¡¡¡¡The ethnic minorities
have a great revolutionary tradition, having made significant
contributions in the struggle against oppression under
various dynasties, and in the struggle against foreign
imperialism and colonialism.
In the late Qin Dynasty (A.D. 265-316)
in southern China, the Man people took part in the anti-Qin
struggle led by Liu Bang. The Eastern Han Dynasty saw
a succession of massive uprisings among the Qiangs in
a struggle to fight the feudal ruling class. The great
peasant uprising of the Yellow Turban at the close of
the Eastern Han Dynasty included "several thousand
mounted Xiongnu soldiers."
As a protest against Western Jin rule
uprisings of the Xiongnu, Jie, Di and Qiang peoples
were led by Hao San, a Xiongnu, and Qi Wannian, of Di
origin; the Man and Han people in Jingzhou rose under
the standard of Li Chang, a member of the Man group.
By the time of the Northern Wei Dynasty
(A.D. 386-534), Poliubaling, a Xiongnu, and Xianyuxiuli
and Ge Rong led people of various nationalities in a
struggle that embraced six towns in the north; people
of various nationalities were fighting throughout the
whole province of Hebei.
In the Tang Dynasty came uprisings
of the Man living in Xiyuan, Guangdong, Guangxi and
Qinzhou, and the uprising of the Shanyue. These were
followed by the great peasant uprising of Huang Chao,
fought by the people of various ethnic groups in Guangdong
and Guangxi in the final years of the Tang.
In the time of the Song, Yuan, Ming
and Qing dynasties and Kuomintang rule, uprisings broke
out incessantly on an ever greater scale in the fight
against feudal rule. Among the best known of these were
the great uprising started by the people of the Yi,
Bai and Han, involving more than 100,000 people in Yunnan,
the uprising by the people of the Yao in Datengxia during
the Ming Dynasty, and the uprising, also during the
Ming Dynasty, of the Hui and Han led by Ma Shouying
of the Hui ethnic group.
The Taiping Rebellion in the 19th
century symbolized the awakening of the Chinese people,
a movement against imperialism and feudalism started
by people of the Han, Zhuang, Yao, Hui, Miao, Dong and
Yi ethnic groups. During the Revolution of 1911 that
overthrew the Qing Dynasty, and in the May 4th Movement
of 1919, there were also a great number of Zhuang, Hui,
Mongolian and other ethnic minorities fighting alongside
the Han people.
In 1898 in Taiwan an armed uprising
put Gaoshan people alongside their Han compatriots in
fighting against occupation by Japanese imperialists.
Telling blows were dealt to invading British forces
by Tibetans in the Battle of Lungtushan in 1884, and
the Battle of Gyangze in 1904. In their invasion of
Guangxi and Yunnan, the French were fought back by the
Zhuang and Yi peoples.
Under the influence of the Russian
October Revolution, some people of the ethnic minorities
became members of the first batch of Marxist-Leninist
groups in China. The year 1921 saw Deng Enming, of Shui
origin, hailing from Guizhou, present at the First Meeting
of Communist Representatives, which proclaimed the founding
of the Chinese Communist Party.
Taking part in the First Revolutionary
Civil War (1925-27) were fighters of the Mongolian,
Hui, Zhuang, Miao, Manchu, Korean and Li ethnic groups.
Party organizations were developed among Mongolian,
Hui and Zhuang peoples. In the years of the Second Revolutionary
Civil War (1927-37), revolutionary bases were established
in the area of the Zuojiang and Youjiang rivers inhabited
by the Zhuang and Yao ethnic groups in Guangxi, in the
Li area on Hainan Island, and in the Miao and Tujia
areas in Hunan and Hubei. In 1934 the Red Army set out
on the Long March, going through areas inhabited by
the Miao, Dong, Bouyei, Yi, Tibetan, Qiang and Hui ethnic
minorities. The revolutionary army exerted a great influence
on them, helping them organize their own armed forces
and establish revolutionary political power. After the
outbreak of the War of Resistance Against Japan (1937-45),
many minority nationals joined the Eighth Route and
the New Fourth armies led by the Communist Party. There
were also many minority youth in Yan'an, the Communist
Party headquarters. In the Northeast the United Anti-Japanese
Army was composed of Han, Manchu, Korean, Mongolian,
Hui, Daur, Ewenki, Oroqen and Hezhe ethnic groupes.
On Hainan Island the Qiongya Column was formed of Han,
Li and Miao peoples. In the Shaanxi-Gansu-Ningxia border
region a cavalry regiment of Hui people was active.
In Hebei, near the Bohai Sea was a detachment composed
of Hui people. In the base area of Daqingshan was a
guerrilla unit of Mongolians, and in Yunnan there was
a border detachment formed by people of several ethnic
During the War of Liberation (1946-49)
led by the Chinese Communist Party, people of many ethnic
groups joined in the decisive battle. They fought in
the People's Liberation Army, an army of people of all
ethnic groups, until the whole mainland was liberated.
But unification of the country in the
20th century is fundamentally different from
that of old. Under the various feudal dynasties and
the Kuomintang government, national oppression and inequality
remained the rule, and a unified multi-ethnic group
state was maintained under conditions of oppression
and internecine struggle, including wars between various
minorities tormented by local separatist forces. But
the People¡¯s Republic of China has achieved its true
unification on the basis of equality among all ethnic
groups across the country.