The Chinese Empire. A General & Missionary Survey/The Province of Kweichow
THE PROVINCE OF KWEICHOW
By the Rev. Samuel R. Clarke, China Inland Mission.
The Kweichow as now written mean precious or honourable land, but as originally written the character meant "demon" or "devil," and the meant the "Land of Demons." The inhabitants were called Lo-sï Kwei or Lo-sï demons, which probably refers to the spiral form in which they did up their hair. This was about two thousand years ago.
The province of Kweichow is in West or West Central China. It contains about 60,000 square miles, and the population is variously estimated at from five to eleven millions. Probably the population is about seven millions.
At the present time there are five different races found in the province. These are the Keh-lao, Lo-lo, Miao, Chung-chia, and Chinese. The languages spoken by these communities are all monosyllabic, but a comparison of their vocabularies reveals so few resemblances as to entitle them to be called different languages. Among the five it seems to us the greatest resemblance can be traced between the Chinese and Miao. Naturally in all these languages there are words borrowed from the Chinese.
Of the Keh-lao there are, so far as we know, only a few small villages in the neighbourhood of Anshuen Fu. These people claim to be the original inhabitants of the land, and it is worthy of note that while the Chinese regard the Miao as the original occupants of the land, and in some places the Miao claim to be so, yet in the neighbourhood of the Keh-lao, the Miao acknowledge them to be the original occupiers of the soil. Their speech is evidently different to every other language spoken in the province. Who they are and whence they came is a very interesting problem that still awaits solution.
The Lo-lo are found in the north-west of the province. As far as we know, their numbers in Kweichow are not considerable. They seem to have drifted into the province from Szechwan on the north and Yunnan on the west, where they are found in considerable numbers. As missionary operations spread we shall find out more about them, but it is doubtless in Szechwan and Yunnan that most can be learned.
The Keh-lao and Lo-lo form so insignificant a proportion of the population that, apart from questions of ethnological interest, they would be left out in a brief sketch of the province. Moreover, in their personal appearance and in the appearance of their villages, a traveller passing through the districts where they are to be found would naturally look upon them as Miao.
Of the Miao and Chung-chia it is difficult to say which is the more numerous. If we put down the population of Kweichow as seven millions, the Miao and Chung-chia together would probably amount to between two and three millions. The Miao are to be found in the east, south, and west of the province, and the Chung-chia in the centre, south, and west of it.We shall treat first of the Miao, as these people by all accounts were in this region before the Chung-chia. This race was known to the Chinese in other parts of what is now the Chinese Empire as early as the days of Yao and Shuen, more than four thousand years ago. Erom these days to very recent times they have fought with varying success against the encroaching Chinese. Wherever the Chinese are now in the north and east, the Miao were there before them. But the Miao were no match for their better organised and more industrious neighbours. Gradually they have been absorbed among the Chinese or driven from the more fertile plains of the east to the more mountainous and less fertile regions of the west. The Chinese say there are seventy different tribes of Miao in Kweichow, but who is to define what constitutes a tribe? At the present time the Chinese differentiate and name the various tribes from something distinctive in the dress of the women. Thus they speak of the Heh or black Miao, Peh or white Miao, Hwa or paste-coloured Miao. The men for the most part are dressed as Chinese peasants, though some of them wear a dress that resembles more the robe of a Buddhist priest than the costume of the Chinese at the present time. It may be, however, that this dress is similar to that worn by the Chinese before the present dynasty. But the women of all the tribes wear a peculiar dress of their own, and the women of each tribe are all dressed nearly alike. Among the same tribe in different villages there are slight variations, as, for instance, in the length of the skirt and the colour of the silk used for embroidery, so that those thoroughly acquainted with them can tell at a glance to which tribe a woman belongs, and in some cases to what village of the tribe. None of the
women bind their feet.
