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Dungan revolt

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Dungan revolt
Date 1862-1877
Location Shaanxi, Gansu, Ningxia and Xinjiang
Result Qing victory
 Qing Empire Kashgaria(Uyghur Rebels) Hui Muslim rebels
Commanders and leaders
Zuo Zongtang, Wang Dagui, Dong Fuxiang, Ma Zhan'ao, Ma Anliang, Ma Qianling, Ma Haiyan, Dolongga Yakub Beg
Hsu Hsuehkung
Ma Hualong
T'o Ming
Hunan Army (湘军), 120,000 Zuo Zongtang army and LoyalistKhafiya Chinese Muslim troops Uighur troops and Afghan volunteers, Han Chinese and Hui forcibly drafted into Yaqub's army, and separate Han Chinese militia Rebel Jahriyya Chinese Muslim and some Rebel Han Chinese
Casualties and losses
Muslim death in Shanxi alone could be as high as 4,000,000 during the Tong Zhi Muslim Revolt (同治回乱)of 1862
Total death: 8,000,000 -12,000,000, including civilians and soldiers

Dungan revolt (1862–1877)

The Dungan Revolt was a mainly ethnic war with a few religious factors in 19th-century China. It is also known as the Hui Minorities' War. The term is sometimes used to include the Panthay Rebellion in Yunnan which occurred during the same period. But strictly it was an uprising by members of the Hui and other Muslim ethnic groups in China's Shaanxi, Gansu and Ningxia provinces, as well as in Xinjiang, between 1862 and 1877.
The uprising was chaotic and often involved warring factions of bands and military leaders with no common cause or single specific goal or purpose on the western bank of the Yellow River (Shaanxi, Gansu and Ningxia (excluding Xinjiang province)). A common misconception is that it was directed against the Qing Dynasty, but there is no evidence at all showing that they intended to attack the capital of Beijing. When that rebellion failed, mass emigration of the Dungan people into Imperial Russia, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan ensued.

Course of the rebellion

As the Taiping troops approached south-eastern Shaanxi in the spring of 1862, the local Han Chinese, encouraged by the Qing government, formed tuanlian (trad. 團練, simplified 团练) militias to defend the region against the Taipings. Afraid of the armed Han, the Muslims formed their own militia units.
According to modern researchers, the Muslim rebellion began in 1862 not as a planned uprising, but as a coalescence of many local brawls and riots triggered by trivial causes. Among these were false rumours spread that the Hui Muslims were aiding the Taiping Rebellion. However, the Hui Ma Hsiao-shih claimed that the Shaanxi Muslim rebellion was connected to the Taiping.
Many Green Standard troops of the Imperial army were Hui. One of these brawls and riots was initiated when a fight was triggered over the price of bamboo poles a Han was selling to Hui. This led to a massacre of Hui in multiple villages when they refused to agree to the price of the poles, including innocent people. Hui responded by attacking Han and other Hui who did not join them in revolt. A Manchu noted that there were many non rebellious Muslims who were loyal citizens, and warned the Qing court that exterminating all Muslims would force them to support the rebels and make the situation even worse. He said, "Among the Muslims, there are certainly evil ones, but doubtless there are also numerous peaceful, law-abiding people. If we decide to destroy them all, we are driving the good ones to join the rebels, and create for ourselves, and awesome, endless job of killing the Muslims".

