Gin people
Người Kinh (𠊛京)
Total population
33,112 (2020 census)[1]
Regions with significant populations
China (Wutou, Wanwei and Shanxin islands off the coast of Dongxing, Guangxi)
Primarily: Standard Chinese (lingua franca)
Historically: Vietnamese (writing in chữ Nôm and chữ Hán) & other Vietic languages
Vietnamese folk religion · Mahayana Buddhism · Taoism
Related ethnic groups
Vietnamese people, Muong, Chứt, Thổ
Gin people
Chinese name
Vietnamese name
Vietnamese alphabetDân tộc Kinh
Người Kinh tại Trung Quốc
Chữ Hán民族京
Chữ Nôm𠊛京在中國
A poster depicting 56 recognized ethnic groups in China. The Gin people are third from left to right.

The Gin,[2] or Jing people,[3] (Chinese: , Sino-Vietnamese: Kinh tộc; Vietnamese: người Kinh tại Trung Quốc) are a community of descendants of ethnic Vietnamese people living in China. They mainly live in an area called the Jing Islands (京族三岛), off the coast of Dongxing, Fangchenggang, in the Chinese autonomous region of Guangxi. These territories were administered by the Nguyễn dynasty but were later ceded by the French to the Qing dynasty due to the 1887 convention, after the Sino-French war.

The Việt were labelled Yue (Chinese: 越族; pinyin: Yuèzú, Sino-Vietnamese: Việt tộc; Vietnamese: người Việt tại Trung Quốc) before the introduction of the names "Kinh", "Gin", or "Jing", in 1958.[4]

The Gin population was 33,112 as of 2020.[1] This number does not include the 36,205 Vietnamese nationals studying or working in Mainland China, recorded by the 2010 national population census.[5]


In Vietnamese, Kinh and Việt are used interchangeably to refer Vietnamese people, with Kinh used more in more official contexts; the Chinese characters for the ethnic group, 京 and 越, are the same as in Sino-Vietnamese. Kinh (京), meaning "capital city", evolved to refer to people living in the lowlands, to distinguish them from people living in the highlands. Việt (越) is a reference to the Baiyue, a collection of non-Han peoples who lived in southern China since ancient times.


The ancestors of the Gin people immigrated to the area from Hải Phòng, Vietnam, during the 16th century and established communities on the three originally uninhabited islands of Wutou, Wanwei and Shanxin.[6]

Vietnam's territories in mordern-day Fangchenggang on an 1888 map, before ceded to Qing dynasty

During the Mạc dynasty (1533–1592), the lands south of Shidawanshan Mountains including the Bailong Peninsula were ceded to the Ming dynasty. Jiangping was a melting pot of Vietnamese and Chinese, however, the region was neglected by the Vietnamese government. During the 18th and 19th, the area became a hotbed of piracy (see: Pirates of the South China Coast). After the end of the Sino-French War in 1885, Jiangping and the Jing Islands were ceded by the French to Qing China.


The people of this very small ethnic minority have lived for about 500 years on the three islands of Wanwei (Vạn Vĩ), Wutou (Vu Đầu) and Shanxin (Sơn Tâm) off the coast of Guangxi, China, about 8 km east of the border with Vietnam. Some also live in nearby villages of Zhushan and Tanji. In the 1960s, the islands were connected to the mainland by a land reclamation project.[7] The islands are administered as part of Dongxing county within Fangchenggang prefecture. A minority also live in nearby counties and towns with predominately Han Chinese or Zhuang populations.[6]

The Gin live in a subtropical area with plenty of rainfall and rich mineral resources. The Gulf of Tonkin 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 Gulf of Tonkin 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. 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.


The language of the Gin people is a dialect of Vietnamese.[3] The Gin can communicate verbally with Kinh people, but do not use Latin-script chữ Quốc ngữ.[citation needed] Standard Cantonese is also spoken by many in the community as well as Mandarin Chinese. A survey in 1980 indicated that one third of Gin people had lost their native language and can only speak Cantonese or Mandarin, and another third who are bilingual in the Gin language and Han Chinese languages. The survey suggested a decline in the use of the Gin language, but in the 2000s, there appeared to be a revival in the use of the language.[8]

For writing, the Gin still use chữ Hán (Chinese characters) and chữ Nôm in Vietnamese, because they were not affected by the transition to the Vietnamese Latin alphabet by the French colonial government during the French colonial period.[3][8] 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.[9]


Main article: Vietnamese culture

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, similar to what is worn in the south of Vietnam, as well as broad black or brown trousers. When going out, they would put on a light colored gown with narrow sleeves. 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. The biggest festival of the Gin people is the Ha Festival, and has been recognized as a national intangible cultural heritage of China.[10]

Fish sauce is a favorite condiment of the Gin 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. ^ a b "2–22. Population by ethnic groups and gender". National Bureau of Statistics of China. Retrieved 10 December 2021.
  2. ^ "Names of nationalities of China in romanization with codes". 中国民族报. Archived from the original on 1 November 2009.
  3. ^ a b c James Stuart Olson (28 February 1998). An Ethnohistorical Dictionary of China. Greenwood Press. p. 158. ISBN 978-0313288531.
  4. ^ "京 族". Communist Party of China. Archived from the original on 2020-10-03. Retrieved 2020-09-10.
  5. ^ "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. Archived from the original on May 14, 2011. Retrieved May 4, 2011.
  6. ^ a b Jing (in French)
  7. ^ Legerton, Colin; Rawson, Jacob (2009). Invisible China: A Journey Through Ethnic Borderlands. Chicago Review Press. p. 85. ISBN 978-1-569-76263-9.
  8. ^ a b Linda Tsung (23 October 2014). Language Power and Hierarchy: Multilingual Education in China. Bloomsbury Academic. p. 188. ISBN 978-1441142351.
  9. ^ Friedrich, Paul; Diamond, Norma (1994). Russia and Eurasia, China. Hall. p. 454. ISBN 0-8161-1810-8. Retrieved 2011-01-11.
  10. ^ "连庆8天!京族一年一度最盛大的民族传统节日来了". Sohu.