Although the Miao in the east of the province are quite unintelligible to those of the west, a comparison of their vocabularies shows at once they are speaking different dialects of the same language. This, together with the fact that some of them claim to be aborigines and to have always lived where they are, while others claim to have come from the east, suggest that their migrations to their present abodes took place at widely different intervals and possibly by different routes. The Ya-chio Miao in Tating district say they came from Tungking by way of Szechwan, which is manifestly absurd. The Heh Miao in the east of the province claim to have come from Kiangsi, and this is doubtless correct. Three thousand years ago there was a Miao kingdom occupying the country between the Poyang Lake in what is now Kiangsi and the Tungting Lake in what is now Hunan. They have always been a turbulent race, and from what we know of human nature in general, we cannot be surprised that they should love independence more than subjection, and prefer to keep their own land rather than allow other people to appropriate it.
The claim of the Miao in Eastern Kweichow to have come from Kiangsi is strengthened by the fact that there are Miao in Hunan province, which lies between them and Kiangsi. Some of those we have met in Kweichow say they can understand the language of the Hunan Miao, though with more or less difficulty.
In earlier times, before they were broken up and subjugated by the Chinese, their rulers were princes who could lead large armies into the field. But in recent times they have been a people disorganised and scattered, and this has made their conquest more easy for the Chinese. In maps drawn and issued within the last two hundred years, parts of the province of Kweichow are marked as the region of the Sen Miao, and recent maps copying the earlier ones have the same parts labelled in the same way. The word Sen, or Shen, means "wild," "unsubdued," and this is the way the Chinese designate all within the frontiers of the Empire, and on the borders of it, who are not subject to them. But at the present time there are no independent Miao in Kweichow. The earlier maps published were made by Roman Catholic missionaries two hundred years ago, so we may conclude there were in the province at that time Miao who were still unsubdued.
Till very recent times also the Miao were, while really subject to the Chinese, ruled by their own hereditary chiefs. This system, however, seems to be passing away, and though there are still in some places hereditary chiefs exercising authority, the men among them now responsible for their tribesmen to the Imperial magistrates are appointed by the Chinese. These men are called "Tuan" or headmen, just as the same sort of men are called by the same term among the Chinese. They are very like Justices of the Peace in England, having power within a certain jurisdiction to settle minor law cases; but all serious cases are tried by the Chinese magistrate. These headmen are also responsible for the collection of the land tax. Thus it appears to us they are ruled exactly the same as the Chinese living in villages and hamlets. Probably on account of their ignorance, and the lack of men having literary degrees among them which would give them the privilege of interviewing the magistrate, they are more squeezed than the Chinese. But the Chinese yamen runner is a functionary of proved impartiality! eager to extort money from anybody and everybody he can get into his clutches.
The Miao have no written language. This is a very remarkable fact, if we bear in mind that the Chinese have cultivated literature for three thousand years, and these people have been their neighbours, and some of them their near neighbours, for all this length of time. The two races, though often contending, have not always been in arms one against another; there has always been some intercourse between them. Moreover, the Miao language, like Chinese, is monosyllabic, unencumbered with conjugations, declensions, or other inflections, and it would be easy to represent Miao words by Chinese characters, which are not phonetic but ideographic. At the present time there are schools in many of the Miao villages where Chinese literature is taught. Probably from earliest times there have been some Miao who could read Chinese, and yet not one of them, as far as we know, ever attempted to write down their own language. If the attempt ever was made, it evidently met with no acceptance among the tribesmen, who remain to-day as illiterate as their ancestors three thousand years ago. What writing they have to do must be done for them in Chinese. All their contracts, mortgages, and deeds of sale or rental are written in Chinese, and probably not one in a hundred of them, when he buys a piece of land, is able to read the deed of sale when it is written.
But if the Miao have no literature, they have plenty of legends handed down from earlier times. Who composed these legends no one knows. They are taught by the older men to the younger ones. All that we have heard are in verse, five syllables to a line, the stanzas being of unequal length, one interrogative and one responsive. They are sung or recited at their festivals by two groups, generally one group of young men and one group of young women, one group interrogating and the other responding. Among these legends is a story of the Creation, including a description of how the heavens were fixed up on pillars, and how the sun was set in its place. There is also the story of a deluge, in which it appears all the earth and the people on it were submerged except one man and his sister. As there was no other woman for the man to marry, he married his sister, and from these two the world was repeopled.
