Yong Ying

Last updated
A Brave (Yong ; yong). Qing soldiers were distinguished as regulars (Bing ; bing) or braves by the characters on their uniforms. Yong soldier.jpg
A Brave (勇; yǒng). Qing soldiers were distinguished as regulars (兵; bīng) or braves by the characters on their uniforms.

Yong Ying (Chinese :勇營; pinyin :yǒng yíng; Wade–Giles :yung-ying, literally "brave camps") were a type of regional army that emerged in the 19th century in the Qing dynasty army, which fought in most of China's wars after the Opium War and numerous rebellions exposed the ineffectiveness of the Manchu Eight Banners and Green Standard Army. The Yong ying were created from the earlier tuanlian militias.


Tuanlian history

Tuanlian (Chinese: 團練) is the Chinese term for localised village militias created in the Zhou Dynasty. In May 1645, Ming rebel leader Li Zicheng (Chinese: 李自成) was killed by a tuanlian of local landowners in Hubei province.

During the Jiaqing reign, with the corrupt and ineffective official military establishment of the Eight Banners and Green Standard Army incapable of curbing the White Lotus Rebellion, the Qing court began to order local gentry and landowners in all ten provinces to organise tuanlian for self-defense, with both funding and control in the hands of local gentry and landowners. [1]


Yong (Chinese:勇), literally "Braves", was the official name for members of the militia, which was recruited from the local civilian population. These "braves" were grouped into units (ying), known as the "Yong Ying". Yong were not regarded as part of the official imperial army of Eight Banners or Green Standard, with their funding and logistics provided by civilian society, not the imperial governments.

The Xiang Army, a "Yung-ying" army in Qing Dynasty China, separate from the Manchu Eight Banners and Green Standard Army. They used modern weapons and the officers were never rotated, so relationships formed between officers and the troops, unlike Green Standard and Banner forces. [2]

It was recorded that

Although rations came from public funds, the yung-ying troops were nevertheless grateful to the officers of the battalion for selecting them to be put on the rolls, as if they had received personal favours from the officers. Since in ordinary times there existed [between the officers and the troops] relations of kindness as well as mutual confidence, in battle it could be expected that they would see each other through hardship and adversity. [3]

Famous Yong Ying leaders

Zeng Guofan

During the Taiping Rebellion, tuanlian militia was expanded by Zeng Guofan into an army force of thirteen battalions consisted of 6500 men, a navy of ten battalions consisted of 5000 men, of a total of 17,000 men, was given the name of Xiang Army, with Zeng Guofan as the Commander-in-chief, accepting orders from Zeng alone. The new rule was termed "Soldiers followed the general, soldiers belonged to the general"(Chinese: 兵隨將轉,兵為將有), contrary to the old military rule before the Northern Song Dynasty's "Soldiers had no fixed commander, commander had no fixed soldiers" (Chinese:兵無常帥,帥無常兵). This new military rule was the direct cause of the Warlord era. These Tuanlian were turned into the Yong Ying Xiang Army.

Zuo Zongtang

Li Hongzhang

Liu Mingchuan

List of Yong Ying Armies

See also

Related Research Articles

The Eight Banners were administrative and military divisions under the Later Jin and the Qing dynasty of China into which all Manchu households were placed. In war, the Eight Banners functioned as armies, but the banner system was also the basic organizational framework of all of Manchu society. Created in the early 17th century by Nurhaci, the banner armies played an instrumental role in his unification of the fragmented Jurchen people and in the Qing dynasty's conquest of the Ming dynasty.

Li Hongzhang Chinese politician, general (1823–1901)

Li Hongzhang, Marquess Suyi was a Chinese politician, general and diplomat of the late Qing dynasty. He quelled several major rebellions and served in important positions in the Qing imperial court, including the Viceroy of Zhili, Huguang and Liangguang.

The Self-Strengthening Movement, also known as the Westernization or Western Affairs Movement, was a period of institutional reforms initiated in China during the late Qing dynasty following the military disasters of the Opium Wars.

