Zuo Zongtang and the Hui uprising

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The choice of how to pacify the Hui uprisings is a fundamental reading key to understanding the presence of Islam in China. On the one hand, General Zuo Zongtang massacred, but on the other, he favored the establishment of the Islamic community in Gansu.

The arrival of Zuo Zongtang

In 1867 the Qing government will send General Zuo Zongtang to quell the riots, also providing him with a large wallet to do the job better. The latter, at least initially, did not concentrate so much on the army as on the state structure, now more and more adrift due to the multiple revolts. In particular, the general took care of promoting agriculture and education of the ruling class, however, starting to accumulate supplies for an imminent expedition to Gansu.

Zuo Zongtang

Zuo’s most immediate goal, however, was Jinjipu, the base of Jahriyya leader Ma Haulong, located a few steps from Xi’an, right in Shaanxi. From here the sheikh controlled all rebels, using the trade monopoly to buy arsenal and try to expand the revolt in Mongolia. Once the supply of supplies was completed, the Qing general would give a struggle without quarter to the Sufis, soon managing to besiege their base, thus forcing them to a terrifying siege, which ended only in 1871 with the surrender of Ma. At this point, Zuo will set his sights on Gansu, the center of the Hui community.

The conquest of Gansu

The region was then under the control of Ma Zhan’ao, a former Qing general who followed the tariqa Kufiyya, who had always shown himself to be a man of honor and willing to negotiate. Zuo Zongtang was very impressed by his person and decided to reward the deserter, thus choosing to favor the presence of the Hui (Chinese Muslims) to the detriment of that of the Han (Chinese). Thanks to this move, most of the Dungans in the region returned to the imperial ranks, allowing these lands to become the epicenter of the Chinese Islamic world.

Gansu, the province entirely east is Shaanxi

Wanting to safely reach Xinjiang and thus challenge Yaqub Beg, the Qing strategist took care of securing the Gansu Corridor, also bringing the city of Jiuquan to order in 1873 and definitively pacifying the region.

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