Chinese rebellions: Wikis

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This is a list of major rebellions that have occurred in China from 209 BCE to present times.

Contents

Chen Sheng Wu Guang Uprising

The Chen Sheng Wu Guang Uprising (Chinese: 陳勝吳廣起義, July 209 BCE - December 209 BCE) was the first uprising against Qin rule following the death of Qin Shi Huang.

Chen Sheng and Wu Guang were both army officers who were ordered to lead their bands of commoner soldiers north to participate in the defense of Yuyang (漁陽). However, they were stopped halfway in Anhui province by a severe rainstorm and flooding. The harsh Qin laws stated that anyone late to show up for government jobs will be executed, regardless of the nature of the delay. Chen and Wu realized that they could never make it on time and decided to organize a band that would rebel against the government, that they would die fighting for their freedom rather than by execution. They became the center of armed uprisings all over China, and in a few months their strength congregated to around ten thousand men, composed mostly of discontent peasants. But on the battlefield, they were no match for the highly professional Qin soldiers and the uprising was in trouble in less than a year.

Rebellion of the Seven States

The Rebellion of the Seven States or Revolt of the Seven Kingdoms' (simplified Chinese: 七国之乱, traditional Chinese: 七國之亂) took place in 154 BCE against China's Han Dynasty to protest the emperor's attempt to further centralize the government.

At the beginning of the Han Dynasty, Liu Bang had made many of his relatives princes of certain sections, about one-third to one-half of the empire. This was an attempt to consolidate Liu family rule over the parts of China that were not ruled directly from the capital under the junxian(郡縣) commandery system.

During the reign of Emperor Wen, these princes were still setting their own laws, but they in addition were casting their own coins (albeit with Emperor Wen's approval) and collecting their own taxes. Many princes were effectively ignoring the imperial government's authority within their own principalities. When Emperor Jing became emperor in 157 BCE, the rich Principality of Wu was especially domineering.

Liu Pi therefore started a rebellion. The princes participating were:

  • Liu Pi, the Prince of Wu
  • Liu Wu, the Prince of Chu
  • Liu Ang, the Prince of Jiaoxi Xing
  • Liu Sui (劉遂), the Prince of Zhao
  • Liu Xiongqu (劉雄渠), the Prince of Jiaodong (roughly modern Qingdao, Shandong)
  • Liu Xian (劉賢), the Prince of Zaichuan (roughly part of modern Weifang, Shandong)
  • Liu Piguang (劉辟光), the Prince of Jinan (roughly modern Jinan, Shandong)

Two other principalities agreed to join -- Qi (modern central Shandong) and Jibei (modern northwestern Shandong) -- but neither actually did. Liu Jianglü (劉將閭), the Prince of Qi, changed his mind at the final moment and chose to resist the rebellion forces. Liu Zhi (劉志), the Prince of Jibei, was put under house arrest by the commander of his guards and prevented from joining the rebellion. Three other princes were persuaded to join but either refused or did not actually agree to join -- Liu An (劉安), the Prince of Huainan (roughly modern Lu'an, Anhui); Liu Ci (劉賜), the Prince of Lujiang (roughly modern Chaohu, Anhui); and Liu Bo (劉勃), the Prince of Hengshan (roughly part of modern Lu'an, Anhui). The princes also requested help from the southern independent kingdoms of Donghai (modern Zhejiang) and Minyue (modern Fujian), and the powerful northern Xiongnu. Donghai and Minyue sent troops to participate in the campaign, but Xiongnu, after initially promising to do so as well, did not.

The seven princes, as part of their political propaganda, claimed that Chao Cuo was aiming to wipe out the principalities, and that they would be satisfied if Chao were executed.

Lülin

Lülin' (綠林) or Lülin Force (綠林兵) refers, as an umbrella term, to one of the two major agrarian rebellion movements against Wang Mang's Xin Dynasty in the modern southern Henan and northern Hubei region who banded together to pool their strengths, and whose collective strength eventually led to the downfall of the Xin Dynasty and the establishment of a temporary reinstatement of the Han Dynasty in the person of Liu Xuan (Emperor Gengshi) as the emperor. Many Lülin leaders became important members of Emperor Gengshi's government, but infighting and incompetence (both of the emperor and his officials) in governing the empire led to the fall of the regime after only two years, paving the way for the eventual rise of Liu Xiu (Emperor Guangwu) of the Eastern Han Dynasty. The name Lülin came from the Lülin Mountains (in modern Yichang, Hubei), where the rebels had their stronghold for a while.