Xiang Yu Hegemon-King of Western Chu

Xiang Yu, born Xiang Ji (項籍), was the Ba Wang (霸王) or Hegemon-King of Western Chu during the Chu–Han Contention period of China. A noble of the Chu state, Xiang Yu rebelled against the Qin dynasty and became a prominent warlord. He was granted the title of "Duke of Lu" (魯公) by King Huai II of the restoring Chu state in 208 BC. The following year, he led the Chu forces to victory at the Battle of Julu against the Qin armies led by Zhang Han. After the fall of Qin, Xiang Yu was enthroned as the "Hegemon-King of Western Chu" (西楚霸王) and ruled a vast area covering modern-day central and eastern China, with Pengcheng as his capital. He engaged Liu Bang, the founding emperor of the Han dynasty, in a long struggle for power, known as the Chu–Han Contention, which concluded with his eventual defeat at the Battle of Gaixia and his suicide.

Green Standard Army Qing dynasty military and police force

The Green Standard Army was the name of a category of military units under the control of Qing dynasty China. It was made up mostly of ethnic Han soldiers and operated concurrently with the Manchu-Mongol-Han Eight Banner armies. In areas with a high concentration of Hui people, Muslims served as soldiers in the Green Standard Army. After the Qing consolidated control over China, the Green Standard Army was primarily used as a police force.

Dungan Revolt (1862–1877) Muslim minority revolt against Qing dynasty China

The Dungan Revolt (1862–1877) or Tongzhi Hui Revolt or Hui (Muslim) Minorities War was a war fought in 19th-century western China, mostly during the reign of the Tongzhi Emperor of the Qing dynasty. The term sometimes includes the Panthay Rebellion in Yunnan, which occurred during the same period. However, this article relates specifically to the uprising by members of the Muslim Hui and other Muslim ethnic groups in China's Shaanxi, Gansu and Ningxia provinces, as well as in Xinjiang, between 1862 and 1877.

Zhang Zhidong

Zhang Zhidong was a Chinese official who lived during the late Qing dynasty. Along with Zeng Guofan, Li Hongzhang and Zuo Zongtang, Zhang Zhidong was one of the four most famous officials of the late Qing dynasty. Known for advocating controlled reform and modernization of Chinese troops, he served as the Governor of Shanxi Province and Viceroy of Huguang, Liangguang and Liangjiang, and also as a member of the Grand Council. He took a leading role in the abolition of the Imperial examination system in 1905. The Red Guards destroyed his tomb in 1966 during the Cultural Revolution. His remains were rediscovered in 2007 and reburied with honors.

Liu Mingchuan

Liu Mingchuan (1836–1896), courtesy name Xingsan, was a Chinese official who lived in the late Qing dynasty. He was born in Hefei, Anhui. Liu became involved in the suppression of the Taiping Rebellion at an early age, and worked closely with Zeng Guofan and Li Hongzhang as he emerged as an important Huai Army officer. In the aftermath of the Sino-French War, succeeding Ding Richang he was appointed the first governor of the newly established Taiwan Province. Today he is remembered for his efforts in modernizing Taiwan during his tenure as governor, and several institutions have been given his name, including Ming Chuan University in Taipei.

Baoding Military Academy

Baoding Military Academy or Paoting Military Academy was a military academy based in Baoding, Republican China, in the first two decades of the 20th century. For a time, it was the most important military academy in China, and its cadets played prominent roles in the political and military history of the Republic of China. The Baoding Military Academy closed in 1923, but served as a model for the Whampoa Military Academy, which was founded in Guangzhou in 1924. During the Second Sino-Japanese War, half of 300 divisions in China's armed forces were commanded by Whampoa graduates and one-third were Baoding cadets.

Xiang Army

The Xiang Army or Hunan Army was a standing army organized by Zeng Guofan from existing regional and village militia forces called tuanlian to contain the Taiping Rebellion in Qing China. The name is taken from the Hunan region where the Army was raised. The Army was financed through local nobles and gentry, as opposed to through the centralized Manchu-led Qing dynasty. The army was mostly disbanded by Zeng after the re-capture of the Taiping capital at Nanking.

