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The Gelao people are an ethnic group. They form one of the 56 ethnic groups officially recognized by the People's Republic of China.

They number approximately 438,200 and are mainly located in the western part of the Guizhou Province. Some live in Guangxi, Yunnan and Sichuan. The main religion practiced is Daoism.


The Gelao language, belongs to the Zhuang-Dong group of the Sino-Tibetan language family. Today, only a quarter of the Gelaos still speak this language. Since the various Geloa dialects differ greatly from each other, Mandarin has been used as a lingua franca and is now the main language spoken by Gelaos. The Miao, Yi and Bouyei languages are also used.

The Gelao language does not have an alphabet. Chinese characters are used instead.

See also: languages of China

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