In 17 CE, the Jing Province (荊州, modern Hubei, Hunan, and southern Henan) was suffering a famine that was greatly exacerbated by the corruption and incompetence of Xin officials. The victims of the famine were reduced to consuming wild plants, and even those were in short supply, causing the suffering people to attack each other. Two men named Wang Kuang (王匡) and Wang Feng (王鳳), both from Xinshi (新市, in modern Jingmen, Hubei) became arbiters in some of these disputes, and they became the leaders of the enfamined people. They were later joined by many others, including Ma Wu (馬武), Wang Chang (王常), and Cheng Dan (成丹). Within a few months, 7,000 to 8,000 men gathered together under their commands. They had their base at Lülin Mountain, and their modus operandi was to attack and pillage villages far from the cities for food. This carried on for several years, during which they grew to tens of thousands in size.

Wang sent messengers issuing pardons in hopes of causing these rebels to disband. Once the messengers returned to the Xin capital Chang'an, some honestly reported that the rebels gathered because the harsh laws made it impossible for them to make a living and therefore they were forced to rebel. Some, in order to flatter Wang Mang, told him that these were simply evil resistors who needed to be killed, or that this was a temporary phenomenon. Wang listened to those who flattered him and generally relieved those who told the truth from their posts. Further, Wang made no further attempts to pacify the rebels, but instead decided to suppress them by force. In reality, the rebels were forced into rebellion to survive, and they were hoping that eventually, when the famine was over, they could return home to farm. As a result, they never dared to attack cities.

In 21 CE, the governor of Jing Province mobilized 20,000 soldiers to attack the Lülin rebels, and a battle was pitched at Yundu (雲杜), a major victory for the rebles, who killed thousands of government soldiers and captured their food supply and arms. When the governor tried to retreat, his retreat route was temporarily cut off by Ma Wu, but Ma Wu allowed him to escape, not wanting to offend the government more than the rebels have done already. Instead, the Lülin rebels roved near the area, capturing many women, and then returning to the Lülin Mountain. By this point, they had 50,000 men.

Chimei

Chimei (赤眉) refers, as an umbrella term, to one of the two major agrarian rebellion movements against Wang Mang's Xin Dynasty, initially active in the modern Shandong and northern Jiangsu region, that eventually led to Wang Mang's downfall by draining his resources, allowing the leader of the other movement (the Lülin), Liu Xuan (Emperor Gengshi of Han) to overthrow Wang and temporarily establish an incarnation of the Han Dynasty under him. Eventually, Chimei forces would overthrow Emperor Gengshi and place their own Han descendant puppet, Emperor Liu Penzi, on the throne briefly, before the Chimei leaders' incompetence in ruling the territories under their control, which matched their brilliance on the battlefield, to cause the people to rebel against them, forcing them to try to withdraw home. When their path was blocked off by Liu Xiu (Emperor Guangwu)'s newly established Eastern Han regime, they surrendered to him.

Circa 17 CE, due to Wang Mang's incompetence in ruling -- particularly in his implementation of his land reform policy -- and a major Yellow River flood affecting the modern Shandong and northern Jiangsu regions, the people who could no longer subsist on farming were forced into rebellion to try to survive. The rebellions were numerous and fractured.

Yellow Turban Rebellion

The Yellow Turban Rebellion, sometimes also translated as the Yellow Scarves Rebellion, (simplified Chinese: 黄巾之乱traditional Chinese: 黃巾之亂pinyin: Huáng Jīn Zhī Luàn) was a 184 CE peasant rebellion against Emperor Lingdi of the Han Dynasty of China. It is named for the color of the scarves which the rebels wore around their heads. The rebels were associated with secret Taiping Taoist societies and the rebellion marked an important point in the history of Taoism. The rebellion is the opening event in the Chinese literary classic Romance of the Three Kingdoms.

A major cause of the Yellow Turban Rebellion was an agrarian crisis, in which famine forced many farmers and former military settlers in the north to seek employment in the south, where large landowners took advantage of the labor surplus and amassed large fortunes. The situation was further aggravated by smaller floods along the lower course of the Yellow River. Further pressure was added on the peasants by high taxes imposed on them in order to build fortifications along the Silk Road and garrisons against foreign infiltrations and invasions. From 170 CE on, landlords and peasants formed irregular armed bands, setting the stage for class conflict.

