A North-South Chinese Mix Cline in SE Asia?

Repost from the old site.

A question from the comments about the Are SE Asians Australoids? article:

Aren’t Khmer a little more Australoid than people in Vietnam (at least Northern Vietnamese), most Thai, and Laotians? There seems to be a clear cline in Southeast Asia, the areas bordering China seem to have more NE Mongoloid Admixture than those of the Malay archipelago and the Khmer. I’m basing this on appearance and not genes, which you pointed out, rightly so, as being misleading.

This question keeps popping up because so many folks are convinced, based primarily on appearance, that many SE Asians are part-Australoid.

First of all, the Vietnamese, Filipinos, Thai and Khmer are all quite close to the Southern Chinese genetically. Of these, believe it or not, the Filipinos are possibly the closest of all. The Vietnamese are also very close, but I don’t have any figures. Both the Filipinos and the Vietnamese are very close to the coastal Southern Chinese of Fujian and Guangdong Province bordering the Taiwan Strait.

Next come the Thai, Lao and the Khmer. These groups are much closer to the Southern Chinese than Malays or Indonesians. All of them are about the equidistant from the Southern Chinese. Filipinos are much closer to the Southern Chinese than these three groups.

The Thai and Lao are primarily a Southern Chinese group called the Tai that came down into that area in a massive wave about 800 years ago. To some extent they bred in with whatever people were already there. This Tai group came from Yunnan.

The Vietnamese are very closely related to the Southern Chinese. A huge wave of Southern Chinese poured into Vietnam 2,200 years and bred in with existing people. This group came from the Taiwan Strait – the area north of Vietnam along the coast.

The Khmer came down into the area possibly 5,000 years ago with the first wave of Austroasiatics. They also came from Southern China, probably Yunnan once again, but longer ago than their neighbors the Thai, Lao and Vietnamese. The Austroasiatics are considered to be some of the original people of the SE Asia.

The Zhuang of South China are probably the purest relatives of the original Austroasiatics. They came from Central China (possibly originally as the Dai) to Yunnan about 5,000 years ago. One line went to the Zhuang in Guangxi in Southwest China and another line went to the modern Tai-Dai in Yunnan.

Also, the Khmer bred in much more than their neighbors with people from India who came about 1,500 years ago. So, the Khmer contain more of the original Austroasiatic group and less of recent Southern Chinese mixture than the Thai, Lao and Vietnamese. This accounts for their appearance.

Filipinos are closer to Southern Chinese (Guangdong) than any of the groups above except maybe Vietnamese. They are also very close to Taiwan aborigines. Most people have a hard time understanding this because they look so different from most Southern Chinese. But there are Chinese from around Fujian and Hong Kong who look quite dark and, to my mind, SE Asian-looking.

Malays are Taiwan aborigines in large part (Austronesians), and are also are made up of Southern Chinese who came down 4,000 years ago as Austroasiatics.

The Austronesians came through the Philippines, down into Borneo and Sumatra and then up into Malaysia about 2,000 years ago. The Malay do have some Papuan genes, but so do the Southern Chinese and the coastal Vietnamese. Once again, the Malays have less recent Southern Chinese admixture and more archaic Southern Chinese admixture (Austronesian and Austroasiatic).

Malays also definitely have Australoid ancestors in the Semang, the proto-Malay and the Senoi, although we can’t see it in their skulls or much of it in their genes.

The Indonesians in the Center and East of the country have quite a few Melanesian Australoid genes, but the ones in the West have almost none. The ones in the West appear to be Taiwanese aborigines similar to Filipinos.

It’s really a common fallacy that there is such a cline in SE Asia, with folks becoming more Australoid and less Chinese as you go south. What there is is that in some places, you find more recent Southern Chinese mixture and towards the South, you get more archaic Taiwanese and archaic Southern Chinese mixture.

A modern Southern Chinese woman from Chengdu Province. Isn’t she beautiful? God I love this kind of woman. It’s possible she may use some sort of skin whitener to make her skin look more white, or she may just stay out of the sun. White skin has been highly valued for a long time, and my blogging colleague Dragon Horse (feel free to check him out – he’s smart as Hell) notes that it had been highly valued long before Chinese even knew much about Europeans.

