The Miao (Chinese: 苗; pinyin: Miáo; Vietnamese: Mèo or H'Mông; Thai: แม้ว (Maew) or ม้ง (Mong); Burmese: mun lu-myo) is an ethnic group recognized by the government of the People's Republic of China (PRC) as one of the 56 official minority groups. Miao is a Chinese term and does not reflect the self-designations of the component nations of people, which include (with some variant spellings) Hmong, Hmu, A Hmao, and Kho (Qho) Xiong. The Chinese government has grouped these people and other non-Miao peoples together as one group, whose members may not necessarily be either linguistically or culturally related. For this reason, many Miao peoples cannot communicate with each other, and have different histories and cultures. Some groups designated as Miao by the PRC do not even agree that they belong to the ethnic group.
The Miao live primarily in southern China, in the provinces of Guizhou, Hunan, Yunnan, Sichuan, Guangxi, Hainan, Guangdong, and Hubei. Some members of the Miao sub-groups, most notably Hmong people, have migrated out of China into Southeast Asia (northern Vietnam, Laos, Burma (Myanmar) and Thailand). Following the communist takeover of Laos in 1975, a large group of Hmong refugees resettled in several Western nations, such as the United States, France, Australia, and elsewhere. There has been a recent tendency by (H)mong Americans to group all Miao peoples together under the term Hmong because of their disdain for the Chinese term Miao. This however fails to recognize that, while the Hmong are a small nation within the broader linguistic/cultural family of Miao people, the vast majority of Miao people do not classify themselves as Hmong and have their own names for themselves.