Xiaojin County is a county under jurisdiction of Aba Tibetan Qiang Autonomous Prefecture, formerly known as “Mao-gong Count“, located in south of Aba Prefecture.
Xiaojin is chinese Pinyin, “Xiao” means “little” or small, “Jin” means “gold”. Xiaojin is also known as “Tsenlha County” in Tibetan, which means “a ferocious god” of Bon religion or “the shore of a small river”. In Qing Dynasty, this land was called “Xiao-jin-chuan”, because of the production of sand gold along the river.
Xiaojin County is an area where Tibetan, Qiang, Hui, and Han ethnic groups live together,of which Jiarong Tibetan is the main ethnic group.
Best time to travel
Throughout a year
Subtropical monsoon climate
Most popular sites
Siguniang Mountain Scenic Area, a World Natural Heritage Site, covers an area of 1,375 square kilometers, of which 450 square kilometers are open to be visited. It is located in the middle section of Qionglai Mountains in Hengduan Mountains on the east edge of Qinghai-Tibet Plateau in Rilong Town of Xiaojin County. It is about 220 kilometers southeast of Chengdu. It is mainly composed of “three valleys and one mountain”. The core scenic spots include Shuangqiaogou, Changpinggou, Haizigou and Siguniang Mountain
Siguniang of Siguniang Mountain is Chinese Pinyin, means “four sisters” which representing the 4 highest peaks of this mountain. The main peak of Mount Siguniang is the 2nd highest peak in southwest of China, which is only lower than Mount Gongga (7556 meters). The elevations of Siguniang, San-guniang, Er-guniang, and Da-guniang are 6250m, 5664m, 5454m, and 5355m respectively.
Shuangqiaogou has a total length of 35 kilometers and an area of about 217 square kilometers. You can see more than a dozen snow-capped mountains above 4000 meters above sea level.
Changpinggou has a length of 29 kilometers and an area of about 100 square kilometers. Siguniang Mountain can be viewed about 16 kilometers in this valley.
There are monasteries, ancient cypress road, sea-buckthorn forest, waterfall, Tibetan houses, snow-capped mountains, lakes. The road was only built to about 3 kilometers away from entrance of this valley, and it was only possible to go on horseback or walk.
Haizigou has a total length of 19 kilometers and an area of 126 square kilometers. There are more than 10 mountain lakes in this valley, water of the lakes is crystal clear
Guanzhai Village is located in east of Xiaojin County about 18 kilometers away, and 35 kilometers to Siguniang Mountain Scenic Area. It is one of the best areas of growing the finest Xiaojin apple. The relatively well-preserved Wori Tusi Diaolou (Watching Tower) at the entrance of the village were built in the early Qing Dynasty. The ruined of the Longdeng (dragon lantern) Watching tower in the west of the village is the site of the ancient battlefield of Qing Dynasty.
Wori Tusi(Chieftain) Diaolou was built in 15th year of Emperor Qianlong of Qing Dynasty (1750 AD), and being rebuilt during Republic of China. This is a stone-wood structure single building with five-story triple-eaves and four-cornered spires. Covering an area of 79.5 square meters, with a height of 22.5 meters, it is a Han-Tibetan style building with Buddhist murals, but it was destroyed during the Cultural Revolution in 20th century.
Close to main building, a tower was built next to it, which the plane is rectangular, and the whole is retracted from the bottom to the top, it is cone-shaped, and the height is 19 meters. Viewing it from across the river, the watchtower and the diaolou are surrounded by newly built houses and fertile fields.
Geography and climate
Xiaojin County is located on eastern edge of Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, northwest of Sichuan Province, and southern end of Aba Prefecture. It has a long and narrow terrain, about 116 kilometers from south to north and 78 kilometers from east to west, with a total area of 5,582 square kilometers.
The terrain of Xiaojin County is high in northeast and low in southwest. Hongqiao Mountain in northern of the county is 5200 meters above sea level, and the general high mountain ridge reaches 4500 meters. Most of the river valley areas are below 3000 meters, and vertical elevation difference is 1500-2500 meters.
Qionglai Mountain and Jiajin Mountain run through the whole county which go north-south and north-east, forming the watershed of Minjiang River, Dadu River and Qingyi River.
The climate in Xiaojin County is cold in winter and cool in summer, dry all year round, with less rainfall. the temperature changes drastically, the four seasons are not obvious, and the daily temperature difference is large which sometimes reaches 20°C or even more.
Annual average rainfall is 614 mm; the frost-free period is 220 days, annual average temperature is 12.2℃; annual sunshine is 2214 hours.
