Dong Fuxiang

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Dong Fuxiang
Dong Fuxiang.jpg
Dong Fuxiang
Born 董福祥 1839
Gansu
Died 1908
Allegiance Flag of the Qing dynasty Qing dynasty
Years of service 1862–1908
Rank general
Unit Kansu braves
Battles/wars Dungan revolt, Dungan Revolt (1895), Boxer Rebellion
Dong Fuxiang
Traditional Chinese 董福祥
Simplified Chinese 董福祥
This is a Chinese name; the family name is Dong.

Dong Fuxiang (1839–1908), a Han Chinese, was born Gansu, China. He commanded an army of Chinese Muslim soldiers, which included the later Ma clique generals Ma Anliang and Ma Fuxiang.[1] According to the Western calendar, his birth date is in 1839.[2] His courtesy name is 星五 (Xingwu).[3]

Religion[edit]

Dong Fuxiang was a non Muslim Han Chinese General who commanded Muslim soldiers. Conflicting accounts were given about his religion and ethnicity. Contemporaneous Western sources claim he was a Muslim, which was a mistake, but modern Western sources either say he was not Muslim, or don't mention his religion at all when talking about him, and some mistakenly still say he is Muslim. The only thing that was clear about him was that he was familiar with the Muslim militia of Gansu, and commanded Muslim troops in battle.[4][5] The British consular officer Erich Teichman traveling in Gansu was repeatedly told that Dong Fuxiang was Han Chinese and not a Muslim, but the consular officer insisted on wrongly believing he was a Muslim.[6] The confusion over his religion was cleared up by Jonathan Neamen Lipman who noted that westerners had made the mistake of assuming that Dong was a Muslim since he commanded Muslim soldiers during the Boxer Rebellion, and the mistake was repeated by later western encyclopedias and works on Islam and on the Boxer Rebellion.[7]

The Chinese Muslim armies of Dong Fuxiang were known as the Kansu Braves and they fought against the German Army and the other 8 nation alliance forces, repeatedly at the First intervention, Seymour Expedition, China 1900. It was only on the second attempt in the Gasalee Expedition did the Alliance manage to get through to battle the Chinese Muslim troops at the Battle of Peking. However, Kaiser Wilhelm II was so alarmed by the Chinese Muslim troops that he requested the Caliph Abdul Hamid II of the Ottoman Empire to find a way to stop the Chinese Muslim troops from fighting.[8]

Military career[edit]

Dong participated in the Dungan revolt, and defected to the Qing dynasty side, along with Ma Zhanao.[9] He was not a fanatic or even interested in rebellion, he merely had gathered a band of followers during the rebellion and fought, just as many others did. He joined the Qing army of Zuo Zongtang in exchange for being appointed Mandarin. He acquired large estates.[10]

In 1890 Dong Fuxiang was stationed at Aksu, Kashgaria and was a Brigadier.[11][12]

In 1895–1896, he led his Muslim troops in crushing a Muslim rebellion called the Dungan Revolt in Gansu and Qinghai. Dong Fuxiang was the Commander in Chief of Kashgaria (kashgar), and he received an order by telegram that he and General Ma Pi-sheng rush their army into rebelling districts via forced marching their troops.[13]

Rebel Muslims had revolted, and his loyalist Chinese Muslim troops led by officers like Ma Anliang, Ma Guoliang, Ma Fuxiang, and Ma Fulu crushed the revolt, reportedly cutting off the heads and ears of rebels. He received the rank of Generalissimo.[10]

In 1898, Dong and 10,000 of his Muslim troops were transferred to Beijing in preparation for war against foreigners, and Dong's troop was renamed: Wuwei Rear Troop.[14] While they were stationed there, the Wuwei Rear troops repeatedly attacked foreigners in their legations, the railways, and in churches. It was reported that the Wuwei Rear troops were going to wipe out the foreigners to return a golden age for China. A Japanese chancellor, Sugiyama Akira, was hacked to death on 11 July by the Kansu soldiers.[15][16][17][18][19][20][21] At the section of railroad at Fungtai, two British engineers were almost beaten to death by the Muslim Kansu troops, and foreign ministers asked that they be pulled back since they were threatening the safety of foreigners.[22] Other Europeans and Westerners were killed as well.[23][24] Ma Anliang, Tongling of Ho-Chou joined him in fighting the foreigners.[10][25] Rumors were flying around that Dong Fuxiang was allegedly going to massacre the foreigners in Beijing.[26] In a letter sent on 14 May 1899, Robert Hart wrote about the rumors of an alleged impending massacre at the hands of Dong Fuxiang's troops in June.[27] In a letter on 4 June 1899, Robert Hart wrote of the influence Dong Fuxiang was exerting over the Empress Dowager Cixi's policy towards foreigners.[28]

Dong attended multiple audiences with the Empress Dowager Cixi from May 27-29 1900 to affirm in her his belief that he could defeat and expel the foreigners from China. He was so anti-foreign that he used an old Chinese instrument, Sheng Jia, instead of modern brass bands,[29] and had his troops wear traditional Chinese uniforms insted of western military uniforms.

