Han Chinese

Han Chinese

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Encyclopedia
Han Chinese are an ethnic group
Ethnic group
An ethnic group is a group of people whose members identify with each other, through a common heritage, often consisting of a common language, a common culture and/or an ideology that stresses common ancestry or endogamy...

 native to China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

 and are the largest single ethnic group in the world
Earth
Earth is the third planet from the Sun, and the densest and fifth-largest of the eight planets in the Solar System. It is also the largest of the Solar System's four terrestrial planets...

.
Han Chinese constitute about 92% of the population
Population
A population is all the organisms that both belong to the same group or species and live in the same geographical area. The area that is used to define a sexual population is such that inter-breeding is possible between any pair within the area and more probable than cross-breeding with individuals...

 of the People's Republic of China
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

 (mainland China), 98% of the population of the Republic of China
Republic of China
The Republic of China , commonly known as Taiwan , is a unitary sovereign state located in East Asia. Originally based in mainland China, the Republic of China currently governs the island of Taiwan , which forms over 99% of its current territory, as well as Penghu, Kinmen, Matsu and other minor...

 (Taiwan), 78% of the population of Singapore
Singapore
Singapore , officially the Republic of Singapore, is a Southeast Asian city-state off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, north of the equator. An island country made up of 63 islands, it is separated from Malaysia by the Straits of Johor to its north and from Indonesia's Riau Islands by the...

, and about 20% of the entire global human population
World population
The world population is the total number of living humans on the planet Earth. As of today, it is estimated to be  billion by the United States Census Bureau...

, making it the largest ethnic group in the world. There is considerable genetic, linguistic, cultural, and social diversity among the subgroups of the Han, mainly due to thousands of years of immigration and assimilation of various regional ethnicities and tribes within China. The Han Chinese are a subset of the Chinese nation
Zhonghua minzu
Zhonghua minzu , usually translated as Chinese ethnic groups or Chinese nationality, refers to the modern notion of a Chinese nationality transcending ethnic divisions, with a central identity for China as a whole...

 (Zhonghua minzu). Sometimes Han and other Chinese refer to themselves as the "Descendants of the Yan and Huang Emperors" .

Terms and etymology



The name Han comes from the Han Dynasty
Han Dynasty
The Han Dynasty was the second imperial dynasty of China, preceded by the Qin Dynasty and succeeded by the Three Kingdoms . It was founded by the rebel leader Liu Bang, known posthumously as Emperor Gaozu of Han. It was briefly interrupted by the Xin Dynasty of the former regent Wang Mang...

, which succeeded the short-lived Qin Dynasty
Qin Dynasty
The Qin Dynasty was the first imperial dynasty of China, lasting from 221 to 207 BC. The Qin state derived its name from its heartland of Qin, in modern-day Shaanxi. The strength of the Qin state was greatly increased by the legalist reforms of Shang Yang in the 4th century BC, during the Warring...

 that united China. The Han Dynasty's first emperor was originally known as the king of the region of 'Han Zhong' 漢中, which is where the word is derived.
Han, as a word in ancient China, especially in classical literary Chinese
Classical Chinese
Classical Chinese or Literary Chinese is a traditional style of written Chinese based on the grammar and vocabulary of ancient Chinese, making it different from any modern spoken form of Chinese...

, can also mean the Milky Way
Milky Way
The Milky Way is the galaxy that contains the Solar System. This name derives from its appearance as a dim un-resolved "milky" glowing band arching across the night sky...

, or as people in ancient China called it, the "Heavenly River" (天河 Tian He).

Prior to the Han Dynasty, the Chinese were referred to as "Huaxia
Huaxia
Huaxia is a name often used to represent China or Chinese civilization.-Etymology:According to the historical record, Zuo Zhuan, the ancient Xia Dynasty of central China was a state that held propriety and justice in high esteem...

 people" (華夏族), citing ancient text description of China proper
China proper
China proper or Eighteen Provinces was a term used by Western writers on the Qing Dynasty to express a distinction between the core and frontier regions of China. There is no fixed extent for China proper, as many administrative, cultural, and linguistic shifts have occurred in Chinese history...

 as an area of magnificent prosperity and culture. The Han Dynasty was considered as a classical period in Chinese civilization
Civilization
Civilization is a sometimes controversial term that has been used in several related ways. Primarily, the term has been used to refer to the material and instrumental side of human cultures that are complex in terms of technology, science, and division of labor. Such civilizations are generally...

, in that it was able to expand its power and influence over Central
Central Asia
Central Asia is a core region of the Asian continent from the Caspian Sea in the west, China in the east, Afghanistan in the south, and Russia in the north...

, Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia, South-East Asia, South East Asia or Southeastern Asia is a subregion of Asia, consisting of the countries that are geographically south of China, east of India, west of New Guinea and north of Australia. The region lies on the intersection of geological plates, with heavy seismic...

 and Northeast Asia
Northeast Asia
Northeast Asia and Northeastern Asia refers to the northeastern subregion of Asia. Though the precise definition of Northeast Asia changes according to context, it always includes Japan and the Korean Peninsula, and is sometimes used to refer to these two regions exclusively.-Definitions:The...

, and come to rival its contemporary Roman Empire
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

 in population, territory, wealth, and power. As a result of the Han Dynasty's prominence, many Chinese began addressing themselves as "people of Han" (漢人), a name that was since carried down.

In the English language
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

, the Han are often referred to as simply "Chinese". Whether or not the use of the term Chinese correctly or incorrectly refers only to Han Chinese often is the subject of debate.

Among some southern Han Chinese, a different term exists within various Chinese dialects like Cantonese, Hakka and Minnan – Tángrén (唐人, literally "the people of Tang
Tang Chinese
Tang Chinese can refer to the following:*The Tang dynasty of imperial China.*The term , Tang Chinese or Tang People, that many southern Chinese, mainly the Cantonese , Min Nan and Hakka people , use to refer to the Han Chinese ethnic group. It is in essence, another word for Han Chinese...

"). This term derives from a later Chinese dynasty, the Tang Dynasty
Tang Dynasty
The Tang Dynasty was an imperial dynasty of China preceded by the Sui Dynasty and followed by the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period. It was founded by the Li family, who seized power during the decline and collapse of the Sui Empire...

, which is regarded as another zenith of Chinese civilization. The term survives in one of the Chinese names for Chinatown
Chinatown
A Chinatown is an ethnic enclave of overseas Chinese people, although it is often generalized to include various Southeast Asian people. Chinatowns exist throughout the world, including East Asia, Southeast Asia, the Americas, Australasia, and Europe. Binondo's Chinatown located in Manila,...

: 唐人街 (Tángrénjiē); literally meaning "Street of the people of Tang".

Another term commonly used by Overseas Chinese
Overseas Chinese
Overseas Chinese are people of Chinese birth or descent who live outside the Greater China Area . People of partial Chinese ancestry living outside the Greater China Area may also consider themselves Overseas Chinese....

 is Huaren , derived from Zhonghua , a literary name for China
Names of China
In China, common names for China include Zhonghua and Zhongguo , while Han and Tang are common names given for the Chinese ethnicity. Other names include Huaxia, Shenzhou and Jiuzhou...

. The usual translation is "ethnic Chinese". The term refers to "Chinese" as a cultural and ethnic affiliation and is inclusive of both Chinese in China and persons of Chinese descent residing abroad.

Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau


The vast majority of Han Chinese – over 1.2 billion – live in areas under the jurisdiction of the People's Republic of China
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

 (PRC), where they constitute about 92% of its population. Within the People's Republic of China, Han Chinese are the majority in every province, municipality, and autonomous region except for the autonomous regions of Xinjiang
Xinjiang
Xinjiang is an autonomous region of the People's Republic of China. It is the largest Chinese administrative division and spans over 1.6 million km2...

 (41% as of 2000) and Tibet
Tibet Autonomous Region
The Tibet Autonomous Region , Tibet or Xizang for short, also called the Xizang Autonomous Region is a province-level autonomous region of the People's Republic of China , created in 1965....

 (6% as of 2000). Han Chinese also constitute the majority in both of the special administrative region
Special administrative region (People's Republic of China)
A special administrative region is a provincial-level administrative division of the People's Republic of China, for which creation is provided by Article 31 of the 1982 Constitution of the People's Republic of China Article 31 reads "The state may establish special administrative regions when...

s of the PRC, about 95% of the population of Hong Kong
Hong Kong
Hong Kong is one of two Special Administrative Regions of the People's Republic of China , the other being Macau. A city-state situated on China's south coast and enclosed by the Pearl River Delta and South China Sea, it is renowned for its expansive skyline and deep natural harbour...

 and about 96% of the population of Macau
Macau
Macau , also spelled Macao , is, along with Hong Kong, one of the two special administrative regions of the People's Republic of China...

.

Taiwan


Over 22 million Han Chinese are in Taiwan. The Han Chinese began migrating from southeastern coastal provinces of mainland China to Taiwan in the 17th century.

At first, these immigrants 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
Hoklo people
The Hoklo people are Han Chinese people whose traditional Ancestral homes are in southern Fujian of South China...

 immigrants from Quanzhou
Quanzhou
Quanzhou is a prefecture-level city in Fujian province, People's Republic of China. It borders all other prefecture-level cities in Fujian but two and faces the Taiwan Strait...

 settled in coastal regions, and those from Zhangzhou
Zhangzhou
Zhangzhou is a prefecture-level city in southern Fujian province, People's Republic of China. Located on the banks of the Jiulong River , Zhangzhou borders the cities of Xiamen and Quanzhou to the northeast, Longyan City to the northwest and the province of Guangdong to the southwest.Zhangzhou...

 tended to gather on inland plains, while Hakka
Hakka people
The Hakka , sometimes Hakka Han, are Han Chinese who speak the Hakka language and have links to the provincial areas of Guangdong, Jiangxi, Guangxi, Sichuan, Hunan and Fujian in China....

 immigrants 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. Recent scientific research conducted by Chen Shun-sheng of the Kaohsiung Hospital’s psychiatric department claims DNA
DNA
Deoxyribonucleic acid is a nucleic acid that contains the genetic instructions used in the development and functioning of all known living organisms . The DNA segments that carry this genetic information are called genes, but other DNA sequences have structural purposes, or are involved in...

 studies of Taiwan’s people revealed a large percent of the population has mixed Han Chinese and aboriginal
Taiwanese aborigines
Taiwanese aborigines is the term commonly applied in reference to the indigenous peoples of Taiwan. Although Taiwanese indigenous groups hold a variety of creation myths, recent research suggests their ancestors may have been living on the islands for approximately 8,000 years before major Han...

 bloodlines.

Other locations



Of about 40 million "overseas Chinese
Overseas Chinese
Overseas Chinese are people of Chinese birth or descent who live outside the Greater China Area . People of partial Chinese ancestry living outside the Greater China Area may also consider themselves Overseas Chinese....

" worldwide, nearly 30 million live in Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia, South-East Asia, South East Asia or Southeastern Asia is a subregion of Asia, consisting of the countries that are geographically south of China, east of India, west of New Guinea and north of Australia. The region lies on the intersection of geological plates, with heavy seismic...

