Рефераты. China's population

China's population






|China Sticks to Population Control Policy in New Century |p.16 |

|President on Population Control, Resources and Environmental |p.17 |

|Protection | |



China is a multinational country, with a population composed of a large

number of ethnic and linguistic groups. Almost all its inhabitants are of

Mongoloid stock: thus, the basic classification of the population is not so

much Han ethnic as linguistic. The Han (Chinese), the largest group,

(Chinese) outnumber the minority groups or minority nationalities in every

province or autonomous region except Tibet and Sinkiang. The Han.

therefore, form the great homogeneous mass of the Chinese people, sharing

the same culture, the same traditions, and the same written language. Some

55 minority groups are spread over approximately 60 percent of the total

area of the country. Where these minority groups are found in large

numbers, they have been given some semblance of autonomy and self-

government; autonomous regions of several types have been established on

the basis of the geographical distribution of nationalities.

The government takes great credit for its treatment of these

minorities, including care for their economic well-being, the raising of

their living standards, the provision of educational facilities, the

promotion of their national languages and cultures, and the raising of

their levels of literacy, as well as for the introduction of a written

language where none existed previously. In this connection it may be noted

that, of the 50-odd minority languages, only 20 had written forms before

the coming of the Communists; and only relatively few written languages,

for example, Mongolian. Tibetan. Uighur, Kazakh, Tai, and Korean, were in

everyday use. Other written languages were used chiefly for religious

purposes and by a limited number of persons. Educational institutions for

national minorities are a feature of many large cities, notably Peking,

Wuhan, Ch'eng-tu. and Lan-chou.

Four major language families are represented in China: the Sino-

Tibetan. Altaic. Indo-European, and Austro-Asiatic. The Sino-Tibetan

family, both numerically and in the extent of its distribution, is the most

important; within this family, Han Chinese is the most widely spoken

language. Although unified by their tradition, the written characters of

their language, and many cultural traits, the Han speak several mutually

unintelligible dialects and display marked regional differences. By far the

most important Chinese tongue is the Mandarin, or p'u-l'ung hua, meaning

"ordinary language" or "common language". There are three variants of

Mandarin. The first of these is the northern variant, of which the Peking

dialect, or Peking hua, is typical and which is spoken to the north of the

Tsinling Mountains-Huai River line: as the most widespread Chinese tongue,

it has officially been adopted as the basis for a national language. The

second is the western variant, also known as the Ch'eng-tu or Upper Yangtze

variant; this is spoken in the Szechwan Basin and in adjoining parts of

south-west China. The third is the southern variant, also known as the

Nanking or Lower Yangtze variant, which is spoken in northern Kiangsu and

in southern and central Anhwei Related to Mandarin are the Hunan, or

Hsiang, dialect, spoken by people in central and southern Hunan, and the

Kan dialect. The Hui-chou dialect, spoken in southern Anhwei, forms an

enclave within the southern Mandarin area.

Less intelligible to Mandarin speakers are the dialects of the south-

east coastal region, stretching from Shanghai to Canton. The. most

important of these is the Wu dialect, spoken in southern Kiangsu and in

Chekiang. This is followed, to the south, by the Fu-chou, or Min. dialect

of northern and central Fukien and by the Amoy-Swatow dialect of southern

Fukien and easternmost Kwangtung. The Hakka dialect of southernmost Kiangsi

and north-eastern Kwangtung has a rather scattered pattern of distribution.

Probably the best known of these southern dialects is Cantonese, which is

spoken in central and western Kwangtung and in southern Kwangsi a dialect

area in which a large proportion of overseas Chinese originated.

In addition to the Han, the Manchu and the Hui (Chinese Muslims) also

speak Mandarin and use Chinese characters. Manchu The Hui are descendants

of Chinese who adopted Islam and Hui when it penetrated into China in the

7th century. They are intermingled with the Han throughout much of the

country and are distinguished as Hui only in the area of their heaviest

concentration, the Hui Autonomous Region of Ningsia. Other Hui communities

are organised as autonomous prefectures (tzu-chih-cfiou) in Sinkiang and as

autonomous counties (tzu-chih-hsien) in Tsinghai. Hopeh. Kweichow, and

Yunnan. There has been a growing tendency for the Hui to move from their

scattered settlements into the area of major concentration, possibly, as

firm adherents of Islam, in order to facilitate intermarriage with other


The Manchu declare themselves to be descendants of the Manchu warriors

who invaded China in the 17th century and founded the Ch'ing dynasty (1644-

1911/12). Ancient Manchu is virtually a dead language, and the Manchu have

been completely assimilated into Han Chinese culture. They are found mainly

in North China and the Northeast, but they form no separate autonomous

areas above the commune level. Some say the Koreans of the Northeast, who

form an autonomous prefecture in eastern Kirin, cannot be assigned with

certainty to any of the standard language classifications.