In other words, Chinese were not trying to look like White Europeans – they hardly even knew who they were. A preference for lighter skin was simply an independent development in China based on their own considerations and values. Many will look at this woman and say she has a NE Asian facial type. Well, that may be so, but Caucasians are closer to NE Asians than she is as a Southern Chinese. The genetic distance between Southern Chinese and Northern Chinese is vast.

We only find a few Australoid genes in SE Asians and even then only in Southern Chinese, coastal Vietnamese and Malays. Skull-wise, nothing exists, except that the Senoi of Malaysia do have Australoid skulls.

I guess people say this based on appearance. There is a SE Asian native type characterized most prominently by Malays, Khmer, Filipino, Western Indonesians, etc. that people think looks a bit primitive, and they associate that with Australoids.

Really it’s just a native indigenous development, although it does seem to represent a more archaic type – either archaic Taiwanese or archaic South Chinese – and has nothing to do per se with Australoids.

Recall however that the whole region slowly transitioned from Australoid types to modern SE Asian types about 5000 years ago, and that’s later than most groups. Maybe that is what people are seeing. But there’s nothing we can measure in genes or skulls.

Thai, Lao and Vietnamese don’t have any NE Asian mixture that we can see. There is a Southern Chinese look that can resemble Northern Chinese, but the two groups are very far apart. Even Southern Chinese don’t have much northern mixture, but there are some groups that are more northern than others.

The Wa (Va) of Yunnan and Burma are about 50-50 Northern and Southern Chinese, and the Hmong have more Northern Chinese than other Southern Chinese groups.

A Hmong woman. We have a huge Hmong population here in the Central Valley. By and large, they are good people and I like them a lot. The Hmong are interesting among Southern Chinese in that they have more Northern Chinese than most of the rest of the Southern Chinese. They also have a unique genetic line going back up to 42,000 years (!). It’s pretty incredible that some sort of proto-Hmong have been evolving for that long.

The website I got this off described Hmong as partly Australoid, but I think that’s silly. They are saying this by looking at the faces and saying that the face looks somewhat Australoid. The Hmong are probably less Australoid than that Chengdu woman above.

I find some of these Hmong women, like this one, to be really beautiful. They definitely look different. They have round, moon-shaped faces, and short, stocky, bodies. Character-wise, they are very Chinese-like.

Their IQ in the US is only 82.5 (lower than US Blacks) but that must be due to language difficulties. Their verbal IQ was insanely low, while their performance IQ was quite high. The Hmong have also been living like hillbillies for centuries, so there is probably a lot of potential for Flynn Effects in the US. That’s a traditional costume she is wearing.

Caucasians are closer to Northern Chinese than Southern Chinese are.

A classic NE Asian, in this case a Manchu woman. The Caucasians that they most resemble are Northern Turkics such as some of the people in the Altai and the residents of the Stans.

I can’t see much difference in phenotype between her and the Southern Chinese beauty above, but maybe folks who understand Asian phenotypes better can see these things. These people are also quite close genetically to Amerindians. Koreans, Japanese and NE Chinese are all quite genetically close, although I guess they mostly hate each other and would not want to believe that.

A Tajik man. Boy, does he look Jewish or what? These people are quite closely related to NE Asians and also to Northern Indians. They are closest to Iranians. A very interesting people, they are thought to be the original Aryans. Funny how Aryans White Power types go back to Aryan dudes who look like nice Jewish boys. Wonders never cease.

People base so much popular anthropology on superficial appearances, but that’s not really scientific.

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33 thoughts on “A North-South Chinese Mix Cline in SE Asia?”

  1. Rob, are the Koreans closer to the northern Han Chinese or to the Japs?
    Where would you say the divide between North Chinese and South Chinese begins? Around Shanghai and the Yangtze? And doesn’t that Tajik guy look like a generic Mediterranean than a jew?

  2. Rob, Southwest China is actually heavily “Northern” type – according to some tests at least, even more so than Coastal Northerners. The Southwest, because of its weird altitudes and shit is often pretty cold, and ranges from as dark as Northern Europe to facemelting sunny.