. Singapore
Singapore
Singapore , officially the Republic of Singapore, is a Southeast Asian city-state off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, north of the equator. An island country made up of 63 islands, it is separated from Malaysia by the Straits of Johor to its north and from Indonesia's Riau Islands by the...

 has the largest majority overseas Chinese population at 78%. Christmas Island
Christmas Island
The Territory of Christmas Island is a territory of Australia in the Indian Ocean. It is located northwest of the Western Australian city of Perth, south of the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, and ENE of the Cocos Islands....

 also has a Chinese majority at 70%. Large Chinese populations also live in Malaysia (25%), Thailand
Thailand
Thailand , officially the Kingdom of Thailand , formerly known as Siam , is a country located at the centre of the Indochina peninsula and Southeast Asia. It is bordered to the north by Burma and Laos, to the east by Laos and Cambodia, to the south by the Gulf of Thailand and Malaysia, and to the...

 (14%), Indonesia
Indonesia
Indonesia , officially the Republic of Indonesia , is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania. Indonesia is an archipelago comprising approximately 13,000 islands. It has 33 provinces with over 238 million people, and is the world's fourth most populous country. Indonesia is a republic, with an...

, and the Philippines
Philippines
The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

. Elsewhere in the world, 3 million people of Chinese descent live in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 where they constitute about 1% of the population, over 1 million in Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

 (3.7%), over 600,000 in Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

 (3.5%), nearly 150,000 in New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

 (3.7%), and as many as 750,000 in Africa
Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

.

Prehistory and the Huaxia


The history of the Han Chinese ethnic group is closely tied to that of China. Han Chinese trace their ancestry back to the Huaxia
Huaxia
Huaxia is a name often used to represent China or Chinese civilization.-Etymology:According to the historical record, Zuo Zhuan, the ancient Xia Dynasty of central China was a state that held propriety and justice in high esteem...

 people, who lived along the Huang He or Yellow River
Yellow River
The Yellow River or Huang He, formerly known as the Hwang Ho, is the second-longest river in China and the sixth-longest in the world at the estimated length of . Originating in the Bayan Har Mountains in Qinghai Province in western China, it flows through nine provinces of China and empties into...

 in northern China. The famous Chinese historian Sima Qian
Sima Qian
Sima Qian was a Prefect of the Grand Scribes of the Han Dynasty. He is regarded as the father of Chinese historiography for his highly praised work, Records of the Grand Historian , a "Jizhuanti"-style general history of China, covering more than two thousand years from the Yellow Emperor to...

's Records of the Grand Historian
Records of the Grand Historian
The Records of the Grand Historian, also known in English by the Chinese name Shiji , written from 109 BC to 91 BC, was the Magnum opus of Sima Qian, in which he recounted Chinese history from the time of the Yellow Emperor until his own time...

places the reign of the Yellow Emperor
Yellow Emperor
The Yellow Emperor or Huangdi1 is a legendary Chinese sovereign and culture hero, included among the Three Sovereigns and Five Emperors. Tradition holds that he reigned from 2697–2597 or 2696–2598 BC...

, the legendary ancestor of the Han Chinese, at the beginning of Chinese history. Although study of this period of history is complicated by lack of historical records, discovery of archaeological site
Archaeological site
An archaeological site is a place in which evidence of past activity is preserved , and which has been, or may be, investigated using the discipline of archaeology and represents a part of the archaeological record.Beyond this, the definition and geographical extent of a 'site' can vary widely,...

s have identified a succession of Neolithic
Neolithic
The Neolithic Age, Era, or Period, or New Stone Age, was a period in the development of human technology, beginning about 9500 BC in some parts of the Middle East, and later in other parts of the world. It is traditionally considered as the last part of the Stone Age...

 cultures along the Yellow River. Along the central reaches of the Yellow River were the Jiahu
Jiahu
Jiahu was the site of a Neolithic Yellow River settlement based in the central plains of ancient China, modern Wuyang, Henan Province. Archaeologists consider the site to be one of the earliest examples of the Peiligang culture. Settled from 7000 to 5800 BC, the site was later flooded and abandoned...

 culture (7000 BCE to 6600 BCE), Yangshao culture
Yangshao culture
The Yangshao culture was a Neolithic culture that existed extensively along the central Yellow River in China. The Yangshao culture is dated from around 5000 BC to 3000 BC. The culture is named after Yangshao, the first excavated representative village of this culture, which was discovered in 1921...

 (5000 BCE to 3000 BCE) and Longshan culture
Longshan culture
The Longshan culture was a late Neolithic culture in China, centered on the central and lower Yellow River and dated from about 3000 BC to 2000 BC...

 (3000 BCE to 2000 BCE). Along the lower reaches of the river were the Qingliangang culture (5400 BCE to 4000 BCE), the Dawenkou culture
Dawenkou culture
The Dawenkou culture is a name given by archaeologists to a group of Neolithic communities who lived primarily in Shandong, but also appeared in Anhui, Henan and Jiangsu, China. The culture existed from 4100 BC to 2600 BC, co-existing with the Yangshao culture. Turquoise, jade and ivory artefacts...

 (4300 BCE to 2500 BCE), the Longshan culture
Longshan culture
The Longshan culture was a late Neolithic culture in China, centered on the central and lower Yellow River and dated from about 3000 BC to 2000 BC...

 (2500 BCE to 2000 BCE), and the Yueshi culture.

Early history



The first dynasty to be described in Chinese historical records is the Xia Dynasty
Xia Dynasty
The Xia Dynasty is the first dynasty in China to be described in ancient historical chronicles such as Bamboo Annals, Classic of History and Records of the Grand Historian. The Xia Dynasty was established by the legendary Yu the Great after Shun, the last of the Five Emperors gave his throne to him...

, a legendary period for which scant archaeological evidence exists. They were overthrown by peoples from the east, who founded the Shang Dynasty
Shang Dynasty
The Shang Dynasty or Yin Dynasty was, according to traditional sources, the second Chinese dynasty, after the Xia. They ruled in the northeastern regions of the area known as "China proper" in the Yellow River valley...

 (1600–1046 BCE). The earliest archaeological examples of Chinese writing date back to this period, from characters inscribed on oracle bone
Oracle bone
Oracle bones are pieces of bone normally from ox scapula or turtle plastron which were used for divination chiefly during the late Shang Dynasty. The bones were first inscribed with divination in oracle bone script by using a bronze pin, and then heated until crack lines appeared in which the...

 divination, but the well-developed oracle characters hint at a much earlier origin of writing in China. The Shang were eventually overthrown by the people of Zhou, which had emerged as a state along the Yellow River in the 2nd millennium BC.

The Zhou Dynasty
Zhou Dynasty
The Zhou Dynasty was a Chinese dynasty that followed the Shang Dynasty and preceded the Qin Dynasty. Although the Zhou Dynasty lasted longer than any other dynasty in Chinese history, the actual political and military control of China by the Ji family lasted only until 771 BC, a period known as...

 was the successor to the Shang. Sharing the language and culture of the Shang people, they extended their reach to encompass much of the area north of the Yangtze River
Yangtze River
The Yangtze, Yangzi or Cháng Jiāng is the longest river in Asia, and the third-longest in the world. It flows for from the glaciers on the Tibetan Plateau in Qinghai eastward across southwest, central and eastern China before emptying into the East China Sea at Shanghai. It is also one of the...

. Through conquest and colonization, much of this area came under the influence of sinicization
Sinicization
Sinicization, Sinicisation or Sinification, is the linguistic assimilation or cultural assimilation of terms and concepts of the language and culture of China...

 and the proto-Han Chinese culture extended south. However, the power of the Zhou kings fragmented, and many independent states emerged. This period is traditionally divided into two parts, the Spring and Autumn Period and the Warring States Period
Warring States Period
The Warring States Period , also known as the Era of Warring States, or the Warring Kingdoms period, covers the Iron Age period from about 475 BC to the reunification of China under the Qin Dynasty in 221 BC...

. This period was an era of major cultural and philosophical development known as the Hundred Schools of Thought
Hundred Schools of Thought
The Hundred Schools of Thought were philosophers and schools that flourished from 770 to 221 BC during the Spring and Autumn period and the Warring States period , an era of great cultural and intellectual expansion in China...

. Among the most important surviving philosophies from this era are the teachings of Confucianism
Confucianism
Confucianism is a Chinese ethical and philosophical system developed from the teachings of the Chinese philosopher Confucius . Confucianism originated as an "ethical-sociopolitical teaching" during the Spring and Autumn Period, but later developed metaphysical and cosmological elements in the Han...

 and Taoism
Taoism
Taoism refers to a philosophical or religious tradition in which the basic concept is to establish harmony with the Tao , which is the mechanism of everything that exists...

.

Imperial history


The era of the Warring States came to an end with the unification of China by the Qin Dynasty
Qin Dynasty
The Qin Dynasty was the first imperial dynasty of China, lasting from 221 to 207 BC. The Qin state derived its name from its heartland of Qin, in modern-day Shaanxi. The strength of the Qin state was greatly increased by the legalist reforms of Shang Yang in the 4th century BC, during the Warring...

 after it conquered all other rival states. Its leader, Qin Shi Huang
Qin Shi Huang
Qin Shi Huang , personal name Ying Zheng , was king of the Chinese State of Qin from 246 BC to 221 BC during the Warring States Period. He became the first emperor of a unified China in 221 BC...

, declared himself the first emperor, using a newly created title, thus setting the precedent for the next two millennia. He established a new centralized and bureaucratic state to replace the old feudal system, creating many of the institutions of imperial China, and unified the country economically and culturally by decreeing a unified standard of weights, measures, currency, and writing.

However, the reign of the first imperial dynasty was to be short-lived. Due to the first emperor's autocratic rule, and his massive construction projects such as the Great Wall which fomented rebellion into the populace, the dynasty fell soon after his death. The Han Dynasty
Han Dynasty
The Han Dynasty was the second imperial dynasty of China, preceded by the Qin Dynasty and succeeded by the Three Kingdoms . It was founded by the rebel leader Liu Bang, known posthumously as Emperor Gaozu of Han. It was briefly interrupted by the Xin Dynasty of the former regent Wang Mang...

 (206 BC – 220 AD) emerged from the succession struggle and succeeded in establishing a much longer lasting dynasty. It continued many of the institutions created by Qin Shi Huang but adopted a more moderate rule. Under the Han Dynasty, arts and culture flourished, while the dynasty expanded militarily in all directions
History of the Han Dynasty
The Han Dynasty , founded by the peasant rebel leader Liu Bang ,From the Shang to the Sui dynasties, Chinese rulers were referred to in later records by their posthumous names, while emperors of the Tang to Yuan dynasties were referred to by their temple names, and emperors of the Ming and Qing...

. This period is considered one of the greatest periods of the history of China, and the Han Chinese take their name from this dynasty.
The fall of the Han Dynasty was followed by an age of fragmentation and several centuries of disunity amid warfare by rival kingdoms. During this time, areas of northern China were overrun by various non-Chinese nomadic peoples
Wu Hu
Wu Hu was a Chinese term for the northern non-Chinese nomadic tribes which caused the Wu Hu uprising, and established the Sixteen Kingdoms from 304 to 439 AD.-Definition:...

 which came to establish kingdoms of their own, the most successful of which was Northern Wei
Northern Wei
The Northern Wei Dynasty , also known as the Tuoba Wei , Later Wei , or Yuan Wei , was a dynasty which ruled northern China from 386 to 534 . It has been described as "part of an era of political turbulence and intense social and cultural change"...

 established by the Xianbei
Xianbei
The Xianbei were a significant Mongolic nomadic people residing in Manchuria, Inner Mongolia and eastern Mongolia. The title “Khan” was first used among the Xianbei.-Origins:...