The prestige of the Qing dynasty being low and its armies being busy elsewhere, the rebellion that began in the spring of 1862 in the Wei River valley was able to spread rapidly throughout the southeastern Shaanxi. By late June 1862, the organized Muslim fighter bands were able to besiege Xi'an, which was not relieved by the Qing general Dolongga (Chinese: 多隆阿, Duo Long-a) until the fall of 1863.
A vast number of Muslim refugees from Shaanxi fled to Gansu. Some of them formed the "Eighteen Great Battalions" in eastern Gansu, intending to fight back to their homes in Shaanxi.
While the Hui rebels took over Gansu and Shaanxi, Yaqub Beg, who had fled from Kokand Khanate in 1865 or 1866 after losing Tashkent to the Russians, declared himself as the ruler of Kashgar and soon managed to control the entire Xinjiang.
In 1867, the Qing government sent one of their most capable generals Zuo Zongtang, who was instrumental in putting down the Taiping Rebellion, to Shaanxi. Zuo's approach was to pacify 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 suppressing the rebellion in Shaanxi and building up enough grain reserves to feed his army, Zuo attacked the paramount Muslim leader Ma Hualong (马化龙). Zuo's troops reached Ma's stronghold, Jinjibao (Chinese: 金积堡, Jinji Bao, i.e. Jinji Fortress) in what was then north-eastern Gansu in September 1870, bringing Krupp siege guns with him. After a sixteen-month siege, Ma Hualong was forced to surrender in January 1871. Zuo sentenced Ma and over eighty of his officials to death by slicing. Thousands of Muslims were exiled to other parts of China.
Zuo's next target was Hezhou (now known as Linxia), the main center for the Hui people west of Lanzhou and a key point on the trade route between Gansu and Tibet. Hezhou was defended by the Muslim forces of Ma Zhan'ao (马占鳌). Not a Jahriya (New Teaching) adherent, he was a pragmatic member of the Khafiya (Old Teaching) sect, ready to explore avenues for peaceful coexistence with the Qing state. When the revolt broke out, Ma Zhanao escorted Han Chinese to safety in Yixin, and did not attempt to conquer more territory during the rebellion. After successfully repulsing Zuo's initial assault in 1872, inflicting heavy losses on Zuo's army, he offered to surrender his stronghold to the empire, and his assistance to the Qing for the duration of the war. He managed to preserve his Muslim community with his diplomatic skill: While Zuo Zongtang pacified other areas by exiling the local Muslims (with the policy of "washing off the Muslims" (Chinese: 洗回; pinyin: Xǐ Huí) approach that had been long advocated by some officials), in Hezhou, the non-Muslim Han were the ones Zuo chose to relocate as a reward for Ma Zhanao and his Muslim troops helping Qing crush Muslim rebels. Hezhou (Linxia) remains heavily Muslim to this day, achieving the status of Linxia Hui Autonomous Prefecture under the PRC. Other Dungan generals like Ma Qianling and Ma Haiyan also defected to Qing along with Ma Zhan'ao. Ma Zhanao's son Ma Anliang also defected, and their Dungan forces assisted Zuo Zongtang's Qing forces in crushing the rebel dungans.
Dong Fuxiang also defected to the Qing dynasty side, along with Ma Zhanao. He was in no sense a fanatical Muslim or even interested in rebellion, he merely gained support during the chaos and fought, just as many others did. He joined the Qing army of Zuo Zongtang in exchanged for a Mandarinate. He acquired estates which were large.
Reinforced by the Hezhou Muslims, Zuo planned advance westward, along the Hexi Corridor toward Xinjiang. However, he felt it necessary to first secure his left flank by taking Xining, which not only had a large Muslim community of its own, but also sheltered many of the refugees from Shaanxi. Xining fell after a three-month siege in late 1872. Its commander Ma Guiyuan was captured, and defenders were killed by the thousands. The Muslim population of Xining was spared, however; the Shaanxi refugees sheltered there were resettled to arable land in eastern and southern Gansu, isolated from other Muslim areas.
Despite repeated offers of amnesty, many Muslims continued to resist at Suzhou (Jiuquan), their last stronghold in Hexi Corridor in west Gansu. The city was under the command of Ma Wenlu originally from Xining. Many Hui that had retreated from Shaanxi were there as well. After securing his supply lines, Zuo laid siege to Suzhou in September 1873 with 15,000 troops. The fortress could not withstand Zuo's siege guns and the city fell on October 24. Zuo had 7,000 Muslims executed, and resettled the rest in southern Gansu, to ensure that the entire Gansu Corridor from Lanzhou to Dunhuang would remain Muslim-free, preventing a possibility of future collusion between the Muslims of Gansu and Shaanxi and those of Xinjiang.
Han and Hui loyal to Qing seized the land of Hui rebels in Shaanxi, so the Shannxi Hui were resettled in Zhanjiachuan in Gansu.



Yaqub Beg and his son Ishana Beg's corpses were "burned to cinders", on display, this angered the population in Kashgar, but Chinese troops quashed a rebellious plot by Hakim Khan. Surviving members of Yaqub Beg's family included his 4 sons, 4 grandchildren (2 grandsons and 2 granddaughters), and 4 wives. They either died in prison in Lanzhou, Gansu, or were killed by the Chinese. His sons Yima Kuli, K'ati Kuli, Maiti Kuli, and grandson Aisan Ahung were the only survivors in 1879. They were all underage children, and put on trial, sentenced to an agonizing death if they were complicit in their father's rebellious "sedition", or if they were innocent of their fathers crimes, were to be sentenced to castration and serving as a eunuch slave to Chinese troops, when they reached 11 years old, and handed over to the Imperial Household to be executed or castrated. In 1879, it was confirmed that the sentence of castration was carried out, Yaqub Beg's son and grandsons were castrated by the Chinese court in 1879 and turned into eunuchs to work in the Imperial Palace.


On January 25, 1891, a temple was constructed by Governor of Gansu Liu Jintang as a memorial to the victims who died during the Dungan revolt in Kashgar and Zungharia, in the capital of Gansu. The victims numbered 24,838 and included Chinese, Manchus, officials, peasants, and members of all social classes. It was named Chun Yi-t'sze. Another temple was already built in honor to the Xiang Army troops from Hunan who fought during the revolt.