolf Prize in mathematics. The physicist Chien-Shiung Wu, nicknamed the "First Lady of Physics" contributed to the Manhattan Project and radically altered modern physical theory and changed the accepted view of the structure of the universe. The biochemist Chi-Huey Wong is well known for his pioneering research in glycoscience research and developing the first enzymatic method for the large-scale synthesis of oligosaccharides and the first programmable automated synthesis of oligosaccharides. The physical chemist Ching W. Tang, was the inventor of the organic light-emitting diode (OLED) and hetero-junction organic photovoltaic cell (OPV) and is widely considered the "Father of Organic electronics, Organic Electronics". Others include David Ho (scientist), David Ho, one of the first scientists to propose that AIDS was caused by a virus, thus subsequently developing combination antiretroviral therapy to combat it. Dr. Ho was named Time Magazine Person of the Year in 1996. Min Chueh Chang was the co-inventor of the combined oral contraceptive pill and is known for his pioneering work and significant contributions to the development of in vitro fertilization at the Worcester Foundation for Experimental Biology. Choh Hao Li discovered Growth hormone, human growth hormone (and subsequently used it to treat a form of dwarfism caused by growth hormone deficiency), beta-endorphin (the most powerful of the body's natural painkillers), follicle-stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone (the key hormone used in fertility testing, an example is the ovulation home test). Joe Hin Tjio was a cytogeneticist renowned as the first person to recognize the normal number of human chromosomes, a breakthrough in karyotype cytogenetics, genetics. The bio-engineer Yuan-Cheng Fung, was regarded as the "Father of modern biomechanics" for pioneering the application of quantitative and analytical engineering principles to the study of the human body and disease. China's system of "barefoot doctors" was among the most important inspirations for the World Health Organization conference in Alma Ata, Kazakhstan in 1978, and was hailed as a revolutionary breakthrough in international health ideology emphasizing primary health care and preventive medicine.


Religion

Chinese culture has been long characterized by religious pluralism and Chinese folk religion has always maintained a profound influence. Indigenous Confucianism and Taoism share aspects of being a philosophy or a religion, and neither demand exclusive adherence, resulting in a culture of tolerance and syncretism, where multiple religions or belief systems are often practiced in concert with local customs and traditions. Han Chinese culture has for long been influenced by Mahayana Buddhism, while in recent centuries Christianity has also gained a foothold among the population. Chinese folk religion is a set of worship traditions of the ethnic deities of the Han people. It involves the worship of various figures in Chinese mythology, folk heroes such as Guan Yu and Qu Yuan, mythological creatures such as the Chinese dragon, or family, clan and national ancestors. These practices vary from region to region, and do not characterize an organized religion, though many traditional Chinese holidays such as the Duanwu Festival, Duanwu (or Dragon Boat) Festival, Qingming Festival, Qingming, and the Mid-Autumn Festival come from the most popular of these traditions. Taoism, another indigenous religion, is also widely practiced in both its folk forms and as an organized religion, and has influenced Chinese art, poetry, philosophy, Traditional Chinese medicine, medicine, Chinese astronomy, astronomy, alchemy and chemistry, cuisine, Chinese martial arts, martial arts, and Chinese architecture, architecture. Taoism was the state religion of the early Han Dynasty, and also often enjoyed state patronage under subsequent emperors and dynasties. Confucianism, although sometimes described as a religion, is a governing philosophy and moral code with some religious elements like ancestor worship. It is deeply ingrained in Chinese culture and was the official state philosophy in China during the Han Dynasty and unto the fall of imperial China in the 20th century. During the Han Dynasty, Confucian ideals were the dominant ideology. Near the end of the dynasty, Buddhism entered China, later gaining popularity. Historically, Buddhism alternated between periods of state tolerance (and even patronage) and Four Buddhist Persecutions in China, persecution. In its original form, Buddhism was at odds with the native Chinese religions, especially with the elite, as certain Buddhist values often conflicted with Chinese sensibilities. However, through centuries of assimilation, adaptation, and syncretism, Chinese Buddhism gained an accepted place in the culture. Mahayana would come to be influenced by Confucianism and Taoism, and exerted influence in turn – such as in the form of Neo-Confucianism. Though Christianity in China, Christian influence in China existed as early as the 7th century, Christianity did not begin to gain a significant foothold in China until the establishment of contact with Europeans during the Ming Dynasty, Ming and Qing Dynasty, Qing dynasties. Chinese practices at odds with Christian beliefs resulted in the Chinese Rites controversy, and a subsequent reduction in Christian influence. Christianity grew considerably following the First Opium War, after which foreign missionaries in China enjoyed the protection of the Western powers and engaged in widespread proselytising.