Zeng Guoquan

Zeng Guoquan, courtesy name Yuanfu, art name Shuchun, was a Chinese official and military leader of the late Qing dynasty. He was the ninth brother of Zeng Guofan, a prominent statesman and general, and a descendant of the philosopher Zengzi. He served in the Xiang Army, a standing military force organised by his brother to counter the Taiping rebels, and was nicknamed "Ninth Marshal" (九帥). He was known for his expertise in siege warfare, particularly the use of trenches, hence he was also nicknamed "Zeng the Iron Container" (曾鐵桶). During the conquest of Tianjing (Nanjing), the capital of the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom, Zeng was notorious for condoning massacres of the city populace, which resulted in him being called "Zeng the Butcher" (曾屠戶).

Bao Chao (1828–1886) was an eminent Han Chinese official, military Captain General, of the late Qing Dynasty in China. He raised the Xiang Army to fight effectively against the Taiping Rebellion and restored the stability of Qing Dynasty along with other prominent figures, including Zuo Zongtang and Zeng Guofan, setting the scene for the era later to fight against known as the "Nien Rebellion". He was known for his military perception.

The Huai Army, named for the Huai River, was a military force allied with the Qing dynasty raised to contain the Taiping Rebellion in 1862. It was also called the Anhui Army because it was based in Anhui province. It helped to restore the stability of the Qing dynasty. Unlike the traditional Green Standard Army or Eight Banners forces of the Qing, the Huai Army was largely a militia army, based on personal rather than institutional loyalties. It was armed with a mixture of traditional and modern weapons. Li Hongzhang, a commander in the Xiang Army, created the Huai Army in October 1861. It succeeded Zeng Guofan’s Xiang Army. The Huai Army itself was succeeded by the New Army and the Beiyang Army, which were created in the late 19th century.

Jiangnan Daying (Chinese: 江南大營 or the Jiangnan Battalion; was an army group assembled by the Qing dynasty. The army group consist of mostly Green Standard Army, and their goal was to quell the Taiping Rebellion around the Jiangnan region. The army group twice encircled Nanjing, the capital of the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom, but were defeated by the Taiping forces on both occasions.

The Chu Army was a standing regional army organized by Zuo Zongtang (左宗棠). The name is taken from the Hunan region where the Army was raised. The Army was financed through local nobles and gentry, as opposed to the central government.

Military of the Qing dynasty Historical military force

The Qing dynasty (1636–1912) was established by conquest and maintained by armed force. The founding emperors personally organized and led the armies, and the continued cultural and political legitimacy of the dynasty depended on the ability to defend the country from invasion and expand its territory. Therefore, military institutions, leadership, and finance were fundamental to the dynasty's initial success and ultimate decay. The early military system centered on the Eight Banners, a hybrid institution that also played social, economic, and political roles. The Banner system was developed on an informal basis as early as 1601, and formally established in 1615 by Jurchen leader Nurhaci (1559–1626), the retrospectively recognized founder of the Qing. His son Hong Taiji (1592–1643), who renamed the Jurchens "Manchus," created eight Mongol banners to mirror the Manchu ones and eight "Han-martial" banners manned by Chinese who surrendered to the Qing before the full-fledged conquest of China proper began in 1644. After 1644, the Ming Chinese troops that surrendered to the Qing were integrated into the Green Standard Army, a corps that eventually outnumbered the Banners by three to one.

The Peking Field Force was a modern-armed military unit that defended the Chinese imperial capital Beijing in the last decades of the Qing dynasty (1644–1912).

The Battle of Dalinghe (大凌河之役) was a battle between the Jurchen Later Jin and the Ming dynasty that took place between September and November 1631. The Jurchens besieged and captured the fortified northern Ming city of Dalinghe in Liaoning. Using a combined force of Jurchen and Mongol cavalry, along with recently captured Chinese artillery units, Jurchen leader Hong Taiji surrounded Dalinghe and defeated a series of Ming reinforcement forces in the field. The Ming defenders under general Zu Dashou surrendered the city after taking heavy losses and running out of food. Several of the Ming officers captured in the battle would go on to play important roles in the ongoing Manchu conquest of China. The battle was the first major test for the Chinese firearms specialists incorporated into the Jurchen military. Whereas the Jurchens had previously relied primarily on their own Eight Banners cavalry in military campaigns, after the siege of Dalinghe the Chinese infantry would play a larger role in the fighting. Unlike Nurhaci's failed siege at the Battle of Ningyuan several years prior, the siege of Dalinghe was a success that would soon be replicated in Songshan and Jinzhou, paving the way for the establishment of the Qing dynasty and the ultimate defeat of the Ming.

