China has the world’s largest population. Chinese descend from Yan Di and Huang Di, the two mythical kings or chieftains who had ruled the land 4,400 years ago. Among the 56 ethnic groups, the Han people stand out to make up 93.3% of the most recent census statistics.
Yan Di allied with Huang Di in order to regain his lost territory in lower Yellow River from Chi You, a leader of Jiuli, a people from south China. Their combined strength proved advantageous for both, and they formed a merger.
The ‘Three Huang and Five Di’ are wise ancestral leaders of the country. They are revered similar to prophets in the Middle Eastern religions. ‘Three Huang’ refer to Fu Xi , Nu Wa, Shen Nong (Yan Di) while ‘Five Di’ refer to Huang Di, Zhuan Xiang, Di Ku, Tang Yao and Yu Shun.
Similar to Hebrew biblical accounts on tribal affairs, the Chinese minorities came from splinter groups formed after royal edicts that marked major events in history. Exiled leaders fathered the minor tribes. According to Shi Ji by Sima Qian, Gong Gong, Dou, San Miao and Gun offended Zhuan Yu and were exiled upon Shun’s request to north, south, west and east respectively. Thus, Gong Gong became the ancestor of Di, Dou that of Man, San Miao that of Rong and Gun that of Yi.
The tempered Chinese national characteristics emerged after three subsequent dynasties: the Xia, the Shang, and the Zhou. The turmoil endured by people during the Spring and Autumn Period and the Warring States led to a common desire for a unified country.
Emperor Qin Shi Huang ruled as the first emperor, with Han tribes forming the nucleus of a united China. But the name Han is associated with the Western Han Dynasty that came after the first emperor’s reign.
Another unsettling period arrived with the Three Kingdoms, Western and Eastern Jin, Northern and Southern Dynasties. The five hu people resettled in the Yellow River region. Then the Northern Wei reunified the territories to bring about peace. About this time the various minorities had tacitly acknowledged the dominance of Han people and their way of life. The Chinese nation had finally emerged.