Population and ethnicity
As of 2013, Xiaojin County has total population of 82,000, of which Tibetan account for 52% of total population, and other ethnic groups such as Han, Hui, and Qiang account for 48%. It is one of the main Jiarong Tibetan areas.
Before Qing Dynasty(AD 1636-AD 1912), it was all Tibetan settlements with a large population. After two battles in Jinchuan that Empror Qianlong of Qing dynasty eventually conquered Jinchuan, thereafter, the population declined sharply.
After the war, Qing government promoted Gaitu Guiliu, and a large number of immigrants had entered Xiaojin, hence, the population rebounded.
Gaitu Guiliu, also known as “conversion of chieftain system” or “conversion of abandoning chieftain system”, refers to abolition of chieftain who originally ruled ethnic minorities. Instead, officials appointed by the central government. It began in Emperor Yongle’s period at the beginning of Ming Dynasty and was implemented on a large scale during Emperor Yongzheng’s period of Qing Dynasty.
How to get to Xiaojin
The easiest and quickest way is to take vehicle to Xiaojin county from Chengdu, which is only 265 kilometers southeast from Xiaojin county and the drive takes about 5 hours drive.
Add: Shuangliu District, Chengdu
Contact: +86 28 85205555
Airport code: CTU
Altitude: 495 meter
Chengdu Cha Dian Zi bus station
Add: No. 289, Section 5th, West Third ring road;
Jin-Niu district, Chengdu
Contact: +86 28 87506610
Altitude: 460 meter
Distance from Xiaojin County to
- To Chengdu : 265 kilometers, about 5 hours’ drive
- To Danba County: 60 kilometers, about 1.5 hours’ drive
- To Jinchuan County: 126 kilometers, about 2.5 hours’ drive
- To Barkham: 150 kilometers, about 3 hours’ drive
- To Garze County: 390 kilometers, about 7.5 hours’ drive
- To Heishui County: 285 kilometers, about 5.5 hours’ drive
- To Kangding: 200 kilometers, about 4.5 hours’ drive
- To Langmusi: 510 kilometers, about 9.5 hours’ drive
- To Zoige County: 445 kilometers, about 8 hours’ drive
During pre-Qin period ((Paleolithic period – 221 BC)), Xiaojin area was the territory of Liangzhou
In the Eastern Han Dynasty(25 AD-220 AD), it was part of Longqiao Region
During Northern and Southern Dynasties(AD 420-AD 589), it belonged to Dangxiang tribe
During Sui Dynasty(581 AD-618 AD), it belonged to Jialiang Land of Fu kingdom
In Tang Dynasty(618 AD-907 AD), it was under Jialiang Region of Jiannan Dao (County)
In Song Dynasty(AD 960-AD 1279), it belonged to the tribes of West regions of Chengdu Fu (Region)
In Yuan Dynasty(AD 1206-AD 1368), it was under jurisdiction of Tubo High Pacification Commissioner’s Office
In Ming Dynasty(AD 1368-AD 1644), it was under jurisdiction of Mdo-khams Itinerant High Commandery
At the end of Ming Dynasty, Tusi system (Chieftain system) was set up in the Da-jin-chuan and Xiao-jin-chuan, and there was a distinction between “Da-jin” and “Xiao-jin”.
Qing Dynasty inherited the Ming Dynasty system, and still set up chieftains in Xiao-jin-chuan
In 14th year (1749 AD) and 31st year (1766 AD) of Emperor Qianlong of Qing Dynasty, Qing Dynasty launched two wars in Jinchuan
In 44th year of Emperor Qianlong of Qing Dynasty (AD 1779), Mino Ting (County) was set up.
In 48th year of Emperor Qianlong of Qing Dynasty (AD 1783), Mino Ting (County) was changed to Maogong Ting (County)
In 3rdyear of Republic of China (1914), Maogong Ting (County) was named “Maogong County” which was under jurisdiction of Chuanxia Dao (County)
In 24th year of Republic of China (1935), it was the jurisdiction of 16th Administrative Supervisory District of Sichuan Province.
In 1950, Maogong County Government was established.
In 1953, Maogong County was renamed Xiaojin County, and Sichuan Tibetan Autonomous Region which Xiaojin County was under it
In 1955, Sichuan Tibetan Autonomous Region was renamed as “Aba Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture”
In 1987, it was renamed as “Aba Tibetan Qiang Autonomous Prefecture”, since then Xiaojin County has been under its jurisdiction