The Manchu, also known as the Manju, are an ethnic group from Manchuria in northern China. The average American probably hasn’t heard of the Manchu, but they’ve definitely seen their influence in film and art. Manchus form the largest branch of the Tungusic peoples and are distributed throughout China, forming the fourth largest ethnic group in the country.They can be found in 31 Chinese provincial regions. They also form the largest minority group in China without an autonomous region. Among them, Liaoning has the largest population and Hebei, Heilongjiang, Jilin, Inner Mongolia and Beijing have over 100,000 Manchu residents. About half of the population live in Liaoning and one-fifth in Hebei. There are a number of Manchu autonomous counties in China, such as Xinbin, Xiuyan, Qinglong, Fengning, Yitong, Qingyuan, Weichang, Kuancheng, Benxi, Kuandian, Huanren, Fengcheng, Beizhen and over 300 Manchu towns and townships. After assuming rule of China, the Manchu readily adopted a lot of Chinese culture. They kept a lot of the Confucian values and practices of the Ming dynasty, and a vast majority of Manchu people spoke Mandarin Chinese rather than their own language. But, they left their own distinct marks on Chinese history. Since the 1980’s, the People’s Republic of China has encouraged the revival of Manchu culture. This includes traditional Manchu storytelling, Ulabun, and music with the octagonal drum. It also extends to falconry, which was of great historic importance to Manchu hunters, and to the observance of Manchu holidays.
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