囊谦县 · ནང་ཆེན་རྫོང་།
Location of Nangqên County (red) within Yushu Prefecture (yellow) and Qinghai
|Country||People's Republic of China|
|• Total||12,741 km2 (4,919 sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+8 (China Standard)|
Nangqên County, or Nangchen (Tibetan: ནང་ཆེན་རྫོང་།, Wylie: nang chen rdzong, ZYPY: Nangqên Zong) or Nangqian County (simplified Chinese: 囊谦县; traditional Chinese: 囊謙縣; pinyin: Nángqiān Xiàn), is a county of the Yushu Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture and is the southernmost county-level division of Qinghai province, China, bordering the Tibet Autonomous Region to the south. 
The county seat is Xangda (shor mda’ / pinyin: Xiāngdá Zhèn 香达镇), built in a side valley and on the right bank of the Dza Chu (upper reaches of the Mekong). In 2000, the county's population amounted to 57,387 people, inhabiting a surface of 11,539 km2 (4,455 sq mi).
The county's name is derived from the former king (nang chen rgyal po) and kingdom of Nangchen, a tribal confederation that emerged as a unified Buddhist kingdom in the 13th century. In the 18th century, the kingdom recognized the ultimate authority of the Chinese emperors, but remained largely autonomous until 1951, when the last king, Trashi Tsewang Dorjé, accepted the incorporation of the kingdom of Nangchen into China, serving as the (nominal) head of a newly established “Government of the Tibetan People’s Autonomous District of Yushu or Upper Kham.” The present-day's county comprises the core area of the old kingdom of Nangchen.
Memories of the kingdom of Nangchen play a role in local politics, and among Tibetan refugees who came to India from the area. Scholar Maria Turek reported that in 2015 she heard about “a man who went to various Tibetan communities in India, introducing himself as ‘the king of Nangchen’ not without some success, even though he had no credentials to prove his claim.”
Nangqên County (Nangqian County) is divided into one town and nine townships:
- Xiangda Town (香达镇)
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- Maria Turek, “Return of the Good King: Kingship and Identity among Yushu Tibetans since 1951,” in Frontier Tibet: Patterns of Change in the Sino-Tibetan Borderland, ed. by Stéphane Gros, Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2019, 453-488.
- Maria Turek, “Return of the Good King: Kingship and Identity among Yushu Tibetans since 1951,” in Frontier Tibet: Patterns of Change in the Sino-Tibetan Borderland, ed. by Stéphane Gros, Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2019, 453-488 (482).
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