    Which is why in the “purer” Sino-Tibetans you’ll see people who range from nearly coal black to pure white to red to orange.

    1. HAUX Fuji Chinese stand out fairly clearly in Thailand or Philippines so I disagree.

      Manchurian Chinese at the top of the country are undoubtedly the whitest Chinese and look no different from a Siberian.

  3. A Hmong woman. We have a huge Hmong population here in the Central Valley. By and large, they are good people and I like them a lot.

    The Hmong are a confounding multi-racial mixed group with a lot of internal variation much like the Chinese and the Tibetans, but their original “core” was just south of the Northern Chinese heartland. Those who were not assimilated into (speculatively) the Chu state moved further and further south, displacing other minorities and intermixing with them.

    The ones in Southeast Asia exhibit sporadic expression of “pure” phenotypes but are heavily Southeast Asian-ized.

    Koreans, Japanese and NE Chinese are all quite genetically close, although I guess they mostly hate each other and would not want to believe that.

    Koreans and Japanese are quite close, and fairly close to the Northern Coastal Chinese, but Tibetans and Northern Han and all the other related groups like Qiang, Naxi, Mosuo, etc are a bit farther away.

    There may be some popular antagonism that comes and goes but largely Chinese, Korean and Japanese don’t really “hate” each other, especially among the more traveled and educated classes.

    1. The Han Chinese in Hebei, Shandong, and the 3 Manchurian provinces seem most similar looking to Koreans. The Chinese in Shanxi, Shaanxi, Gansu seem a bit different, though still “northern” looking.
      I also seem Koreans who would fit into the Jiangsu/Shanghai/Zhejiang region.

      1. originally, Hebei, Shandong and 3 Manchurian provinces were not Han Chinese at all, that’s why they still retain “Korean” appearance. Koreans are originally from Hebei, Shandong and Manchurian regions before arrival of Han Chinese. So called Northern Han are mixed of Han Chinese and other NE Asian tribes noticeably Mongolian and Manchus. Basically Northern Han are not pure Han Chinese.

    2. Japanese CAME FROM Korea. Koreans and Manchurian Chinese are similar but there is still a Soviet strain in Manchurian Chinese that make them the whitest in China for my money.

  4. Lindsay
    The Tajik man is wearing a Bukharian yamulke. They’ve become very popular in the jewish community.

  5. Modern Koreans look closer to modern Japanese because Japanese have ancient Korean ancestor. Basically modern Japanese are 50% ancient Koreans and 50% Jomon people (Ainu + Ryukyu-Okinawan).

    1. Disagree, the Ainu were a separate group of people that never intermarried with the Japanese from Korea. Ryukyu are essentially Russians and Northern Japanese islands do have some fairly white people.

  6. Japanese love plastic surgery and so does south koreans. They change their faces so much. They usually have super slanted slit eyes with no eyelid creases and many have too much bones on their faces making their faces either wide and/or flat face.

  7. Note of caution in interpreting the DNA data. As far as I know most of these DNA test do not test nuclear DNA. Nuclear DNA is the DNA that determines physical attributes. MtDNA and Y chromo DNA do not determine how U look. colour of hair , or shape of the nose.

    Mt DNA test the DNA you inherit from Mother in a sub-cell called mitochrondia . Mt DNA cant tell whether you have frizzy or straight hair.

    And it only test Mt DNA you inherit from your mother. Thus you will find you are related to the MtDNA of your mother’s sister’s children but not your mother’s brother’s children or your father’s mother. How absurd is that.

    Those DNA test can only give you a scene in the movie of human migrations but they dont give you the entire movie.

  8. I think it is only applicable to about 10-15% of city dweller Filipinos when suggested that they are related to Southern Chinese. I have been to quite a few places in the Philippines and most Filipinos look like native Malaysians & Indonesians, and their native cultures and laguages are almost alike. The ones that look like Southern Chinese are most likely to be mixed descendants of earlier Chinese immigrants from centuries ago. Another supporting fact is that although they have been a democratic nation for longer than nearly all Asian countries, Philippines is still dirt poor and Filipino IQ, as a whole nation, is no where near that of Southern Chinese. However, I do see similarity with Fujianese/ Cantonese and Vietnameese, based on the look, culture and relatively high academic/professional performance among these in the U.S.

