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This is not shocking, I’ve seen many test results that show Northern Chinese tend to group with North East Asians (Japanese and Koreans) and Southern Chinese tend to group more with Southeast Asians. The populations also have distinct (but often overlapping) appearances. Many of my Chinese friends have told me it is due to diet and climate. I do not think so.

The early genetic research (The History and Geography of Human Genes, 1996) of Dr. Luigi Luca Cavalli-Sforza showed that Northern Chinese could be grouped with other Northeast Asians (Koreans, Tungusic groups, Japanese) and that Southern Chinese grouped more with Southeast Asians, making the Han Chinese aggregate an intermediate population between the two, which matches their location geographic location. This new report gives us some detail as to the way this population cline occurred.

Based on what I know of Chinese history, Southern China was settled by the Han much later than the North and the people in the South were considered “barbarian” referred to as the various types of “Yue” (known as the 100 Yue) in later times. Eventually the people region that became Guangdong and North Vietnam were referred to as (Nan Yue, or South Viet). Most of these people were likely Austroasiatic speakers in origin (like present day Vietnamese and Cambodians). Since Northern Vietnam (Annam) was part of China on and off for over 1,000 years; and the south, by the end of Chinese colonization was controlled by Champa, a Malay people (Austronesian).

As far as I know there was a massive influx of Han Chinese into the region during the Song Dynasty due to Barbarian pressure in the north. I know assimilation was fairly complete by the Tang Dynasty as Cantonese speakers often call themselves “Tong (Tang in Mandarin) People” and talk of giving their children “Tong names”. They also still refer to their province and themselves as “Yue” to this day. I’m guessing by the Late Tang, the Sinization of the area was complete, but for Annam. Vietnam became independent from China after the disintegration of the Tang, since the “Viet or Yue” people lived in what is now Guangdong as well, I’m guessing by that time the people in Guangdong were mostly Sinized, and considered themselves Han Chinese, but most of the people further South did not.

Also, “South,” in China is the area from Shanghai down to the border of the Southeast Asian nations of Laos and Vietnam.

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