People

Photo: Naxi minority girl, Lijiang

People


The population of Yunnan is approximately 34 million. There are 24 registered minorities, including the Zhuang, Hui, Yi, Miao, Tibetans, Mongols, Yao, Bai, Hani, Dai, Lisu, Lahu, Wa, Naxi, Jingpo, Bulang, Pumi, Nu, Achang, Benglong, Jinuo, and Dulong.

The Naxi, living in and around the town of Lijiang in the northwestern part of Yunnan, bordering Tibet, are noted as one of the few Asian people who have maintained a matriarchal society (anthropologists believe that most early human societies have in fact been matriarchal, meaning to say, dominated by women). Apart from northwestern Yunnan, matriarchal societies are, for example, still found today in central Sumatra.

Ethnically, the Naxi belong to the Tibetan group. However, the region where they live, or roamed (as they used to be nomads), administratively belongs to the Chinese provinces of Yunnan and Sichuan. They count some 280,000.

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