. Starting from this period, the native population of China proper began to be referred to as Hanren, or the "People of Han", to distinguish from the nomads from the steppe; "Han" refers to the old dynasty. Warfare and invasion led to one of the first great migrations in Han population history, as the population fled south to the Yangtze
Yangtze River
The Yangtze, Yangzi or Cháng Jiāng is the longest river in Asia, and the third-longest in the world. It flows for from the glaciers on the Tibetan Plateau in Qinghai eastward across southwest, central and eastern China before emptying into the East China Sea at Shanghai. It is also one of the...

 and beyond, shifting the Chinese demographic center south and speeding up Sinicization
Sinicization
Sinicization, Sinicisation or Sinification, is the linguistic assimilation or cultural assimilation of terms and concepts of the language and culture of China...

 of the far south. At the same time, in the north, most of the nomads in northern China came to be Sinicized as they ruled over large Chinese populations and adopted elements of Chinese culture and Chinese administration. Of note, the Xianbei rulers of the Northern Wei ordered a policy of systematic Sinicization, adopting Han surnames
Change of Xianbei names to Han names
The Change of Xianbei family names to Han names was part of a larger sinicization campaign. It was at its peak intensity under Emperor Xiaowen of the Northern Wei dynasty in 496.-Background:...

, institutions, and culture.

The Sui (581–618) and Tang Dynasties (618–907) 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
' , formerly romanised as Fukien or Huguing or Foukien, is a province on the southeast coast of mainland China. Fujian is bordered by Zhejiang to the north, Jiangxi to the west, and Guangdong to the south. Taiwan lies to the east, across the Taiwan Strait...

 and Guangdong
Guangdong
Guangdong is a province on the South China Sea coast of the People's Republic of China. The province was previously often written with the alternative English name Kwangtung Province...

. The later part of the Tang Dynasty, 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.

The next few centuries saw successive invasions of non-Han peoples from the north, such as the Khitans and Jurchens
Jurchens
The Jurchens were a Tungusic people who inhabited the region of Manchuria until the 17th century, when they adopted the name Manchu...

. In 1279 the Mongols (Yuan Dynasty
Yuan Dynasty
The Yuan Dynasty , or Great Yuan Empire was a ruling dynasty founded by the Mongol leader Kublai Khan, who ruled most of present-day China, all of modern Mongolia and its surrounding areas, lasting officially from 1271 to 1368. It is considered both as a division of the Mongol Empire and as an...

) conquered all of China, becoming the first non-Chinese to do so. The Mongols divided society into four classes, with themselves occupying the top class and Han Chinese into the bottom two classes. The Song and Yuan dynasties banned emigration
Emigration
Emigration is the act of leaving one's country or region to settle in another. It is the same as immigration but from the perspective of the country of origin. Human movement before the establishment of political boundaries or within one state is termed migration. There are many reasons why people...

, seen as disloyalty to ancestors and ancestral land, and foresaw severe penalties for it.

In 1368 Han Chinese rebels drove out the Mongols and, after some infighting, established the Ming Dynasty
Ming Dynasty
The Ming Dynasty, also Empire of the Great Ming, was the ruling dynasty of China from 1368 to 1644, following the collapse of the Mongol-led Yuan Dynasty. The Ming, "one of the greatest eras of orderly government and social stability in human history", was the last dynasty in China ruled by ethnic...

 (1368–1644). Settlement of Han Chinese into peripheral regions continued during this period, with Yunnan
Yunnan
Yunnan is a province of the People's Republic of China, located in the far southwest of the country spanning approximately and with a population of 45.7 million . The capital of the province is Kunming. The province borders Burma, Laos, and Vietnam.Yunnan is situated in a mountainous area, with...

 in the southwest receiving a large number of migrants.

In 1644, Beijing was captured by Li Zicheng's peasant rebels and the last Ming Emperor Chongzhen committed suicide. The Manchus (Qing Dynasty
Qing Dynasty
The Qing Dynasty was the last dynasty of China, ruling from 1644 to 1912 with a brief, abortive restoration in 1917. It was preceded by the Ming Dynasty and followed by the Republic of China....

) then allied with Ming Dynasty general Wu Sangui
Wu Sangui
Wu Sangui was a Ming Chinese general who was instrumental in the succession of rule to the Qing Dynasty in 1644...

 and seized control of Beijing. Remnant Ming forces led by Koxinga
Koxinga
Koxinga is the customary Western spelling of the popular appellation of Zheng Chenggong , a military leader who was born in 1624 in Hirado, Japan to Zheng Zhilong, a Chinese merchant/pirate, and his Japanese wife and died in 1662 on the island of Formosa .A Ming loyalist and the arch commander of...

 fled to Taiwan
Taiwan
Taiwan , also known, especially in the past, as Formosa , is the largest island of the same-named island group of East Asia in the western Pacific Ocean and located off the southeastern coast of mainland China. The island forms over 99% of the current territory of the Republic of China following...

, where they eventually capitulated to Qing forces in 1683. Taiwan, previously inhabited mostly by non-Han aborigines, was Sinicized via large-scale migration accompanied with assimilation during this period, despite efforts by the Manchus to prevent this, as they found it difficult to maintain control over the island. At the same time the Manchus prohibited Han Chinese migration to Manchuria
Manchuria
Manchuria is a historical name given to a large geographic region in northeast Asia. Depending on the definition of its extent, Manchuria usually falls entirely within the People's Republic of China, or is sometimes divided between China and Russia. The region is commonly referred to as Northeast...

, because the Manchus perceived it as the home base of their dynasty. In 1681, the emperor ordered construction of the Willow Palisade
Willow Palisade
Willow Palisade was a system of ditches and embankments planted with willows intended to restrict movement into Manchuria, built by the Qing Dynasty during the later 17th century...

, a barrier beyond which the Chinese were prohibited from settling. The Qing Dynasty started colonising the area with Han Chinese later on in the dynasty's rule. This movement of the Han Chinese to Manchuria is called Chuang Guandong
Chuang Guandong
Chuang Guandong , means the rush to Manchuria of the Han Chinese, especially from the Shandong Peninsula and Zhili, during the second half of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century. Previously this region was outside China proper, but sometimes under the control, or at least within...

 (during previous dynasties, Han Chinese settlement in Manchuria was mainly in the southern part, in what is now the province of Liaoning
Liaoning
' is a province of the People's Republic of China, located in the northeast of the country. Its one-character abbreviation is "辽" , a name taken from the Liao River that flows through the province. "Níng" means "peace"...

; during and after the late Qing Dynasty, however, Han Chinese settled and became the majority in nearly all of Manchuria.)

In the 19th century, Chinese migrants went in large numbers to other parts of the world, including Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia, South-East Asia, South East Asia or Southeastern Asia is a subregion of Asia, consisting of the countries that are geographically south of China, east of India, west of New Guinea and north of Australia. The region lies on the intersection of geological plates, with heavy seismic...

, Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

, and North America
North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

. See Overseas Chinese
Overseas Chinese
Overseas Chinese are people of Chinese birth or descent who live outside the Greater China Area . People of partial Chinese ancestry living outside the Greater China Area may also consider themselves Overseas Chinese....

.

Recent history


The Qing Dynasty was replaced by the Republic of China in 1912. In 1949 the People's Republic of China was established towards the end of the Chinese Civil War
Chinese Civil War
The Chinese Civil War was a civil war fought between the Kuomintang , the governing party of the Republic of China, and the Communist Party of China , for the control of China which eventually led to China's division into two Chinas, Republic of China and People's Republic of...

 while the Republic of China retreated to Taiwan. About one million refugees fled with it, further augmenting the population of Taiwan. In the 1980s, the one-child policy
One-child policy
The one-child policy refers to the one-child limitation applying to a minority of families in the population control policy of the People's Republic of China . The Chinese government refers to it under the official translation of family planning policy...

 was introduced in People's Republic to regulate population growth, which only applies to the Han.

Chinese migration overseas has also continued into the 20th and 21st centuries. The returning of Hong Kong
Hong Kong
Hong Kong is one of two Special Administrative Regions of the People's Republic of China , the other being Macau. A city-state situated on China's south coast and enclosed by the Pearl River Delta and South China Sea, it is renowned for its expansive skyline and deep natural harbour...

 to Chinese sovereignty in 1997 prompted large waves of Hong Kong Chinese migration to North America, Australia, and elsewhere. Chinese presences have also been established in Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

 as well as Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

, especially the Russian Far East
Russian Far East
Russian Far East is a term that refers to the Russian part of the Far East, i.e., extreme east parts of Russia, between Lake Baikal in Eastern Siberia and the Pacific Ocean...

.

Culture



China is one of the world's oldest and most complex civilization
Civilization
Civilization is a sometimes controversial term that has been used in several related ways. Primarily, the term has been used to refer to the material and instrumental side of human cultures that are complex in terms of technology, science, and division of labor. Such civilizations are generally...

s. Chinese culture dates back thousands of years. Some Han Chinese believe they share common ancestors, mythically ascribed to the patriarchs Yellow Emperor
Yellow Emperor
The Yellow Emperor or Huangdi1 is a legendary Chinese sovereign and culture hero, included among the Three Sovereigns and Five Emperors. Tradition holds that he reigned from 2697–2597 or 2696–2598 BC...

 and Yan Emperor
Yan Emperor
The Yan Emperor, or Yandi was a legendary Han Chinese ruler who lived in pre-dynastic China. Modern scholarship has identified the Sheep's Head Mountains just north of Gaoping in Shanxi Province as his homeland and territory....

, some thousands of years ago. Hence, some Chinese refer to themselves as "Descendants of Yan and Huang Emperor" (Traditional Chinese: 炎黃子孫; Simplified Chinese: 炎黄子孙), a phrase which has reverberative connotations in a divisive political
Politics
Politics is a process by which groups of people make collective decisions. The term is generally applied to the art or science of running governmental or state affairs, including behavior within civil governments, but also applies to institutions, fields, and special interest groups such as the...

 climate, as in that between mainland China
Mainland China
Mainland China, the Chinese mainland or simply the mainland, is a geopolitical term that refers to the area under the jurisdiction of the People's Republic of China . According to the Taipei-based Mainland Affairs Council, the term excludes the PRC Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and...

 and Taiwan
Taiwan
Taiwan , also known, especially in the past, as Formosa , is the largest island of the same-named island group of East Asia in the western Pacific Ocean and located off the southeastern coast of mainland China. The island forms over 99% of the current territory of the Republic of China following...

.

Throughout the history of China
History of China
Chinese civilization originated in various regional centers along both the Yellow River and the Yangtze River valleys in the Neolithic era, but the Yellow River is said to be the Cradle of Chinese Civilization. With thousands of years of continuous history, China is one of the world's oldest...

, Chinese culture has been heavily influenced by Confucianism
Confucianism
Confucianism is a Chinese ethical and philosophical system developed from the teachings of the Chinese philosopher Confucius . Confucianism originated as an "ethical-sociopolitical teaching" during the Spring and Autumn Period, but later developed metaphysical and cosmological elements in the Han...

. Credited with shaping much of Chinese thought, Confucianism was the official philosophy
Philosophy
Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Philosophy is distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational...

 throughout most of Imperial China's history, and mastery of Confucian texts provided the primary criterion for entry into the imperial bureaucracy
Imperial examination
The Imperial examination was an examination system in Imperial China designed to select the best administrative officials for the state's bureaucracy. This system had a huge influence on both society and culture in Imperial China and was directly responsible for the creation of a class of...