At the same time, the Han Dynasty showed internal weakness. The power of the landowners had been a problem for a long time already (s. Wang Mang), but in the run-up to the Yellow Turban Rebellion, the court eunuchs in particular gained considerably in influence on the emperor, which they abused to enrich themselves. Ten of the most powerful eunuchs formed a group known as The Ten Regular Attendants and the emperor referred to one of them (Zhang Rang) as his "foster father". Consequently, the government was widely regarded as corrupt and incapable and against this backdrop, the famines and floods were seen as an indication that a decadent emperor had lost his mandate of heaven.

The Yellow Turban Rebellion was led by Zhang Jiao (who is referred to as Zhang Jue in the Robert Moss' English translation of the Romance of the Three Kingdoms) and his two younger brothers Zhang Bao and Zhang Liang, who were born in the Ju Lu district of the Ye Prefecture. The brothers had founded a taoist religious sect in Shandong Province. They considered themselves followers of the "Way of Supreme Peace" (Tai Ping Dao) and venerated the deity Huang-lao, who according to Zhang Jiao had given him a sacred book called the Crucial Keys to the Way of Peace (Tai Ping Yao Shu). Zhang Jiao was said to be a sorcerer and styled himself as the "Great Teacher". The sect propagated the principles of equal rights of all peoples and equal distribution of land; when the rebellion was proclaimed, the sixteen-word slogan was created by Zhang Jiao: 苍天已死,黄天当立,岁在甲子,天下大吉 ("The Blue Sky (ie. the Han Dynasty) has perished, the Yellow Sky (ie. the rebellion) will soon rise; in this year of Jia Zi, let there be prosperity in the world!")

Five Pecks of Rice Rebellion

The Five Pecks of Rice Rebellion (五斗米道 pinyin: Wudoumidao wg: Wu-Tou-Mi-Tao) was a religious rebellion at the end of the Han Dynasty (206 BCE – 220 CE) instigated by Taoist leader Zhang Daoling's grandson Zhang Lu. The name of the rebellion refers to the five pecks that were paid to the Taoist church for either cures (Zhang Daoling was a faith healer) or church dues. The rebellion became an example for the popular rebellions later instigated against dynastic governments.

Early in the 2nd Century CE, Zhang Daoling, the progenitor of the Taoist Church, used his popularity as a faith healer and religious leader to organize a theological movement against the Han Dynasty from the widespread poverty and corruption that oppressed the peasants under the Han. He gathered many followers from the Sichuan area by not only providing a source of hope for the disparaged, but also by reforming religious practices into a more acceptable format. This created one of the first organized religious movements in China.

In 184 CE, his grandson and the successor of his son Zhang Heng, Zhang Lu, revolted against the Han Dynasty and created his own state, Zhang Han. This state continued for over 30 years until Zhang Lu's defeat and surrender to the general Cao Cao. After Zhang Lus's surrender, he relocated to the Han court where he continued to live until the Han Dynasty changed to the Wei. Zhang Lu then used his own popularity as a religious leader to lend legitimacy to the new Wei court, proclaiming that the Wei court had inherited divine authority from the Tao church, as well as from Confucian laws.

An Shi Rebellion

The An Shi Rebellion (Chinese: 安史之亂pinyin: Ān Shǐ Zhī Luàn) occurred in China, during the Tang Dynasty, from 756 to 763. It is also known as the Tianbao Rebellion (天寶之亂), because An Lushan started it in the 14th year of the namesake era. The alternative term An Lushan Rebellion neglected the participation of Shi Siming (史思明), a subordinate of An Lushan and later leader of the rebellion after murdering An Lushan's son An Qingxu (安慶緒).

The rebellion spanned the reigns of three emperors. The first emperor, Xuanzong, escaped to Sichuan (幸蜀). Xuanzong's army demanded the death of an official, Yang Guozhong, and his cousin, Lady Yang (楊貴妃). Emperor Suzong (唐肅宗), (3rd or 4th) son of Xuanzong, was proclaimed emperor by the accompanying army and eunuchs while another group of local officials and Confucian literati proclaimed another prince at Jinling (today Nanjing).

