Beichuan Qiang Autonomous County

Beichuan Qiang Autonomous County

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Beichuan Qiang Autonomous County is a county under the jurisdiction of Mianyang
Mianyang is the second largest prefecture-level city of Sichuan province in Southwest China. Its administrative area includes the city proper of Mianyang, with 985,586 inhabitants in the built up area , the county-level city of Jiangyou, and six counties, covering an area of over and a population...

 Municipality in, Sichuan
' , known formerly in the West by its postal map spellings of Szechwan or Szechuan is a province in Southwest China with its capital in Chengdu...

, China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

. It is located in an ethnically diverse mountainous region of Sichuan. Its Chinese name literally means "North" (bei) "River" (chuan). Its new county seat is located at Yongchang Town
Yongchang Town
Yongchang Town is the new county seat of Beichuan Qiang Autonomous County in Mianyang, Sichuan, China, one of the worst-hit area in the 2008 Sichuan earthquake. It is between Yong'an Town and Anchang Town of An County, about 23 km from the former county seat of Beichuan. It is named after...

 after 2008 Sichuan earthquake
2008 Sichuan earthquake
The 2008 Sichuan earthquake or the Great Sichuan Earthquake was a deadly earthquake that measured at 8.0 Msand 7.9 Mw occurred at 14:28:01 CST...


Geography & Demographics

It has an area of 2867.83 square kilometers and a population of 160,156 in 2006, 56.7% of which are Qiang people, a Sino-Tibetan people related to Tibetans, and 40.1% of which are Han Chinese
Han Chinese
Han Chinese are an ethnic group native to China and are the largest single ethnic group in the world.Han Chinese constitute about 92% of the population of the People's Republic of China , 98% of the population of the Republic of China , 78% of the population of Singapore, and about 20% of the...


History and culture

The first administrative county of Beichuan was set up in 566 A.D.
Anno Domini
and Before Christ are designations used to label or number years used with the Julian and Gregorian calendars....

 during the Northern Zhou
Northern Zhou
The Northern Zhou Dynasty followed the Western Wei, and ruled northern China from 557 to 581. It was overthrown by the Sui Dynasty.Northern Zhou's basis of power was established by Yuwen Tai, who was paramount general of Western Wei, following the split of Northern Wei into Western Wei and...

 dynasty. The Tang dynasty
Tang Dynasty
The Tang Dynasty was an imperial dynasty of China preceded by the Sui Dynasty and followed by the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period. It was founded by the Li family, who seized power during the decline and collapse of the Sui Empire...

 first created another county, Shiquan inside the original Beichuan county in 634 A.D., then in 651 A.D. merged Beichuan county into Shiquan. The Republic of China
Republic of China
The Republic of China , commonly known as Taiwan , is a unitary sovereign state located in East Asia. Originally based in mainland China, the Republic of China currently governs the island of Taiwan , which forms over 99% of its current territory, as well as Penghu, Kinmen, Matsu and other minor...

 changed the county name back to Beichuan in 1914 because there had been a Shiquan county in Shaanxi
' is a province in the central part of Mainland China, and it includes portions of the Loess Plateau on the middle reaches of the Yellow River in addition to the Qinling Mountains across the southern part of this province...

 province before 566 A.D.

In 1988, the People's Republic of China
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

 granted Beichuan county the status of Qiang autonomy. The Beichuan Qiang Autonomous County was formally created in 2003.

Claim to Yu the Great

Beichuan was the first county in Sichuan to make the claim as the birthplace of Yu the Great
Yu the Great
Yu the Great , was a legendary ruler of Ancient China famed for his introduction of flood control, inaugurating dynastic rule in China by founding the Xia Dynasty, and for his upright moral character....

, founder of the Xia dynasty
Xia Dynasty
The Xia Dynasty is the first dynasty in China to be described in ancient historical chronicles such as Bamboo Annals, Classic of History and Records of the Grand Historian. The Xia Dynasty was established by the legendary Yu the Great after Shun, the last of the Five Emperors gave his throne to him...

 and traditionally regarded as the first hereditary sovereign in Chinese history.
Although this claim is probably more commercial than historical, Beichuan was part of West Qiang that some ancient records accredited as Yu's birthplace, just like the other three locations in Sichuan, namely Wenchuan
Wenchuan County
Wenchuan County is a county in Ngawa Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan, People's Republic of China.This county has an area of...