It is undoubtedly difficult for a stranger to learn the religious beliefs of people like the Miao. But we have known them so long and some of them so intimately as to justify us in venturing an opinion on the matter. The Miao are now living so close to the Chinese and sometimes so intermixed with them that they are naturally adopting some of the superstitions of their neighbours. If any one were to ask a Miao what was the object of their worship, he would probably say he worshipped heaven and earth. This we believe they have learned from the Chinese, and learned from them recently. As a matter of fact, we have been unable to discover among them any indigenous object of worship. As far as we know, they build no temples, and if in some places little shrines may be found, we believe they have recently learned from the Chinese to build them. They have at certain seasons of the year musical festivals at which there are horse races and bull fights. They believe that the crops of the year depend on these celebrations, but in what way the weather or crops are influenced they do not profess to understand. To the onlooker there is nothing religious about these observances; they are always regarded by the people as times of relaxation from work and opportunities for enjoyment and social intercourse.
They believe in the existence of the soul after death, and when questioned will vaguely reply that the soul of the deceased has gone to be with its ancestors. On the death of a parent they sacrifice a bull or a cow, and explain this by saying it is their custom to do so. They also believe in demons, and are all their lives in bondage to the fear of them. If a traveller passing through their districts should see one or a group of them going through what was manifestly some sort of religious observance, he would find on making inquiry that this was in connection with the dead or with demons. In every village there are one or two men who are regarded as exorcists, whose business it is, for a consideration, to expel or counteract the influences of those malevolent beings. If a man or his cattle be ill, or if any misfortune befall him, he attributes it to demons, and one of these exorcists is in request. Their modes of procedure are various, but might be generally summed up as unintelligible mutterings, extraordinary gestures, accompanied with throwing things about. Sometimes a man is accused of having a demon, and this is a bad thing for the man if it is generally believed. This does not mean that he is possessed by a devil, but that he possesses a demon who does his will to the injury of his neighbours. They fear the demons but do not reverence them, and would laugh if it were suggested that they worshipped them. They also believe in the use of medicine; but it is not very clear when the medicine should be taken or when the exorcist should be sent for. We believe that the medicine is first taken, and should that fail it is assumed that there is a demon present, and the exorcist is sent for. Of all the Miao in Kweichow, the Heh or black Miao seems to be the most numerous and the most intelligent. Most of them own the land they cultivate, many of them are well-to-do, and in all respects seem equal to the Chinese peasantry around them. They not only bring their produce and cattle to the markets, but many of them engage in trade and open stalls in the market-place. On the river that flows from Kaili to Hungkiang in Hunan all the headmen appear to be Miao. Elsewhere, however, the Miao seem to be poorer than and inferior to the Chinese; many of them live in mere hovels, and much of the land they cultivate belongs to the Chinese. Drink is, we believe, in most cases the cause of their poverty. The love of whisky, which they make for themselves, is a prevailing vice among them all. Festivals, marriages, funerals, and sacrificial observances in reference to the dead are all occasions for the reckless consumption of whisky.
They are much given to litigation, constantly going to law with each other. In the first instance, a case is brought before the local headman, but on these occasions it is difficult to satisfy both parties, and one of them takes the case before the district magistrate. It is amazing to think how much these people spend in legal proceedings, very often failing to get justice after all. But they think it due to themselves to fight a case out to the bitter end. Nearly all these lawsuits arise on account of their land or their women. They observe the marriage relation, but do not honour it as strictly as the Chinese. If a young Miao woman is dissatisfied with her husband she not infrequently disappears, and is subsequently found at her parents' home or living with some other man she prefers. Hence arise considerable ill-feeling and trouble of all sorts. We have assisted at the discussion of some of these matrimonial disputes and know how hard they are to settle.
