BBC - 26 October 2012 Last updated at 12:56 ET
The vast majority of the Chinese population regard themselves as belonging to the same race, a stark contrast to the multiracial composition of other populous countries. What effect does this have on how China views the world, ask Martin Jacques.
I was on a taxi journey in Shanghai with a very intelligent young Chinese student, who was helping me with interviews and interpreting. She was shortly to study for her doctorate at a top American university. She casually mentioned that some Chinese students who went to the US ended up marrying Americans.
I told her that I had recently seen such a mixed couple in Hong Kong, a Chinese woman with a black American. This was clearly not what she had in mind. Her reaction was a look of revulsion. I was shocked. Why did she react that way to someone black, but not someone white? This was over a decade ago, but I doubt much has changed. What does her response tell us - if anything - about Chinese attitudes towards ethnicity?
China's population is huge. What people aren't generally aware of, though, is that more than nine out of 10 Chinese people think of themselves as belonging to just one race, the Han. To Read More……