People & Culture
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The Qiang people have a long history, very active 3,000 years ago in China's northwest and central plain. Today, most live in Sichuan, with a population of 300,000. Most Qiang people farm, grow fruit and rear livestock. Several generations of a family often live together. The Qiang people mainly engage in agriculture which is complemented with stockbreeding, hunting and other economic activities. The area in which they live is blessed with a fertile land, mild climate and adequate rain, which provide a good natural condition for the development of agriculture. Major crops include millet, highland barley, potatoes, winter wheat and buckwheat. In addition, rare animals such as giant pandas, golden monkeys and flying foxes can be found here. This area also possesses rich mineral deposits such as iron, coal, crystal, mica and plaster stone.
The Qiang people believe in a primeval religion, talking white rocks as their god, which can be see on lintels, on windows, in watchtowers and in forests. Legend has it that in ancient antiquity, while migrating, the ancestors of Qiang people met a hostile alien tribe in the upper reaches of the Minjiang River. Alarmed by a god, the Qiang ancestors used wooden clubs and white rocks to frustrate the tribe's attack. Out of gratitude, but not knowing the identity of their savior god, the Qiang people took white rocks as their god ever since.
The language of the Qiang people consists of a northern and southern dialect. The dialects used by the Qiang people who belong to the Tibeto-Burman group are classified under the Qiang branch of the Sino-Tibetan language family. Owing to their close contact with the Han people, many Qiang people speak Chinese. The Qiang people have no written scripts and Han characters are in common use.
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