Surface area: 329,560 km2
Population: 93 million
Ethnic structure: Vietnamese and other Austronesian groups 88%, Chinese, and small ethnic groups
Languages: Altogether 86, the most important being Vietnamese; others include Khmer, Tai-languages, and Cham
Religions: Mahayana Buddhism, Christianity, animism, and Islam
Vietnam is the only Southeast-Asian country where the Chinese influence has predominated in theatre and dance, and culture in general, for centuries. This is the result of various historical and geographical factors. Geographically, Vietnam belongs to both East and South-East Asia. The Indo-Chinese Peninsula, of which Vietnam occupies a narrow stretch in its eastern half, is essentially a southern extension of the Chinese land mass. It is thus only natural that the political power and cultural influence of China have been present throughout Vietnam’s history.