The vice of opium-smoking is not so prevalent among them as it is among the Chinese, but many produce, and some consume the drug. During our ten years' experience among them we have observed the habit becoming more and more prevalent. Opium may not be the specific for all the ills that flesh is heir to, but it never fails to ease the pain, and among people who have no medical science, with opium always at hand, it is easy to foresee what the state of things will be in the course of time. This is not the place for a discussion of the Opium Question, or for a comparison of the relative evils of dram-drinking and opium-smoking, but we take this occasion solemnly to assert that we know of no vice so likely to destroy a person or a community morally and physically as the habitual use of opium in any form.
The Chung-chia are unquestionably the same race as the Shans of Burmah and the Siamese. There was at one time a Shan kingdom in Yunnan. In the course of time some of these people moved south and formed the present kingdom of Siam. Others of them drifted eastwards, and are now to be found in Kwangsi and Kweichow, while large numbers of them remain in Yunnan. They are, we believe, very numerous in Kwangsi. We estimate that there are about a million of them in Kweichow. They entered the regions which now form part of Kweichow about a thousand years ago. Wherever they are to be found in Kwangsi or Kweichow they invariably assert that their ancestors were Chinese who came from the province of Kiangsi, and many of them can name the prefecture and district from which their forefathers came. But it must be borne in mind that these people speak a language which is not Chinese, and for the identification of scattered tribes there is no more trustworthy guide than a comparison of their vocabularies. Their speech is a dialect of Shan and Siamese, and by this we recognise them to be of the same race.
But how comes it, then, that these people claim to be Chinese when they are not Chinese ? This we shall attempt to explain. When they entered these regions the Miao were here before them. They probably looked down on the Miao then as they do now, especially as the Heh Miao, who are in every way their equals, had probably not at that time arrived in these parts. Before the Chinese occupied this province and systematically colonised it, there had been frequent wars and military demonstrations against the turbulent Miao. There were also on these occasions garrisons left in different parts of the country, and these being composed of soldiers whose wives were not with them, some of the men married into Chung-chia families. The Chinese never seem to have despised the Chung-chia as they do the Miao. This marrying of Chung-chia women probably went on for a long period, so that in time many of them were really descended from the Chinese and others related to them by marriage. As the Chinese are the superior and ruling race, it is natural that as many as can claim to be allied to them should do so, and this they are the more likely to do, so as not to be regarded as Miao. When, three or four hundred years ago, Chinese immigrants from Kiangsi entered the province in large numbers—doubtless more men than women—many of them married into Chung-chia families. The relations already existing between the Chung-chia and the earlier settlers would make it more easy and natural for the latter ones to marry into Chung-chia families. It is to be noted that the Chinese words which the Chung-chia have adopted into their language are not pronounced as the Chinese around them, who are mostly from Szechwan and Hunan, pronounce them, but as they are pronounced in Kiangsi and the region of the lower Yangtse river.
Like the women among the Miao, the Chung-chia women do not bind their feet. The old tribal or national costume of the women was a rather tight-fitting jacket and a skirt very like the skirt worn by Miao women. This dress is not at all uncommon among them now, but the Chinese fashion of loose jacket and trousers for women is evidently taking the place of the old style. Owing to their larger feet they do more work in the fields than Chinese women. We cannot remember ever to have seen a Chinese woman planting rice in a paddy-field.
The Chung-chia men can hardly be distinguished from the Chinese. Perhaps their noses are more flat and eyebrows more bushy than among typical Chinese, and the same may also be said of the women. As they are nearly all agriculturalists, the men dress exactly the same as Chinese farmers and village folk. They do, however, on special occasions wear the Chinese jacket and long robe. When any of them move into the city and engage in trade they are not to be distinguished from the Chinese. There are also literary and military graduates among them.
