Largest Ethnic Group in the World: Han Chinese


There are roughly 1.16 billion Han Chinese people in the world, which is about 19% of the entire global population. Furthermore, China currently has 92% of the total population speaking Han Chinese, and it is considered to be the largest ethnic group in the world. The vast majority reside in the People's Republic of China while others live abroad in countries like Singapore, Australia, Malaysia, Thailand, North America, and more. The largest dialect of Chinese is mandarin. Having originated around the North Central area of China, this language is spoken by approximately two-thirds of the population and has become the standard form of Chinese. The Southern band of Chinese is far more diverse with some of the larger dialects being Wu, Min, Hakka, and Yue (most commonly referred to as Cantonese).

Perceived Gender Roles

Before the Chinese communist leader, Mao Zedong came into power in 1949, the Chinese were generally restricted to the traditional gender roles. This was due to a famous Chinese philosopher named Confucius. He had a passion for family virtues such as filial piety, which lead to the creation of a religion called Confucianism. Confucius believed that through the practice of ritual everyone would learn to fulfill the duties of their roles. Imperial leaders used his belief in the social hierarchy for the physical and social oppression of women. Centuries after Confucius, it had become common for Han Chinese folks to discuss gender in terms of Yin and Yang. This system still holds true today as it has formed into a lesson that parents teach their kids and gets passed on from generation to generation. When I asked my mom why she taught us this lesson and wanted me to teach my kids as well, she replied, “If there is one thing I remember very clearly, it is the lessons from my parents. They taught me this so that I can learn the bad things in China’s past and that I do not repeat it, but it is up to you if you follow”. Kids may have interpreted this lesson as boys are stronger than girls so they had a sense of power, this might be a partial reason for sexism that was born from confusion. Yin or 'women' is described as soft and passive. Yang or 'man' is viewed as dominating and assertive. This idea leads to a separation of men and women within the home. Men would grow up to contribute financially to the family and carry the family name since newborns would take the male last name. In contrast, females could not earn money and spend acts like a housewife. Globalization has affected gender roles in aspects of domestic life such as marriage and monarchy, as well as in the workplace. As the population increased, more people began speaking up on breaking these gender roles but it still exists. These changes altered the quality of life and the availability of opportunities to women throughout the modern globalization process. As the Chinese government began to re-assimilate themselves into the global community in the late 19th to early 20th century, it shifted away from conventional Confucian ideals and women's role in society changed as well. The Americans played a huge role in China’s assimilation. The Americans believed that their appearances alone were too distinct to accept them as being equal, versus being considered inferior in all political, economic, and cultural aspects. This perspective shaped into the Chinese stereotype that seemed to entertain Americans in all fields of political life. At first, they were successful in assimilation the Chinese because the clothing changed, the ponytail was no longer a thing and schools teach English now.

Expected Behaviors of Members

In ancient China, etiquette involved moral standards and social rules. The Bronze Age was the time when formal etiquette rules came into existence. The Zhou Dynasty was the first to have a written record of the rules of etiquette, The Book of Etiquette and Ceremonial offered a detailed description of people’s social behavior and emotional control. Everything was put in order in that book and demanded strict attention from all citizens. The West Zhou Dynasty was a crucial time for ancient Chinese etiquette for it ruined the previously established patterns. Chinese people are expected to behave a certain way since it is a sign of respect. As more and more people got older, they were being disrespected so Confucius's idea on filial piety was put into motion. Even though Confucious’s reign is over but filial piety is still around. Filial piety is a concept in Confucius that stresses the importance of age. For example, in most regions of China, the entire family is expected to speak with their elders for big decisions. Children are also expected to care for their parents as they age since sending elderly parents to an aged care facility is considered shameful. Furthermore, families appear to have a collective identity and reputation in China. This is known as a face. If a single person in the family gets shamed for their actions, it hurts the entire family. Chinese people are not used to having foreigners in their country since most of their population comprises of Chinese. If immigration was introduced, it will certainly surprise many of the Han Chinese because they are not accustomed to seeing them. The race also plays a huge factor in how someone will react due to stereotypes. For example, parents would tell their kids to stay away unless you are looking for trouble. The most common reply associated with black people is, that they are “bad” or they look “ugly”. When asked about whites they would say a popular western slang that translates to “ghostly man”, obviously taking a hit at their skin color being too white. Diffusion on the expected behaviors of Han Chinese people is affected by the public. As more groups learn about the Han Chinese’s cultural beliefs and social activities, they may find this information useful and that can encourage the Han Chinese to keep seeking improvements. For example, many people have already adopted the rule of taking off shoes before you enter someone's house. Not only is this a sign of respect, but it also keeps the house clean. A negative example could be the harsh expectations parents have for their kids. Chinese parents expect the best results, whether that be in grades, your future loved one, sports, and much more. If they do not reach their parents’ expectations, then punishment through physical and verbal abuse is administered. This mindset is toxic and that is evident since people are speaking up about it. Eventually, it be abolished and the expected behaviors of Chinese people will change as well.

Cultural Experiences

The Great Wall of China is the largest man-made structure ever built. The Great Wall of China’s history stretches back more than 2,000 years, to a time before China was even a unified country. The wall was built to help keep out northern invaders like the Mongols. Smaller walls had been built over the years, but the first Emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang, decided that he wanted a single giant wall to protect his northern borders. He ordered that a single strong wall be built with thousands of lookout towers were soldiers could guard and protect his empire. Not only did the wall protect the famous trade route, the silk road, it was also for the trading control. Unlike an organized army, individual businessmen could not break through the wall easily. Therefore they had to report to certain fortresses or passes to cross the border. It made it easier for China to control what was being exported or imported so that the nomadic people in the north would not get enough supply of certain resources to become powerful. It was also good for collecting the trading tax at the border. There are a variety of reasons of why someone would go visit The Great Wall, one of which is for learning Chinese. Its construction ran through almost the entire Chinese ancient history. You can learn the history of Qin, Han, and Ming when the Great Wall was extensively built. Other reasons why you might want to visit are testing your endurance, enjoying the scenery, taking pictures, learning military tactics, and exploring the number one ranked on the Seven Wonders of the World. When the Great Wall of China was open for the public as a tourist attraction, the physical environment proved to be a challenge. Since China was a country more towards the Southern part of the world, it was a given that the temperatures would be hotter. The Han Chinese people who were born in China should be used to the temperatures but for the people who were born in the North, it would not be a pleasant experience due to the difference in temperatures. The geography around the Great Wall might also prove to be a challenge since it is mostly mountainous. The average person is not equipped to ascend and descend for long periods of time and even if they do, succumbing to dehydration and sore muscles is certain. Multiculturalism can bring a new experience to the Han Chinese citizens and benefit cultural experiences like the Great Wall of China. Another reason people visit the Great Wall is for multiculturalism. People of all ethnicities can express their cultures by displaying their inventory in an area along the wall. This is quite enjoyable as most Han Chinese people do not have the luxury to visit every location across the world, and it also helps with the racism issue.  


In conclusion, the expected behaviors of members, perceived gender roles, and cultural experiences were necessary. From the delusional Confucius which allowed us how to combat gender roles (respecting elders was still important), to what was expected for members since it taught how to stay alive in the real world by not making any enemies and showing proper etiquette, to finally how a great structure such as the Great Wall brings everyone together as a community. All of these factors evolved throughout the years and helped shape what is known as China today.  

07 July 2022
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