Historical southward migration of the Han people

The term "Huaxia" was used by Confucius's contemporaries, during the Warring States era, to describe the shared ethnicity of all Chinese; Chinese people called themselves ''Hua Ren''. Southern Han people – such as the Hoklo, Cantonese people, Cantonese and Hakka – all claim northern Chinese origins from ancestors who migrated from Northern China's Yellow River Valley during the 4th to 12th centuries. Hoklo clans living in southeastern coastal China, such as in Chaozhou and Quanzhou–Zhangzhou, originated from northern China's Henan province during the Tang dynasty. There were several periods of mass migration of Han people to southeastern and southern China throughout history. The ancestors of the Cantonese are said to be northern Chinese who moved to Guangdong, while the Yue (Baiyue) descendants were indigenous minorities who practised tattooing, as described in "The Real Yue People" () essay by , a Cantonese scholar who extolled his people's Chineseness. Vietnam, Guangdong, and Yunnan all experienced a major surge in Han Chinese migrants during Wang Mang's reign. Hangzhou's coastal regions and the Yangtze valley were settled in the 4th century by Northern Chinese families from the nobility. Special "Commandery (China), commanderies of immigrants" and "white registers" were created for the massive number of Han Chinese of northern origin who moved south during the Eastern Jin dynasty. The southern Chinese aristocracy was formed from the offspring of these migrants; Celestial Masters and the nobility of northern China subdued the aristocracy of southern China during the Eastern Jin and Western Jin, particularly in Jiangnan. With the depopulation of the north, due to this migration of northern Chinese, the south became the most populous region of China. The Han Chinese "Eight Great Surnames" were eight noble families who migrated from northern China to
Fujian Fujian (; alternately romanized as Fukien or Hokkien) is a province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnat ...

Fujian
in southern China due to the uprising of the five barbarians when the Eastern Jin was founded, the Hu, He, Qiu, Dan, Zheng, Huang, Chen and Lin surnames. Ming dynasty Han Chinese pirate Zheng Zhilong and his son Koxinga's ancestors in the Zheng family originated in northern China but due to the Uprising of the Five Barbarians and Disaster of Yongjia by the Five Barbarians, the Zheng family were among the northern Chinese refugees who fled to southern China and settled in Putian, Fujian. They later moved to
Zhangzhou Zhangzhou (), alternately romanized Romanization or romanisation, in linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studying a ...

Zhangzhou
and moved on to Nan'an, Fujian, Nan'an. Different waves of migration of aristocratic Chinese from northern China to the south at different times – with some arriving in the 300s–400s and others in the 800s–900s – resulted in the formation of distinct lineages. During the 700s (Tang dynasty), Han migrants from northern China flooded into the south. Hong Kong history books record migrations of the Song and Tang dynasties to the south, which resulted in Hong Kongers that are descended from ethnic Han settlers that originated from northern China. Since it was during the Tang dynasty that Guangdong was subjected to settlement by Han people, many Cantonese, Hokkien and Teochew call themselves Tang. Several wars in northern China such as the Uprising of the Five Barbarians, An Lushan Rebellion, Huang Chao Rebellion, the wars of the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms and Jin–Song Wars caused a mass migration of Han Chinese from northern China to southern China called 衣冠南渡(yì guān nán dù). These mass migrations led to southern China's population growth, economic, agricultural and cultural development as it stayed peaceful unlike the north. The Mongol invasion during the thirteenth century caused an influx of Northern Han Chinese refugees to move south to settle and develop the Pearl River delta. The first Ming dynasty emperor Zhu Yuanzhang resettled his home city Fengyang and capital Nanjing with people from Jiangnan.