.

Language


Han Chinese speak various forms of the Chinese language
Chinese language
The Chinese language is a language or language family consisting of varieties which are mutually intelligible to varying degrees. Originally the indigenous languages spoken by the Han Chinese in China, it forms one of the branches of Sino-Tibetan family of languages...

; one of the names of the language group is Hanyu , literally the "Han language". Similarly, Chinese characters, used to write the language, are called Hanzi , or "Han characters".

While there are many Chinese dialects, historically there has been greater unity in Chinese written language
Chinese written language
Written Chinese comprises Chinese characters used to represent the Chinese language, and the rules about how they are arranged and punctuated. Chinese characters do not constitute an alphabet or a compact syllabary...

s. This unity is credited to the Qin dynasty
Qin Dynasty
The Qin Dynasty was the first imperial dynasty of China, lasting from 221 to 207 BC. The Qin state derived its name from its heartland of Qin, in modern-day Shaanxi. The strength of the Qin state was greatly increased by the legalist reforms of Shang Yang in the 4th century BC, during the Warring...

 which standardized the various forms of writing that existed in China at that time. For thousands of years, Literary Chinese
Classical Chinese
Classical Chinese or Literary Chinese is a traditional style of written Chinese based on the grammar and vocabulary of ancient Chinese, making it different from any modern spoken form of Chinese...

 was used as the standard written format among the literati, which used vocabulary and grammar that may be significantly different from the various forms of spoken Chinese.

During the early twentieth century, written vernacular Chinese based on Beijing Mandarin, which has been developing for a few centuries, was standardized and adopted to replace Literary Chinese. While written vernacular forms of other languages of China exist, such as written Cantonese
Written Cantonese
Cantonese has the most well-developed written form of all Chinese varieties apart from the standard varieties of Mandarin and Classical Chinese. Standard written Chinese is based on Mandarin, but when spoken word for word as Cantonese, it sounds unnatural because its expressions are ungrammatical...

, written Chinese based on Mandarin is widely understood by speakers of all Chinese languages and has taken up the dominant position among written Chinese languages, formerly occupied by Literary Chinese. Thus, although the residents of different regions would not necessarily understand each other's speech, they generally share a common written language.

Beginning in the 1950s, Simplified Chinese characters was adopted in mainland China
Mainland China
Mainland China, the Chinese mainland or simply the mainland, is a geopolitical term that refers to the area under the jurisdiction of the People's Republic of China . According to the Taipei-based Mainland Affairs Council, the term excludes the PRC Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and...

 and later in Singapore
Singapore
Singapore , officially the Republic of Singapore, is a Southeast Asian city-state off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, north of the equator. An island country made up of 63 islands, it is separated from Malaysia by the Straits of Johor to its north and from Indonesia's Riau Islands by the...

, while Chinese communities in Hong Kong
Hong Kong
Hong Kong is one of two Special Administrative Regions of the People's Republic of China , the other being Macau. A city-state situated on China's south coast and enclosed by the Pearl River Delta and South China Sea, it is renowned for its expansive skyline and deep natural harbour...

, Macau
Macau
Macau , also spelled Macao , is, along with Hong Kong, one of the two special administrative regions of the People's Republic of China...

, the Republic of China (Taiwan) and overseas countries continue to use Traditional Chinese characters. While significant differences exist between the two character sets, they are largely mutually intelligible.

Names


Chinese names are typically two or three syllables in length, with the surname
Chinese surname
Chinese family names have been historically used by Han Chinese and Sinicized Chinese ethnic groups in mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and among overseas Chinese communities. In ancient times two types of surnames, family names and clan names , existed.The colloquial expressions laobaixing...

 preceding the given name
Chinese given name
Chinese given names are generally made up of one or two characters, and are written after the family name, therefore "John-Paul Smith" as a Chinese name would be read "Smith John-Paul". Chinese names can consist of any character and contain almost any meaning...

. Surnames are typically one character in length, though a few uncommon surnames are two or more syllables long, while given names are one or two syllables long. There are 4,000 to 6,000 surnames in China, of which about 1,000 surnames are most common.

In historical China, hundred surnames (百家姓) was a crucial identity of Han people. Besides the common culture and writings, common origin rooted in the surnames was another major factor that contributed towards Han Chinese identity.

Dress



Today, Han Chinese usually wear Western
Western world
The Western world, also known as the West and the Occident , is a term referring to the countries of Western Europe , the countries of the Americas, as well all countries of Northern and Central Europe, Australia and New Zealand...

-style clothing. Few wear traditional Han Chinese clothing
Han Chinese clothing
Hanfu or Han Chinese Clothing, also sometimes known as Hanzhuang , Huafu , and sometimes referred in English sources simply as Silk Robe or Chinese Silk Robe refers to the historical dress of the Han Chinese people, which was worn for millennia before the conquest by the Manchus and the...

 on a regular basis. It is, however, preserved in religious and ceremonial costumes. For example, Taoist
Taoism
Taoism refers to a philosophical or religious tradition in which the basic concept is to establish harmony with the Tao , which is the mechanism of everything that exists...

 priests dress in fashion typical of scholars of the Han Dynasty
Han Dynasty
The Han Dynasty was the second imperial dynasty of China, preceded by the Qin Dynasty and succeeded by the Three Kingdoms . It was founded by the rebel leader Liu Bang, known posthumously as Emperor Gaozu of Han. It was briefly interrupted by the Xin Dynasty of the former regent Wang Mang...

. The ceremonial dress in Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

, such as those of Shinto
Shinto
or Shintoism, also kami-no-michi, is the indigenous spirituality of Japan and the Japanese people. It is a set of practices, to be carried out diligently, to establish a connection between present day Japan and its ancient past. Shinto practices were first recorded and codified in the written...

 priests, is largely in line with ceremonial dress in China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

 during the Tang Dynasty
Tang Dynasty
The Tang Dynasty was an imperial dynasty of China preceded by the Sui Dynasty and followed by the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period. It was founded by the Li family, who seized power during the decline and collapse of the Sui Empire...

. Now, the most popular traditional Chinese clothing worn by many women on important occasions such as wedding banquets and New Year is called the qipao
Qipao
The cheongsam is a body-hugging one-piece Chinese dress for women; the male version is the changshan. It is known in Mandarin Chinese as the qípáo Wade-Giles ch'i-p'ao, and is also known in English as a mandarin gown...

. However, this attire comes not from the Han Chinese but from a modified dress-code of the Manchu
Manchu
The Manchu people or Man are an ethnic minority of China who originated in Manchuria . During their rise in the 17th century, with the help of the Ming dynasty rebels , they came to power in China and founded the Qing Dynasty, which ruled China until the Xinhai Revolution of 1911, which...

s, the ethnic group that ruled China between the seventeenth (1644) and the early twentieth century.

Housing



Han Chinese housing is different from place to place. Chinese Han people in Beijing traditionally commonly lived with the whole family in large houses that were rectangular in shape. This house is called a 四合院 (traditional and simplified characters) or sì hé yuàn (Hanyu Pinyin). These houses had four rooms in the front: the guest room, kitchen
Kitchen
A kitchen is a room or part of a room used for cooking and food preparation.In the West, a modern residential kitchen is typically equipped with a stove, a sink with hot and cold running water, a refrigerator and kitchen cabinets arranged according to a modular design. Many households have a...

, lavatory, and servants' quarters
Servants' quarters
Servants' quarters are those parts of a building, traditionally in a private house, which contain the domestic offices and staff accommodation. From the late 17th century until the early 20th century they were a common feature in all large houses...

. Across the 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. There the two rooms attached to the left and right 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 from a surrounding fabric supported by a wooden or bamboo
Bamboo
Bamboo is a group of perennial evergreens in the true grass family Poaceae, subfamily Bambusoideae, tribe Bambuseae. Giant bamboos are the largest members of the grass family....

 frame. Every wing is also built around a central courtyard used for study, exercise, or nature viewing.

Literature


Chinese has a rich history of classical literature dating back several thousand years. Important early works include classics texts
Chinese classic texts
Chinese classic texts, or Chinese canonical texts, today often refer to the pre-Qin Chinese texts, especially the Neo-Confucian titles of Four Books and Five Classics , a selection of short books and chapters from the voluminous collection called the Thirteen Classics. All of these pre-Qin texts...

 such as Analects of Confucius
Analects of Confucius
The Analects, or Lunyu , also known as the Analects of Confucius, are considered a record of the words and acts of the central Chinese thinker and philosopher Confucius and his disciples, as well as the discussions they held....

, the I Ching
I Ching
The I Ching or "Yì Jīng" , also known as the Classic of Changes, Book of Changes and Zhouyi, is one of the oldest of the Chinese classic texts...

, Tao Te Ching
Tao Te Ching
The Tao Te Ching, Dao De Jing, or Daodejing , also simply referred to as the Laozi, whose authorship has been attributed to Laozi, is a Chinese classic text...

, and the Art of War
The Art of War
The Art of War is an ancient Chinese military treatise that is attributed to Sun Tzu , a high ranking military general and strategist during the late Spring and Autumn period...

. Some of the most important Han Chinese poets in the pre-modern era include Li Bai
Li Bai
Li Bai , also known in the West by various other transliterations, especially Li Po, was a major Chinese poet of the Tang dynasty poetry period. He has been regarded as one of the greatest poets in China's Tang period, which is often called China's "golden age" of poetry. Around a thousand existing...

, Du Fu
Du Fu
Du Fu was a prominent Chinese poet of the Tang Dynasty.Along with Li Bai , he is frequently called the greatest of the Chinese poets. His greatest ambition was to serve his country as a successful civil servant, but he proved unable to make the necessary accommodations...

, and Su Dongpo
Su Shi
Su Shi , was a writer, poet, artist, calligrapher, pharmacologist, gastronome, and statesman of the Song Dynasty, and one of the major poets of the Song era. His courtesy name was Zizhan and his pseudonym was Dongpo Jushi , and he is often referred to as Su Dongpo...

. The most important novels in Chinese literature, or the Four Great Classical Novels
Four Great Classical Novels
The Four Great Classical Novels, or the Four Major Classical Novels of Chinese literature, are the four novels commonly regarded by scholars to be the greatest and most influential of pre-modern Chinese fiction. Dating from the Ming and Qing dynasties, they are well known to most Chinese readers...

, are: Dream of the Red Chamber
Dream of the Red Chamber
Dream of the Red Chamber , composed by Cao Xueqin, is one of China's Four Great Classical Novels. It was composed in the middle of the 18th century during the Qing Dynasty. It is considered to be a masterpiece of Chinese vernacular literature and is generally acknowledged to be a pinnacle of...

, Water Margin
Water Margin
Water Margin , also known as Outlaws of the Marsh, All Men Are Brothers, Men of the Marshes, or The Marshes of Mount Liang, is one of the Four Great Classical Novels of Chinese literature.Attributed to Shi Nai'an and written in vernacular Chinese, the story, set in the Song Dynasty,...

, Romance of the Three Kingdoms
Romance of the Three Kingdoms
Romance of the Three Kingdoms, written by Luo Guanzhong in the 14th century, is a Chinese historical novel based on the events in the turbulent years near the end of the Han Dynasty and the Three Kingdoms era of Chinese history, starting in 169 and ending with the reunification of the land in...

