She, Sa
She traditional dance performance in Huanglongyan (黄龙岩), Heyuan, Guangdong
Total population
709,592 (2000)
Regions with significant populations
China (Fujian, Zhejiang, Jiangxi, Guangdong, Anhui)
Predominantly She Chinese and Standard Chinese (lingua franca). A minuscule minority speak the She language in Zengcheng, Boluo County, Huidong County and Haifeng County in Guangdong Province.
She indigenous religion (She Wuism),[1] Buddhism
Related ethnic groups
Yao, Miao, Hakka Han
She people

The She people (Chinese: ; She Chinese: [sa˦]; Cantonese: [sɛː˩], Fuzhou: [sia˥]) are an ethnic group in China. They form one of the 56 ethnic groups officially recognized by the People's Republic of China.

The She are the largest ethnic minority in Fujian, Zhejiang, and Jiangxi Provinces. They are also present in the provinces of Anhui and Guangdong. Some descendants of the She also exist amongst the Hakka minority in Taiwan.


Today, over 400,000 She people of Fujian, Zhejiang, and Jiangxi provinces speak She Chinese, an unclassified Chinese variety that has been heavily influenced by Hakka Chinese.

There are approximately 1,200 She people in Guangdong province who speak a Hmong–Mien language called She, also called Ho Ne meaning "mountain people" (Chinese: 活聂; pinyin: huóniè). Some said they were descendants of Dongyi, Nanman or Yue peoples.[2][3]

She Chinese (畲话) should not be confused with Shēyǔ (畲语), also known as Ho Ne, which is a Hmong-Mien language spoken in east-central Guangdong. She and Sheyu speakers have separate histories and identities, although both are officially classified by the Chinese government as She people. The Dongjia of Majiang County, Guizhou are also officially classified as She people, but speak a Western Hmongic language closely related to Chong'anjiang Miao (重安江苗语).


The She people are some of the earliest known settlers of Guangdong; they are thought to have originally settled along the shallow shore for easier fishing access during the Neolithic era. Eventually, after an influx of Yuet people moved south during the Warring States period, serious competition between the two peoples for resources developed.

From the time of the Qin dynasty on, waves of migrants from northern China have had a serious impact on the She people. Because they possessed superior tools and technology, these migrants were able to displace the She and occupy the better land for farming. As a result of this, some of the She were forced to relocate into the hilly areas of the Jiangxi and Fujian provinces.

Following this relocation, the She people became hillside farmers. Their methods of farming included burning grasses on the slope, casting rice seeds on those embers and then harvesting the produce following the growth season. Some of the She people also participated in the production and trade of salt, obtained from the evaporation of local pools of salt water.

Many conflicts took place between the Han Chinese and She peoples. For example, in one incident, She salt producers on Lantau Island in Hong Kong attacked the city of Canton in a revolt during the Song dynasty.

During the Ming-Qing dynasties they moved into and settled Zhejiang's southern region and mountain districts in the Lower Yangtze region, after they left their homeland in Northern Fujian. It is theorized that the She were pushed out of their land by the Hakka, which caused them to move into Zhejiang.[4]

PRC Autonomous Counties and Ethnic Townships


She ethnic county, townships and towns in Zhejiang









She ethnic townships in Fujian





ShunChang County


Dehua County



She ethnic townships in Jiangxi









Distribution of She people in China

Gelao people (仡佬) (right) and She people 畲族 (left) depicted on a mural in Niu Jie (Cow Street) of Beijing.

The roughly 45,000 She living in Guizhou Province form a separate subgroup, the Dongjia (东家人; Dōngjiā Rén), who differ notably in culture from the She in other areas.[6]

Provincial level

In a 2000 census, 709,592 She have been counted in China.

Distribution of She people in China
Administrative division Number of She Percentage of all She in China
Fujian 375,193 52.87%
Zhejiang 170,993 24.1%
Jiangxi 77,650 10.94%
Guizhou 44,926 6.33%
Guangdong 28,053 3.95%
Hunan 2,891 0.41%
Hubei 2.523 0.36%
Anhui 1,563 0.22%
Other Provinces 5,800 0.82%

District level

Distribution of She people by district (as of 2000)

Only values of 0.5% and greater have been considered.