Unlike the Miao, they do not seem to be split up into separate tribes. In different parts of the province they are called by different names: Chung-chia about Kweiyang Fu, Yü-chia about Anshuen Fu, and Suei-chia about Tushan-chow. The Chinese mostly call them T'u-ren (natives) and themselves K'eh-chia (immigrants), which shows how the Chinese regard them. The dialects in their several districts vary, but not so much as to render them quite unintelligible to one another. We have spoken of them as Chung-chia, which is one of the names they have given themselves among the Chinese or the Chinese have given them. The words are Chinese. "Chung" possibly means the second or younger of two brothers; "chia" means family or tribe. Another explanation is that Chung-chia means heavy armour, and refers to the sort of armour worn by them in ancient times. Etymological explanations are not always satisfactory. About Kweiyang Fu they call themselves "Bu-yuei" in their own language. "Bu" is a personal prefix, and what "yuei" means we are unable to say.
We have not been able to discern among them any old legends handed down from prehistoric times. If ever they possessed such legends their wish to be thought Chinese and the claims that their ancestors were Chinese immigrants from Kiangsi is a potential reason why these should be neglected and at length forgotten. Probably elsewhere among them others may be more successful in the search for legends than we have been.
Like the Miao and Chinese, they live in constant dread of demons. For all these people the spirit world is not far off, and is peopled by unseen intelligencers whose constant interference in human affairs is not to the advantage of those concerned. The Chung-chia do not build temples in their villages as the Chinese do, though in religious matters they seem to have copied the Chinese more than the Miao have done. At the entrance to their hamlets little shrines are often built in which are sometimes rudely carved images and sometimes only unhewn stones to represent the spirits of the land. They sacrifice a bull or cow to deceased 262 THE CHINESE EMPIRE parents with elaborate ceremonies, but all they can say about it is that if they do this the deceased will go to heaven. If a stranger should question them about their religious beliefs they would say they do as the Chinese do. They have no written language. They have many simple love ditties which the young men and maidens are accustomed to sing to each other, and in this they are more like the Miao than the Chinese. We have seen some of their ditties written down in Chinese characters. Some- times the character represents the sound of the Chung-chia word with more or less accuracy, and sometimes the mean- ing, which makes it very difficult for one who does not know the ditties to understand. We do not think the claim of the Chung-chia to be Chinese has done them any good ; they appear to have all the defects of the Chinese without their better qualities. The Chinese generally describe the Miao as turbulent, simple, and without proper motives of propriety ; while they describe the Chung-chia as crafty, lying, and dishonest. There are thieves and robbers among the Miao who prey upon the travellers and distant hamlets, but the dishonest among the Chung-chia are sneak-thieves who prowl around and pilfer from their friends and neighbours. The Chinese say every Chung-chia is a thief. There are more schools in their villages than among the Miao, and consequently more of them can read and write Chinese. We have heard it said, and possibly with a good deal of truth, that when a Chung-chia can read and write he gives up working to live by his wits. Learning how to write pleas and counter pleas, he is constantly in and about the yamens assisting in law cases, making profit for himself out of other people's difficulties, and frequently for obvious reasons stirring up trouble among neighbours. Such men are a nuisance all over China, and not less so in out-of-the- way country districts. Of the Chinese in Kweichow we need not say much. As mentioned above, the earlier immigrants came from Xiangsi, but later ones, that is, for the last three or four THE PROVINCE OF KWEICHOW 263 generations, have come from Hunan and Szechwan. At the present time we believe more are coming from Szechwan than elsewhere. Since ever the Chinese came into these parts there has doubtless always been a certain amount of leakage from the Miao and Chung -chia into the Chinese community, and it is certainly going on at the present time. Consequently the Chinese in this province