Chinese National Minorities. Miao Lady. The Miao, with a population of seven mllions, are one of the most ancient of China's nationalities, tracing their origins back more than 4,000 years. The Miao language has three main dialects, but there was no unified written script until 1956. Religions include nature and ancestor worship and Christianity.
Forced southward by the Han, often despised and exploited, many settled in distant mountains, raising millet and buckwheat by slash-and-burn farming, their diet supplemented by domestic animals and hunting. Modernization, improved farming methods, organization of communes, and road building has been made difficult by the ragged terrain in which the Miao are scattered.
The Miao are found in the Guizhou, Hainan, Hubei, Sichuan, Gansu, Guizhou, Qinghai, Hunan, Guangdong, and Yunnan Provinces and the Guangxi Autonomous Region.