The rebellion was suppressed during the reign of Daizong by generals Pugu Huaien (僕固懷恩), Guo Ziyi and Li Guangbi (李光弼). Although successful at suppressing the rebellion, the Tang Dynasty was badly weakened by it and in its remaining years was troubled by persistent warlordism. The death toll of the rebellion according to various sources, including suppression and famine, is estimated to be about 36 million, which was the highest death toll for any event for nearly 1200 years, until World War II surpassed it with over 62 million deaths.

Red Turban Rebellion

The Red Turban Rebellion (Chinese: 紅巾起義 Hóngjīn Qǐyì) was an uprising against the Mongols. Since the 1340s, the Mongol-ruled Yuan Dynasty was experiencing problems. The Yellow River flooded constantly, and other natural disasters also occurred. At the same time, the Yuan Dynasty required considerable military expenditure to maintain its vast empire. This was solved mostly through additional taxation that fell mainly on the Han Chinese population which constituted the lowest two castes in the four castes of the people under the Yuan Dynasty much influenced by the White Lotus Society members that targeted the ruling Yuan Dynasty.

Li Zicheng's Rebellion

A peasant rebellion led by Li Zicheng aiming at foundation of a new dynasty, exploded the Ming and became legitimation for Qing's capture of Beijing.

Revolt of the Three Feudatories

The Three Feudatories (Chinese: 三藩 pinyin: sān fàn) were territories in southern China bestowed by the early Manchu rulers on three Chinese generals (Wu Sangui, Geng Jingzhong, and Shang Zhixin). In the second half of the 17th century, these generals revolted against the Manchu Qing Dynasty. This rebellion came as the Qing rulers were establishing themselves after their conquest of China in 1644, and was the last serious threat to their imperium until the 19th century conflicts that ultimately brought about the end of the dynasty in 1912. The Revolt was followed by almost a decade of civil war which extended across the breadth of China.

In 1655, the Qing government granted Wu Sangui, a man to whom they were indebted for the conquest of China, both civil and military authority over the province of Yunnan. In 1662, after the execution of Zhu Youlang, the last Ming claimant to the throne, Wu was given jurisidiction also over Guizhou. In the next decade he consolidated his power and by 1670 his influence had spread to include much of Hunan, Sichuan, Gansu and even Shaanxi. Two other powerful defected military leaders also developed similar powers: Shang Zhixin in Guangdong and Geng Jingzhong in Fujian. They ruled their "feudatories" as their own domains and the Qing court had virtually no control over the provinces in the south and southwest.

By 1672 the young Kangxi Emperor had determined that the feudatories were a threat to the Manchu regime. In 1673 Shang Zhixin submitted a memorial requesting permission to retire and in August of the same year a similar request arrived from Wu Sangui, designed to test the court's intentions. Kangxi went against the majority view in the Council of Princes and High Officials and accepted the request. News of Wu's rebellion reached Beijing in January 1674.

White Lotus Rebellion

The White Lotus Rebellion was a Chinese anti-Manchu uprising that occurred during the Ch'ing dynasty. It broke out (1796) among impoverished settlers in the mountainous region that separates Sichuan province from Hubei and Shaanxi provinces. It apparently began as a tax protest led by the White Lotus Society, a secret religious society that forecast the advent of the Buddha Maitreya, advocated restoration of the native Chinese Ming dynasty, and promised personal salvation to its followers.

At first, the Ch'ing administration, under the control of Heshen, sent inadequate and inefficient imperial forces to suppress the ill-organized rebels. On assuming effective power in 1799, however, Emperor Jiaqing (reigned 1796-1820) overthrew the Heshen clique and gave support to the efforts of the more vigorous Manchu commanders as a way of restoring discipline and morale. A systematic program of pacification followed in which the populace was resettled in hundreds of stockaded villages and organized into militia by the name of tuanlian. In its last stage, the Ch'ing suppression policy combined pursuit and extermination of rebel guerrilla bands with a program of amnesty for deserters. Although the Manchu finally crushed (1804) the rebellion, the myth of the military invincibility of the Manchu was shattered, perhaps contributing to the greater frequency of rebellions in the 19th century.

