Tag Archives: ethnic groups


Plain, Elosua Miguel

A Qiang farmer in Wenchuan county, Sichuan (March, 2013). The Qiang ethnic group (qiangzu – 羌族), is one of the 56 officially recognised ethnic groups in China. There are about 200,000 Qiang people living in Northern Sichuan, secluded between Tibetan and Han territories. They usually live up in the mountains in fortress villages, but many young people have migrated to the cities during the last few decades of rapid economic growth. The violent earthquake that struck Sichuan in 2008 claimed numerous victims within this ethnic group and destroyed many traditional buildings. The Qiang people, whose history spans more than 3000 years, may be facing extinction. The transmission of their intangible cultural heritage is no longer guaranteed since they have no written texts but rely on oral communication. Many of the elderly who spoke the language died in the earthquake and young people living in the cities are growing increasingly removed from their culture.

Miguel Elosua

Spanish qualified lawyer; PhD in Chinese Law. UrbaChina Research Officer. Has lived in China since 2006.

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