(in their own language, Pounang k’ung), a people living in the Chinese People’s Republic, in Kansu and Tsinghai provinces. Population, 5,000 (1953).
The Paoan language is related to the Mongolian languages. It retains archaic features of the 13th- and 14th-century Mongolian language. Evidently, at that time the ancestors of the Paoan broke away from the main group of Mongols and began to form an independent community. The main occupations of the Paoan are field agriculture, truck farming, and cattle raising. The Paoan in Kansu Province are Sunni Muslims, and the Paoan in Tsinghai Province are Lamaists.