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China is a unified nation consisting of many different ethnic groups. Fifty-six different ethnic groups make up the great Chinese national family. Because the Han people accounts for more than ninety percent of China's population, the remaining fifty-five groups are generally referred to as "ethnic minorities." Next to the majority Han, the Mongolian, Hui, Tibetan, and Uygur peoples comprise the largest ethnic groups. Although China's ethnic minorities do not account for a large portion of the population, they are distributed over a vast area, residing in every corner of China.

Particularly since the implementation of China's opening and reform policy, the central government has increased investment in minority areas and accelerated their opening to the outside world. This has resulted in an upsurge of economic development in these areas. Each of China's ethnic minority groups possesses a distinctive culture. The Chinese government respects minority customs, and works to preserve, study, and collate the cultural artifacts of China's ethnic minority groups. The government vigorously supports the development of minority culture and the training of minority cultural workers, and fosters the development of traditional minority medicine.

The relation among China's ethnic groups can be described as "overall integration, local concentration, mutual interaction." Concentrations of ethnic minorities reside within predominantly Han areas, and the Han people also reside in minority areas, indicating that there has been extensive exchanges among China's ethnic groups since ancient times. With the development of the market economy, interaction among ethnic groups has become even more active in the areas of government, economics, culture, daily life, and marriage. Linked by interdependence, mutual assistance, and joint development, their common goals and interests creating a deep sense of solidarity, China's ethnic groups resemble a great national family, together building Chinese civilization. (

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