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Ngawa Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture

Aba Prefecture

阿坝州 · རྔ་བ་ཁུལ། · Ggabba zhou
阿坝藏族羌族自治州 · རྔ་བ་བོད་རིགས་ཆ་བ༹ང་རིགས་རང་སྐྱོང་ཁུལ · Ggabba Shbea Rrmea nyujugvez zhou
Ngawa Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture
Buddhist stupa and houses outside Ngawa Town, Sichuan, China.
Buddhist stupa and houses outside Ngawa Town, Sichuan, China.
Ngawa-Qiang Autonomous Prefecture (top centre) in Sichuan
Ngawa-Qiang Autonomous Prefecture (top centre) in Sichuan
Coordinates: 31°55′N 101°43′E / 31.917°N 101.717°E / 31.917; 101.717
CountryPeople's Republic of China
Prefecture seatBarkam (Barkam Town)
 • Party Committee SecretaryLiu Zuoming (刘作明)
 • GovernorYang Kening (杨克宁)
 • Total83,201 km2 (32,124 sq mi)
 • Total919,987
 • Density11/km2 (29/sq mi)
 • Major Ethnic Groups
Qiang- 18.28%
Time zoneUTC+08:00 (China Standard)
Area code(s)0837
ISO 3166 codeCN-SC-32
GDP Total¥ 23.4 billion [2013] [1]
GDP Per Capita¥ 16,000
License Plate Prefix川U
WebsiteAba China
Ngawa Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture
Chinese name
Simplified Chinese阿坝藏族羌族自治州
Traditional Chinese阿壩藏族羌族自治州
Abbreviated as "Aba Prefecture"
Simplified Chinese阿坝州
Traditional Chinese阿壩州
Tibetan name
Qiang name
QiangGgabba Shbea Rrmea nyujugvez zhou

Ngawa Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture, also known as Aba (Tibetan: རྔ་བ་བོད་རིགས་དང་ཆང་རིགས་རང་སྐྱོང་ཁུལ་, Wylie: rnga ba bod rigs cha'ang rigs rang skyong khul; Qiang: Ggabba Shbea Rrmea nyujugvez zhou; simplified Chinese: 阿坝藏族羌族自治州; traditional Chinese: 阿壩藏族羌族自治州), is an autonomous prefecture of northwestern Sichuan, bordering Gansu to the north and northeast and Qinghai to the northwest. Its seat is in Barkam, and it has an area of 83,201 km2 (32,124 sq mi). The population was 919,987 in late 2013.[2]

The county of Wenchuan in Ngawa is the site of the epicenter of the 2008 Sichuan earthquake, in which over 20,000 of its residents died and 40,000 injured.

History and Names

In the 8th century the Gyalrong area was visited by Vairotsana.

In 1410 Je Tsongkhapa's student Tshakho Ngawang Tapa established the first Gelug monastery in the area called "Gyalrong".

In contemporary history, most of Ngawa was under the 16th Administrative Prefecture of Szechwan (四川省第十六行政督察區), which was established by the Republic of China (ROC).[3]

The People's Republic of China defeated ROC troops in this area and established a Tibetan autonomous prefecture by late 1952. It was renamed Aba Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in 1956 and Aba Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture in 1987.[4]

On May 12, 2008, a major earthquake occurred in Wenchuan County (Tibetan: ལུང་དགུ་, Wylie: lung dgu), a county in the southeastern part of this autonomous prefecture. 20,258 people were killed, 45,079 injured, 7,696 missing in the prefecture as of June 6, 2008.[5][6]

Internet access in the prefecture has been severely restricted.[7]


Most of the prefecture lies in the Tibetan cultural and historical region of Amdo, the southern part in Kham. The west, and part of Kardze, is also known as Gyalrong. Tribes in the Gyalrong area use a Qiangic language known as Gyalrong language. The source of the Min River and its tributary Dadu River are to be found in Ngawa.


As of 2013, the prefecture's population was 919,987 inhabitants at a density of 10.91 per km²:[2]

Ethnic group Population Proportion
of total
Tibetan 489,747 57.3%
Han 220,353 20.6%
Qiang 157,905 18.6%
Hui 26,353 3.3%
Yi 685 0.08%
Manchu 373 0.04%
Miao 266 0.03%
Mongols 202 0.02%
Tujia 182 0.02%
Bai 101 0.01%
Zhuang 95 0.01%
others 278 0.03%


Major languages spoken in Aba Prefecture include Khams Tibetan, Mandarin Chinese and many vernaculars of the Qiangic languages which vary from county to county:

Administrative divisions

The region is composed of one county-level city and twelve counties:

Ngawa mcp.png
# Name Hanzi Pinyin Tibetan Wylie Qiang Population
(2010 Census)
Area (km²) Density
1 Barkam City
(Ma'erkang City)
马尔康市 Mǎ'ěrkāng Shì འབར་ཁམས་གྲོང་ཁྱེར། 'bar khams rdzong Muerkvua shi 58,437 6,639 8.80
2 Wenchuan County 汶川县 Wènchuān Xiàn ལུང་དགུ་རྫོང་། / ཁྲི་ཚང་རྫོང་། lung dgu rdzong / khri tshang rdzong 100,771 4,083 24.68
3 Li County 理县 Lǐ Xiàn བཀྲ་ཤིས་གླིང་། bkra shis gling pauɕuq 46,556 4,318 10.78
4 Mao County 茂县 Mào Xiàn མའོ་ཝུན། ma'o wun ʂqini 104,829 4,075 25.72
5 Songpan County 松潘县 Sōngpān Xiàn ཟུང་ཆུ་རྫོང་། zung chu rdzong 72,309 8,486 8.52
6 Jiuzhaigou County 九寨沟县 Jiǔzhàigōu Xiàn གཟི་རྩ་སྡེ་དགུ་རྫོང་། gzi rtsa sde dgu rdzong 81,394 5,286 15.39
7 Jinchuan County 金川县 Jīnchuān Xiàn ཆུ་ཆེན་རྫོང་། chu chen rdzong 65,976 5,524 11.94
8 Xiaojin County 小金县 Xiǎojīn Xiàn བཙན་ལྷ་རྫོང་། btsan lha rdzong 77,731 5,571 13.95
9 Heishui County 黑水县 Hēishuǐ Xiàn ཁྲོ་ཆུ་རྫོང་། khro chu rdzong khǝtʂǝp 60,704 4,154 14.61
10 Zamtang County
(Rangtang County)
壤塘县 Rǎngtáng Xiàn འཛམ་ཐང་རྫོང་། 'dzam thang rdzong 39,173 6,836 5.73
11 Ngawa County
(Aba County)
阿坝县 Ābà Xiàn རྔ་བ་རྫོང་། rnga ba rdzong Ggabba 72,391 10,435 6.93
12 Zoigê County
(Ruo'ergai County)
若尔盖县 Ruò'ěrgài Xiàn མཛོད་དགེ་རྫོང་། mdzod dge rdzong 74,619 10,437 7.14
13 Hongyuan County 红原县 Hóngyuán Xiàn རྐ་ཁོག་རྫོང་། / ཁྱུང་མཆུ་རྫོང་། rka khog rdzong / khyung mchu rdzong 43,818 8,398 5.21

Though situated within Wenchuan County, Wolong National Nature Reserve and Wolong Special Administrative Region are administered separately by the Forestry Department of Sichuan.


Taxi fare for Jiuzhai Huanglong Airport in Ngawa prefecture

The prefecture is served by Hongyuan Airport in the west and Jiuzhai Huanglong Airport in the east. Private taxis can be hired from these airports. Jiuzhaigou Train Station is under construction 55 km (34 mi) north-west of Jiuzhaigou County's town. The railway is to run between Chengdu and Lanzhou.


Aba Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture.jpg

Tourism produced 71.0% of the GDP of the prefecture in 2006.[8] There are many places of interest in the prefecture, including


  1. ^ Ngawa Prefecture Government. 中国·阿坝州. (in Chinese).
  2. ^ a b "基本州情" (in Chinese). 阿坝藏族羌族自治州人民政府. Retrieved 2015-05-04.
  3. ^ "Öйú°¢°ÓÖÝ".
  4. ^ 历史和民族. Ngawa Prefecture People's Government. Retrieved 2018-08-13.
  5. ^ "Casualties in Wenchuan Earthquake" (in Chinese). 2008-06-02. Retrieved 2008-06-02.
  6. ^ "Death Toll in Aba Prefecture Rose to 20,258 as of June 6, 18:00 CST" (in Chinese). Official website of Aba Prefecture Government. 2008-06-07. Archived from the original on 2008-06-09. Retrieved 2008-06-07.
  7. ^ Beam, Christopher (2013-12-05), "Behind China's Cyber Curtain. Visiting the country's far reaches, where the government shut down the Internet", New Republic
  8. ^ Ngawa Prefecture Government. 中国阿坝州. (in Chinese).

Further reading

  • A. Gruschke: The Cultural Monuments of Tibet’s Outer Provinces: Amdo - Volume 2. The Gansu and Sichuan Parts of Amdo, White Lotus Press, Bangkok 2001. ISBN 974-480-049-6
  • Tsering Shakya: The Dragon in the Land of Snows. A History of Modern Tibet Since 1947, London 1999, ISBN 0-14-019615-3

External links