, and Journey to the West
Journey to the West
Journey to the West is one of the Four Great Classical Novels of Chinese literature. It was written by Wu Cheng'en in the 16th century. In English-speaking countries, the tale is also often known simply as Monkey. This was one title used for a popular, abridged translation by Arthur Waley...

.

Contributions to humanity


Han Chinese have played a major role in the development of the arts
ARts
aRts, which stands for analog Real time synthesizer, is an audio framework that is no longer under development. It is best known for previously being used in KDE to simulate an analog synthesizer....

, sciences, philosophy
Philosophy
Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Philosophy is distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational...

, and mathematics
Mathematics
Mathematics is the study of quantity, space, structure, and change. Mathematicians seek out patterns and formulate new conjectures. Mathematicians resolve the truth or falsity of conjectures by mathematical proofs, which are arguments sufficient to convince other mathematicians of their validity...

 throughout history
History
History is the discovery, collection, organization, and presentation of information about past events. History can also mean the period of time after writing was invented. Scholars who write about history are called historians...

. In ancient times, the scientific accomplishments of China included seismological detector
Seismometer
Seismometers are instruments that measure motions of the ground, including those of seismic waves generated by earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and other seismic sources...

s, multistage rocket
Multistage rocket
A multistage rocket is a rocket that usestwo or more stages, each of which contains its own engines and propellant. A tandem or serial stage is mounted on top of another stage; a parallel stage is attached alongside another stage. The result is effectively two or more rockets stacked on top of or...

, gunpowder
Gunpowder
Gunpowder, also known since in the late 19th century as black powder, was the first chemical explosive and the only one known until the mid 1800s. It is a mixture of sulfur, charcoal, and potassium nitrate - with the sulfur and charcoal acting as fuels, while the saltpeter works as an oxidizer...

, fire lance
Fire lance
The fire lance or fire spear is one of the first gunpowder weapons in the world.- Description :The earliest fire lances were spear-like weapons combining a bamboo tube containing gunpowder and projectiles tied to a Chinese spear. Upon firing, the charge ejected a small projectile or poison dart...

, cannon
Cannon
A cannon is any piece of artillery that uses gunpowder or other usually explosive-based propellents to launch a projectile. Cannon vary in caliber, range, mobility, rate of fire, angle of fire, and firepower; different forms of cannon combine and balance these attributes in varying degrees,...

, landmine, naval mines, flare, continuous flame thrower, fire arrow
Fire Arrow
Fire arrows are an early form of gun powder rocket which were attached to a stick. The Chinese are credited with the first use of fire arrows in a military application, they may have developed fire arrows from their use of fireworks.- Design :...

, trebuchet
Trebuchet
A trebuchet is a siege engine that was employed in the Middle Ages. It is sometimes called a "counterweight trebuchet" or "counterpoise trebuchet" in order to distinguish it from an earlier weapon that has come to be called the "traction trebuchet", the original version with pulling men instead of...

, crossbow
Crossbow
A crossbow is a weapon consisting of a bow mounted on a stock that shoots projectiles, often called bolts or quarrels. The medieval crossbow was called by many names, most of which derived from the word ballista, a torsion engine resembling a crossbow in appearance.Historically, crossbows played a...

, fireworks
Fireworks
Fireworks are a class of explosive pyrotechnic devices used for aesthetic and entertainment purposes. The most common use of a firework is as part of a fireworks display. A fireworks event is a display of the effects produced by firework devices...

, military drums, pontoon bridge
Pontoon bridge
A pontoon bridge or floating bridge is a bridge that floats on water and in which barge- or boat-like pontoons support the bridge deck and its dynamic loads. While pontoon bridges are usually temporary structures, some are used for long periods of time...

, match
Match
A match is a tool for starting a fire under controlled conditions. A typical modern match is made of a small wooden stick or stiff paper. One end is coated with a material that can be ignited by frictional heat generated by striking the match against a suitable surface...

es, paper
Paper
Paper is a thin material mainly used for writing upon, printing upon, drawing or for packaging. It is produced by pressing together moist fibers, typically cellulose pulp derived from wood, rags or grasses, and drying them into flexible sheets....

, printing
Printing
Printing is a process for reproducing text and image, typically with ink on paper using a printing press. It is often carried out as a large-scale industrial process, and is an essential part of publishing and transaction printing....

, paper-printed money
Banknote
A banknote is a kind of negotiable instrument, a promissory note made by a bank payable to the bearer on demand, used as money, and in many jurisdictions is legal tender. In addition to coins, banknotes make up the cash or bearer forms of all modern fiat money...

, insurance
Insurance
In law and economics, insurance is a form of risk management primarily used to hedge against the risk of a contingent, uncertain loss. Insurance is defined as the equitable transfer of the risk of a loss, from one entity to another, in exchange for payment. An insurer is a company selling the...

, civil service
Civil service
The term civil service has two distinct meanings:* A branch of governmental service in which individuals are employed on the basis of professional merit as proven by competitive examinations....

 examination system, the raised-relief map
Raised-relief map
A raised-relief map or terrain model is a three-dimensional representation, usually of terrain. When representing terrain, the elevation dimension is usually exaggerated by a factor between five and ten; this facilitates the visual recognition of terrain features.-History:In his 1665 paper for the...

, cartography
Cartography
Cartography is the study and practice of making maps. Combining science, aesthetics, and technique, cartography builds on the premise that reality can be modeled in ways that communicate spatial information effectively.The fundamental problems of traditional cartography are to:*Set the map's...

, biological pest control
Biological pest control
Biological control of pests in agriculture is a method of controlling pests that relies on predation, parasitism, herbivory, or other natural mechanisms...

, the multi-tube seed drill
Seed drill
A seed drill is a sowing device that precisely positions seeds in the soil and then covers them. Before the introduction of the seed drill, the common practice was to plant seeds by hand. Besides being wasteful, planting was very imprecise and led to a poor distribution of seeds, leading to low...

, rotary winnowing fan, the iron plough
Plough
The plough or plow is a tool used in farming for initial cultivation of soil in preparation for sowing seed or planting. It has been a basic instrument for most of recorded history, and represents one of the major advances in agriculture...

, geobotanical prospecting
Geobotanical Prospecting
Geobotanical prospecting refers to prospecting based on the analysis of the vegetation. The Viscaria Mine in Sweden was named after the flower Viscaria Alpina that was used by prospecters to discover the ore deposits....

, blast furnace
Blast furnace
A blast furnace is a type of metallurgical furnace used for smelting to produce industrial metals, generally iron.In a blast furnace, fuel and ore and flux are continuously supplied through the top of the furnace, while air is blown into the bottom of the chamber, so that the chemical reactions...

, cast iron
Cast iron
Cast iron is derived from pig iron, and while it usually refers to gray iron, it also identifies a large group of ferrous alloys which solidify with a eutectic. The color of a fractured surface can be used to identify an alloy. White cast iron is named after its white surface when fractured, due...

, steel
Steel
Steel is an alloy that consists mostly of iron and has a carbon content between 0.2% and 2.1% by weight, depending on the grade. Carbon is the most common alloying material for iron, but various other alloying elements are used, such as manganese, chromium, vanadium, and tungsten...

, metal stirrups, horse harness
Horse harness
A horse harness is a type of horse tack that allows a horse or other equine to pull various horse-drawn vehicles such as a carriage, wagon or sleigh. Harnesses may also be used to hitch animals to other loads such as a plow or canal boat....

, horse collar
Horse collar
A horse collar is a part of a horse harness device used to distribute load around a horse's neck and shoulders when pulling a wagon or plow. The collar often supports and pads a pair of curved metal or wood pieces, called hames, to which the traces of the harness are attached...

, petroleum and natural gas as fuel
Fuel
Fuel is any material that stores energy that can later be extracted to perform mechanical work in a controlled manner. Most fuels used by humans undergo combustion, a redox reaction in which a combustible substance releases energy after it ignites and reacts with the oxygen in the air...

, deep drilling for natural gas, porcelain
Porcelain
Porcelain is a ceramic material made by heating raw materials, generally including clay in the form of kaolin, in a kiln to temperatures between and...

, lacquer
Lacquer
In a general sense, lacquer is a somewhat imprecise term for a clear or coloured varnish that dries by solvent evaporation and often a curing process as well that produces a hard, durable finish, in any sheen level from ultra matte to high gloss and that can be further polished as required...

, lacquerware
Lacquerware
Lacquerware are objects decoratively covered with lacquer. The lacquer is sometimes inlaid or carved. Lacquerware includes boxes, tableware, buttons and even coffins painted with lacquer in cultures mostly in the Eastern Hemisphere.-History:...

, silk
Silk
Silk is a natural protein fiber, some forms of which can be woven into textiles. The best-known type of silk is obtained from the cocoons of the larvae of the mulberry silkworm Bombyx mori reared in captivity...

, dry dock
Dry dock
A drydock is a narrow basin or vessel that can be flooded to allow a load to be floated in, then drained to allow that load to come to rest on a dry platform...

s, paddle wheels, rudder
Rudder
A rudder is a device used to steer a ship, boat, submarine, hovercraft, aircraft or other conveyance that moves through a medium . On an aircraft the rudder is used primarily to counter adverse yaw and p-factor and is not the primary control used to turn the airplane...

, sluice
Sluice
A sluice is a water channel that is controlled at its head by a gate . For example, a millrace is a sluice that channels water toward a water mill...

 gate, the canal lock
Lock (water transport)
A lock is a device for raising and lowering boats between stretches of water of different levels on river and canal waterways. The distinguishing feature of a lock is a fixed chamber in which the water level can be varied; whereas in a caisson lock, a boat lift, or on a canal inclined plane, it is...

, Grand Canal
Grand Canal
Grand Canal can refer to multiple waterways:* Grand Canal in eastern China* Grand Canal in Venice, Italy* Grand Canal , between the river Shannon and Dublin in Ireland* Grand Canal d'Alsace in eastern France...

, flash lock
Flash lock
Early locks were designed with a single gate, known as a flash lock or staunch lock. The earliest European references to what were clearly flash locks were in Roman times....

, water-tight compartments in ships, the double-action piston pump, the magnetic compass, South Pointing Chariot
South Pointing Chariot
The south-pointing chariot was an ancient Chinese two-wheeled vehicle that carried a movable pointer to indicate the south, no matter how the chariot turned. Usually, the pointer took the form of a doll or figure with an outstretched arm...

, odometer
Odometer
An odometer or odograph is an instrument that indicates distance traveled by a vehicle, such as a bicycle or automobile. The device may be electronic, mechanical, or a combination of the two. The word derives from the Greek words hodós and métron...

, fishing reel
Fishing reel
A fishing reel is a "cylindrical device attached to a fishing rod used in winding the line". Modern fishing reels usually have fittings which make it easier to retrieve the line and deploy it for better accuracy or distance. Fishing reels are traditionally used in the recreational sport of angling...

, Su Song
Su Song
Su Song was a renowned Chinese polymath who specialized himself as a statesman, astronomer, cartographer, horologist, pharmacologist, mineralogist, zoologist, botanist, mechanical and architectural engineer, poet, antiquarian, and ambassador of the Song Dynasty .Su Song was the engineer of a...

 water-driven astronomical clock tower, chain pump, chain drive
Chain drive
Chain drive is a way of transmitting mechanical power from one place to another. It is often used to convey power to the wheels of a vehicle, particularly bicycles and motorcycles...

, escapement
Escapement
In mechanical watches and clocks, an escapement is a device that transfers energy to the timekeeping element and enables counting the number of oscillations of the timekeeping element...

