- 東洋学報 = The Toyo Gakuho (ISSN:03869067)
- vol.86, no.3, pp.421-455, 2004-12
The Muslim rebellion that arose in Northwest China between 1862 and 1878 is one of the most momentous series of events in Chinese Muslim history. Although it has mostly attracted attention as a symbol of the century of revolt, regional differences within the rebellion has yet to be sufficiently argued. By focusing on the rebellion’s local character, this paper aims to offer a new perspective on the rebellion itself, proposing an approach for correlating regional characteristics with the religious basis of the Chinese Muslim society. This paper focuses on the areas of Shangxi and Gansu, for each shows distinctive regional differences. Through an examination of the roles played by rebellion leaders in each region regarding the maintenance of local social order, the following can be conceived.The Muslim society of Shangxi was characterized by Xue (学), based on a tradition of Islamic Holy scripture scholarship. And the recognition of Ahongs, the leaders of the community, was grounded in an understanding of scripture with concerns exclusively on sustaining the ethical standard of their own community. Therefore, they did not participate in the non-Muslim social order and had no intent to coordinate cooperation with other communitiesOn the other hand, the Menhuan shaykhs of Gansu formed networks within a fluid Jiao (教) society; and out of a necessity to manage their community alliances, they took authority over various mundane matters and leaned towards regional integration. In addition, local administrators hoped to take advantage of them and set the conditions under which they would become the leaders within the local order.It is hardly a coincidence that the local aspects of Muslim society produced a rebellion in Xue Muslim society that was rather separatist, while producing an uprising with characteristics tending towards regional integration in Jiao Muslim society. Thus, it can be said that the rebellions in Shangxi and Gansu possessed different relevance, each reflecting local circumstances. In this respect, what has been said about unity and solidarity within rebellions should be at least questioned in the future study of them.