Understanding the Ethnic Geography of China

First, understand the provinces of China:

When people think of China, they all assume that everyone in China is Chinese, speaks Chinese, looks and live like this:

Now let’s look at the Ethnic Make-Up of China!

Look how many Han Chinese there are? But first things first! All the Han Chinese do not speak the same language! Chinese is probably as useful as saying the “Europeans”.

Let’s pretend that Europe is combined into a single country! But with London as the Capital City, and everyone is officially, “European” and they all speak “European”, with European English as the official language of Europe! The French, German, Spanish and Russians? They are their own entire language, culture and ethnicity.

Same goes with China. China is much larger than Europe, speaking different languages, eating different foods, practicing different religions, wearing different clothing. Beijing is the capital, with Mandarin Chinese as the official language of the entire country. However, Chinese languages are considered “Dialects”, but not their own distinct language, culture or ethnicity.

Now let’s look at the Han Chinese languages:

Mandarin Chinese not only has it’s “Northern, Eastern, Southwestern” dialects, but they even break up into more different dialects and accents from different region, city and province. There’s a difference between London accent, Welsh accent, Scottish and Irish accents. To simplify it, the government simply grouped everyone together.

Southern Chinese languages cannot mutually understand with any other Chinese. That’s like an Englishman trying to communicate with a German, a Dutch, or a Danish. They all belong from the same language group, but they cannot understand one another mutually.

But what about the other Non-Han Chinese?

See where Han is at? (Look where Beijing would be!) That is the original homeland of all Han Chinese people.

There are officially 56 Ethnic Groups in China, but there are hundreds and even more that are unofficial and undocumented. It’s the Chinese government way of saying, “Meh. Saffron, Violet and Pink are the same thing. Let’s just call it “Red”.

But how did Han Chinese became the major language and ethnic group of China?

Through conquest! Very much like how the Romans of today Italy killed, pillaged, raped and took over the Gauls of France, the Germania of Central Europe and the Britannia’s of the British Isles, and turned them “Roman citizens” through colonization and expansion!

But what makes China a unique case, is that the surviving natives of the Northern Han conquest, is that they still retain much of their native cultures. They survived, because most of the ethnic groups lived up in the mountains, where the ancient Han Chinese were too lazy to bring their armies up mountains:

Those who were colonized and assimilated into Chinese culture?

The Vietnamese were colonized by the Chinese more than three times.

Korea was colonized/tributing state for the longest time ever.

And Southern China! They would be influenced and assimilated strongest to Northern Chinese culture and language!

But why is everyone considered Chinese?

Same bullshit as your government saying that you’re an American, Canadian, British, Australian, etc. etc. citizen. It’s like a rich White straight male, taking control of the government and dictating how you live, under his life style. The Han Chinese says that everyone in China is all Chinese.

And mostly the blatent ignorance and education on the diversity of China. 

Chinese Dialects?

It’s another bullshit ideology.

Is French, Spanish, Italian and Portuguese a dialect of Europe? No. They are their own distinct languages. They may come from the same Roman history, the same Romance language family, but they are their own language. Teochow, Hakka, Minnan, Cantonese, Mandarin, etc. etc. are their own distinct language and ethnicity.

Unified China?

To unify Germany, Hitler said that the German Race was the greatest race! Germans from all over Europe, the German Swiss, the Austrian Germans, etc. etc. united as a single “Race” and rose to power.

To unify China, Northern Chinese Emperors said that they were the greatest race! And attempted to conquer everyone else, killing anyone who wasn’t “Chinese”. This was done for more than 3,000 years, resulting in many extinct native cultures and ethnicities in China, and resulting many cultures (like Korea, Vietnam and even Taiwan) to assimilate into Northern Han Chinese culture.


Not everyone in China are Mandarin Han Chinese, the major ethnic and language speaking group of China. Three different dialects of Mandarin and 6 different languages of Southern Chinese (Hakka, Min, Wu, etc.).

There is an official recognized 56 ethnic groups, but hundreds that are unrecognized. Such as Tibetans, Miao, Manchu and even Koreans and Mongolians!

China is very diverse in language, culture, religion and ethnicity. Not everyone is ethnically Chinese, nor speak Mandarin Chinese.

I just found a website that lets you look up Chinese characters and find the Cantonese, Hakka and Weitou dialect pronunciations (WITH AUDIO). You can access the dictionary by typing into the search bar at the top, or going to the “發音字典” page. Here’s an example of a dictionary entry: 

There are also a handful of recordings of native speakers reading out certain words, which can be found by clicking on the “本土語言” tab. 

Lastly, they also have a chart comparing Mandarin, Cantonese, Hakka and Weitou dialect (with recordings in Hakka and Weitou). Here’s a sample: 

Hakka/Weitou resources are really hard to find, especially dictionaries with audio! Unfortunately, the entire site is in Chinese, but it’s pretty clearly laid out and not too difficult to find things. You can access the site here.

This site contains dialogues, audio clips and specialized vocabulary in 18 different Chinese dialects. (It also contains a very small Tibetan section)

The following dialects are included on this site: 

  • 普通话 Mandarin
  • 粤语 Cantonese
  • 客家话 Hakka
  • 闽南语 Minnan
  • 潮汕话 Teochew
  • 海南话 Hainanese
  • 四川话 Sichuanese
  • 重庆言子 Chongqing dialect
  • 湖南话 Xiang
  • 东北话 Northeastern Mandarin
  • 宁波话 Ningbo
  • 温州话 Wenzhounese
  • 福州话 Fuzhou dialect
  • 台语 Taiwanese Hokkien
  • 常州话 Changzhou dialect
  • 大连话 Dalian dialect
  • 青岛话 Qingdao dialect
  • 上海话 Shanghainese

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So does this mean that Rukia will end up with Isshin or Hinamori because their zanpakutos are fire types and hers is a snow-and-ice type?


Moedict (萌典) is a free Taiwanese dictionary that gives results for three major dialects in Taiwan: Taiwanese Mandarin, Hakka, and Taiwanese Hokkien (Minnan). Some cool features that I’ve noticed: 

  • audio files for not only Mandarin entries but for the Hakka and Hokkien entries as well (the audio tends to act up a lot on mobile, not so much online)
  • Mandarin entries will also include English, and occasionally French and German definitions
  • the app is available on Android, iOS, Windows, Mac, and has an online version as well
  • STROKE ORDER GIFS and radical search
  • Zhuyin, Pinyin, and standardized romanization for Hakka and Hokkien
  • a section on their website dedicated to specialized Mainland Chinese vocabulary

Android | iOS | Windows & Mac | Website 


Source for the first picture: Memrise

Names of the animals given in TCC. Asterisks show pronunciations not directly derived but are still faithful pronunciations (the MTCC mau1 is derived from most modern pronunciations and the Hakka miau2 is from an alternate Middle Chinese reading). Slashes in the above picture (but not in the Taiwanese pronunciations) denote uncertainty as to which one should be used in the given word, though both are valid readings for the character. In the Hakka Romanization given here, initial <p t k> stand for aspirates.

Edit: Taiwanese Hokkien
袋鼠: tē-tshí/tē-tshú
海豹: hái-pà
企鵝: khì-gô (徛鵝: khiā-gô)
貓頭鷹: niau-thâu-ing (貓頭鳥: niau-thâu-tsiáu)
海豚: hái-thûn (海豬: hái-ti/hái-tu)
壁虎: piah-hóo
鴨嘴獸: (鴨喙獸: ah-tshuì-siù)
龍蝦: liông-hê