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Gin people

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Gin people

Gin people
Total population
Regions with significant populations
China (Wutou, Wanwei and Shanxin islands off the coast of Dongxing city, Guangxi)
Vietnamese, Cantonese, and some Mandarin
Mahayana Buddhism · Taoism · Christianity
Related ethnic groups
Vietnamese people
Gin people
Chinese name
Chinese 京族
Vietnamese name
Vietnamese Kinh tộc

The Gin people[1] (Chinese: 京族; pinyin: Jīngzú) are an ethnic minority group that live in southwestern China, which immigrated from Vietnam hundreds of years ago. The native name of the Gin, Kinh simply means Vietnamese people and they speak a Vietnamese dialect influenced by Yue Chinese and some Mandarin Chinese. They mainly live on three islands off the coast of Dongxing, Fangchenggang, Guangxi. Zhuang Autonomous Region.

The Gin population was just over 20,000 in 2000. This number does not include the 36,205 Vietnamese nationals studying or working in Mainland China recorded by the 2010 national population census.[2]


Their connection to Vietnam is based on stories and documents which told that they moved from mainland Dai Viet to three sparsely inhabited islands in the 16th century. They are reported to speak a dialect of Vietnamese.


The people of this very small ethnic minority live in compact communities primarily in the three islands of Wanwei, Wutou and Shanxin in the Fangcheng Multi-ethnic Autonomous County, the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, near the Sino-Vietnamese border. About one quarter of them live among the Han Chinese and Zhuang ethnic groups in nearby counties and towns.

The Gin live in a subtropical area with plenty of rainfall and rich mineral resources. The Beibu Gulf to its south is an ideal fishing ground. Of the more than 700 species of fish found there, over 200 are of great economic value and high yields. Pearls, sea horses and sea otters which grow in abundance are prized for their medicinal value. Seawater from the Beibu Gulf is good for salt making. The main crops there are rice, sweet potato, peanut, taro and millet, and sub-tropical fruits like papaya, banana, and longan are also plentiful. Mineral deposits include iron, monazite, titanium, magnetite and silica. The large tracts of mangroves growing in marshy land along the coast are a rich source of tannin, an essential raw material for the tanning industry.


In addition to using Hanzi, the Gin have their unique Zinan script, called Chu Nom in Vietnamese, dating back to the 13th century.[3][4] Created on the basis of the script of the Han people towards the end of the 13th century, it is found in old song books and religious scriptures. Most Gin read and write in the Han script because they have lived with Hans for a long time. They speak the Cantonese dialect.

Gin people like antiphonal songs which are melodious and lyrical. Their traditional instruments include the two-stringed fiddle, flute, drum, gong and the single-stringed fiddle, a unique musical instrument of the ethnic group. Folk stories and legends abound. Their favorite dances feature lanterns, fancy colored sticks, embroidery and dragons.

Gin costume is simple and practical. Traditionally, women wear tight-fitting, collarless short blouses buttoned in front plus a diamond-shaped top apron and broad black or brown trousers. When going out, they would put on a light colored gown with narrow sleeves. They also like earrings. Men wear long jackets reaching down to the knees and girdles. Now most people dress themselves like their Han neighbors though a few elderly women retain their tradition and a few young women coil their hair and dye their teeth black.

Many Gin are believers of Buddhism or Taoism, with a few followers of Catholicism. They also celebrate the Lunar New Year, the Pure Brightness Festival, the Dragon Boat Festival and the Mid-Autumn Festival like the Han.

Fish sauce is a favorite condiment of the Gin people for cooking, and a cake prepared with glutinous rice mixed with sesame is a great delicacy for them. There used to be some taboos, such as stepping over a fishing net placed on the beach.

See also


  1. ^ GB 3304-91 Names of nationalities of China in romanization with codes
  2. ^ "Major Figures on Residents from Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan and Foreigners Covered by 2010 Population Census". National Bureau of Statistics of China. April 29, 2011. Retrieved May 4, 2011. 
  3. ^ James Stuart Olson (1998). An ethnohistorical dictionary of China. Greenwood Publishing Group,. p. 158.  
  4. ^ Paul Friedrich, Norma Diamond (1994). Russia and Eurasia, China. Hall. p. 454.  

External links

  • The Jing ethnic minority
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