Wu Chinese-speaking people

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Wu Chinese
吳越民系 江浙民系
Total population
80,102,480 (2013)[1]
Regions with significant populations
China ChinaZhejiang
Hong Kong
Taiwan Republic of China (on Taiwan)As part of Mainlander population
United States United StatesAs part of Chinese American population
Canada CanadaAs part of Chinese Canadian population
Australia AustraliaAs part of Chinese Australian population
Italy ItalyMajority of Chinese people in Italy
France FranceMajority of Chinese people in France
Singapore SingaporeAs part of Chinese Singaporean population
Wu Chinese and Standard Chinese
Mahayana Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Folk religion. Small Christian minorities.
Related ethnic groups
other Han Chinese subgroups

The Wu Chinese people, also known as Wuyue people,[citation needed] (simplified Chinese: 吴越人; traditional Chinese: 吳越人; pinyin: Wúyuè rén; Shanghainese: [ɦuɦyɪʔ ɲɪɲ]) Jiang-Zhe people (江浙民系) or San Kiang (三江) are a major subgroup of the Han Chinese. They are a Wu Chinese-speaking people who hail from southern Jiangsu province, the entirety of the city of Shanghai and all of Zhejiang province, as well as smaller populations in Xuancheng prefecture-level city in southern Anhui province, Shangrao, Guangfeng and Yushan counties of northeastern Jiangxi province, and some parts of Pucheng county in northern Fujian province.


General map showing the extent of Wu-speaking populations.


For much of its history and prehistory, the Wuyue region has been home to several neolithic cultures such as the Hemudu culture, Majiabang culture, and the Liangzhu culture. Both Wu and Yue were two kingdoms during the Zhou dynasty, and many such allusions to those kingdoms were attributed in the Spring and Autumn Annals, the Zuo Zhuan, and the Guoyu. Later, after years of fighting and conflict, the two cultures of Wu and Yue became one culture through mutual contact and cultural diffusion. The Chu state from the west (in Hubei) expanded into this area and defeated the Yue state.

After Chu was conquered by Qin, China was unified. It was not until the fall of Western Jin during the early 4th century AD that northern Chinese moved to Jiangnan in significant numbers. The Yellow River valley was becoming barren due to flooding, lack of trees after intensive logging to create farmland and constant harassment and invasion by the Wu Hu nomads.

In the 10th century, Wuyue (Ten Kingdoms) was a small coastal kingdom founded by Qian Liu who made a lasting cultural impact on Jiangnan and its people to this day. The cultural distinctiveness that began developing over this period persists to this day as the Wuyue region speaks a branch of the Chinese language called Wu (the most famous dialect of which is Shanghainese), has distinctive cuisine and other cultural traits.

There have been many periods of mass-migrations to Wuyue areas from Northern China, sometimes overtaking the local Wuyue population. One notable example of this was when the Song Dynasty fell in the north, large numbers of northern refugees flooded into the relocated capital Hangzhou mainly from the areas that are currently under the administration of modern-day Henan province. Within just 30 years, contemporary accounts record that these Northern immigrants outnumbered the Wu natives of Hangzhou, altering the city's spoken dialect and culture.



Wu architecture styled pagoda.


Traditionally, in the past, Wuyue people dominated the Imperial examinations and were often ranked first in the imperial examinations as Zhuangyuan (狀元),[2] or in other positions of the Jinshi (進士) degree.

During the Qing Dynasty, Suzhou produced the highest number of Zhuangyuan scholars (28).





Philosophy and Religion[edit]

Architecture Heritage Sites[edit]

Cultural Items[edit]

DNA Analysis[edit]

The HLA-DRB1 distribution of Jiangsu-Zhejiang-Shanghai Han population does share genetic characteristics with other Han Chinese populations, but it also exhibits its own characteristics distinct from that of other Han Chinese populations.[3] This study also suggests that Wu-speaking peoples genetically, bridge the gap between Northern Han and Southern Han populations and thus are an intermediate between both populations.[4] Even though Wu-speaking peoples form a genetic cluster, DNA analyses also show that Wu-speaking peoples are genetically coherent[clarification needed] with other Han Chinese populations.[5][6]

Notable Wu Chinese speakers[edit]

Scientists and inventors[edit]

Tsung-Dao Lee (1926–), Nobel prize laureate in Physics (1956).[14]

Tu Youyou (1930–), Nobel prize laureate in Physiology or Medicine (2015).