    1. Well said, well said. I know this reply comes exceedingly late (more than 3 years!) but I still have to give credit for your observation. Comparing filipinos to Southern Chinese is a boo boo and may I add, a big insult. They’re worlds apart! Whatever ‘scientific research’ might suggest, it has long been eroded by centuries of evolution. There’s no need to go into superficial descriptions of the average filipino; we just can’t deny that they look vastly different from Southern Chinese or Chinese in general.

      1. Southern Chinese are way more clever than Northern Chinese despite Northern Chinese have more advance phenotype.

        The economic center of China is in the South.

        During centralize high school examination, points are penalize from Southern Chinese in favor of the North, so that more Northern Chinese get into good schools.

    2. You cannot tell a “Chinoy” Filipino of Fuji ancestry from a Chinese tourist. Chinese-Filipino women are encouraged to marry a Chinese-Filipino male to consolidate family associations/business cartels and a few will marry some white dude but if they marry a “Malay” (Chinese-Filipino slang for an ethnic Filipino) usually Pop is furious and cuts them off so their kids get no benefits.

      Chinese-Filipinos essentially view “Malays” (Their slur for ethnic Filipinos) as drunks, morons, sluts, liars, thieves, meth heads and essentially weak lazy human beings (Which they are).

      Luzon Filipinos trace their ancestry to Indonesians, surprisingly. Is there some ancient Chinese admixture present far North in the straits of Taiwan? Probably. But the predominant DNA comes from Indonesian rice terrace builders.

  9. Regarding the Southern Chinese issue, I suggest that you look to photos from the Extreme coastal south, meaning Guangzhou, Fujian, Hainan Provinces or Taiwan and Hong Kong. These are places where the local dialects are VERY different from Standard Mandarin. Chengdu is on the Yangtze, so it’s NOT very Southern (more like Western China) is still Putonghua territory. Only the coastal south you will find higher % of Chinese with double eyelids, a trait for ad-mixture. Try looking for photos of Chinese diaspore of Southern origin eg, Singaporean and Malaysian Chinese. We can tell the difference between a local Chinese and a PRC national, just from the eyelids. If not, they way they speak Mandarin with the rolling sound….

  10. Sichuan Chinese are generally look closer to the Thais from the North. But they have fairer skin tone, because Sichuan province is very humid with limited sunshine.

  11. If you look beyond the labels Africans and Asians resemble each other.
    There will be this huge economic market stretching from Africa encompassing India and China through south east Asia dwarfing anything that has come before. New economic powers are being born before our eyes.

  12. There are plenty movements for centuries by the Chinese and to say that they are somehow fixed to a particular geographic location is laughable. Southern China is full of northern type Chinese. I can pick them out when I am in HK or Kwangtung. Southern Chinese tend to be shorter and darker. You don’t see many of them anymore. We can see lighter skinned short Chinese (a mixture of north and south) but pure southern Chinese are harder to find. I got a HK friend and she looks very Southern Chinese. Almost SEA. I asked her about her background and she said her ancestors never left China. Must be one of those that lived in a village and never interacted with others much.

    1. BRAIN DAMAGE Northern Chinese are from Siberia, which is in Russia, so such a physical contrast between a Manchurian and some Han or Cantonese from the border of Vietnam makes sense. I do not believe they are the same race-Han Chinese have managed to create a system of laws and writing that others adopted.

      1. You can say what you want to say based on your own delusions but the truth is over thousands of years, people evolved. Northern Chinese today are different from Northern Chinese 20,000 years ago. If I am in Beijing or HeiLongJiang I can see how Northern Chinese look like and if I am in Canton, I can see how Southern Chinese look like. They are pretty mixed nowadays but the differences are still there.

        1. Manchurian Chinese are from the frigid plains of Siberia: this is a delusion?

          They will look different from Cantonese of the tropical South since China runs 2,000 miles North from Laos or Burma to Russian Siberia.

          I agree Tungsten people 20,000 years ago were in Eastern Russia somewhere and Northern Chinese of that long ago time were different.

          I’m not sure what my delusion is, precisely.

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