Punti–Hakka Clan Wars

Last updated
Punti–Hakka Clan Wars
Date1855 to 1868
Location
Caused by Red Turban Rebellion (1854–1856)
Resulted inSignificant Hakka population moved to Guangxi province
Parties to the civil conflict
Casualties
Death(s)500,000 [1] - 1 million+ [2]
Punti–Hakka Clan Wars
Traditional Chinese 械鬥
Simplified Chinese 械斗

The Punti–Hakka Clan Wars were a conflict between the Hakka and Cantonese people in Guangdong, China between 1855 and 1867. The wars were fierce around the Pearl River Delta, especially in Toi Shan of the Sze Yup counties. The wars resulted in roughly a million dead with many more fleeing for their lives.

Contents

Background

Hakka literally means guest family, and Punti literally means natives. The Punti are also referred to by the languages they spoke, Yue Chinese. The origins of this bloody conflict lay in the resentment of the Cantonese towards the Hakka people whose dramatic population growth threatened the Cantonese people. The Hakka were marginalized and resentful in turn, and were forced to inhabit the hills and waterways rather than the fertile plains.

The existing Cantonese-speaking natives ( 本地 , bendi) of these areas, known in Cantonese as "Punti", were protective of their own more fertile lands, and the newcomers were pushed to the outer fringes of fertile plains, despite having migrated legitimately, or they settled in more mountainous regions to eke out a living. Conflict between the two groups grew and it is thought that "Hakka" became a term of derision used by the Punti aimed at the newcomers. Eventually, the tension between the two groups (the Hakkas had by then been settled for several hundred years and could not be regarded as migrants in any sense) would lead to a series of 19th-century skirmishes in the Pearl River Delta known as the Punti–Hakka Clan Wars. The problem was not that the two groups spoke a different tongue. In fact, the "locals" comprised different peoples speaking several mutually unintelligible tongues, as was typical of the Chinese countryside all over southern China, but they would regard each other as "locals" or Puntis, but exclude the Hakkas from such designation. (The Chinese bendi describes any native people in any location; the English term "Punti" describes the native Cantonese in Guangdong but not the emigrant Cantonese elsewhere.)

Over time the newcomers adopted the term "Hakka" to refer to themselves, not least due to the migratory tendencies inherent in their own culture. Although most of the immigrants called Hakkas were Hakka speakers, the term was later used to include various hill ethnicities such as the She and Yao people who were registered as so called "Guest Families" as they migrated with the Hakkas together from the hills. Intermarriages among Hakka and Punti members was extremely rare. Through studies of both Cantonese and Hakka genealogies, some Hakka and Punti people with the same surnames allege that they may have the same ancestors, although their descendants strongly identify with one group to the exclusion of the other.

During the Qing conquest of the Ming, Ming loyalists under Koxinga established a temporary seat and regional office for the Ming dynasty [3] [4] in Taiwan in the hopes of eventually retaking mainland China. In an attempt to defeat these warriors and pirates without a war, the Kangxi Emperor strengthened his dynasty's sea ban (haijin) in 1661 and issued the order for the Great Clearance of the southeastern coast. Chinese, especially the ethnic Tanka, living off the coast of Shandong to Guangdong were ordered to destroy their property and move inland 30 to 50 li (about 16–31 km or 9.9–19.3 mi) upon pain of death in order to deprive the Taiwanese rebels of support or targets to raid. The governors and viceroys of the affected provinces submitted scathing memorials and the policy was reversed after eight years. In 1669 and 1671, however, strong typhoons destroyed what few settlements existed.

As far fewer Punti returned to the abandoned lands than expected, the Qing ruler decided to provided incentives to repopulate these areas. The most visible of those who responded were the Hakka. For some time the Punti and Hakka lived together peacefully. As the population of Guangdong Province soared, life became increasingly difficult and unrest broke out, such as the Red Turban Rebellion led by the Cantonese attacking Ho Yun and Fat Shan.

Clan war

During the Red turban rebellion in Canton, the Hakkas had helped the imperial army to raid Punti villages to kill the rebels and any real or suspected sympathisers, including villagers who were forced to pay taxes to the Red Turbans. This precipitated open hostility between the Hakka and Punti, with the Punti attacking Hakka villages in revenge.

Battles raged. Both sides fortified their villages with walls, destroyed bridges and roads, and raised armies as best they could. Entire villages were involved in the fighting with all able-bodied men called to fight. The Cantonese were armed with the help of their relatives in Hong Kong and the Chinese diaspora who lived abroad. Some captives were sold to Cuba and South America as coolies through Hong Kong and Macau, and others sold to the brothels of Macau. 500,000 perished in the war from genocidal fighting in which thousands of villages were destroyed, notwithstanding an even greater number who perished in epidemics. [1]

Resolution

Conflict reached a devastating scale. Over a million died and thousands of villages were destroyed. Because the Punti significantly outnumbered the Hakka, the Hakka losses were more extensive, the population share of Hakka in the Sze Yup area dropped to 3%, with many relocated to Guangxi.