Charles K. Kao (1933–), Nobel prize laureate in Physics (2009).

  • Ni Guangjiong (1934–), Chinese physicist and science writer.
  • Gu Leguan (1935–2001), a Chinese physicist and educator, he was also the former President of Chongqing University.
  • Li Sanli (1935–), one of China’s pioneers in computer science and engineering. He has won many domestic awards for research in the fields of computer architecture and organization.
  • Zhou Chaochen (1937–), Chinese computer scientist and inventor of the Duration calculus.
  • Andrew Yao (1946–), a Chinese computer scientist and computational theorist. His contributions include proving what is now known as Yao's Principle.
  • Ho-Kwang Mao (1947–), an eminent scientist and geologist in America.
  • Jiawei Han, (1949–), Chinese computer scientist and Abel Bliss Professor in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Roger Y. Tsien (1952–2016), Nobel prize laureate in Chemistry (2009), Tsien was praised for being immensely intelligent by Herman Quirmbach who said “It’s probably not an exaggeration to say he(Roger Y. Tsien)’s the smartest person I ever met... [a]nd I have met a lot of brilliant people".[15]


  • Shen Kuo (1031–1095), a brilliant polymathic mathematician and scientist of the Song dynasty, he created an approximation of the arc of a circle s by s = c + 2v2/d, where d is the diameter, v is the versine, c is the length of the chord c subtending the arc.
  • Xu Guangqi (1562–1633), Chinese mathematician, agricultural scientist, astronomer and scholar-bureaucrat under the Ming Dynasty.
  • Pan Lei (1646 – 1708) was a Qing dynasty scholar and mathematician.
  • Li Rui (1768–1817), independently invented Descartes' rule of signs during the Qing Dynasty.
  • Li Shanlan (1810 – 1882), invented the Li Shanlan’s Summation Formulae, he also coined a great number of mathematical terms used in Chinese today.
  • Hu Dunfu (1886–1978), Chinese mathematician and pioneer in higher education, he was the first dean of Tsinghua University.
  • Jiang Lifu (1890–1978), father of modern Chinese mathematics and the first president of Academia Sinica of Mathematics.
  • Chen Jiangong (1893–1971), an educator, mathematician and pioneer of modernizing Chinese mathematics
  • Pao-Lu Hsu (1910–1970), a famed mathematician for being the father of probability and statistics in China.
  • Hua Luogeng (1910–1985), famous for his important contributions to number theory and for his role as the leader of mathematics research and education in the People's Republic of China.
  • Shiing-Shen Chern (1911–2004), one of the greatest mathematicians of the twentieth century and widely regarded as a leader in geometry and winning many prizes for his immense number of contributions to mathematics.
  • Ky Fan (1914–2010), famous mathematician who invented many new mathematical equations and theories.
  • Wu Wenjun (1919–2017), Chinese mathematician.
  • Wang Yuan (mathematician) (1930–), head of the Institute of Mathematics, Chinese Academy of Sciences..
  • Pan Chengdong (1934–1997), mathematician and vice president of Shandong University.
  • Weinan E (1963–), applied mathematician who made many achievements in mathematics by contributing new equations into homogenization theory, theoretical models of turbulence, electronic structure analysis, multiscale methods, computational fluid dynamics, and weak KAM theory.
  • Zhiwei Yun (1982–), received a gold medal with a perfect score on his first time participating, and was awarded the SASTRA Ramanujan Prize in 2012 for his "fundamental contributions to several areas that lie at the interface of representation theory, algebraic geometry and number theory".[16]


