The Qiang people are an ethnic group of China. They form one of the 56 ethnic groups officially recognized by the People's Republic of China, with a population of approximately 200,000, living mainly in northwestern part of Sichuan province. At present, the Qiang have a self-identity, referring to themselves as Qiang zu and erma or rma. There are about 200,000 Qiang people today in western Sichuan, predominantly in the five counties of Maoxian, Wenchuan, Lixian, Beichuan and Heishui, of the Aba Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture. On 12 May 2008, the Qiang people were heavily affected by the major Sichuan earthquake, whose epicenter was in Wenchuan County. The Qiang today are mountain dwellers. A fortress village, zhai _, composed of 30 to 100 households, in general, is the basic social unit beyond the household. An average of two to five fortress villages in a small valley along a mountain stream, known in local Chinese as gou _, make up a village cluster .
Contributions by Hzh, Mr Tan, and Ptr123.