Thursday, October 16, 2008

Beichuan Qiang Autonomous County

Beichuan Qiang Autonomous County is a under the jurisdiction of Mianyang Municipality in, Sichuan, China. It is located in an ethnically diverse mountainous region of Sichuan. It's Chinese name literally means "North" "River" .

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.

History and culture

The first administrative county of Beichuan was set up in 566 during the Northern Zhou dynasty. The Tang dynasty 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 changed the county name back to Beichuan in 1914 because there had been a ''Shiquan county'' in Shaanxi province before 566 A.D.

In 1988, the People's Republic of China 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, founder of the Xia dynasty 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 , , and Shifang, 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, including the Beichuan High School campus, where more than 1,000 students lost their lives after two main buildings collapsed.
Beichuan's 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 which the Jian River and created the . 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 the center of one of two zones where were the highest at XI 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 and 17 .

**Taolong Tibetan Township

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