DNA and genetics analysis

The Han Chinese show a close genetic relationship with other modern East Asians such as the Koreans and Yamato people, Yamato. A 2018 research found that Han Chinese are clearly genetically distinguishable from Yamato Japanese and Koreans, and internally the different Han Chinese subgroups are genetically closer to each other than any of them are to Koreans and Japanese. Another research published in 2020 found the Japanese population to be overlapped with northern Han. Comparisons between the Y chromosome SNP and MtDNA of modern Northern Han Chinese and 3,000 year old Hengbei ancient samples from Zhongyuan, China's Central Plains show they are extremely similar to each other and show continuity between ancient Chinese of Hengbei and current Northern Han Chinese. This showed that already 3,000 years ago the current northern Han Chinese genetic structure was already formed. The reference population for the Chinese used in Genographic Project#Geno 2.0 Next Generation, Geno 2.0 Next Generation is 81% Eastern Asia, 2% Finland and Northern Siberia, 8% Central Asia, and 7% Southeast Asia & Oceania. Y-chromosome haplogroup O-M122, haplogroup O2-M122 is a common DNA marker in Han Chinese, as it appeared in China in prehistoric times. It is found in at least 36.7% to over 80% of Han Chinese males in certain regions. Other Y-DNA haplogroups that have been found with notable frequency in samples of Han Chinese include haplogroup O-M119#O-P203, O-P203 (15/165 = 9.1%, 47/361 = 13.0%), haplogroup C-M217, C-M217 (10/168 = 6.0%, 27/361 = 7.5%, 187/1730 = 10.8%, 20/166 = 12.0%), haplogroup N-M231, N-M231 (6/166 = 3.6%, 18/361 = 5.0%, 117/1729 = 6.8%, 17/165 = 10.3%), haplogroup O-P31, O-M268(xM95, M176) (54/1147 = 4.7%, 8/168 = 4.8%, 23/361 = 6.4%, 12/166 = 7.2%), and haplogroup Q-M242, Q-M242 (2/168 = 1.2%, 49/1729 = 2.8%, 12/361 = 3.3%, 48/1147 = 4.2%). However, the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) of Han Chinese increases in diversity as one looks from northern to southern China, which suggests that male migrants from northern China married with women from local peoples after arriving in modern-day Guangdong, Fujian, and other regions of southern China. Despite this, tests comparing the genetic profiles of northern Han, southern Han and southern natives determined that haplogroups O1b-M110, O2a1-M88 and O3d-M7, which are prevalent in southern natives, were only observed in some southern Han (4% on average), but not in northern Han. Therefore, this proves that the male contribution of southern natives in southern Han is limited, assuming that the frequency distribution of Y lineages in southern natives represents that before the expansion of Han culture that started two thousand years ago. In contrast, there are consistent strong genetic similarities in the Y chromosome haplogroup distribution between the southern and northern Chinese population, and the result of principal component analysis indicates almost all Han populations form a tight cluster in their Y chromosome. However, other research has also shown that the paternal lineages Y-DNA O-M119, O-P201, O-P203 and O-M95 are found in both southern Han Chinese and South Chinese minorities, but more commonly in the latter. In fact, these paternal markers are in turn less frequent in northern Han Chinese. Another study puts Han Chinese into two groups: northern and southern Han Chinese, and it finds that the genetic characteristics of present-day northern Han Chinese was already formed prior to three-thousand years ago in the Zhongyuan, Central Plain area. The estimated contribution of northern Han to southern Han is substantial in both paternal and maternal lineages and a geographic cline (biology), cline exists for mtDNA. As a result, the northern Han are the primary contributors to the gene pool of the southern Han. However, it is noteworthy that the expansion process was dominated by males, as is shown by a greater contribution to the Y-chromosome than the mtDNA from northern Han to southern Han. These genetic observations are in line with historical records of continuous and large migratory waves of northern China inhabitants escaping warfare and famine, to southern China. Aside from these large migratory waves, other smaller southward migrations occurred during almost all periods in the past two millennia. A study by the Chinese Academy of Sciences into the gene frequency data of Han subpopulations and ethnic minorities in China, showed that Han subpopulations in different regions are also genetically quite close to the local ethnic minorities, meaning that in many cases, blood of ethnic minorities had mixed into Han, while at the same time, the blood of Han had also mixed into the local ethnic minorities. A study on Armenian admixture in varied populations found 3.9% Armenian-like DNA in some northern Chinese Han. A recent, and to date the most extensive, genome-wide association study of the Han population, shows that geographic-genetic stratification from north to south has occurred and centrally placed populations act as the conduit for outlying ones. Ultimately, with the exception in some Ethnolinguistics, ethnolinguistic branches of the Han Chinese, such as Pinghua and Tanka people, there is "coherent genetic structure" in all Han Chinese populace. Typical Y-DNA haplogroups of present-day Han Chinese include Haplogroup O-M122 and Haplogroup Q-M242, Haplogroup Q-M120, and these haplogroups also have been found (alongside some members of Haplogroup N-M231, Haplogroup O-M95, and unresolved Haplogroup O-M175) among a selection of ancient human remains recovered from the Hengbei archeological site in Jiang County, Shanxi Province, China, an area that was part of the suburbs of the capital (near modern Luoyang) during the Zhou dynasty.


Notes


References


Further reading

* * Joniak-Lüthi, Agnieszka (2015). ''The Han: China's Diverse Majority''. Washington, DC: University of Washington Press. (hardcover). (paperback: 2017).


External links

{{Authority control Han Chinese, Ethnic groups officially recognized by China