For many years the Hakka were allocated their own independent county, Chek Kai (赤溪), which was carved out of south-eastern Toishan.

See also

Related Research Articles

Hakka Chinese Primary branch of Chinese originating in Southern China

Hakka is a language group of varieties of Chinese, spoken natively by the Hakka people throughout Southern China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau and throughout the diaspora areas of East Asia, Southeast Asia and in overseas Chinese communities around the world.

Taiping Rebellion Rebellion in Qing dynasty China

The Taiping Rebellion, also known as the Taiping Civil War or the Taiping Revolution, was a massive rebellion or civil war that was waged in China from 1850 to 1864, between the established Qing dynasty and the theocratic Taiping Heavenly Kingdom. After fighting the bloodiest civil war in world history, with some historians believing fatalities to be as high as 70 million, the established Qing government won decisively, although the outcome is considered a pyrrhic victory.

Hakka people Ethnic group

The Hakka, sometimes Hakka Han, are Han Chinese people whose ancestral homes are chiefly in the Hakka-speaking provincial areas of Guangdong, Fujian, Jiangxi, Guangxi, Sichuan, Hunan, Zhejiang, Hainan and Guizhou. The Chinese characters for Hakka (客家) literally mean "guest families". Unlike other Han Chinese subgroups, the Hakkas are not named after a geographical region, e.g. a province, county or city, in China. Modern day Hakka are generally identified by both full Hakka and by different degrees of Hakka ancestry and usually speak the Hakka language.

This is a list of Cantonese-related topics, which encompasses Guangdong and Guangxi, the Cantonese people, culture and language.

Walled village Residential community structure

A walled village is a type of large traditional multi-family communal living structure found in China, that is designed to be easily defensible. It is completely surrounded by thick defensive walls, protecting the residents from the attack of wild animals and enemies. Usually, people living in the walled village are extended families or clans sharing the same surname. Walled villages are still found in southern China and Hong Kong.

Hakka walled village Settlement style historically popular among Hakka Chinese

A Hakka walled village is a large multi-family communal living structure that is designed to be easily defensible. This building style is unique to the Hakka people found in southern China. Walled villages are typically designed for defensive purposes and consist of one entrance and no windows at the ground level.

Cantonese is a language within the Chinese language family originating from the city of Guangzhou and its surrounding area in Southeastern China. It is the traditional prestige variety of the Yue Chinese dialect group, which has over 80 million native speakers. While the term Cantonese specifically refers to the prestige variety, it is often used to refer to the entire Yue subgroup of Chinese, including related but largely mutually unintelligible languages and dialects such as Taishanese.

The subgroups of the Han Chinese people, Chinese dialect groups or just dialect groups, are defined based on linguistic, cultural, ethnic, genetic and regional features. The terminology used in Mandarin to describe the groups is: "minxi", used in Mainland China or "zuqun", used in Taiwan. Other than Hui people, which is a classification for Muslims of all backgrounds, no Han subgroup is recognized as one of People's Republic of China's 56 official minority ethnic groups. Scholars like James W. Hayes have described the Han Chinese subgroups as "ethnic group" outright, at least in the context of Hong Kong society.

<i>Punti</i>

Punti is a Cantonese endonym referring to the native Cantonese people of Guangdong and Guangxi. Punti designates Weitou dialect-speaking locals in contrast to other Yue Chinese speakers and others such as Taishanese people, Hoklo people, Hakka people, and ethnic minorities such as the Zhuang people of Guangxi and the boat-dwelling Tanka people, who are both descendants of the Baiyue – although the Tanka have largely assimilated into Han Chinese culture.

Cantonese people Ethnic group native to parts of southern China

The Cantonese people or Yue people, are a Yue-speaking Han Chinese sub-group originating from or residing in the provinces of Guangdong and Guangxi, in Southern Mainland China. Although more accurately, "Cantonese" refers only to the people from Guangzhou and its satellite cities and towns and/or native speakers of Standard Cantonese, rather than simply and generally referring to the people of the Liangguang region.

Tsai is a Chinese surname that derives from the name of the ancient Cai state. In 2019 it was the 38th most common surname in Mainland China, but the 9th most common in Taiwan, where it is usually romanized as Tsai, Tsay, or Chai based on Wade-Giles romanization of Standard Mandarin and the 8th most common in Singapore, where it is usually romanized as Chua, which is based on its Teochew and Hokkien pronunciation. Koreans use Chinese-derived family names and in Korean, Cai is 채 in Hangul, Chae in Revised Romanization, It is also a common name in Hong Kong where it is romanized as Choy, Choi or Tsoi. In Macao and Malaysia, it is spelled as Choi, in Malaysia and the Philippines as Chua or Chuah, in Thailand as Chuo (ฉั่ว). Moreover, it is also romanized in Cambodia as either Chhay or Chhor among people of full Chinese descent living in Cambodia and as Tjoa or Chua in Indonesia.

