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Profile Source: Copyright © Operation China, Paul Hattaway
Officially the Ergong have been included as part of the Tibetan nationality in China, even though they speak their own distinct language. The Ergong are also widely known as Hor or Horpa.
The great Qiang race was once more populous than today. As they moved into more remote regions along the Tibetan frontier, most Qiang were converted to Tibetan Buddhism and were gradually assimilated to Tibetan culture and customs. Today, minority groups such as the Ergong are an example of those Qiang groups who are still in the transitory stage of assimilation. The Ergong are culturally Tibetan but retain their Qiangic language.
The customs of the Ergong are similar to Tibetan customs, although massive stone watchtowers called tianlu prove their affiliation with the Qiang people. Harsh Sichuan winters give way in May to sunny days when grass and wildflowers bloom throughout the region.
All Ergong adhere to the Tibetan Buddhist religion. They consider it a priority to visit at least one holy Tibetan site during the course of their lifetime.
The Ergong are a completely untouched people group. Few Christians have heard of the Ergong and fewer still have tried to reach them. James O. Fraser, a British missionary who worked among the Lisu in the early part of the twentieth century, often exhorted believers in the Western world to intercede on behalf of the lost in China. Fraser said, "Many of us cannot reach the mission-fields on our feet, but we can reach them on our knees. Solid, lasting missionary work is accomplished by prayer, whether offered in China, India, or the United States."