Miao people

The Miao (Chinese苗族, Pinyin Miaozu ) are an indigenous people of China. They live mainly in forested mountain areas of southern China and include 9,426,007 people ( Census 2010). Outside of China, known as Hmong or Meo ethnic groups are assigned to groups within China as part of the overarching Miao Nationality.


About the history of the Miao has been around since about 2000 years extensive written records in Chinese chronicles and history books. Own written records are available only since the 17th century, began their work in China than European missionaries. The roots of ethnic Miao probably go back 4000 years.

The Han Chinese already built 3,000 years ago expanding agricultural States and the ancestors of the modern Miao were pushed back by the fast-growing Han Chinese population ever further to the south and in the mountain areas. They were of an ethnic minority of China. Especially during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) there were repeated rebellions of the Miao, which were bloodily suppressed. Only with the founding of the People 's Republic of China gained the Miao an equal position in Chinese society.

Miao or Hmong

Depending on what territory it refers, the name palsy, Hmu, Meo, Hmong Meau and serve as a synonym for Miao. Many outside China Miao prefer variants of Hmong as a proper name. Some believe that Miao mean in Chinese "barbarians". In fact, Miao was a collective name for various peoples of southern China, under the many ethnic groups were conducted, which do not belong to the Miao before the founding of the People's Republic of China. Today's Chinese name Miaozu, ie " Miao folk ", but has nothing to do with the Chinese terms for " barbarians " and appreciates the Miao down in any way. For this reason, no dissatisfaction with their name is known also by the Miao in China. Hmong " free people" From the perspective of many Miao outside China means what brings her desire for a life of freedom to express. The actual meaning of the word is unclear, however, probably is - as Meo and Meau - just a different pronunciation of the Chinese character miao (苗).

The Miao of China are divided into nearly 100 different ethnic groups, which differ mainly to clothing. Only a part of these groups is also represented among the Hmong outside China.


The languages ​​of the Miao language group belong to the Miao - Yao languages. There are several written languages ​​. Chinese scientists include the Miao - Yao languages ​​usually to the Sino-Tibetan language family languages.

For the Miao nationality includes ethnic groups who do not speak Miao language. In Chengbu and Suining (Hunan ) in Longsheng and Ziyuan (Guangxi ) and Jinping ( Guizhou ) Miao there who speak Chinese ( a total of about 100,000 ); in Sanjiang (Guangxi ) are speakers of Dong / Gaeml - language part of the Miao nationality ( over 30,000 ) and in the island province of Hainan include Yao spokesman for the Miao ( over 100,000 ).

Dissemination of Miao

Provincial level

At the census in 2000 8.940.116 Miao were counted in China. Distribution of the Miao people in China:

In Guizhou province are 12.2% (1990: 11.38% ) of the total population Miao in Hunan 3.04% (2.57 %), in Yunnan 2.46% (2.43 %), 1 in Chongqing, 65 %, and in Guangxi 1.06% (1.01 %).

District level

Here only values ​​from 0.25 % were considered. AG = Autonomous Region; AB = Autonomous District; AK = Autonomous District.