Has China ever had an indigenous nomadic people?

Have the Chinese ever had an indigenous class of wandering or itinerant people, similar to Ireland’s Travellers, who took their trades on the road from town to town, lived in mobile caravans, and had a wholly separate society, culture, and language? If so, do these people and their culture still exist today, or have they been largely forced to settle? What did settled Chinese tend to think of these people?

If you’re not familiar with the Irish Travellers, ask anyone from southern England about “Pikeys”. They’re not well liked by the general population of the British Isles, and thought of as sneaky and dirty. But they actually have a history, culture, and language that goes back hundreds of years, and can trace their roots to traveling blacksmiths and entertainers from the middle ages.

I know the Chinese have prided themselves on being settled farmers for longer than pretty much anyone else. But since their history is so long and their territory so vast, they’ve doubtless tried many other social experiments at various points.

official history anywhere is a tool of the rulers. having people tied to the earth make them easier to rule. the history of middle asia is that of the “barbarian”. the state has nothing to gain by promoting the study of people who refuse central commands. the seafaring hakkas were/are all over maritme SEA. they pretty much left whenever the central authority got too overbearing.

alot of china’s expansion away from the huang he was done by people fleeing the cental command. common pattern: poor people can’t pay the man and head out for the territories. others follow. THEN the central authorites arrive and tax them again.

a good part of this game is recognizing the ethnicity game they play. when did the manchus become chinese? before or after they took control of china? have they ever been chinese? are mongolians chinese? until very recently KMT actually claimed soverignty over mongolia.

and yes today (perhaps as virtually always) there is a huge under/unreported number of illegal migrants afloat in china. some numbers put them at 100,000,000. every city in china has Uiygers selling goat meat on seemingly every corner. these economic refugees from xinjiang arer perhaps the most evident (due to their distinctive headgear) of the present existence of nomads yet in china.

They don’t call Hakkas ‘guest people’ for nothing.