Indigenous inhabitants of the New Territories

Indigenous inhabitants refers to the people descended through the male line from a person who was in 1898, before Convention for the Extension of Hong Kong Territory was signed, a resident of an established village in the New Territories of Hong Kong. They have special rights to preserve their customs. When the sovereignty of Hong Kong was transferred from the United Kingdom to the People's Republic of China in 1997, these special rights were preserved under the Hong Kong Basic Law.

Article 55 of the Basic Law

Siyi

The Siyi refers to the four former counties of Xinhui (Sunwui), Taishan (Toisan), Kaiping (Hoiping) and Enping (Yanping) in the Pearl River Delta of Southern Guangdong Province, China.

Cantonese people represent the largest group in Hong Kong. The definition usually includes people whose ancestral homes are in Yue Chinese speaking regions of Guangdong province, specifically the guangfu may be included. Historic Hong Kong censuses distinguished people of Guangdong origin into Guangzhou and Macau, Sze Yap (Siyi), Chaozhou, and Hainan origins, as well as the Indigenous people of the New Territories.

Chinese emigration Diasporic migration

Waves of Chinese emigration have happened throughout history. The mass emigration, which occurred from the 19th century to 1949, was mainly caused by wars and starvation in mainland China, economic issues abroad such as the California gold rush in 1849, as well as problems resulting from political corruption. Most emigrants were illiterate peasants and manual labourers, who emigrated to work in places such as the Americas, Australia, South Africa, Southeast Asia, and New Zealand.

The Great Clearance, also translated as the Great Evacuation or Great Frontier Shift, refers to the edicts issued in 1661, 1664, and 1679, which required the evacuation of the coastal areas of Guangdong, Fujian, Zhejiang, Jiangnan, and Shandong, in order to fight the Taiwan-based anti-Qing loyalist movement of the erstwhile Ming dynasty (1368–1644).

Taiping Heavenly Kingdom Chinese oppositional state existing from 1851 to 1864

The Taiping Heavenly Kingdom, later shortened to Heavenly Kingdom or Heavenly Dynasty, was an unrecognized oppositional state in China and Christian-Shenic theocratic absolute monarchy from 1851 to 1864, supporting the overthrow of the Qing dynasty by Hong Xiuquan and his followers. The unsuccessful war it waged against the Qing is known as the Taiping Rebellion. Its capital was at Tianjing.

Regional discrimination in China or regionalism is overt prejudice against people based on their places of origin, ethnicity, sub-ethnicity, language, dialect, or their current provincial zones. China's sheer size and population renders much demographic understanding tied to locality, and there is often little life movement outside of a citizen's province of birth. Historically, internal migration has been tightly controlled, and many barriers to free movement exist today. Treatment of ethnic minorities and Han Chinese regional groups can hinge on preferential assumptions based on places of upbringing, and is often most pronounced towards those born external to urban zones.

Sze Yup Cantonese are a Han Chinese group coming from a region in Guangdong Province in China called Sze Yup (四邑), which consisted of the four county-level cities of Taishan, Kaiping, Xinhui and Enping. Now Heshan has been added to this historic region and the prefecture-level city of Jiangmen administers all five of these county-level cities, which is sometimes informally called Ng Yap. Their ancestors are said to have arrived from what is today central China about less than a thousand years ago and migrated into Guangdong around the Tang Dynasty rule period and thus Taishanese as a dialect of Yue Chinese has linguistically preserved many characteristics of Middle Chinese.

Hakka Americans, also called American Hakka, are Han people in the United States of Hakka origin, mostly from present-day Guangdong, Fujian, and Taiwan. Many Hakka Americans have connections to Hakka diaspora in Jamaica, the Caribbean, South East Asia, Latin America, and South America. The Han characters for Hakka (客家) literally mean "guest families". Unlike other Han ethnic groups, the Hakkas are not named after a geographical region, e.g. a province, county or city. The Hakkas usually identify with people who speak the Hakka language or share at least some Hakka ancestry. The earliest Hakka immigrants to what is now the United States mostly went to Hawaii, starting when the Kingdom of Hawaii was an independent sovereign state. After the lifting of the Chinese Exclusion Act by the passage of the Magnuson Act in 1943, the Hakka began to come to the US from Taiwan and to a lesser extent Hong Kong, Southeast Asia, Jamaica and the Caribbean.

References

  1. 1 2 "Punti-Hakka Clan Wars and Taishan County 27 August 2003" (PDF).
  2. Minahan, James B. (10 February 2014). "Hakka". Ethnic Groups of North, East, and Central Asia: An Encyclopedia. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO. p. 89. ISBN   978-1610690188.
  3. Wills, John E., Jr. (2006). "The Seventeenth-century Transformation: Taiwan under the Dutch and the Cheng Regime". In Rubinstein, Murray A. (ed.). Taiwan: A New History. M.E. Sharpe. pp. 84–106. ISBN   9780765614957.
  4. John Robert Shepherd (1993). Statecraft and Political Economy on the Taiwan Frontier, 1600-1800. Stanford University Press. pp. 469–470. ISBN   0804720665.