Chinese Ethnic Groups：东乡族（Dōngxiāng zú ）The Dongxiang ethnic minority
Major areas of distribution: Gansu and Xinjiang
Language: Dongxiang and Han Chinese
People of the Dongxiang ethnic minority live in the part of the Linxia Hui Autonomous Prefecture situated south of the Yellow River and southwest of Lanzhou, capital city of the northwest province of Gansu. Half of them dwell in the Dongxiang Autonomous County, and the rest are scattered in Hezheng and Linxia counties, the city of Lanzhou, the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region and some other places.
The Dongxiang ethnic minority received its name from the place it lives -- Dongxiang. However, this ethnic group was not recognized as a minority prior to the founding of the People's Republic in 1949. The Dongxiangs were then called "Dongxiang Huis" or "Mongolian Huis." The Dongxiang language is basically similar to Mongolian, both belonging to the Mongolian branch of the Altaic language family. It contains quite a number of words borrowed from the Han Chinese language. Most of the Dongxiang people also speak Chinese, which is accepted as their common written language. Quite a few of them can use Arabic alphabet to spell out and write Dongxiang or Chinese words.
The Dongxiangs are an agricultural people who grow potatoes, wheat, maize and broad beans as well as hemp, rapeseed and other industrial crops.