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Countries & Cultures
Ethnic Groups and Indigenous People in China
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The majority of the population in the Chinese part of the basin belong to Han-Chinese. There are 47 minority groups in Heilongjiang province (6 percent of the population). Ten of these minorities (Manchu, Korean, Hui(Dungan), Mongol, Daur, Xibe, Olunchun, Owenk, Hezhe, and Kirgiz ) have long histories in the Amur basin. Of the 56 Chinese minorities, the Hezhe (Nanai) ethnic group is the smallest and is found only in Heilongjiang Province (and adjacent Khabarovsky Province of Russia). The Hezhe (Nanai) minority group occupies three townships in Tongjiang and Raohe Counties in the lower reaches of the Amur-Heilong and Ussuri-Wusuli Rivers. The officially registered number of Hezhe is only 1,363, although Hezhe from Raohe insist the total number is closer to 4,000 people. The Hezhe traditional lifestyle is based on fishing and is now severely threatened by the decline in fish stocks and water pollution. The 43 minorities in Jilin Province represent 10 percent of the provincial population. The two largest minority groups are the Koreans and Manchu (each with over 1 million people). Inner Mongolia is a minority autonomous region with a 20 percent minority population, including Mongols, Daurs, Olunchuns, Owenk (Evenke), Russians and others. Among those the Mongols are most numerous and cover vast areas in search of grazing for their sheep and goats. Typically each officially recognized ethnic group has special autonomous administrative unit: county or village, but rarely makes majority of population within that unit.

According to ADB reports on Songhua River basin, nearly half of the very poor in the rural areas belong to ethnic minorities. Many of these minorities live below or close to the poverty line because of the remoteness of villages, poor natural conditions, low education, lack of marketable skills, and poor access to markets and social services. As a result, they have not benefited from the current economic growth; nor have they increased standards of living experienced by others. (Asian Development Bank 2005).


Map collection: Countries & cultures



Amur on the globe

Political map of Amur Heilong River basin

Population of AHRB in 1990s


Photo: Countries & cultures





GIS: Population and administrative division


Mongol herder riding through flooded Gen River valley (Photo by Dan Hanish)

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Countries and provinces


Population density and demographic trends

Mongolia Population

China Population

Russia Population


Cultures and languages

Ethnic groups in Mongolia

Ethnic groups in Russia

Migration processes in Amur-Heilong


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