, Dujiangyan
Dujiangyan City
Dujiangyan is a county-level city of Chengdu, Sichuan Province in China. It has an area of 1208 square kilometers and a population of 600,000 in 2003....

, and Shifang
Shifang is a county-level city in Sichuan, China under the municipal administration of Deyang. It is located about 50 km from Chengdu. It has an area of 863 km² and a population of 430,000 in 2004....

, that raised similar claims.
Many places in other parts of China have made similar claims.

Great Sichuan Earthquake

Also like the other three counties and towns in Sichuan holding claims to be the birthplace of Yu the Great, Beichuan is among the most severely hit of all disaster regions following the 2008 Sichuan earthquake
2008 Sichuan earthquake
The 2008 Sichuan earthquake or the Great Sichuan Earthquake was a deadly earthquake that measured at 8.0 Msand 7.9 Mw occurred at 14:28:01 CST...

, including the Beichuan High School campus, where more than 1,000 students lost their lives after two main buildings collapsed.
Beichuan's Party and government building also collapsed. 80% of the county's buildings are said to have collapsed.

The county town, which prior to the earthquake had a population of 20,000, is to be made into a memorial park, as the site has been deemed too vulnerable. The survivors of the quake have been relocated.

The earthquake also caused a landslide on Mount Tangjia
Mount Tangjia
Mount Tangjia is a mountain in Sichuan, People's Republic of China, 3.2 kilometres away from the county seat of Beichuan County.It overlooks the Jian River and Tangjiashan Lake, a landslide dam-created lake which was formed by the 2008 Sichuan earthquake....

 which dammed
Landslide dam
A landslide dam, debris dam, or barrier lake is a natural damming of a river by some kind of mass wasting: landslide, debris flow, rock avalanche or volcano. If it is caused by earthquake, it may also be called a quake lake. Some landslide dams are as high as the largest existing artificial dam...

 the Jian River
Jian River
The Jian River is a river in China, the headwater stream of Tongkou River . The Tongkou joins the Fu River which is a tributary of the Yangtze. The Jian River flows through Beichuan Qiang Autonomous County, Sichuan. The 2008 Sichuan earthquake caused a landslide dam on the river which created...

 and created the Tangjiashan Quake Lake
Tangjiashan Lake
Tangjiashan Lake is a landslide dam-created lake on the Jian River, which was formed by the 2008 Sichuan earthquake. Its name comes from the nearby mountain Tangjiashan. On May 24, 2008 the water level rose by in a single day, reaching a depth of , just below the barrier level...

. The lake was once in danger of causing the Tangjiashan Dam to collapse and catastrophically flood downstream communities, totalling over a million persons. On June 10, 2008, the lake spilled through an artificially constructed sluice channel and flooded the evacuated town. No casualties were caused.

Beichuan was at the center of one of two zones where seismic intensity were the highest at XI liedu
China Seismic Intensity Scale
The China Seismic Intensity Scale is a national standard in the People's Republic of China used to measure seismic intensity. Similar to EMS-92 on which CSIS drew reference, seismic impacts are classified into 12 degrees of intensity, or liedu in Roman numerals from I for insensible to XII for...

 during this earthquake and its aftershocks. Since the earthquake, the central government has increased fortification intensity for seismic design for the old county town from VI to VIII.

Administrative divisions

Beichuan County has 3 towns
Town (China)
When referring to political divisions of China, town is the standard English translation of the Chinese 鎮 . It is a fourth-level administrative unit, i.e...

 and 17 townships
Townships of the People's Republic of China
Townships formally township level divisions is the basic level of political divisions in China. They are similar to municipalities and communes in other countries and in turn may contain village committees and villages...

  • Towns:
    • Qushan (曲山镇)
    • Leigu (擂鼓镇)
    • Tongkou (通口镇)
  • Townships:
    • Xiangquan (香泉乡)
    • Chenjiaba (陈家坝乡)
    • Guixi (桂溪乡)
    • Guanling (贯岭乡)
    • Yuli (禹里乡)
    • Xuanping (漩坪乡)
    • Baini (白坭乡)
    • Xiaoba (小坝乡)
    • Piankou (片口乡)
    • Kaiping (开坪乡)
    • Badi (坝底乡)
    • Baishi (白什乡)
    • Qingpian (青片乡)
    • Duba (都坝乡)
    • Taolong Tibetan Township (桃龙藏族乡)
    • Dunshang (墩上乡)
    • Macao (马槽乡)

External links