The People's Republic of China officially recognizes 56 ethnic groups, or Mínzú (民族), usually translated as nationalities, within China: the Han being the majority (>92%), and the remaining 55 nationalities being the minorities. The official self-description of China is it is a unitary multi-national state.
While Han Chinese make up the vast majority of China's total population, the population distribution is highly uneven with large parts of western China having Han Chinese as a minority. In addition the lumping of most Chinese into the majority Han, obscures some of the large linguistic, cultural, and racial differences between persons within that group.
The multiethnic nature of China results in part by territories incorporated by the Qing dynasty, whose emperors were themselves Manchu and not members of the majority Han. Chinese nationalities theory is heavily influenced by that of the Soviet Union. Official policy is against assimilation and maintains that each ethnic group should have the right to develop its own culture and language.
The degree of integration of minority ethnic groups with the national community varies widely from group to group. With some groups, such as the Tibetans and the Uighurs there is a great deal of resentment against the majority. Other groups such as the Zhuang, Hui Chinese, and ethnic Koreans are well integrated into the national community.
The 56 Ethnic Groups 中国56民族简介英文版