ĦĦĦĦThe ethnic minority peoples of China enjoy music and traditional dancing; many have a fine artistic tradition. They have evolved a large volume of poems, fables and legends, and a wealth of scientific writings. Many famous scientists and men of letters have come from the ethnic minorities, and many magnificent old buildings have been built in a distinct ethnic style.

ĦĦĦĦBut the rich store of cultural and artistic heritage was neglected in the old society; most people were denied the right to receive an education; mass illiteracy was the rule. Widespread disease and perpetual natural and man-made calamities caused the loss of countless lives, particularly in the ethnic minority areas; some ethnic minorities were reduced to a state of near extinction. Culture was often suppressed by exploitation.