, hot air balloon
Hot air balloon
The hot air balloon is the oldest successful human-carrying flight technology. It is in a class of aircraft known as balloon aircraft. On November 21, 1783, in Paris, France, the first untethered manned flight was made by Jean-François Pilâtre de Rozier and François Laurent d'Arlandes in a hot air...

, mechanical clock, belt drive, sliding caliper
Caliper
A caliper is a device used to measure the distance between two opposing sides of an object. A caliper can be as simple as a compass with inward or outward-facing points...

s, pound lock, pendulum
Pendulum
A pendulum is a weight suspended from a pivot so that it can swing freely. When a pendulum is displaced from its resting equilibrium position, it is subject to a restoring force due to gravity that will accelerate it back toward the equilibrium position...

, quilling
Quilling
Quilling or paper filigree is an art form that involves the use of strips of paper that are rolled, shaped, and glued together to create decorative designs. The paper is wound around a quill to create a basic coil shape...

-wheel, gimbal
Gimbal
A gimbal is a pivoted support that allows the rotation of an object about a single axis. A set of two gimbals, one mounted on the other with pivot axes orthogonal, may be used to allow an object mounted on the innermost gimbal to remain immobile regardless of the motion of its support...

, collapsible umbrella
Umbrella
An umbrella or parasol is a canopy designed to protect against rain or sunlight. The term parasol usually refers to an item designed to protect from the sun; umbrella refers to a device more suited to protect from rain...

, trip hammer
Trip hammer
A trip hammer, also known as a helve hammer, is a massive powered hammer used in:* agriculture to facilitate the labor of pounding, decorticating and polishing of grain;...

, kites, sunglasses
Sunglasses
Sunglasses or sun glasses are a form of protective eyewear designed primarily to prevent bright sunlight and high-energy visible light from damaging or discomforting the eyes. They can sometimes also function as a visual aid, as variously termed spectacles or glasses exist, featuring lenses that...

, toothbrush
Toothbrush
The toothbrush is an oral hygiene instrument used to clean the teeth and gums that consists of a head of tightly clustered bristles mounted on a handle, which facilitates the cleansing of hard-to-reach areas of the mouth. Toothpaste, which often contains fluoride, is commonly used in conjunction...

, inoculation
Inoculation
Inoculation is the placement of something that will grow or reproduce, and is most commonly used in respect of the introduction of a serum, vaccine, or antigenic substance into the body of a human or animal, especially to produce or boost immunity to a specific disease...

 etc. Paper, printing, the compass, and gunpowder are celebrated in Chinese culture as the Four Great Inventions. Chinese astronomers were also among the first to record observations of a supernova
Supernova
A supernova is a stellar explosion that is more energetic than a nova. It is pronounced with the plural supernovae or supernovas. Supernovae are extremely luminous and cause a burst of radiation that often briefly outshines an entire galaxy, before fading from view over several weeks or months...

.

Chinese art
Chinese art
Chinese art is visual art that, whether ancient or modern, originated in or is practiced in China or by Chinese artists or performers. Early so-called "stone age art" dates back to 10,000 BC, mostly consisting of simple pottery and sculptures. This early period was followed by a series of art...

, Chinese cuisine
Chinese cuisine
Chinese cuisine is any of several styles originating in the regions of China, some of which have become highly popular in other parts of the world – from Asia to the Americas, Australia, Western Europe and Southern Africa...

, Chinese philosophy
Chinese philosophy
Chinese philosophy is philosophy written in the Chinese tradition of thought. The majority of traditional Chinese philosophy originates in the Spring and Autumn and Warring States era, during a period known as the "Hundred Schools of Thought", which was characterized by significant intellectual and...

, and Chinese literature
Chinese literature
Chinese literature extends thousands of years, from the earliest recorded dynastic court archives to the mature fictional novels that arose during the Ming Dynasty to entertain the masses of literate Chinese...

 all have thousands of years of development, while numerous Chinese sites, such as the Great Wall of China
Great Wall of China
The Great Wall of China is a series of stone and earthen fortifications in northern China, built originally to protect the northern borders of the Chinese Empire against intrusions by various nomadic groups...

 and the Terracotta Army
Terracotta Army
The Terracotta Army or the "Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses", is a collection of terracotta sculptures depicting the armies of Qin Shi Huang, the first Emperor of China...

, are World Heritage Site
World Heritage Site
A UNESCO World Heritage Site is a place that is listed by the UNESCO as of special cultural or physical significance...

s. Since the start of the program in 2001, aspects of Chinese culture have been listed by UNESCO
UNESCO
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations...

 as Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity
Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity
The Proclamation of Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity was made by the Director-General of UNESCO starting in 2001 to raise awareness on intangible cultural heritage and encourage local communities to protect them and the local people who sustain these forms of cultural...

.

Throughout much of history, successive Chinese Dynasties have exerted influence on their neighbors in the areas of art, music, religion, food, dress, philosophy, language
Language
Language may refer either to the specifically human capacity for acquiring and using complex systems of communication, or to a specific instance of such a system of complex communication...

, government
Government
Government refers to the legislators, administrators, and arbitrators in the administrative bureaucracy who control a state at a given time, and to the system of government by which they are organized...

, and culture
Culture
Culture is a term that has many different inter-related meanings. For example, in 1952, Alfred Kroeber and Clyde Kluckhohn compiled a list of 164 definitions of "culture" in Culture: A Critical Review of Concepts and Definitions...

. In modern times, Han Chinese form the largest ethnic group in China, while an overseas Chinese
Overseas Chinese
Overseas Chinese are people of Chinese birth or descent who live outside the Greater China Area . People of partial Chinese ancestry living outside the Greater China Area may also consider themselves Overseas Chinese....

 diaspora numbering in the tens of millions has settled in and contributed to countries throughout the world.

In modern times, Han Chinese have continued to contribute to mathematics and sciences. Among them are Nobel Prize
Nobel Prize
The Nobel Prizes are annual international awards bestowed by Scandinavian committees in recognition of cultural and scientific advances. The will of the Swedish chemist Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite, established the prizes in 1895...

 recipients Steven Chu
Steven Chu
Steven Chu is an American physicist and the 12th United States Secretary of Energy. Chu is known for his research at Bell Labs in cooling and trapping of atoms with laser light, which won him the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1997, along with his scientific colleagues Claude Cohen-Tannoudji and...

, Samuel C. C. Ting
Samuel C. C. Ting
Samuel Chao Chung Ting is an American physicist who received the Nobel Prize in 1976, with Burton Richter, for discovering the subatomic J/ψ particle...

, Chen Ning Yang, Tsung-Dao Lee
Tsung-Dao Lee
Tsung-Dao Lee is a Chinese born-American physicist, well known for his work on parity violation, the Lee Model, particle physics, relativistic heavy ion physics, nontopological solitons and soliton stars....

, Yuan T. Lee
Yuan T. Lee
Yuan Tseh Lee, Ph.D. is a chemist. He was the first Taiwanese Nobel Prize laureate, who, along with the Hungarian-Canadian John C. Polanyi and American Dudley R. Herschbach won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1986 "for their contributions to the dynamics of chemical elementary processes"...

, Daniel C. Tsui
Daniel C. Tsui
Daniel Chee Tsui is a Chinese-born American physicist whose areas of research included electrical properties of thin films and microstructures of semiconductors and solid-state physics...

, Roger Y. Tsien
Roger Y. Tsien
Roger Yonchien Tsien is a Chinese American biochemist and a professor at the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of California, San Diego...

, Charles K. Kao
Charles K. Kao
The Honorable Sir Charles Kuen Kao, GBM, KBE, FRS, FREng is a pioneer in the development and use of fiber optics in telecommunications...

, Gao Xingjian
Gao Xingjian
Gao Xingjian is a Chinese-born novelist, playwright, critic, and painter. An émigré to France since 1987, Gao was granted French citizenship in 1997...

; Fields Medal
Fields Medal
The Fields Medal, officially known as International Medal for Outstanding Discoveries in Mathematics, is a prize awarded to two, three, or four mathematicians not over 40 years of age at each International Congress of the International Mathematical Union , a meeting that takes place every four...

 recipients Terence Tao
Terence Tao
Terence Chi-Shen Tao FRS is an Australian mathematician working primarily on harmonic analysis, partial differential equations, combinatorics, analytic number theory and representation theory...

 and Shing-Tung Yau
Shing-Tung Yau
Shing-Tung Yau is a Chinese American mathematician working in differential geometry. He was born in Shantou, Guangdong Province, China into a family of scholars from Jiaoling, Guangdong Province....

, and Turing Award
Turing Award
The Turing Award, in full The ACM A.M. Turing Award, is an annual award given by the Association for Computing Machinery to "an individual selected for contributions of a technical nature made to the computing community. The contributions should be of lasting and major technical importance to the...

 recipient Andrew Yao
Andrew Yao
Andrew Chi-Chih Yao is a prominent computer scientist and computational theorist. Yao used the minimax theorem to prove what is now known as Yao's Principle.Yao was born in Shanghai, China...

. Tsien Hsue-shen
Tsien Hsue-shen
Qian Xuesen was a scientist who made important contributions to the missile and space programs of both the United States and People's Republic of China. Historical documents in the U. S. commonly refer to him with the earlier family-name last spelling, Hsue-Shen Tsien or H.S...

 was a prominent scientist at NASA
NASA
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is the agency of the United States government that is responsible for the nation's civilian space program and for aeronautics and aerospace research...

's Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Jet Propulsion Laboratory is a federally funded research and development center and NASA field center located in the San Gabriel Valley area of Los Angeles County, California, United States. The facility is headquartered in the city of Pasadena on the border of La Cañada Flintridge and Pasadena...

, while Chien-Shiung Wu
Chien-Shiung Wu
Chien-Shiung Wu was a Chinese-American physicist with expertise in the techniques of experimental physics and radioactivity. Wu worked on the Manhattan Project...

 contributed to the Manhattan Project
Manhattan Project
The Manhattan Project was a research and development program, led by the United States with participation from the United Kingdom and Canada, that produced the first atomic bomb during World War II. From 1942 to 1946, the project was under the direction of Major General Leslie Groves of the US Army...

 and was nicknamed the "First Lady of Physics". Ching W. Tang
Ching W. Tang
Ching W. Tang, is a Hong Kong - American Physical Chemist. He was born in Yuen Long, Hong Kong in 1947. Tang currently is the Doris Johns Cherry Professor in the Chemical Engineering Department, University of Rochester . He also has joint appointments in the Department of Chemistry and the...

 was the inventor of the organic light-emitting diode
Organic light-emitting diode
An OLED is a light-emitting diode in which the emissive electroluminescent layer is a film of organic compounds which emit light in response to an electric current. This layer of organic semiconductor material is situated between two electrodes...

 (OLED) and hetero-junction organic photovoltaic cell (OPV) and won the 2011 Wolf Prize in Chemistry for this contribution. Others include David Ho (scientist), 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's 1996 Man of the Year. Min Chueh Chang
Min Chueh Chang
Dr. Min Chueh Chang , often credited as M.C. Chang, was a Chinese American reproductive biologist. His specific area of study was the fertilisation process in mammalian reproduction...

 was the co-inventor of the combined oral contraceptive pill and contributed significantly to the development of in vitro fertilization at the Worcester Foundation for Experimental Biology
Worcester Foundation for Experimental Biology
The Worcester Foundation for Biomedical Research was a non-profit biomedical research institute based in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts.-History:...

