A Nation of Nations

A random Chinese woman asks to pose for a photo with members of our group

At first glance, China seems really homogenous.  Everyone on the street looks to be the same race, and members of our group stand out a lot.  In fact, random Chinese people often approach us and ask to take a picture with us.  We usually say yes, and the people are often extremely excited. Most likely, these people are visiting Beijing from the countryside, where they aren’t exposed to people of different races very often.  It’s hard for me, as an American, to imagine growing up this way.

Official records say that most people in China are from the Han ethnic group (about 96%). But did you know that there are 56 ethnic minorities in China? In fact, there are many “races” in China and it’s much more diverse than people think. These groups are small in numbers, but important to the rich history of China.

The sign outside the Ethnic Minorities Park, showing one person from each of the 56 different ethnicities in China.

A kitten at the park who is very different… and beautiful!

Yesterday, I visited the Ethnic Minorities Park, which ironically, I heard used to have a big sign in front of it that said “Racist Park.” This was a very sad and incorrect translation, which got corrected before the 2008 Olympics.  In fact, the goal of the park is to prevent racism by exposing people to each of China’s ethnic minorities to help build appreciation for the diversity in China. The park is set up a bit like Epcot in Disney World, with simulations of various villages from around China.  So, if a foreigner is visiting China and doesn’t have time to see the whole country, they can see bits of pieces of everything in Beijing! I was amazed to see all the different types of homes and lifestyles.  If you look at the pictures below, I think you’ll also be surprised at how diverse it is.  We all need to learn to appreciate our differences — because you might be surprised at how beautiful they turn out to be.

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7 replies »

    • Hi Cory — it’s extra credit for 5th and 6th graders at IACS, but you don’t have to do it. No pressure! But it’s fun to see all of your comments and questions. Hope you are having a good summer!

  1. Wow!!

    I had actually thought before that the people in China were roughly the same races, but looks like there are many different races!! I’m amazed how many different races there are!!
    I think the cat was pretty cute!! Was the cat a stray? Was the cat in good health?
    I love your pictures too!! My favorite ones are: the one of the red one-story house; I’d like to live in a house like that someday, and the one of the super fancy bridge with a beautiful river (I think) underneath it.
    It’s sad that they had the park as “Raciest Park” before at the 2008 Olympics, but at least that changed it now!!
    I think we now know to appreciate every race. 😀

    Have fun!!
    😉 ~ Anna

  2. Hi Ms.Krakauer!
    I think it’s funny that a random civilian asked your group for a photo. The pictures in your slide show are beautiful!

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