The Boxer Rebellion broke out in 1900, and Dong and his Wuwei Troops joined the Boxers in declaring war on the Eight-Nation Alliance.[30] They formed the rear division, and the westerners called them the "10,000 Islamic rabble".[31] They were the most effective attackers on the foreign legions, and struck fear into the minds of the westerners. His troops were responsible for so much trouble that the United States Marine Corps had to be called in.

Dong was a sworn brother to Li Lai chung, another Boxer supporter and anti foreigner.[32][33][34]

The Wuwei Rear troops were organized into eight battalions of infantry, two squadrons of cavalry, two brigades of artillery, and one company of engineers.[35] The Wuwei Rear troops reportedly intimidated the Western forces.[36] The Wuwei Rear Troops were reportedly eager to join the Boxers and attack the foreigners.[37] They killed a foreigner outside Yungting gate.[38] At Zhengyang Gate, Wuwei Rear troops engaged in combat against British forces.[39][40][41][42]

On 18 June, Wuwei Rear troops stationed at Hunting park in southern Beijing, attacked at the Battle of Langfang. The troops were cavalry – about 5,000 men – armed with new, modern magazine rifles.[43] Russian marines in the legations were subjected to a massive attack on June 23 by Dong and his Kansu Muslim troops, who gad merged with the Boxers. A German marine was killed and the next day on June 24 an American marine was also killed.[44]

His mere presence was menacing to the foreigners; some of them considered him to be an ogre. His Wuwei Rear troops were also reported to be ferocious.[45]

Battle of Beicang, on the outskirts of Tianjin.

Summary of battles of General Dong Fuxiang: Ts'ai Ts'un, 24 July; Ho Hsi Wu, 25 July; An P'ing, 26 July; Ma T'ou, 27 July.[46] He defeated the Westerners during the Battle of Langfang.

The French Catholic vicar apostolic, Msgr. Alfons Bermyn, wanted foreign troops garrisoned in inner Mongolia, but the Governor refused. Bermyn resorted to lies, and falsely petitioned the Manchu Enming to send troops to Hetao where Prince Duan's Mongol troops and General Dong Fuxiang's Muslim troops allegedly threatened Catholics. It turned out that Bermyn had created the incident as a hoax.[47][48] One of the false reports claimed that Dong Fuxiang wiped out Belgian missionaries in Mongolia and was going to massacre Catholics in Taiyuan.[49][50]

When the Qing Court decided to retreat, the Wuwei Rear Troop escorted the Empress Dowager Cixi and Emperor Guangxu to safety in Xi'an.[51][52] The westerners suffered so much at the hands of his Wuwei Rear troops that they demanded Dong be executed. The Qing Court refused to kowtow to the foreigner's demands, and Dong was not executed but instead was exiled to Gansu and all of his positions and honors accorded to him were removed. After General Dong lost all of his official positions, he still was permitted to command his personal army of 5,000 men in Gansu.[53]

Aided by his appealing personality, Dong Fuxiang became a national hero in China for combating the foreigners.[54]

Tsai-I Prince Tuan and Tsai Lan Duke Fu-kuo were sentenced to be brought before the autumnal court of assize for execution, and it was agreed that if the Emperor saw fit to grant them their lives, they should be exiled to Turkestan and there imprisoned for life, without the possibility of commutation of these punishments.1

1 Prince Tuan went no farther than Manchuria for exile, and was heard of there in 1908. Tung Fu-hsiang's sentence was made banishment (to Turkestan, presumably), but he came back to Kansu province in 1906, and lived there in harmless old age.

The Boxer Rebellion: A Political and Diplomatic Review, Paul Henry Clements, p. 201.[55]

During his exile in Gansu, he held a great deal of local political power while protected by his bodyguards, local decisions had to be made with his consent. Two fortresses and many estates were at his disposal. After he died in 1908, all the ranks and honors which were stripped from him due to the foreign demands were restored and he was given a full military burial.[10][56]

Dong Fuxiang's family, his wife Tung Chao-shih (Dong Zhaoshi), nephew Tung Wen (Dong Wen), and grandson Tung Kung (Dong Gong) fought for the Qing dynasty during the Xinhai Revolution in 1911 in Gansu.[57][58]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  •  This article incorporates text from The contemporary review, Volume 78, a publication from 1900 now in the public domain in the United States.
  •  This article incorporates text from The history of China, Volume 2, by Demetrius Charles de Kavanagh Boulger, a publication from 1898 now in the public domain in the United States.
  •  This article incorporates text from The Chinese recorder, Volume 26, a publication from 1895 now in the public domain in the United States.
  •  This article incorporates text from Encyclopædia of religion and ethics, Volume 8, by James Hastings, John Alexander Selbie, Louis Herbert Gray, a publication from 1916 now in the public domain in the United States.
  •  This article incorporates text from The great empress dowager of China, by Philip Walsingham Sergeant, a publication from 1910 now in the public domain in the United States.
  •  This article incorporates text from China in convulsion, Volume 2, by Arthur Henderson Smith, a publication from 1901 now in the public domain in the United States.
  •  This article incorporates text from Our paper, Volume 16, by Massachusetts Reformatory (Concord, Mass.), a publication from 1900 now in the public domain in the United States.
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External links[edit]