To avoid confusions, we would like to make it clear right from the beginning that we are strictly referring to the Han Chinese population rather than ~1.4 billion Chinese population in general. However, as mentioned in another article, roughly 91.65% of all Chinese citizens are Han Chinese (in other words, almost 1.3 billion individuals). If we go by the 7.7 billion number in terms of global population, we end up reaching the conclusion that, indeed, 1 out of every 5 human beings is Han Chinese.
Whether we are referring to mainland China, to Taiwan which itself has a ~90% Han Chinese population, Hong Kong with its almost 7 million Han Chinese individuals or Singapore with almost 3 million, it becomes clear just how dominant this ethnic group is in the region. However, in light of the fact that many Han Chinese made lives for themselves abroad across multiple generations, you can find this ethnic group from Australia to the United States, from France to India or even Peru.
Historically speaking, the Han Dynasty was established back in 206 BC and for additional context, we would recommend reading our article on Chinese dynasties (a general overview) that you can access by clicking HERE. Let’s just say that the Han Dynasty brought about increased prosperity and progress on most fronts:
- There is a reason why it tends to be called the Golden Age, with scientific developments (matches, gunpowder, fireworks and so on) abounding
- Culturally speaking, we have the emergence of Buddhism as well as the spread of Taoism as well as Confucianism that we have covered on ChinaFund.com through individual articles or to read a post about the three teachings as a whole, simply click HERE
- When it comes to trade, the #1 achievement was (of course) represented by the introduction of the Silk Road, with trade routes being established between China and many countries of the let’s say West
- Even the organization of the average family had business-oriented characteristics, with the head of the household acting as the de facto manager of the business and other family members chipping in with various responsibilities
- As far as the tangible heritage dimension is concerned, we have two of the world’s most famous UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the Great Wall on the one hand (with its construction starting under a Han emperor and later on, the Ming Dynasty took over, which also had Han Chinese in charge) and the Terracotta Army on the other
- In terms of intangible heritage, we obviously have examples such as Hanyu, which later on turned into early Mandarin Chinese
- Administratively speaking, Han public administration became a benchmark to such a degree that even those who occasionally defeated China militarily ended up having to resort to Han “bureaucratic know-how” so as to keep the system running
To say that the list could go on and on would be a severe understatement, let’s not even start mentioning notable modern-day achievements (Nobel Prizes included) of Han Chinese. Suffice it to say that it is difficult to identify a more influential ethnic group than this one, not just domestically but internationally speaking as well.
Of course, Han Chinese haven’t exactly always been keen on let’s say interacting with foreigners.
On the contrary, as mentioned very frequently here on ChinaFund.com, China in general and the Han Chinese ethnic group in particular have always assumed that all other nations will ultimately gravitate toward the superior entity that is China and as such, being proactive or even downright engaging in missionary campaigns was deemed unnecessary.
Fast-forward to the present and, as the title of this post states, we find ourselves noticing that 1 out of 5 individuals is Han Chinese at this point in time, in a totally different geopolitical landscape which makes the type of isolationism China has been accustomed to both unprofitable and, frankly, impossible. On the contrary, China has arguable been the main beneficiary of our deeply interconnected globalization-oriented system and for this reason, we find ourselves in a situation where populations with sometimes completely different cultural values are faced with the task of finding common denominators.
Needless to say, the rewards can be unprecedently high if or when they do and for this reason, unlike many other teams of experts, ChinaFund.com firmly believes that there is more to China in general and the Han Chinese ethnical group in particular than GDP figures, GDP growth trends and other economic data. Without meaningfully factoring in the cultural dimension and without at the very least trying to have a deep understanding of let’s say all things China, economic interactions can be superficial at best.
Functional? Perhaps but most definitely sub-optimal. The cost to benefit ratio associated with investing time/energy into meaningfully understanding China are, in our view, asymmetrically in your favor. As such, putting in the work is the name of the game. Should you be interested in our help with respect to digging deep, simply visit our Consulting page to find out what we can do for you or if you have a specific request, access the Contact page of our website so as to leave a message and we will get back to you in a timely manner.