Haqniq, Hà Nhì
An ethnic Hani girl with a typical Hani headgear for children. Near Yuanyang, Yunnan Province, China.
An ethnic Hani girl with a typical Hani headgear for children. Near Yuanyang, Yunnan Province, China.
Total population
Regions with significant populations
 China1,733,166 (2020)
 Myanmar200,000 (2007)
 Laos60,000 (2007)
 Thailand60,000 (2007)
 Vietnam25,539 (2019)[1]
HaniHanoish languages
Related ethnic groups
AkhaYiLahuKaren people
Typical daily attire of ethnic Hani in China. In Yuanyang County, Yunnan Province.
A Ho (Hani) woman and her child in Laos, circa 2003.

The Hani or Ho people (Hani: Haqniq; Chinese: 哈尼族; pinyin: Hānízú; Vietnamese: Người Hà Nhì / 𠊛何贰) are a Lolo-speaking ethnic group in Southern China and Northern Laos and Vietnam. They form one of the 56 officially recognized nationalities of the People's Republic of China and one of the 54 officially recognized ethnic groups of Vietnam. In Laos, the Hani are more commonly known as Ho.


There are 12,500 Hani living in Lai Châu Province and Lào Cai Province of Vietnam. The Ho reside in the mountainous northern regions of Phongsaly Province in Laos, near the Chinese and Vietnamese borders.


Over ninety percent of present-day Hani peoples live in the Province of Yunnan in Southern China, located across the Ailao Mountains, between the Mekong River and the Red River (Yuanjiang river).

Subdivisions of Hani autonomous counties within prefecture-level cities and a prefecture, within Yunnan are:


The origins of the Hani are not precisely known, though their ancestors, the ancient Qiang tribe, are believed to have migrated southward from the QinghaiTibetan plateau prior to the third century CE.

The Hani oral traditions state that they are descended from the Yi people, and that they split off as a separate tribe fifty generations ago. One of their oral traditions is the recital of the names of Hani ancestors from the first Hani family down to oneself.


A Hani house in Vietnam.

Hani houses are usually two or three stories high, built with bamboo, mud, stone and wood.

The traditional clothing of the Hani is made with dark blue fabric. The men dress in short jackets and in long wide pants. They also wear white or black turbans. The women dress depending on which clan they belong to. There is no gender difference in the clothing of children under the age of seven.

Hani are known for their vocal polyphonic singing. Eight-part polyphony was recorded in the 1990s.[2] They play traditional musical instruments, end-blown flute labi (俄比). and three-stringed plucked lute lahe.

Terraced fields are a feature of their agricultural practices.[3]

Elderly Hani ladies enjoying ice cream at Laomeng market. Near Yuanyang, Yunnan Province, China.


The Hani are polytheists and they profess a special adoration toward the spirits of their ancestors.[3] They are used to practicing rituals to venerate the different gods and thus to obtain their protection.

The religious hierarchy of the Hani is divided into three main personages: the zuima that directs the main celebrations; the beima, responsible for practicing the exorcisms and the magical rituals; the nima that takes charge of carrying out predictions and to administer the medicinal herbs. This last charge can be performed indistinctly by men and women.

Some Hani also practice Theravada Buddhism.


See also: Hanoish languages

The Hani language spoken by many of the Hani belongs to the Lolo-Burmese branch of the Sino-Tibetan language family. Many Hani speak languages related to Lolo-Burmese languages. Oral tradition tells of an ancient written script, tradition says it was lost on the migration from Sichuan. They now use a romanization of the Luchun dialect as a written script.[citation needed]

Agricultural practices

The Hani people have made contributions to the biodiversity of agroecosystems and mountain landscapes through their extensive traditional knowledge and maintenance of culture.[4] One of the Hani people's most known cultural practices are their cultivated terraced rice paddy. This has been a traditional practice for over 1300 years, creating a unique agroecosystem attracting both tourists and researchers.[5] The terraces are recognized as a UNESCO Heritage Site and are often cited as an example of traditional farming methods.[5]

The Hani began their rice cultivation in terraced hillside fields about 1,300 years ago, when they started to form a sustainable agroecosystem made up of forests, villages, terraced rice paddies, and river systems.[5] The Hani people's rice seed bank now consists of numerous traditional rice seed varieties adapted to the cold and dry conditions of mountainous regions. In 1984, Yunnan Province, Republic of China reported "5285 rice varieties with Yuanyang County alone reporting 196 traditional varieties".[4] This is due to their innovative agricultural practices, such as integrated duck and fish farming, enhanced yield and stabilized agroecosystems. In addition, the use of green manure, such as compositae and crofton weeds, bolstered soil health and combated pests.[4] Their water management skills have sustained the rice terraces for thousands of years by channeling water from forested mountains, without the need for reservoirs. Coupled with the region's hot and humid climate, which frequently produces thick fog, the area remains moist throughout the year.[4] This intricate farming layout, merging terraces, rivers, villages, and forests, embodies the Hani's relationship with nature. As a result, the Honghe Hani Rice Terraces were designated a World Heritage Site in 2013, emphasizing the significance of traditional knowledge in biodiversity conservation.[4]

