Manchus form the largest branch of the Tungusic peoples and are distributed throughout China, forming the fourth largest ethnic group in the country. They can be found in 31 Chinese provincial regions. They also form the largest minority group in China without an autonomous region. Among them, Liaoning has the largest population and Hebei, Heilongjiang, Jilin, Inner Mongolia and Beijing have over 100,000 Manchu residents. About half of the population live in Liaoning and one-fifth in Hebei. There are a number of Manchu autonomous counties in China, such as Xinbin, Xiuyan, Qinglong, Fengning, Yitong, Qingyuan, Weichang, Kuancheng, Benxi, Kuandian, Huanren, Fengcheng, Beizhen and over 300 Manchu towns and townships.
The Jiu Manzhou Dang contains the earliest use of Manchu. However, the actual etymology of the ethnic name "Manju" is debatable. According to the Qing dynasty's official historical record, the Researches on Manchu Origins, the ethnic name came from Mañjuśrī. The Qianlong Emperor also supported the point of view and even wrote several poems on the subject.
Meng Sen, a famous scholar of the Qing dynasty, agreed, too. On the other hand, he thought the name "Manchu" was also related to Li Manzhu (李滿住), the chieftain of the Jianzhou Jurchens. It was just the most respectful appellation in the society of the Jianzhou Jurchens in Meng's mind.
There are other hypotheses, such as Fu Sinian's "etymology of Jianzhou"; Zhang Binglin's "etymology of Jianzhou"; Isamura Sanjiro's "etymology of Wuji and Mohe"; Sun Wenliang's "etymology of Manzhe"; "etymology of mangu(n) river" and so on.