A number of ethnic groups within China, as well as people elsewhere with ancestry in the region, may be referred to as Chinese people.
Han Chinese people, the largest ethnic group in China, are often referred to as "Chinese" or "ethnic Chinese" in English. The ethnic Chinese also form a majority or notable minority in other countries, and may comprise as much as 19% of the global human population.
Other ethnic groups in China include the related Hui people or "Chinese Muslims", the Zhuang, Manchu, Uyghurs and Miao, who make up the five largest ethnic minorities in mainland China with populations exceeding 10 million. In addition, the Yi, Tujia, Tibetans and Mongols each number populations between six and nine million.
The People's Republic of China (PRC) officially recognizes 56 distinct ethnic groups, many of whom live in the special administrative regions of the country. However, there exists several smaller ethnicities who are "unrecognized" or subsumed as part another ethnic group. The Republic of China (ROC or commonly Taiwan) officially recognizes 14 tribes of Taiwanese aborigines, who together with unrecognized tribes comprise about 2% of the country's population.
During the Qing dynasty the term "Chinese people" (Chinese: 中國之人 Zhōngguó zhī rén; Manchu: Dulimbai gurun i niyalma) was used by the Qing government to refer to all subjects of the empire, including Han, Manchu, and Mongols.
Zhonghua minzu (simplified Chinese: 中华民族; traditional Chinese: 中華民族; pinyin: Zhōnghuá Mínzú), the "Chinese nation", is a supra-ethnic concept which includes all 56 ethnic groups living in China that are officially recognized by the government of the People's Republic of China. It includes established ethnic groups who have lived within the borders of China since at least the Qing Dynasty (1644–1911). The term zhonghua minzu was used during the Republic of China from 1911–1949 to refer to a subset of five ethnic groups in China. The term zhongguo renmin (Chinese: 中国人民), "Chinese people", was the government's preferred term during the life of Mao Zedong; zhonghua minzu is more common in recent decades.