are not so typically Chinese in features as the Chinese of the south and east. The language they speak is good Mandarin, and would easily be understood in Peking or Nanking. It is most like that spoken in Szechwan, and more like that of North China than that of the eastern provinces. KwEi- CHOW is very mountainous, nearly all of it being three or four thousand feet above sea -level. The hills are not exceedingly high, but are found everywhere. In fact, KwEi- CHOW is all hills, with short narrow valleys between, and hardly anything in it worthy of the name of a plain, unless it be a stretch of country from Kweiyang Pu to Tingfan Chow. We think that even this region would not strike a traveller as being a plain till he got near to Tingfan Chow. The streams of the province flow north-east and south, but none of them are navigable even for native boats till just as they are leaving KwEiCHOW. This, together with the fact that there is no road in the province over which a wheeled vehicle could be drawn or driven, makes the con- veyance of products a costly undertaking. Everything has to be carried by coolies or on the backs of ponies and mules. Thus it would double the cost of a load of rice to carry it 120 miles. Opium, because of its high value in proportion to its bulk, is the chief export of Kweichow. It is said that in Kweichow seven out of ten men over twenty-five years of age smoke opium, and a smaller but not inconsiderable proportion of the women. Hides are also exported, and gall-nuts. The hills of the province have nearly all been stripped of their timber, and what remains in the south- east of the province, in the district of the Heh Miao, is 264 THE CHINESE EMPIKE being rapidly cut down and floated away through Hunan to Hankow. Iron and coal are found in large quantities, but unfor- tunately in different localities, and the lack of facilities for transport renders the working of iron mines on any large scale an unprofitable undertaking. All the coal extracted is for local use. Silver, lead, copper, and zinc are to be found, but in what quantities we are not able to estimate. Quicksilver has been found from very early times, but some of the mines are now exhausted or nearly so, and some of them flooded. The soil is not fertile ; what native wealth there is in the province is in the bowels of the earth, and to develop these mineral resources in the absence of water- ways, railways are necessary. But when we think what a rocky labyrinth of hills this province is, we are not by any means hopeful as to the early introduction of the locomotive. The climate of the province is excellent. By reason of its altitude and latitude it is neither very hot in summer nor cold in winter. The thermometer in the shade is seldom seen as high as 90° or much below 30°. Rice is the staple food of all who can afford it ; for the rest there are Indian corn, oats, and such cereals as are grown on the hill-sides. The number of the different kinds of vegetables produced is amazing. Many of the fruits of Europe are pro- duced in the province, and some others, but the flavour of the native fruits cannot as a rule be comparable with those of Europe. Probably the Chinese do not know how, or will not take the trouble to cultivate them properly. Protestant missionary operations were commenced in Kw^EiCHOW in the year 1877, when Messrs. C. H. Judd and J. F. Broumton, both of the China Inland Mission, travelled through Hunan to Kweiyang Fu, the provincial capital. At that time General Mesny, of the Chinese Army, was residing in that city, and with his aid premises were secured. Mr. Judd, however, soon continued his itinerations, leaving Mr. Broumton in charge of the newly -opened Mission THE PEOVINCE OF KWETCHOW 265 Station. He was very soon joined by Mr. Landale, and in 1880 by Mr. and Mrs. George Clark, Mrs. Clark (n^e Eossier) being the first European lady who had visited the province. Various changes followed, while Mr. T. Windsor reached Kweiyang Fu in 1885, and the Eev. and Mrs. Samuel Clarke in 1889. In the following year the staff was augmented by the arrival of Dr. and Mrs. Pruen, Mr. and Mrs. G. Andrew having left the province in 1888. In 1895 Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Clarke were appointed for work among the non- Chinese communities in the province. The details of the various changes in personnel, and the opening of the various stations, will not be of interest to the general reader ; suffice it to say that up to the present time the China Inland Mission is the only Missionary Society engaged in work in this province.