Taiping Rebellion

The Taiping Rebellion (太平天國, 1851–1864) was the second bloodiest conflict in history, a clash between the forces of Imperial China and those inspired by a Hakka Prophet named Hong Xiuquan, a Christian convert who had claimed that he was the brother of Jesus Christ. Most accurate sources put the total deaths at about 20 million civilians and army personnel, although some claim the death toll was much higher (as many as 50 million according to at least one source.[1]). There are reports that "Some historians have estimated that the combination of natural disasters combined with the political insurrections may have cost on the order of 200 million Chinese lives between 1850–1865 [2]". That figure is generally thought to be an exaggeration, as it is approximately half the estimated population of China in 1851.[3] The rebellion is named after the revolutionaries' name Kingdom of Heavenly Peace or Tàipíng Tiānguó Wade-Giles (T'ai-p'ing t'ien-kuo), which lasted as long as the revolution.

Hong Xiuquan gathered his support in a time of considerable turmoil. The country had suffered a series of natural disasters, economic problems and defeats at the hands of the Western powers, problems that the ruling Qing dynasty did little to lessen. Anti-Manchu sentiment was strongest in the south, and it was these disaffected that joined Hong. The sect extended into militarism in the 1840s, initially against banditry. The persecution of the sect was the spur for the struggle to develop into guerrilla warfare and then into full-blown war.

The revolt began in Guangxi Province. In early January 1851, a ten-thousand-strong rebel army routed the Imperial troops at the town of Jintian (Jintian Uprising). The Imperial forces attacked but were driven back. In August 1851, Hong then declared the establishment of the Heavenly Kingdom of Taiping with himself as absolute ruler. The revolt spread northwards with great rapidity. 500,000 Taiping soldiers took Nanjing in March 1853, killing 30,000 Imperial soldiers and slaughtering thousands of civilians. The city became the movement's capital and was renamed Tiānjīn (in Wade-Giles: T'ang-chun) (Heavenly Capital).

Du Wenxiu Rebellion

The Du Wenxiu Rebellion (1856 - 1872) was a separatist movement of the Hui people, Chinese Muslims, against the imperial Qing Dynasty in western Yunnan Province, China. It was part of a wave of Hui unrest during the Qing Dynasty.

The leader of the rebellion was Du Wenxiu (杜文秀; pinyin: Dù Wénxiù) (1823 - 1872), an ethnic Hui born in Yongcheng. He became the Sultan of Dali. He was beheaded by Qing troops after his death. His body is entombed in Xiadui.

The rebellion successfully captured the city of Dali, which became the base for the rebels' operations, and declared themselves a separate political entity from China. The rebels identified their nation as Pingnan Guo (平南国 The Pacified Southern Nation); their leader Sulayman ibn `Abd ar-Rahman, known as Du Wenxiu [originally Yang Xiu]) (d. 1873) was styled Qa´id Jami al-Muslimin ('Leader of the Community of Muslims'), but is usually referred to in foreign sources as Sultan) and ruled 1856 - 26 December 1872.

The rebellion sieged the city of Kunming multiple times (in 1857, 1861, 1863 and 1868), briefly taking the city in 1863. Later, as the Qing troops began to gain the upperhand versus the rebellion, the rebellion sent a letter to Queen Victoria, asking the British Empire for formal recognition and for military assistance; the fledgling state was turned down by the British. The rebellion was eventually suppressed by Qing troops, who killed and decapitated the 'sultan'.

The brutal suppression led to many Huis fleeing to neighboring countries bordering Yunnan. Surviving Huis escaped to Burma, Thailand and Laos, forming the basis of a minority Chinese Hui population in those nations.

Hundreds of thousands of Hui people were massacred or died in these purges.

The rebellion had a significant negative impact on the Burmese Konbaung Dynasty. After losing lower Burma to the British, Burma lost access to vast tracts of rice-growing land. Not wishing to upset China, the Burmese kingdom agreed to refuse trade with the Hui rebels in accordance with China's demands. Without the ability to import rice from China, Burma was forced to import rice from the British. In addition, the Burmese economy had relied heavily on cotton exports to China, and suddenly lost access to the vast Chinese market.

Nien Rebellion

The Nien Rebellion (Chinese: 捻軍起義pinyin: niǎn jūn qǐ yìWade-Giles: nien-chün ch'i-yi; Western historians have traditionally used the Wade-Giles transcription "Nien", rather than Hanyu Pinyin "Nian") was a large armed uprising that took place in northern China from 1851 to 1868. The rebellion failed to topple the Qing dynasty, but caused immense economic devastation and loss of life that became one of the major long-term factors in the collapse of the Qing regime.

