Context of Han Chinese

The Han Chinese (simplified Chinese: 汉族; traditional Chinese: 漢族; pinyin: Hànzú; lit. 'Han ethnic group') or Han people (汉人; 漢人; Hànrén) are an East Asian ethnic group native to China. They are the world's largest ethnic group, making up about 18% of the global population. Han people comprise various subgroups speaking distinctive varieties of the Chinese languages. The estimated 1.4 billion Han Chinese people worldwide are primarily concentrated in the People's Republic of China (including Mainland China, Hong Kong, and Macau), where they make up about 92% of the tot...Read more

The Han Chinese (simplified Chinese: 汉族; traditional Chinese: 漢族; pinyin: Hànzú; lit. 'Han ethnic group') or Han people (汉人; 漢人; Hànrén) are an East Asian ethnic group native to China. They are the world's largest ethnic group, making up about 18% of the global population. Han people comprise various subgroups speaking distinctive varieties of the Chinese languages. The estimated 1.4 billion Han Chinese people worldwide are primarily concentrated in the People's Republic of China (including Mainland China, Hong Kong, and Macau), where they make up about 92% of the total population. In Taiwan, they make up about 97% of the population. People of Han Chinese descent also make up around 75% of the total population of Singapore.

Originating from Northern China, the Han Chinese trace their ancestry to the Huaxia, a confederation of agricultural tribes that lived along the Yellow River. This collective Neolithic confederation included agricultural tribes Hua and Xia, hence the name. They settled along the Central Plains around the middle and lower reaches of the Yellow River in Northern China. These tribes were the ancestors of the modern Han Chinese people who gave birth to Chinese civilization. Within the course of the Warring States period led to the emergence of the early discernible consciousness of the Zhou-era Chinese referring to themselves as being Huaxia (literally, "the beautiful grandeur"), which was distinctively used to adumbrate a "civilized" culture in contrast to what were perceived as "barbaric" towards the adjacent and adjoining vicinities bordering the Zhou Kingdoms that were inhabited by different non-Han Chinese peoples around them. In many overseas Chinese communities, the term Hua people (华人; 華人; Huárén) or Huazu (华族; 華族; Huázú) is used for people of Han Chinese ethnicity as distinct from Zhongguo Ren (中国人; 中國人) which has connotations and implications to being citizens of China, including people of non-Han Chinese ethnicity.

The Huaxia tribes in Northern China continuously expanded into Southern China over the past two millennia, via military conquests and colonisation. Huaxia culture spread southward from its heartland in the Yellow River Basin, absorbing various non-Han ethnic groups that became sinicised over the centuries at various points in China's history.

The name "Han people" first appeared in the Northern and Southern Dynasties, inspired by the Han dynasty, which is considered to be one of the first golden ages in Chinese history. As a unified and cohesive empire, Han China emerged as the center of East Asian geopolitical influence at the time, projecting much of its hegemony onto its East Asian neighbours and was comparable with the contemporary Roman Empire in population size, geographical and cultural reach. The Han dynasty's prestige and prominence influenced many of the ancient Huaxia to begin identifying themselves as "The People of Han." To this day, the Han Chinese have since taken their ethnic name from this dynasty and the Chinese script is referred to as "Han characters".

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