Province Prefecture-level division County-level division Number of She Relative percentage of all She in China
Fujian Ningde Fu'an 59,931 8.45%
Guizhou Qiandongnan Miao and Dong Autonomous Prefecture Majiang County 35,422 4.99%
Fujian Ningde Xiapu County 35,071 4.94%
Fujian Longyan Shanghang County 30,735 4.33%
Fujian Ningde Fuding 28,207 3.98%
Fujian Ningde Jiaocheng District 22,054 3.11%
Fujian Ningde Xiapu County XXX XXX%
Fujian Zhangzhou Zhangpu County 20,729 2.92%
Zhejiang Lishui Liandu District 19,455 2.74%
Fujian Fuzhou Luoyuan County 18,495 2.61%
Zhejiang Lishui Jingning She Autonomous County 16,144 2.28%
Zhejiang Wenzhou Cangnan County 16,133 2.27%
Zhejiang Wenzhou Taishun County 13,862 1.95%
Zhejiang Lishui Suichang 13,658 1.92%
Fujian Fuzhou Lianjiang County 11,918 1.68%
Fujian Zhangzhou Zhao'an 11,048 1.56%
Fujian Zhangzhou Longhai 9,583 1.35%
Zhejiang Wenzhou Wencheng County 9,287 1.31%
Zhejiang Wenzhou Pingyang County 9,137 1.29%
Zhejiang Quzhou Longyou County 8,934 1.26%
Jiangxi Ganzhou Nankang 8,888 1.25%
Zhejiang Lishui Yunhe County 8,884 1.25%
Fujian Quanzhou Anxi County 8,673 1.22%
Fujian Ningde Gutian County 7,708 1.09%
Zhejiang Lishui Longquan 7,486 1.05%
Zhejiang Jinhua Wuyi County 7,218 1.02%
Fujian Sanming Ninghua County 7,003 0.99%
Jiangxi Ganzhou Xinfeng County 6,462 0.91%
Fujian Nanping Shunchang County 6,246 0.88%
Jiangxi Ganzhou Xingguo County 5,777 0.81%
Fujian Quanzhou Quangang District 5,521 0.78%
Jiangxi Ganzhou Dayu County 5,380 0.76%
Fujian Fuzhou Fuqing 5,261 0.74%
Fujian Quanzhou Nan'an 5,218 0.74%
Fujian Sanming Yong'an 4,637 0.65%
Guangdong Heyuan Dongyuan County 4,621 0.65%
Zhejiang Hangzhou Tonglu County 4,536 0.64%
Zhejiang Lishui Songyang County 4,526 0.64%
Guangdong Shaoguan Nanxiong 4,430 0.62%
Fujian Zhangzhou Xiangcheng District 4,332 0.61%
Fujian Nanping Jianyang 4,327 0.61%
Fujian Fuzhou Yongtai County 4,231 0.6%
Guizhou Qiannan Buyei and Miao Autonomous Prefecture Fuquan 4,022 0.57%
Fujian Xiamen Huli District 4,017 0.57%
Zhejiang Quzhou Qujiang District 4,014 0.57%
Fujian Fuzhou Jin'an District 3,867 0.54%
Jiangxi Ganzhou Huichang County 3,632 0.51%
Jiangxi Ganzhou Yudu County 3,630 0.51%
Zhejiang Hangzhou Lin'an 3,616 0.51%
Rest of China 161,626 22.78%

Notes and references

  1. ^ 从科仪唱本看畲族的巫术文化.
  2. ^ 众说纷纭的畲族民族起源. 中国网.
  3. ^ 南溟網· 關於畬族研究的回顧. 南溟網.
  4. ^ Susan Naquin, Evelyn Sakakida Rawski (1989). Chinese Society in the Eighteenth Century (reprint, illustrated ed.). Yale University Press. p. 169. ISBN 0-300-04602-2. Retrieved 2011-10-30. Both the She and the Tanka were quite assimilated into Han Chinese culture. The She had migrated north in the late Ming and Qing from the hills of northern Fujian into southern Zhejiang; some even moved into the Lower Yangtze mountain districts farther north.
  5. ^ Est. 2008, Jinping is home to eight minority nations, living in 19 designated villages (村, cun). The township as a whole cannot be said to be expressly for the She. In all, Jiangxi Province has 56 She villages in non-She townships.
  6. ^ Dong, Bo (董波) (2008). 从东家人到畲族——贵州麻江县六堡村畲族的人类学考察 [From Dongjia to She] (M.A.). Xiamen University.