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Hmong high school students perform a traditional dance at a high school on the outskirts of Vientiane, Laos.
After American armed forces pulled out of Vietnam, a communist regime took over in Laos, and ordered the prosecution and re-education of all those who had fought against its cause during the war.
Whilst many Hmong are still left in Laos, Thailand, Vietnam, Myanmar, and China (which houses one of the biggest Hmong populations in the world, 5 million), since 1975 many Hmong have fled Laos in fear of persecution.
Housed in Thai refugee camps during the 1980s, many have resettled in countries such as the United States, French Guiana, Australia, France, Germany, as well as some who have chosen to stay in Thailand in hope of returning to their own land.
The history of the Hmong people is difficult to trace; they have an oral tradition, but there are no written records except where other people have encountered them.
Hmong history has been passed down through legends and ritual ceremonies from one generation to another as well as through Hmong textile art or story cloths sewn by the women.
Throughout recorded history, the Hmong have remained identifiable as Hmong because they have maintained their own language, customs, and ways of life while adopting the ways of the country in which they live.
In the 1960s and 1970s many Hmong were secretly recruited by the American CIA to fight against communism during the Vietnam War.
There is debate about usage of this term, especially amongst Hmong living in the West, as it is believed by some to be derogatory, although Hmong living in China still call themselves by this name.
Chinese scholars have recorded contact with the Miao as early as the 3rd century BCE, and wrote of them that they were a proud and independent people.
However, after the Ming Dynasty and Qing Dynasty attempted to impose several new taxation systems and continued expansion of their empire, the Hmong are reported to have rebelled.
Many wars were randomly fought, and eventually many Hmong were pushed from China into Burma (Myanmar), Laos, Thailand and Vietnam.