This section covers the cultures of the People's Republic of China (PRC). Nomenclature and spelling follow the standard forms used in the PRC. Materials on Overseas Chinese appear in other volumes when applicable, and the mountain peoples of Taiwan are covered in the East and Southeast Asia volume. Both the East and Southeast Asia volume and the Russia and Eurasia section of this volume cover ethnic groups also found in China.
In 1990, the population of China was 1,133,682,501 persons, of whom 1,042,482,187 belonged to the Han nationality, the people generally referred to as Chinese. The remainder were divided among some fifty-five "minority nationalities" that are recognized officially by the state, at least 749,341 persons claiming membership in ethnic groups not yet accorded official recognition, and 3,421 naturalized foreigners. The recognized minorities range in size from the 15,489,630 Zhuang to the 2,312 Lhoba; at least eighteen groups have populations over 1,000,000.