Culture has been important in preserving the terraced landscape, especially in the face of urbanization. Unlike most farmers in China, who migrate to more developed regions for better wages, the Hani people prefer part-time non-farm jobs close to their homes, returning frequently for traditional events.[6] This employment pattern of the Hani farmers, influenced by their culture, is significant in the continued maintenance of the terraces.

Yuanyang hani farmer

Challenges still exist within this ancient farming civilization. Fewer people, especially the younger generation, are able to master the traditional terraced farming techniques. In Aichun village, "about 600 people are between 20 and 40 years old, roughly one-fifth of the total population, but only 40 of them know the whole procedure of growing the red rice".[7] Therefore, to prevent the land from being abandoned, remaining villagers work the fields. Additionally, the local government and tourist businesses partner with farmers. Farmers lease their lands to businesses, ensuring organized land management and providing villagers with steady incomes from both lease payments and farming.[7]



According to You Weiqiong (2013:159–160),[8] Hani subgroups were classified as follows in 1954, with 11 primary branches. Respective locations (counties) are listed as well.


The Hani of Vietnam consist of the following subgroups (Vu 2010:10–11).[9]

In Vietnam, communes consisting almost exclusively of ethnic Hani include Sín Thầu, Chúng Chải, Mù Cả, Ka Lăng, Thu Lủm (all in Mường Tè District), Y Tý and A Lù (all in Bát Xát District). The Hani of A Lù had originally come from Jinping County of Yunnan, China, and had later spread from A Lù to the communes of Lao Chải, Nậm Pung, and Ngài Thầu.

See also


  1. ^ "Report on Results of the 2019 Census". General Statistics Office of Vietnam. Retrieved 1 May 2020.
  2. ^ Zhang, Xingrong (1997). ‘A New Discovery: Traditional 8-Part Polyphonic Singing of the Hani of Yunnan’. Chime 10/11 (Spring/Autumn), pg 145–52. http://contemporary_chinese_culture.academic.ru/306/Han_Shaogong
  3. ^ a b L., David, Edward (2009). Encyclopedia of contemporary Chinese culture. Routledge. pp. 244–245. ISBN 978-0-415-24129-8. OCLC 902156338.((cite book)): CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  4. ^ a b c d e Yang, Jingbiao; Wang, Yi-Chen; Wang, Dan; Guo, Luo (December 2018). "Application of Traditional Knowledge of Hani People in Biodiversity Conservation". Sustainability. 10 (12): 4555. doi:10.3390/su10124555. ISSN 2071-1050.
  5. ^ a b c Luo, Binsheng; Liu, Bo; Zhang, Hongzhen; Zhang, Hongkang; Li, Xuan; Ma, Lijuan; Wang, Yizhou; Bai, Yujia; Zhang, Xinbo; Li, Jianqin; Yang, Jun; Long, Chunlin (2019-11-27). "Wild edible plants collected by Hani from terraced rice paddy agroecosystem in Honghe Prefecture, Yunnan, China". Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine. 15 (1): 56. doi:10.1186/s13002-019-0336-x. ISSN 1746-4269. PMC 6882008. PMID 31775804.
  6. ^ Zhang, Yongxun; Min, Qingwen; Zhang, Canqiang; He, Lulu; Zhang, Su; Yang, Lun; Tian, Mi; Xiong, Ying (2017-05-01). "Traditional culture as an important power for maintaining agricultural landscapes in cultural heritage sites: A case study of the Hani terraces". Journal of Cultural Heritage. 25: 170–179. doi:10.1016/j.culher.2016.12.002. ISSN 1296-2074.
  7. ^ a b 胡哲. "Millennium-old rice terraces survived in China". global.chinadaily.com.cn. Retrieved 2023-10-09.
  8. ^ a b c You Weiqiong [尤伟琼]. 2013. Classifying ethnic groups of Yunnan [云南民族识别研究]. Beijing: Ethnic Publishing House [民族出版社].
  9. ^ Vũ Quốc Khánh. 2010. Người Hà Nhì ở Việt Nam [The Ha Nhi in Viet Nam]. Hà Nội: Nhà xuất bản thông tấn.
  10. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-07-29. Retrieved 2012-05-06.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)