The Nien movement was formed in the late 1840s by Zhang Luoxing, and by 1851 numbered approximately 40,000. Unlike the Taiping movement, though, the Nien initially had no clear goals or objectives aside from criticism of the Qing government. However, the Nien were provoked into taking direct action against the Imperial regime following a series of ecological disasters. In 1851, the massive Huang He river burst its banks, flooding hundreds of thousands of square miles and causing immense loss of life. The Qing government slowly began clearing up after the disaster, but were unable to provide effective aid as government finances had been drained during a recent war with Great Britain and the ongoing slaughter of the Taiping rebellion. The damage created by the disaster had still not been repaired when, in 1855, the river burst its banks again, drowning thousands and devastating the fertile province of Jiangsu. At the time, the Qing government was trying to negotiate a deal with the European powers, and as state finances had been so severely depleted, the regime was unable to provide effective relief aid. This enraged the Nien movement, who blamed the Europeans for contributing to China's troubles, and increasingly viewed the Qing government as incompetent and cowardly in the face of the Western powers.

In 1855, Zhang Luoxing took direct action by launching attacks against government troops in central China. By the summer, the fast-moving Nien cavalry, well-trained and fully equipped with modern firearms, had cut the lines of communication between Beijing and the Qing armies fighting the Taiping rebels in the south. Qing forces were badly overstretched as rebellions broke out across China, allowing the Nien armies to conquer large tracts of land and gain control over economically vital areas. The Nien fortified their captured cities and used them as bases to launch cavalry attacks against Qing troops in the countryside, prompting local towns to fortify themselves against Nien raiding parties. This resulted in constant fighting which devastated the previously rich provinces of Jiangsu and Hunan.

In early 1856, the Qing government sent the Mongol General Senggelinqin, who had recently crushed a large Taiping army, to defeat the Nien. Senggelinqin's army captured several fortified cities and destroyed most of the Nien infantry, and killed Zhang Luoxing himself in an ambush. However, the Nien movement survived as Taiping commanders arrived to take control of the Nien forces, and the bulk of the Nien cavalry remained intact. Senggelinqin's infantry-based army could not stop the fast moving cavalry from devastating the countryside and launching surprise attacks on Imperial troops. In 1865, Senggelinqin and his bodyguards were ambushed by Nien troops and killed, depriving the government of its best military commander. The Qing regime sent General Zeng Guofan to take command of Imperial forces, providing him with modern artillery and weapons, purchased from the Europeans at extortionate prices. Zeng's army set about building canals and trenches to hem in the Nien cavalry - an effective but slow and expensive method. Zeng is removed from the post after Nien broke one of his defense fronts. General Li Hongzhang and General Zuo Zongtang are in charge of the suppression. In late 1866, Nien split into two, east Nien stayed in the central China and west Nien sneaked close to Beijing. By late 1867, Li's and Zuo's troops had recaptured most Nien territory, and in early 1868, the movement was crushed by the combined forces of the government's troops and the Ever Victorious Army.

Hui Minorities' War

The Hui Minorities' War is the modern term used by the People's Republic of China for what used to be called the Dungan Revolt or Muslim Rebellion (回變). The latter term is sometimes used to refer to the Du Wenxiu Rebellion in Yunnan as well. It was an uprising by members of the Hui minority from the Shaanxi (陝西), Gansu (甘肅) and Ningxia (寧夏) provinces of China between 1862 and 1877. The uprising was directed against the Qing Dynasty and actively encouraged by the leaders of the Taiping Rebellion. When it failed, it led to some immigration of Hui people into Imperial Russia.

Chinese Muslims had been traveling to West Asia for many years prior to the Hui Minorities' War. Some of them had adopted radical Islamic teachings referred to as New Teachings. There had been attempted risings by followers of these New Teachings in 1781 and 1783. In 1862 the prestige of the Qing dynasty was low and their armies were busy elsewhere. In 1867 the Qing government sent one of their best officials, Zuo Zongtang (左宗棠), a hero of the suppression of the Taiping Rebellion, to Shaanxi. His forces were ordered to help put down the Nian Rebellion and he was not able to deal with the Muslim rebels until December 1868. Zuo's approach was to rehabilitate the region by promoting agriculture, especially cotton and grain as well as supporting orthodox Confucian education. Due to the poverty of the region Zuo had to rely on financial support from outside the North-West. After building up enough grain reserves to feed his army, Zuo attacked the most important Muslim leader, Ma Hualong. Ma was besieged in the city of Jinjibao for sixteen months before surrendering in March 1871. Zuo sentenced Ma and over eighty of his officials to death by slicing. Thousands of Muslims were exiled to different parts of China. Despite repeated offers of amnesty, many Muslims continued to resist until the fall of Suzhou in Gansu.

