Here, on the main street of Xia’he, Gannan in the Tibetan Autonomous Region located in northwest China, a man noses through objects in a Tibetan religious shop. With his goatee and Mao-style glasses, he appears to be a traditional Han Chinese. He does not wear the traditional yak fur jacket, a somewhat surprising fact as most wear it in winter in Gannan when the temperature plummets. While the vast majority of Han Chinese are not religious, there are some from older generations who have of late turned to Tibetan Buddhism, mixing in various Confucian tenets and Daoist beliefs, thereby creating a very layered and complex religion.
Photo © 2010 Mathilde Verillaud
China/People’s Republic of China
Eastern Asia, bordering East China Sea, Korea Bay, Yellow and South China Seas, between Korea and Vietnam. Mostly mtns, high plateaus, deserts in west; plains, deltas, and hills east. 9,596,961 km2 (slightly < USA), 15% arable.
Capital Beijing (12.2M)
Population 1.3B (140/km2)
Life expectancy 75 years
Lang(s) Std Chinese or Mandarin (Putonghua, based on Beijing dialect), Yue (Cantonese), Wu (Shanghainese), Minbei (Fuzhou), Minnan (Hokkien-Tawainese), Xiang, Gan, Hakka dialects, minority language
Religions Daoist (Taoist), Buddhist, Christian 3-4%, Muslim 1-2%
Ethnic Groups Han Chinese 91.5%; Zhuang, Hui, Manchu, Miao, Uighur, Tujia, Yi, Mongol, Tibetan, Buyi, Dong, Yao, Korean, and other 8.5%
Gov’t Communist State
PCVs 1993-present; teaching English (TEFL), Chinese, and cross-cultural issues. Volunteers in country: 162. Total to date: 754.
Nat’l holiday Anniversary of founding of People’s Republic of China, 1 October (1949)