China's Top Minority Cities Explore in China - People & Culture
China's Top Minority Cities
China officially has 55 ethnic minorities,
and one majority, the Han Chinese. The ethnic peoples are concentrated
in the south, west, and remoter northern regions of China.
are more heavily populated by Han Chinese than the surrounding
countryside, even in minority autonomous regions, so most minority
attractions and the purest ethnic culture is usually found outside the
cities. Therefore "cities" here usually refers to the prefecture
associated with the city.
Below are China’s top eight minority cities, chosen for their accessibility to tourists, and range of minorities represented.
Lhasa is truly a minority city. Capital of the roof of the world and center of Tibetan culture, Lhasa’s Potala Palace, and the Dalai Lama who lived there, once represented the supreme authority for this people group. Now part of China, Tibet exists as an Autonomous Region still governed from Lhasa. The temples and monasteries around Lhasa are the most important for Tibetan Buddhists.
Yangshuo’s countryside, particularly along the popular cycling routes, is populated by Zhuang farmers.
The legendary Zhuang “Song Fairy”, Liu’s Third Daughter, is honored to
the point of worship by some. Her statue is paraded during the Zhuang Song Festival in April, and her story is told in the on-river show Impression Liu Sanjie, which also features other minority songs.
Then there is Longsheng, known for its Dragon’s Back Rice Terraces, where the long-haired women of the Red Yao live. Their Red Clothes Festival is in April. The Zhuang of
nearby ‘Safe and Sound’ Village have kept more of their costume and
customs than those of Yangshuo. Further into the Longsheng mountains are Dong and Miao villages.
the capital of Inner Mongolia. While it is not the most ethnic city
(only 13% minority people), it is the most accessible city with Mongol
culture. The grasslands of Hohhot Prefecture are the place to see the nomadic pastoral lifestyle of the Mongols. Naadam, the Mongolian outdoor sports festival is celebrated in July/August on these grasslands. Mongol food is highly recommended.
Kunming is truly a minority city with all of Yunnan’s
25 ethnic minorities represented, although 80% of the city population
are Han. To get an impression of the variety of peoples living in Yunnan
we recommend you see Yunnan Ethnic Village, a convenient way to experience many Chinese ethnic cultures without having to journey to a remote location.
minorities have autonomous regions set aside for them, so if you are
interested in these minorities, just go to the cities in their region.
Zhuang: The Zhuang are concentrated north of Nanning, around Liuzhou, and in Central, North, and West Guangxi and surrounding provinces.
Hui: Ningxia is
a small region set aside for the Hui people, but the Hui are China’s
most widely spread minority, and can be found in every province and all
the large cities. Just look for the mosques.