Miao ethnic group
(chinadaily.com.cn) Updated: 2016-09-13
The Miao is an old civilization, mainly scattered across Guizhou, Hunan, Hubei, Sichuan, Yunnan, and Hainan provinces and the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region of China, as well as Laos, Vietnam, and Thailand in Southeast Asia. Their ancestors are said to have lived along the lower-to-mid reaches of the Yellow River, but then migrated to the Jianghan Plaine, and after a period of wars, gradually went south, ending up in mountainous regions and the Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau. During the Ming and Qing dynasties (1368-1911), some of the Miao migrated farther south, to Southeast Asia and, in modern times, some have moved to Europe and the Americas. China's 2010 census showed them with a population of 9,426,007, putting them in fourth place among China's ethnic groups.
The Miao have their own language, the Sino-Tibetan language family's Miao and Yao branch, which has three dialects -- western Hunan, eastern Guizhou, and Sichuan-Guizhou-Yunan. The Miao have long had relations with the Han, so some of them speak Mandarin Chinese. Their religion mainly involves nature and ancestor worship.