The Chuang-chia, or Chuang, are China's largest minority group. Most of

them live in the Chuang Autonomous Region of Kwangsi. They are also

represented in national autonomous areas in neighbouring Yunnan and

Kwangtung. They depend mainly on the cultivation of rice for their

livelihood In religion they are animists, worshiping particularly the

spirits of their ancestors, The Puyi (Chung-chia) group are concentrated in

southern Kweichow, where they share an autonomous prefecture with the Miao

group. The T'ung group are settled in small communities in Kwangsi and

Kweichow; they share with the Miao group an autonomous prefecture set up in

south-east Kweichow in 1956. The Tai group are concentrated in southern

Yunnan and were established in two autonomous prefectures—one whose

population is related most closely to the Tai of northern Thailand and

another whose Tai are related to the Shan people of Burma. The Li of Hai-

nan Island form a separate group of the Chinese-Tai language branch. They

share with the Miao people a district in southern Hai-nan.

Tibetans are distributed over the entire Tsinghai-Tibetan plateau.

Outside Tibet, Tibetan minorities constitute autonomous prefectures and

autonomous counties. There are five Tibetan autonomous prefectures in

Tsinghai, two in Szechwan, and one each in Yunnan and Kansu. The Tibetans

still keep their tribal characteristics, but few of them are nomadic.

Though essentially farmers, they also raise livestock and, as with other

tribal peoples in the Chinese far west, also hunt to supplement their food

supply. The major religion of Tibet has been Tibetan Buddhism since about

the 17th century; before 1959 the social and political institutions of this

region were still based largely on this faith. Many of the Yi (Lolo) were

concentrated in two autonomous prefectures—one in southern Szechwan and

another in northern Yunnan. They raise crops and sometimes keep flocks and


The Miao-Yao branch, with their major concentration in Kweichow, are

distributed throughout the central south and south-western provinces and

are found also in some small areas in east China. They are subdivided into

many rather distinct groupings. Most of them have now lost their

traditional tribal traits through the influence of the Han, and it is only

their language that serves to distinguish them as tribal peoples. Two-

thirds of the Miao are settled in Kweichow, where they share two autonomous

prefectures with the T'ung and Puyi groups. The Yao people are concentrated

in the Kwangsi-Kwangtung-Hunan border area.

In some areas of China, especially in the south-west, there are many

different ethnic groups that are geographically intermixed. Because of

language barriers and different economic structures, these peoples all

maintain their own cultural traits and live in relative isolation from one

another. In some places the Han are active in the towns and in the fertile

river valleys, while the minority peoples depend for their livelihood on

more primitive forms of agriculture or on grazing their livestock on

hillsides and mountains. The vertical distribution of these peoples is in

zones usually the higher they live, the less complex

their way of life. In former times they did not mix well with one

another, but now, with highways penetrating deep into their settlements,

they have better opportunities to communicate with other groups and are

also enjoying better living conditions.

While the minorities of the Sino-Tibetan language family are thus

concentrated in the south and south-west, the second major language family

the Altaic is represented entirely by minorities in north-western and

northern China. The Altaic family falls into three branches: Turkic,

Mongolian, and Manchu-Tungus. The Turkic language branch is by far the most

numerous of the three Altaic branches. The Uighur, who are Muslims, form

the largest Turkic minority. They are distributed over chains of oases in

the Tarim Basin and in the Dzungarian Basin of Sinkiang. They mainly depend

on irrigation agriculture for a livelihood. Other Turkic minorities in

Sinkiang are splinter groups of nationalities living in neighbouring

nations of Central Asia, including the Kazakh and Kyrgyz. All these groups

are adherents of Islam. The Kazakh and Kyrgyz are pastoral nomadic peoples,

still showing traces of tribal organisation. The Kazakh live mainly in

north-western and north-eastern Sinkiang as herders, retiring to their

camps in the valleys when winter comes; they are established in the 1-li-ha-

sa-k'o (Hi Kazakh) Autonomous Prefecture. The Kyrgyz are high-mountain

pastoralists and are concentrated mainly in the westernmost part of


The Mongolians, who are by nature a nomadic people are the most widely

dispersed of the minority nationalities of China. Most of them are

inhabitants of the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. Small Mongolian and

Mongolian-related groups of people are scattered throughout the vast area

from Sinkiang through Tsinghai and Kansu and into the provinces of the

Northeast (Kirin, Heilungkiang, and Liaoning). In addition to the Inner

Mongolia Autonomous Region, the Mongolians are established in two

autonomous prefectures in Sinkiang, a joint autonomous prefecture with

Tibetans and Kazakh in Tsinghai, and several autonomous counties in the

western area of the Northeast. Some of them retain their tribal divisions

and are pastoralists, but large numbers of Mongolians engage in sedentary

agriculture, and some of them combine the growing of crops with herding.