Probably the most difficult and discouraging places for missionary effort are the provincial capitals, the reason for this being the predominance of the official element, with its anti-foreign prejudices, and the natural difficulty of influ- encing large cities. However, from the commencement nearly one hundred persons have been baptized in the capital, and the work has spread to the surrounding districts, regular services being held in several out-stations. Anshuen Fu, three days' journey west of the capital, was opened as a Mission Station by Mr. Windsor and Mr, Adam. From the commencement Mr. Adam has been in charge of this work, which has been of a decidedly encouraging nature. Several out-stations at large centres have been opened, and a good staff of native helpers organised, while a most remarkable work has recently shown itself among the non-Chinese races, of which more will be said later. Tushan Chow, six days' journey south of the capital, and on the borders of Kwangsi, was opened by Mr. Windsor in 1893, and settled missionary work was commenced in Hsingyi Fu, seven days' journey south of Anshuen, by Mr. Waters in 1891. The proximity of this latter station to the province of Kwangsi, which for so long was in a state of chronic rebellion, led to the workers being obliged to retire at the request of the officials in 1902. The rebels occupied part of the prefecture. Through lack of workers this station is still vacant. At Tushan, where the work at first was by no means encouraging, before the workers were obliged to retire in 1900, some men of intelligence and position in the city had become earnest inquirers, these men meeting for the study of the Scriptures and prayer even while the missionaries were absent. Tsenyi Fu, five days to the north of Kweiyang, on the high-road to Chungking, was opened in 1902 by Dr. and Mrs. Pruen, and Chenyuan Fu, eight days' journey to the east of the capital, and near the borders of Hunan, was opened in 1904 by Mr. D. W. Crofts. This city is the only river port in the province, and is the place where travellers from Yunnan and Kweichow to Peking commence their river journey.
Definite missionary work was commenced by Mr. and Mrs. Webb in 1896 amongst the Heh Miao. After moving from place to place for about a month in the Tsingping district, five days east of the capital, they were enabled to rent half of a small house in a Miao village, less than a mile from the Chinese market town of Panghai. The Chinese at once showed suspicion and resentment at the foreigner living among the Miao. Their opposition, however, died away in time, and the Miao, who were at first afraid, subsequently became friendly. The following year they were able to rent the other half of the house they lived in. Unfortunately the sudden illness of Mrs. Webb made it necessary for them to leave for the coast. Con- siderable progress was, however, made by Mr. H. Boulton, who took charge of the work, a school being opened which was attended by boys from other hamlets, the boys bringing their own food. Subsequently the work was transferred to the care of Mr. W. S. Fleming.
It was about this time that serious trouble broke out between the Miao and Chinese at this centre, and while the missionaries were in no way responsible, the issue was of a tragic nature. The subject of the dispute was whether the market, which was held every six days, should be on the street of Panghai or on the opposite shore of the river, which was near and convenient in every way. Up to that time it had been held on the street, and the Chinese had levied a toll on all who opened stalls or brought produce for sale. To avoid this imposition, the Miao decided to hold the market on the opposite river shore, and did so for some months. The Tsingping magistrate, however, came and burned down their thatched booths, the writer himself being an eye-witness. The total value of the property could not have been more than $20 or $30, but the Miao determined on retaliation, and in the month of October suddenly raided the village of Panghai and burned it to the ground. This was interpreted as an act of rebellion, and troops were moved into the district, causing a local ferment.
Just at this period occurred the Empress Dowager's famous coup d'etat of 1898 at Peking, which was regarded everywhere in China as an anti-foreign move; and the Chinese, who believed, or pretended to believe, that the Miao had been encouraged to rebel by the missionaries furnishing them with arms, assumed such a hostile attitude that Mr. Fleming decided to retire to the capital. On November 4 he started, accompanied by P'an-ta-yeh, a Miao evangelist, and P'an-si-yin, a Miao teacher. Some 15 miles from this place he reached the Chinese market town of Tsung-an-chiang, which was full of local militia, and he had barely crossed the river by the ferry-boat when he was murderously set upon from behind. Mr. Fleming and the Miao evangelist were both killed, but the teacher managed to escape to the neighbouring hills, and conveyed the sad news to the missionaries at Kweiyang Fu. There is no doubt that the murder had been arranged by the leading men of the district, and the Chinese were much surprised when ransacking the station at Panghai to find no weapons amongst Mr. Fleming's belongings. At the close of the terrible Boxer year, 1900, serious trouble broke out at Kaili, 16 miles from Panghai. In consequence of the bad harvest, gangs of men, both Miao and Chinese, went about plundering, and one of these gangs attacked the sub-district city of Kaili on the night of November 14, setting fire to the town, and killing two military officials, and severely wounding the sub-district magistrate. For such an outrage some one had to suffer, and when the higher civil and military authorities came upon the scenes the Christians were accused. Thirty-two men who were regarded as Christians, though they were only recognised by the Church as inquirers, were put to death, some of them having been tortured until they confessed themselves as rebels, while three or four hundred families were blackmailed and plundered. Subsequently, when the missionaries returned to the province in 1901, this matter was carefully investigated, and the Chinese authorities admitted that the Christians were entirely free from blame. While the plundered families were indemnified and a proclamation put out exonerating the Christians, no one was tried for the murder of the thirty-two innocent men; and as it was not for the missionaries to ask for vengeance, they had to be satisfied with the vindication of the innocence of the Christians.
