In Focus: Understanding the Chinese Nation

Introduction:

With the death of Deng Xiaoping, China entered a new era. Deng was a symbol of China’s socialist experiment as well as the catalyst towards capitalism. As a result, China opened its doors to trade with the outside world and relations between China and the US took on different, more complicated facets afterwards.

The Chinese Nations:

Qiang

The Qiang people are about 200,000 strong and they live in the northwestern part of the Sichuan province. Today, they are one of China’s smallest ethnic groups but they are believed to be descended from a very strong group of people who lived during the Shang Dynasty. In recent years, they have started to identify themselves as a separate people and form a self-identity. They live mostly in the mountains in fortress villages known as zhais which have anywhere from 30 to 100 households.

Maonan

It is believed that there are somewhere around 107,166 Maonans currently living in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region of China. They have a very complicated language with eight “tones” and no writing system of their own. 80% of the Maonan population shares the surname Tan and names like Meng, Wei, Yan, and Lu are also very common.

She

The She people are believed to be one o f the largest ethnic groups with around 709,592 people living in the Fujian and Zhejiang regions. They live in small groups that are widely distributed and the name they call themselves is “shana” meaning “migrated guest living in a mountain area.” They are known for their arts and crafts as well as their colorful festivals.

Bai

The Bai ethnic group is one of China’s strongest with over one million people who live in the Yunnan, Guizhou, and Hunan provinces. They have a great respect for the color white and call themselves baini or baizi, meaning “white people.” The Bai language has two branches. Many are Buddhists but they also worship their village god known as the Benzhu.

Lahu

The Lahu people, about 711,500 strong, are spread out across Asia in the Yunnan area of China and into other countries like Vietnam, Thailand, and Laos. Different groups live in different countries, but they all share the same language, a Lolo-Burmese subgroup of the Loloish branch of language. They are either polytheistic or believe in Buddhism, depending on where they live.

Deang

There are an estimated 557,000 Deang people living in the Yunnan province of China. They also live in Burma and Thailand and they all speak Palaung. They believe in Theravada Buddhism and Buddhist temples can be found in most towns. Many Deang children enter monasteries at age ten and then return to lay life later on.

Chinese Language:

The Chinese language is one of the most complicated languages in the entire world. Spoken Chinese is very difficult to learn because it varies greatly by region, influenced by the many different peoples who live in the region. The most common “form” of spoken Chinese is Mandarin Chinese, then Wu Chinese, then Cantonese, and then Min. There are even some forms, like Xiang Chinese or the Southwest Mandarin dialogues, which are among the 13 sub-languages officially recognized by the world. The most common form, Standard Mandarin, is based on the Beijing dialect.

Woman in China:

The role of women in China has changed substantially from the imperial era, to the Mao era, and to the present. At present, woman enjoy a decent level of success. In addition, more Chinese women are attending school which gives them a shot at better careers. They are also able to choose who they marry more often instead of their parents arranging a marriage, especially in urban areas. Still, it’s very common for Chinese women to give up careers to raise a family instead. It’s often women who control the money in the household. There are an increasing number of financially independent women who are able to hold jobs in fields like politics or science, but there is also a high unemployment rate for women seeking work.

Technology and Economic Growth:

China was a highly advanced civilization in ancient times, many of the technologies that were innovated in the West were invented in Imperial China. Paper was widely used in China, while other cultures did not develop or wisely use the technology. Gunpowder also orginated in China. Since China modernized in the 1970's, it has enjoyed rapid growth and development. China's Growth at present time seems unstoppable, it was not substantially affected by the 2008-09 recession. It recovered far ahead of countries Western coutries like the United States and Britain. It’s also experienced massive growth in expansion of communication services as well. China’s telecommunications sector grew 31% from 2000 to 2005. This has allowed the country’s economy to grow as well and the sector is believed to be in line to keep growing in the coming years.

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