The failure of the uprising in 1873 led to some immigration of Hui people into Imperial Russia. The descendants of the immigrants continue to live in the border region of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Kyrgyzstan.

Boxer Rebellion

Boxer forces, 1900 photograph

The Boxer Uprising (simplified Chinese: 义和团起义traditional Chinese: 義和團起義pinyin: Yìhétuán Qǐyì; The Righteous and Harmonious Fists) or Boxer Rebellion (義和團之亂 or 義和團匪亂) was a movement against European commercial, political, religious and technological influence in China during the final years of the 19th century, from November 1899 to September 7, 1901[4]. By August 1900 over 230 foreigners, thousands of Chinese Christians, an unknown number of rebels, their sympathizers and other Chinese were killed in the revolt and its suppression.

Anti-Foreign pamphlet, circa 1899

In 1840, the First Opium War broke out, and China was defeated by Britain. In view of the weakness of the Qing government, Britain and other nations such as France, Russia and Japan started to exert influence over China. Due to their inferior army and navy, the Qing Dynasty was forced to sign many agreements which became known as the "Unequal Treaties". These include the Treaty of Nanking (1842), the Treaty of Aigun (1858), the Treaty of Tientsin (1858), the Convention of Peking (1860), the Treaty of Shimonoseki (1895), and the Second Convention of Peking (1898).

Such treaties were regarded as grossly unfair by many Chinese. They had always considered themselves to be superior to foreigners, but their prestige was sorely damaged by the treaties, as foreigners were perceived to receive special treatment compared to Chinese. Rumours circulated of foreigners committing crimes as a result of agreements between foreign and the Chinese governments over how foreigners in China should be prosecuted. In Guizhou, local officials were reportedly shocked to see a cardinal using a sedan chair decorated in the same manner as one reserved for the governor. The Catholic Church's prohibition on some Chinese rituals and traditions were another issue of contention. Thus in the late 19th century such feelings increasingly resulted in civil disobedience and violence towards both foreigners and Chinese Christians.

The rebellion was initiated by a society known as the Righteous Harmony Society (義和拳) or in contemporary English parlance, "Boxers", a group which initially opposed, but later reconciled itself, to China's ruling Manchu Qing Dynasty. The Boxer rebellion was concentrated in northern China where the European powers had begun to demand territorial, rail and mining concessions. Imperial Germany responded to the killing of two missionaries in Shandong province in November 1897 by seizing the port of Qingdao. A month later a Russian naval squadron took possession of Lushun, in southern Liaoning. Britain and France followed, taking possession of Weihai and Zhanjiang respectively.

Xinhai Revolution

The Xinhai Revolution or Hsinhai Revolution (Chinese: 辛亥革命pinyin: Xīnhài Gémìng) was a republican revolution which overthrew China's ruling Qing Dynasty, which was also known as the Manchu Dynasty, and the establishment of the Republic of China. The revolution had ended the monarchy which had a history for 4000 years in China and replaced it with a republic, with democratic ideals. The ensuing revolutionary war lasted from October 10, 1911 and ended upon the formation of the Republic of China on February 12, 1912. Since 1911 is a Xinhai Year in the sexagenary cycle of Chinese calendar, Xinhai Revolution had got its present name.

The revolution began with the armed Wuchang Uprising and the spread of republican insurrection through the southern provinces, and culminated in the abdication of the Xuantong Emperor after lengthy negotiations between rival Imperial and Republican regimes based in Beijing and Nanjing respectively.

The Revolution inaugurated a period of struggle over China's eventual constitutional form, which saw two brief monarchical restorations and successive periods of political fragmentation before the Republic's final establishment.

Today, the Xinhai Revolution is commemorated in Taiwan as Double Ten Day (雙十節). In addition, numerous overseas Chinese also celebrate Double Ten Day and events are usually held in Chinatowns across the world.

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