In June 1904 the work among these Miao was taken in charge by Mr. C. Chenery, who was in many ways eminently fitted for it, but, unfortunately, in less than twelve months he was accidentally drowned, and was buried by the side of Mr. Fleming and the Miao evangelist. That work is now in charge of Mr. R. Williams.
The encouraging and successful work among the Miao at Anshuen Fu, to which reference has already been made, far surpassed in results what had been expected from the special efforts made to reach them. The goodwill and confidence of many had been gained through medical help received from Mr. Adam, and in a remarkable way the interest shown by these people spread to more distant communities, and there are now thousands of these aborigines around that district who call themselves Christians. Many of these, however, are very ignorant, and are being gradually instructed in the Gospel. A great movement has also commenced among these Miao at and around Kopu/ which is eight or nine days' journey to the north-west of Anshuen, in the prefecture of Tating, and near the borders of the province of Yunnan. Many of these were baptized in the presence of a thousand or more spectators, and they have, at their own expense, built a chapel to accommodate several hundred persons. Chapels have also been built in two or three other Miao villages, which are being made the centre for regular work. At the last half-yearly meeting held at Anshuen Fu four or five hundred persons were present, about half of whom were Miao. The movement has also spread westward, and is being cared for by workers of the Bible Christian Mission from the neighbouring province of Yunnan. Missionary effort among the Chung-chia has not been so encouraging, though many of their villages around Kweiyang have been repeatedly visited and several schools opened. The Gospel of Matthew has been translated into their language by the writer, and published by the British and Foreign Bible Society, but as the scholars desire to learn to read and write in Chinese, they are not eager to have this used in the schools. For missionary work among the non-Chinese in this province it is advisable that the missionary should know something of their language, though this is not absolutely necessary, as the larger number of them can speak Chinese. We cannot remember to have met a Chung-chia man who could not speak Chinese, though doubtless there are such. Naturally a smaller proportion of the women can speak Chinese. Probably not one in three of the Miao men can speak Chinese, however. As to the prospects of missionary enterprise in this province, the workers were never so hopeful as at the present time. ^ For a fuller story of this remarkable movement see A Modern Pentecost,published by the China Inland Mission and Morgan & Scott. 3d. net.
THE MIAO STORY OF CREATION
Who made heaven and earth?
Who made insects?
Who made men?
Made male and made female?
I who speak don't know.
Heavenly King made heaven and earth.
Zie ne made insects,
Zie ne made spiders,
Made male and made female.
How is it you don't know?
How made heaven and earth?
How made insects?
How made men and demons?
Made male and made female?
I who speak don't know.
Heavenly King is (or was) intelligent,
Spat a lot of spittle into his hand,
Clapped his hands with a noise.
Produced heaven and earth.
Tall wild grass made insects,
Stones made men and demons,
Made male and made female.
How is it you don't know?
Then follow many questions and answers, in all above one thousand lines, describing how the heavens were propped up and how the sun was made and fixed in its place.
Heavenly King is a translation of Vang vai, the two words they use as the name of the Creator, and it is very interesting to note how clearly and simply they say "Heavenly King made heaven and earth." This is so different from the elaborate and confused cosmogeny of the Chinese as to compel the opinion that we have here a very old tradition, and one they did not learn from the Chinese.
- See Appendix I.
- See p. 270.