The tribes, who are dependent upon animal husbandry, travel each year

around the pastureland—grazing sheep, goats, horses, cattle, and camels—and

then return to their point of departure. A few take up hunting and fur

trapping in order to supplement their income. The Mongolian language

consists of several dialects, but in religion it is a unifying force; most

Mongolians are believers in Tibetan Buddhism. A few linguistic minorities

in China belong to neither the Sino-Tibetan nor the Altaic language family.

The Tajik of westernmost Sinkiang are related to the population of

Tajikistan and belong to the Iranian branch of the Indo-European family.

The Kawa people of the China-Burma border area belong to the Mon-Khmer

branch of the Austro-Asiatic family.


Historical records show that, as long ago as 800 вс, in the early years

of the Chou dynasty, China was already inhabited by about 13,700,000

people. Until the last years The census of the Hsi (Western) Han dynasty,

about ad 2, comparatively accurate and complete registers of population

were kept, and the total population in that year was given as 59,600,000.

This first Chinese census was intended mainly as a preparatory step toward

the levy of a poll tax. Many members of the population, aware that a census

might work to their disadvantage, managed to avoid reporting; this explains

why all subsequent population figures were unreliable until 1712. In that

year the Emperor declared that an increased population would not be subject

to tax; population figures thereafter gradually became more accurate.

During the later years of the Pei (Northern) Sung dynasty, in the early

12th century, when China was already in the heyday of its economic and

cultural development, the total population began to exceed 100,000,000.

Later, uninterrupted and large-scale invasions from the north reduced the

country's population. When national unification returned with the advent of

the Ming dynasty, the census was at first strictly conducted. The

population of China, according to a registration compiled in 1381, was

quite close to the one registered in ad 2.

From the 15th century onward, the population increased steadily; this

increase was interrupted by wars and natural disasters in the mid-17th

century and slowed by the internal strife and foreign invasions in the

century that preceded the Communist takeover in 1949. During the 18th

century China enjoyed a lengthy period of peace and prosperity,

characterized by continual territorial expansion and an accelerating

population increase. In 1762 China had a population of more than

200,000.000. and by 1834 the population had doubled. It should be noted

that during this period there was no concomitant increase in the amount of

cultivable land; from this time on. land hunger became a growing problem.

After 1949 sanitation and medical care greatly improved, epidemics were

brought under control, and the younger generation became much healthier.

Public hygiene also improved, resulting in a death rate that declined

faster than the birth rate and a rate of population growth that speeded up

again. Population reached 1,000.000.000 in the early 1980s.

Now China has a population of 1,295.33 million. Compared with the

population of 1,133.68 million from the 1990 population census (with zero

hour of July 1, 1990 as the reference time), the total population of the 31

provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities and the servicemen of the

mainland of China increased by 132.15 million persons, or 11.66 percent

over the past 10 years and 4 months. The average annual growth was 12.79

million persons, or a growth rate of 1.07 percent.

The continually growing population poses major problems for the

government. Faced with difficulties in obtaining an adequate food supply

and in combating the generally low standard of living, the authorities

sponsored Drive a drive for birth control in 1955-58. A second attempt at

for birth population control began in 1962, when advocacy of late control

marriages and the use of contraceptives became prominent parts of

the program. The outbreak of the Cultural Revolution interrupted this

second family-planning drive, but in 1970 a third and much stricter program

was initiated. This program attempted to make late marriage and family

limitation obligatory, and it culminated in 1979 in efforts to implement a

policy of one child per family.

Other developments affected the rate of population growth more than the

first two official family-planning campaigns. For example, although family

planning had been rejected by Chinese Communist Party Chairman Mao Zedong

(Mao Tse-tung) in 1958, the Great Leap Forward that he initiated in that

year (see below The economy) caused a massive famine that resulted in more

deaths than births and a reduction of population in 1960. By 1963 recovery

from the famine produced the highest rate of population increase since

1949, at more than 3 percent, although the second birth-control campaign

had already begun.

Since the initiation of the third family-planning program in 1970,

however, state efforts have been much more effective. China's population

growth rate is now unusually low for a developing country, although the

huge size of its population still results in a large annual net population


Below I described the distribution of China’s population by different

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