  • Wang Chong (Shaoxing), Han Dynasty philosopher.
  • Zhu Xi (Huizhou region), founder of Neo-Confucianism, Song Dynasty philosopher.
  • Wang Yangming (Ningbo), regarded as one of the four greatest Confucianist philosophers.
  • Qian Dehong (Ningbo), philosopher, writer, and educator during the mid-late Ming Dynasty.
  • Pan Pingge (Ningbo), Ming era critic of Neo-Confucianism.
  • Huang Zongxi (Ningbo), naturalist and political theorist, he advocated the belief that ministers should be openly critical of their emperor.
  • Wang Maozu (Suzhou), Republic era philosopher and educationalist.
  • Ch'ien Mu (Wuxi), Chinese philosopher, historian, educator and Confucian. He was honored as one of the "Four Greatest Historians" of Modern China.


Gao Xingjian (1940–), novelist, playwright, critic and the Nobel prize laureate for Literature of 2000.

  • Ye Wenling (1942–), Chinese novelist and politician.
  • Xiaolu Guo (1973–), novelist and filmmaker, her novels have been translated into 27 languages. In 2013 she was named as one of Granta's Best of Young British Novelists, a list drawn up once a decade.

Kings and politicians[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Chinese, Wu". Ethnologue. Retrieved April 22, 2013.
  2. ^ "江浙沪院士最多 吴语区人最聪明l". December 9, 2015.
  3. ^ Feng, ML; Yang, JH; Ji, Y; Lu, JW; Lu, Q; Ji, YH; Xie, JH; Yang, Y (2003). "The genetic characteristic of HLA-DRB1 locus in the Jiangsu-Zhejiang-Shanghai Han population and a comparison of its frequency distribution with that of other populations". Zhonghua yi xue yi chuan xue za zhi. 20 (4): 365–7. PMID 12903056.
  4. ^ Feng, ML; Ji, Y; Lu, Q; Yang, JH; Xie, JH; Ji, YH; Zhang, GL; Yang, Y (2003). "Study on HLA haplotypes in Jiangsu-Zhejiang-Shanghai Han population". Yi Chuan Xue Bao. 30 (6): 584–8. PMID 12939805.
  5. ^ Chen, Jieming; Zheng, Houfeng; Bei, Jin-Xin; Sun, Liangdan; Jia, Wei-hua; Li, Tao; Zhang, Furen; Seielstad, Mark; et al. (2009). "Genetic Structure of the Han Chinese Population Revealed by Genome-wide SNP Variation". The American Journal of Human Genetics. 85 (6): 775–85. doi:10.1016/j.ajhg.2009.10.016. PMC 2790583. PMID 19944401.
  6. ^ Gan, Rui-Jing; Pan, Shang-Ling; Mustavich, Laura F.; Qin, Zhen-Dong; Cai, Xiao-Yun; Qian, Ji; Liu, Cheng-Wu; Peng, Jun-Hua; et al. (2008). "Pinghua population as an exception of Han Chinese's coherent genetic structure". Journal of Human Genetics. 53 (4): 303–13. doi:10.1007/s10038-008-0250-x. PMID 18270655.
  7. ^ 民国《吴县志》引同治《苏州府志》:“随母入籍吴县”。
  8. ^ "吴越钱氏——千年名门望族 两浙第一世家". October 24, 2008.
  9. ^ a b Hammond 2007, p. 1.
  10. ^ 民国《吴县志》引同治《苏州府志》:“随母入籍吴县”。
  11. ^ Dudink (2001), p. 399.
  12. ^ "王淦昌辉煌人生". 国防科学技术工业网. May 24, 2007. Retrieved August 1, 2008.
  13. ^ "吴越钱氏——千年名门望族 两浙第一世家" (李政道和他的苏州情缘). October 24, 2008. Retrieved May 18, 2017.
  14. ^ http://news.2500sz.com/news/szxw/2017-5/18_3116280.shtml. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  15. ^ "吴越钱氏——千年名门望族 两浙第一世家". October 24, 2008.
  16. ^ "北京大学校友恽之玮获2012年"拉马努金"奖". August 30, 2012.

External links[edit]