Before the founding of the People's Republic of China, the ruling classes in successive dynasties pursued policies of ethnic discrimination and oppression, and later referred to many nationalities recognized in history as clan branches of the Han nationality. As a result, many minority nationalities concealed and changed their national names. The ethnic composition of China has been in a state of ambiguity. Since the founding of the People's Republic of China, the Party and the State have implemented the policy of national equality, guaranteed the right of minority nationalities to be the masters of the country, stimulated the national consciousness of minority nationalities, and many long-term oppressed minority nationalities have made their ethnic composition public and put forward their own ethnic names. By 1953, more than 400 ethnic names had been registered.
The work of national identification in China can be roughly divided into several stages. The first stage: from the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949 to 1954. After thorough and meticulous field investigation and scientific research, 38 ethnic minorities were identified at this stage. The second stage: the second national census from 1954 to 1964. 15 ethnic minorities have been newly identified. At the same time, 74 self-reported ethnic groups in the census were grouped into 53 ethnic minorities. The third stage: the third national census from 1965 to 1982. The number of members of our national family increased to 56.
Although the proportion of ethnic groups in the total population of the country is less than 10%, it is widely distributed, and the autonomous areas accounts for more than 60% of the country. Due to historical and geographical reasons, the population density of ethnic areas differs greatly from that of the Han nationality areas along the coast of the mainland. For example, the population density of the Tibetan Autonomous Region inhabited by ethnic is only 1.8 people per square kilometer.
General Information about the Nationalities in China (In Alphabetic Order)