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Beichuan Qiang Autonomous County

Beichuan County
Autonomous County
Beichuan Qiang Autonomous County
Location of Beichuan County (red) within Mianyang City (yellow) and Sichuan
Location of Beichuan County (red) within Mianyang City (yellow) and Sichuan
Location of the county seat in Sichuan

Coordinates: 31°53′N 104°26′E / 31.883°N 104.433°E / 31.883; 104.433Coordinates: 31°53′N 104°26′E / 31.883°N 104.433°E / 31.883; 104.433{{#coordinates:31|53|N|104|26|E|type:city(160156)_region:CN-51|| |primary |name=

Country People's Republic of China
Province Sichuan
Prefecture-level city City of Mianyang
County seat Yongchang (永昌镇)
Towns & Townships
 • Total 2,867.83 km2 (1,107.28 sq mi)
Elevation 598 m (1,962 ft)
Population (2006)
 • Total 160,156
 • Density 56/km2 (140/sq mi)
 • Major nationalities Qiang - 56.7%
Han - 40.1%
Time zone China Standard (UTC+8)
Postal code 622750
Area code(s) 0816

Beichuan Qiang Autonomous County (simplified Chinese: 北川羌族自治县; traditional Chinese: 北川羌族自治縣; pinyin: Běichuān Qiāngzú Zìzhì Xiàn; Qiang: Juda Rrmea nyujugvexueaji xae) is a county under the jurisdiction of Mianyang City in northern Sichuan province, China. 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 after 2008 Sichuan earthquake.

Geography & Demographics

It has an area of Script error: No such module "convert". 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.[1]

History and culture

The first administrative county of Beichuan was set up in 566 A.D. during the Northern Zhou dynasty. The Tang dynasty first created another county, Shiquan (Chinese: 石泉; pinyin: Shíquán) 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.[2]

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.[3] Although this claim is probably more commercial than historical, Beichuan was part of West Qiang (Chinese: 西羌) that some ancient records accredited as Yu's birthplace, just like the other three locations in Sichuan, namely Wenchuan, Dujiangyan, and Shifang, that raised similar claims.[4] 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.[5] Beichuan's Party and government building also collapsed. 80% of the county's buildings are said to have collapsed.[6]

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.[7]

The earthquake also caused a landslide on Mount Tangjia which dammed the Jian River and created the Tangjiashan Quake Lake. 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 during this earthquake and its aftershocks.[8] Since the earthquake, the central government has increased fortification intensity for seismic design for the old county town from VI to VIII.[9]

Administrative divisions

Beichuan County has 6 towns and 17 townships.[10]


  1. ^ Invalid language code. Demographics of Beichuan County, Official website of Beichuan County Government, visited on May 16, 2008.
  2. ^ "Administrative history of Beichuan Qiang Autonomous County (北川羌族自治县建置沿革)" (in Chinese). Government of Beichuan. Archived from the original on 20 August 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-01. 
  3. ^ "Yu and Qiang culture (Chinese: 禹羌文化)" (in Chinese). Government of Beichuan. 2008-06-17. Retrieved 2008-10-01. 
  4. ^ CHEN, Sisi (陈四四) (2008-06-25). "Discovery of ancient West Qiang pathway thickens the mystery surrounding "Birthplace of Yu the Great" (Chinese: 发现西羌古道有关遗迹 "大禹故乡"迷雾更浓")" (in Chinese). Sichuan Daily (四川日报) via Sichuan Online. Retrieved 2008-10-01. 
  5. ^ "Eye witnesses of the earthquake disaster in Beichuan Middle School, Sichuan (Chinese: 四川北川中学震灾纪实)" (in Chinese). Archived from the original on 8 September 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-01. 
  6. ^ Death toll in China earthquake rises to 7,600
  7. ^ Beichuan county town to be made a memorial, China Daily, May 23, 2008.
  8. ^ "Seismic intensity map of the M8.0 Wenchuan earthquake (汶川8.0级地震烈度分布图)" (in Chinese). CEA. 2008-08-29. Archived from the original on 8 September 2008. Retrieved 2008-09-10. 
  9. ^ XU, Zhengzhong; WANG, Yayong; et al. (徐正忠、王亚勇等) (2001, partially revised in 2008). "Code for seismic design of buildings (GB 500011-2001) (partially revised in 2008), Appendix A ( 《建筑抗震设计规范》(GB 500011-2001) (2008 年局部修订) 附录 A 我国主要城镇抗震设防烈度、设计基本地震加速度和设计地震分组)" (in Chinese). Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development of PRC (MOHURD, 中华人民共和国住房和城乡建设部). Archived from the original on 13 October 2008. Retrieved 2008-09-29.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  10. ^ Invalid language code. Profile of Beichuan County.

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