. Choh Hao Li
Choh Hao Li
Choh Hao Li was a Chinese-born U.S. biochemist who discovered, in 1966, that human pituitary growth hormone consists of a chain of 256 amino acids...

 was associated with the identification, purification and synthesis of Growth hormone
Growth hormone
Growth hormone is a peptide hormone that stimulates growth, cell reproduction and regeneration in humans and other animals. Growth hormone is a 191-amino acid, single-chain polypeptide that is synthesized, stored, and secreted by the somatotroph cells within the lateral wings of the anterior...

. Shiing-Shen Chern
Shiing-Shen Chern
Shiing-Shen Chern was a Chinese American mathematician, one of the leaders in differential geometry of the twentieth century.-Early years in China:...

 was one of the leaders in differential geometry of the twentieth century and was awarded the 1984 Wolf Prize in mathematics. The antimalarial drug Artemisinin
Artemisinin
Artemisinin , also known as Qinghaosu , and its derivatives are a group of drugs that possess the most rapid action of all current drugs against falciparum malaria. Treatments containing an artemisinin derivative are now standard treatment worldwide for falciparum malaria...

 and anti-IgE antibody Omalizumab
Omalizumab
Omalizumab is a humanized antibody drug approved for patients with moderate-to-severe or severe allergic asthma, which is caused by hypersensitivity reactions to certain harmless environmental substances...

 for treatment of asthma
Asthma
Asthma is the common chronic inflammatory disease of the airways characterized by variable and recurring symptoms, reversible airflow obstruction, and bronchospasm. Symptoms include wheezing, coughing, chest tightness, and shortness of breath...

 was discovered and developed by ethnic Chinese scientists. China's system of Barefoot doctors
Barefoot doctors
Barefoot doctors are farmers who received minimal basic medical and paramedical training and worked in rural villages in the People's Republic of China. Their purpose was to bring health care to rural areas where urban-trained doctors would not settle...

 was among the most important inspirations for the WHO
Who
Who may refer to:* Who , an English-language pronoun* who , a Unix command* Who?, one of the Five Ws in journalism- Art and entertainment :* Who? , a 1958 novel by Algis Budrys...

 conference in Alma Ata, Kazakhstan in 1978, and was hailed as a revolutionary breakthrough in international health ideology emphasising primary health care
Primary health care
Primary health care, often abbreviated as “PHC”, has been defined as "essential health care based on practical, scientifically sound and socially acceptable methods and technology made universally accessible to individuals and families in the community through their full participation and at a cost...

 and preventive medicine
Preventive medicine
Preventive medicine or preventive care refers to measures taken to prevent diseases, rather than curing them or treating their symptoms...

.

Religion




Chinese culture has been long characterized by religious pluralism
Religious pluralism
Religious pluralism is a loosely defined expression concerning acceptance of various religions, and is used in a number of related ways:* As the name of the worldview according to which one's religion is not the sole and exclusive source of truth, and thus that at least some truths and true values...

. The Chinese folk religion
Chinese folk religion
Chinese folk religion or Shenism , which is a term of considerable debate, are labels used to describe the collection of ethnic religious traditions which have been a main belief system in China and among Han Chinese ethnic groups for most of the civilization's history until today...

 has always maintained a profound influence. Indigenous Confucianism
Confucianism
Confucianism is a Chinese ethical and philosophical system developed from the teachings of the Chinese philosopher Confucius . Confucianism originated as an "ethical-sociopolitical teaching" during the Spring and Autumn Period, but later developed metaphysical and cosmological elements in the Han...

 and Taoism
Taoism
Taoism refers to a philosophical or religious tradition in which the basic concept is to establish harmony with the Tao , which is the mechanism of everything that exists...

 share aspects of being a philosophy or a religion, and neither demand exclusive adherence, resulting in a culture of tolerance and syncretism
Syncretism
Syncretism is the combining of different beliefs, often while melding practices of various schools of thought. The term means "combining", but see below for the origin of the word...

 where multiple religions or belief systems are often practiced in concert, along with local customs and traditions. Han Chinese culture has also been long influenced by Buddhism
Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

, while in recent centuries, Christianity
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

 has also gained a foothold in the population.

Confucianism, a governing philosophy and moral code with some religious elements like ancestor worship, is deeply ingrained in Chinese culture and was the official state philosophy in China from the Han Dynasty until the fall of imperial China in the twentieth century.

The Chinese folk religion
Chinese folk religion
Chinese folk religion or Shenism , which is a term of considerable debate, are labels used to describe the collection of ethnic religious traditions which have been a main belief system in China and among Han Chinese ethnic groups for most of the civilization's history until today...

 is the set of worship traditions of the ethnic deities of the Han people. It involves worship of various figures in Chinese mythology
Chinese mythology
Chinese mythology is a collection of cultural history, folktales, and religions that have been passed down in oral or written tradition. These include creation myths and legends and myths concerning the founding of Chinese culture and the Chinese state...

, folk heroes such as Guan Yu
Guan Yu
Guan Yu was a general serving under the warlord Liu Bei during the late Eastern Han Dynasty of China. He played a significant role in the civil war that led to the collapse of the Han Dynasty and the establishment of the state of Shu Han during the Three Kingdoms period, of which Liu Bei was the...

 and Qu Yuan
Qu Yuan
Qu Yuan was a Chinese poet who lived during the Warring States Period in ancient China. He is famous for his contributions to the poetry collection known as the Chu-ci...

, mythological creatures such as the Chinese dragon
Chinese dragon
Chinese dragons are legendary creatures in Chinese mythology and folklore, with mythic counterparts among Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, Bhutanese, Western and Turkic dragons. In Chinese art, dragons are typically portrayed as long, scaled, serpentine creatures with four legs...

, 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
Traditional Chinese holidays
The traditional Chinese holidays are an essential part of Chinese culture. Many holidays are associated with Chinese mythology and folklore tales, but more realistically, they probably originated from ancient farmer rituals for celebrating harvests or prayer offerings...

 such as the Duanwu (or Dragon Boat) Festival, Qingming
Qingming Festival
The Qingming Festival , Pure Brightness Festival or Clear Bright Festival, Ancestors Day or Tomb Sweeping Day is a traditional Chinese festival on the 104th day after the winter solstice , usually occurring around April 5 of the Gregorian calendar...

, and the Mid-Autumn Festival
Mid-Autumn Festival
The Mid-Autumn Festival , also known as the Moon Festival or Mooncake Festival or Zhongqiu Festival, is a popular lunar harvest festival celebrated by Chinese and Vietnamese people. A description of the festival first appeared in Rites of Zhou, a written collection of rituals of the Western Zhou...

 come from the most popular of these traditions.

Taoism, another indigenous religion, is also widely practiced in both its folk religion forms and as an organized religion, and has influenced Chinese art, poetry, philosophy, medicine
Traditional Chinese medicine
Traditional Chinese Medicine refers to a broad range of medicine practices sharing common theoretical concepts which have been developed in China and are based on a tradition of more than 2,000 years, including various forms of herbal medicine, acupuncture, massage , exercise , and dietary therapy...

, astronomy
Chinese astronomy
Astronomy in China has a very long history, with historians considering that "they [the Chinese] were the most persistent and accurate observers of celestial phenomena anywhere in the world before the Arabs."...

, alchemy and chemistry, cuisine, martial arts
Chinese martial arts
Chinese martial arts, also referred to by the Mandarin Chinese term wushu and popularly as kung fu , are a number of fighting styles that have developed over the centuries in China. These fighting styles are often classified according to common traits, identified as "families" , "sects" or...

, and architecture
Chinese architecture
Chinese architecture refers to a style of architecture that has taken shape in East Asia over many centuries. The structural principles of Chinese architecture have remained largely unchanged, the main changes being only the decorative details...

. Taoism was the state religion of the early Han Dynasty, and also often enjoyed state patronage under subsequent emperors and dynasties.

In Han Dynasty, Confucian ideals were the dominant ideology. Near the end of the dynasty, Buddhism
Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

 entered China and later gained popularity. Historically, Buddhism alternated between state tolerance and even patronage, and persecution
Four Buddhist Persecutions in China
The Four Buddhist Persecutions in China was the wholesale suppression of Buddhism carried out on four occasions from the fifth through the tenth century by four Chinese emperors.-First and Second:...

. In its original form, Buddhism was at odds with the native Chinese religions, especially the elite, as certain Buddhist values often conflicted with Chinese sensibilities. However, through centuries of assimilation, adaptation, and syncretism
Syncretism
Syncretism is the combining of different beliefs, often while melding practices of various schools of thought. The term means "combining", but see below for the origin of the word...

, Chinese Buddhism gained an accepted place in the culture. Buddhism would come to be influenced by Confucianism and Taoism, and exerted influence in turn, such as in the form of Neo-Confucianism
Neo-Confucianism
Neo-Confucianism is an ethical and metaphysical Chinese philosophy influenced by Confucianism, that was primarily developed during the Song Dynasty and Ming Dynasty, but which can be traced back to Han Yu and Li Ao in the Tang Dynasty....

.

Though Christian influence in China
Christianity in China
Christianity in China is a growing minority religion that comprises Protestants , Catholics , and a small number of Orthodox Christians. Although its lineage in China is not as ancient as the institutional religions of Taoism and Mahayana Buddhism, and the social system and ideology of...

 existed as early as the 7th century, Christianity did not begin to gain a significant influence in China until contact with Europeans during the Ming
Ming Dynasty
The Ming Dynasty, also Empire of the Great Ming, was the ruling dynasty of China from 1368 to 1644, following the collapse of the Mongol-led Yuan Dynasty. The Ming, "one of the greatest eras of orderly government and social stability in human history", was the last dynasty in China ruled by ethnic...

 and Qing
Qing Dynasty
The Qing Dynasty was the last dynasty of China, ruling from 1644 to 1912 with a brief, abortive restoration in 1917. It was preceded by the Ming Dynasty and followed by the Republic of China....

 dynasties. Chinese practices at odds with Christian beliefs resulted in the Chinese Rites controversy
Chinese Rites controversy
The Chinese Rites controversy was a dispute within the Catholic Church from the 1630s to the early 18th century about whether Chinese folk religion rites and offerings to the emperor constituted idolatry...

, and subsequent reduction in Christian influence. Christianity grew considerably following the First Opium War
First Opium War
The First Anglo-Chinese War , known popularly as the First Opium War or simply the Opium War, was fought between the United Kingdom and the Qing Dynasty of China over their conflicting viewpoints on diplomatic relations, trade, and the administration of justice...

, after which foreign missionaries in China enjoyed the protection of the Western powers, and widespread proselytism took place.

"Han" as a fluid concept


The definition of the Han identity has varied throughout history. Prior to the 20th century, some Chinese-speaking ethnic groups like the Hakka
Hakka people
The Hakka , sometimes Hakka Han, are Han Chinese who speak the Hakka language and have links to the provincial areas of Guangdong, Jiangxi, Guangxi, Sichuan, Hunan and Fujian in China....

 and the Tanka
Tanka (ethnic group)
The Tankas or Boat people is a special group of people in Southern China that has traditionally lived on junks in coastal parts of Guangdong, Guangxi, Fujian, Hainan, and Zhejiang provinces, as well as Hong Kong and Macau...

 were not universally accepted as Han Chinese, while some non-Chinese speaking peoples, like the Zhuang, were sometimes considered Han. Today, Hui
Hui people
The Hui people are an ethnic group in China, defined as Chinese speaking people descended from foreign Muslims. They are typically distinguished by their practice of Islam, however some also practice other religions, and many are direct descendants of Silk Road travelers.In modern People's...

 are considered a separate ethnic group, but aside from their practice of Islam, little distinguishes them from the Han; two Han from different regions might differ more in language, customs, and culture than a neighboring Han and Hui. During the Qing Dynasty
Qing Dynasty
The Qing Dynasty was the last dynasty of China, ruling from 1644 to 1912 with a brief, abortive restoration in 1917. It was preceded by the Ming Dynasty and followed by the Republic of China....

