The Chinese Definition of a NationalityOfficially, China still adopts Stalin's definition of a Nationality:
A historically constituted community of people having a common territory, a common language, a common economic life and a common psychological makeup which expresses itself in a common culture. In the 1980s the Chinese government recognized fifty-six nationalities in China, the majority Han grouping and fifty-five minority nationalities.
Different Names, Spellings, and Numbers
The Chinese have a number of different names and spellings for a single minority. There are variations of the spelling. Also the Chinese government does not always list the same number of minorities. Be aware that there are 1,072,642 people belonging to unspecified and unclassified minorities. Note also that China's neighbors do not always have the same name for their minorities, as does China for the same people.
Others Seek Recognition
Also some groups still actively fight for recognition as a minority group. In the 1964 census, there were 183 nationalities registered, among which the government recognized only 54. Of the remaining 129 nationalities, 74 were considered to be part of the officially recognized 54, 23 were classified as "other nationalities" and the remaining 32 were classified as "indeterminate."Back to Chinese Nationality Choices Back to Home Page