Battle of Anqing

The Battle of Anqing (安慶之戰) was a prolonged siege of the prefecture-level city of Anqing in Anhui, China, initiated by Hunan Army forces loyal to the Qing Dynasty against the armies of the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom. The siege began in September 1860 and ended on September 5, 1861, when imperial forces under the command of Zeng Guoquan breached the walls of the city and occupied it.

Jiang Zhongyuan, courtesy name Changrui, (常孺) was a scholar and soldier from Hunan who fought for the Qing and against the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom during the Taiping Rebellion.


  1. 谭伯牛. "In Chinese:团练之弊 谭伯牛". Book.sina.com.cn. Archived from the original on July 7, 2011. Retrieved 2008-12-21.
  2. Kwang-ching Liu, Richard J. Smith, "The Military Challenge: The North-west and the Coast," in John King Fairbank; Kwang-Ching Liu; Denis Crispin Twitchett, eds. (1980). Late Ch'ing, 1800-1911. Volume 11, Part 2 of The Cambridge History of China Series (illustrated ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 202. ISBN   0-521-22029-7 . Retrieved 2012-01-18. By the end of the Nien War in 1868, a new kind of military force had emerged as the Ch'ing dynasty's chief bulwark of security. Often referred to by historians as regional armies, these forces were generally described at the time as yung-ying (lit. 'brave battalions'). In the 1860s, such forces throughout all the empire totalled more than 300,000 men, They included the remnants of the old Hunan Army (Hsiang-chün) founded by Tseng Kuo-fan, the resuscitated Hunan Army (usually called Ch'u-chün) under Tso Tsung-t'ang, and the Anhwei Army (Huai-chün) coordinated by Li Hung-chang. There were also smaller forces of a similar nature in Honan (Yü-chün), Shantung, (Tung-chün), Yunnan (Tien-chün) and Szechwan (Ch'uan-chün). These forces were distinguished generally by their greater use of Western weapons and they were more costly to maintain. More fundamentally they capitalized for military purposes on the particularistic loyalties of the traditional society. Both the strength and the weakness of the yung-ying were to be found in the close personal bonds that were formed between the higher and lower officers and between officers and men. In this respect they differed from the traditional Ch'ing imperial armies - both the banner forces and the Green Standard Army.|volume= has extra text (help)
  3. John King Fairbank; Kwang-Ching Liu; Denis Crispin Twitchett, eds. (1980). Late Ch'ing, 1800-1911. Volume 11, Part 2 of The Cambridge History of China Series (illustrated ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 203. ISBN   0-521-22029-7 . Retrieved 2012-01-18. The merit of the yung-ying had lain in the close personal ties between officers and men. Army commanders (t'ung-ling) personally chose the commanders of the various battalions under them. Each battalion commander (ying-kuan) responsible for some 550 men would personally choose his company officers (shao-kuan) who would in turn choose their platoon officers (shih-chang). The 10 or so common soldiers who formed a platoon were usually chosen by the platoon officer himself. Tseng Kuo-fan in 1868 extolled this system of personal relationships throughout the organization: 'Although rations came from public funds, the yung-ying troops were nevertheless grateful to the officers of the battalion for selecting them to be put on the rolls, as if they had received personal favours from the officers. Since in ordinary times there existed [between the officers and the troops] relations of kindness as well as mutual confidence, in battle it could be expected that they would see ach other through hardship and adversity.'5 As long as the throne's authority over civil and military appointments was not diminished - including the control of high provincial positions and the granting of the coveted Green Standard titles and posts to the yung-ying.|volume= has extra text (help)