, Han Chinese who had entered the Eight Banners
Eight Banners
The Eight Banners were administrative divisions into which all Manchu families were placed. They provided the basic framework for the Manchu military organization...

 military system were considered Manchu
Manchu
The Manchu people or Man are an ethnic minority of China who originated in Manchuria . During their rise in the 17th century, with the help of the Ming dynasty rebels , they came to power in China and founded the Qing Dynasty, which ruled China until the Xinhai Revolution of 1911, which...

, while Chinese nationalists
Chinese nationalism
Chinese nationalism , sometimes synonymous with Chinese patriotism refers to cultural, historiographical, and political theories, movements and beliefs that assert the idea of a cohesive, unified Chinese people and culture in a unified country known as China...

 seeking to overthrow the monarchy stressed Han Chinese identity in contrast to the Manchu rulers. Upon its founding, the Republic of China
Republic of China
The Republic of China , commonly known as Taiwan , is a unitary sovereign state located in East Asia. Originally based in mainland China, the Republic of China currently governs the island of Taiwan , which forms over 99% of its current territory, as well as Penghu, Kinmen, Matsu and other minor...

 recognized five major ethnic groups: the Han, Hui, Mongols
Mongols
Mongols ) are a Central-East Asian ethnic group that lives mainly in the countries of Mongolia, China, and Russia. In China, ethnic Mongols can be found mainly in the central north region of China such as Inner Mongolia...

, Manchu
Manchu
The Manchu people or Man are an ethnic minority of China who originated in Manchuria . During their rise in the 17th century, with the help of the Ming dynasty rebels , they came to power in China and founded the Qing Dynasty, which ruled China until the Xinhai Revolution of 1911, which...

s, and Tibetans
Tibetan people
The Tibetan people are an ethnic group that is native to Tibet, which is mostly in the People's Republic of China. They number 5.4 million and are the 10th largest ethnic group in the country. Significant Tibetan minorities also live in India, Nepal, and Bhutan...

, while the People's Republic of China
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

 now recognizes fifty-six ethnic groups.

Whether or not there was the concept of "ethnic groups" in ancient China is still questionable. However, throughout history, majority of Chinese regarded each other as subjects of a particular Kingdom. Nevertheless, thousands of years of unity under various Han-dominated dynasties have brought a common identity. Many Chinese scholars such as Ho Ping-Ti believe that the concept of a Han ethnicity is an ancient one, dating from the Han Dynasty
Han Dynasty
The Han Dynasty was the second imperial dynasty of China, preceded by the Qin Dynasty and succeeded by the Three Kingdoms . It was founded by the rebel leader Liu Bang, known posthumously as Emperor Gaozu of Han. It was briefly interrupted by the Xin Dynasty of the former regent Wang Mang...

 itself.

DNA analysis


Y-chromosome haplogroup O3
Haplogroup O3 (Y-DNA)
In human genetics, Haplogroup O3 is a Y-chromosome haplogroup.-Origins:Haplogroup O3 is a descendant haplogroup of haplogroup O. Some researchers believe that it first appeared in China approximately 10,000 years ago, while others believe it to have had an origin in Southeast Asia approximately...

 is a common DNA marker in Han Chinese, as it appeared in China in prehistoric times. It is found in more than 50% of Chinese males, and ranging up to over 80% in certain regional subgroups of the Han ethnicity. However, the mitochondrial DNA
Mitochondrial DNA
Mitochondrial DNA is the DNA located in organelles called mitochondria, structures within eukaryotic cells that convert the chemical energy from food into a form that cells can use, adenosine triphosphate...

 of Han Chinese increases in diversity as one looks from northern to southern China, which suggests that some male migrants from northern China married with women from local peoples after arriving in Guangdong
Guangdong
Guangdong is a province on the South China Sea coast of the People's Republic of China. The province was previously often written with the alternative English name Kwangtung Province...

, Fujian
Fujian
' , formerly romanised as Fukien or Huguing or Foukien, is a province on the southeast coast of mainland China. Fujian is bordered by Zhejiang to the north, Jiangxi to the west, and Guangdong to the south. Taiwan lies to the east, across the Taiwan Strait...

, 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 Hans (4% on average), but not in northern Hans. Therefore, this proves that the male contribution of southern natives in southern Hans is limited. 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. Additionally, the estimated contribution of northern Hans to southern Hans is substantial in both paternal and maternal lineages and a geographic cline exists for mtDNA. As a result, the northern Hans are the primary contributors to the gene pool of the southern Hans. 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 Hans to southern Hans. 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 also occurred during almost all periods in the past two millennia. Moreover, 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 close to the local ethnic minorities, and it means that in many cases blood of ethnic minorities has mixed into Han, while at the same time, blood of Han also has mixed into the local ethnicities. A recent, and to date the most extensive, genome-wide association study of the Han population shows that little geographic-genetic dispersion from north to south has occurred. Ultimately, with the exception in some ethnolinguistic branches of the Han Chinese, such as Pinghua, there is a coherent genetic structure in all Han Chinese populace.

Han diversity



In addition to a diversity of spoken language, which were all descended from a common Old Chinese
Old Chinese
The earliest known written records of the Chinese language were found at a site near modern Anyang identified as Yin, the last capital of the Shang dynasty, and date from about 1200 BC....

 ancestor, there are also regional differences in culture among Han Chinese. For example, China's cuisine varies from Sichuan
Sichuan
' , known formerly in the West by its postal map spellings of Szechwan or Szechuan is a province in Southwest China with its capital in Chengdu...

's famously spicy food to Guangdong
Guangdong
Guangdong is a province on the South China Sea coast of the People's Republic of China. The province was previously often written with the alternative English name Kwangtung Province...

's Dim Sum
Dim sum
Dim sum refers to a style of Chinese food prepared as small bite-sized or individual portions of food traditionally served in small steamer baskets or on small plates...

 and fresh seafood. However, like other ethnic groups, some sense of cultural (or at least political) unity still exists between the various groups because of common cultural, behavioural, linguistic, and religious practices.

Historical documentation indicates that the Han were descended from the ancient Huaxia
Huaxia
Huaxia is a name often used to represent China or Chinese civilization.-Etymology:According to the historical record, Zuo Zhuan, the ancient Xia Dynasty of central China was a state that held propriety and justice in high esteem...

 tribes of northern China. During the past two millennia, the Han culture (that is, the language and its associated culture) extended into southern China, a region inhabited by the southern natives, including those speaking Tai–Kadai, Austro-Asiatic
Austro-Asiatic languages
The Austro-Asiatic languages, in recent classifications synonymous with Mon–Khmer, are a large language family of Southeast Asia, also scattered throughout India and Bangladesh. The name Austro-Asiatic comes from the Latin words for "south" and "Asia", hence "South Asia"...

, and Hmong–Mien languages. As Huaxia
Huaxia
Huaxia is a name often used to represent China or Chinese civilization.-Etymology:According to the historical record, Zuo Zhuan, the ancient Xia Dynasty of central China was a state that held propriety and justice in high esteem...

 culture spread from its heartland in the Yellow River
Yellow River
The Yellow River or Huang He, formerly known as the Hwang Ho, is the second-longest river in China and the sixth-longest in the world at the estimated length of . Originating in the Bayan Har Mountains in Qinghai Province in western China, it flows through nine provinces of China and empties into...

 basin, it absorbed many distinct ethnic groups which then came to be identified as Han Chinese, as these groups adopted Han language (or variations of it) and customs.

For example, during the Shang Dynasty
Shang Dynasty
The Shang Dynasty or Yin Dynasty was, according to traditional sources, the second Chinese dynasty, after the Xia. They ruled in the northeastern regions of the area known as "China proper" in the Yellow River valley...

, people of the Wu area
Wu (region)
Wu is a region in the Jiangnan area , surrounding Suzhou, in Jiangsu province and Zhejiang province of China. It is also the abbreviation of several kingdoms based in Wu. The two largest cities in the Wu region today are Shanghai and Hangzhou...

, in the Yangtze River Delta
Yangtze River Delta
The Yangtze River Delta, Yangtze Delta or YRD, also called Yangzi, or Chang Jiang Delta, Rive Chang Delta Tai Lake Region or the Golden Triangle of the Yangtze, generally comprises the triangular-shaped territory of Wu-speaking Shanghai, southern Jiangsu province and northern Zhejiang province of...

, were considered a different tribe. They spoke a language that was almost certainly distinct from that of the Shang, and were described as being scantily dressed and tattooed. Later Taibo
Taibo
Taibo may refer to:* Wu Taibo* Tae Bo is an aerobic exercise routine* Paco Ignacio Taibo II is a Spanish/Mexican writer* Tài Bó aka Li Bai, Chinese poet...

, elder uncle of King Wen
King Wen
King Wen may refer to:*King Wen of Zhou*Zhao Mo...

 of Zhou
Zhou
Zhou may refer to:*Zhou Dynasty , a Chinese Dynasty *Zhou Predynastic Lineage, the antecedents to the above Zhou Dynasty*Northern Zhou , a Chinese Dynasty...

, realising that his younger brother, Jili, was wiser than him and deserved to inherit the throne, fled to Wu and settled there. Three generations later, King Wu of Zhou defeated the last Yin emperor, and enfeoffed the descendants of Taibo in Wu, this mirrors the later history of Nanyue
Nanyue
Nanyue was an ancient kingdom that consisted of parts of the modern Chinese provinces of Guangdong, Guangxi, and Yunnan and northern Vietnam. Nanyue was established in 204 BC at the final collapse of the Qin Dynasty by Zhao Tuo, who was the military commander of Nanhai Commandery at the time, and...

, where a Chinese king and his soldiers ruled a local non-Chinese population, and mixed with the local inhabitants who were sinicized over time. By the Tang Dynasty
Tang Dynasty
The Tang Dynasty was an imperial dynasty of China preceded by the Sui Dynasty and followed by the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period. It was founded by the Li family, who seized power during the decline and collapse of the Sui Empire...

, however, this area had become part of the Han Chinese heartland, and is today the most densely populated and strongest performing economic region in China, the site of China's largest city Shanghai
Shanghai
Shanghai is the largest city by population in China and the largest city proper in the world. It is one of the four province-level municipalities in the People's Republic of China, with a total population of over 23 million as of 2010...

. Many Chinese languages are mutually unintelligible, but descend from a common Old Chinese
Old Chinese
The earliest known written records of the Chinese language were found at a site near modern Anyang identified as Yin, the last capital of the Shang dynasty, and date from about 1200 BC....

, and Middle Chinese
Middle Chinese
Middle Chinese , also called Ancient Chinese by the linguist Bernhard Karlgren, refers to the Chinese language spoken during Southern and Northern Dynasties and the Sui, Tang, and Song dynasties...

ancestors.

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