Ngolok rebellions (1917–49)
|Ngolok rebellions (1917-1949)|
| Republic of China
National Revolutionary Army
|Commanders and leaders|
National Revolutionary Army composed of
|Tribal Ngolok fighters|
|Casualties and losses|
The Ngolok rebellions (1917-1949) were a series of military campaigns against unconquered Ngolok (Golok) tribal Tibetan areas of Qinghai (Amdo), undertaken by two Hui commanders, Gen. Ma Qi and Gen. Ma Bufang, on behalf of the Beiyang and Kuomintang governments of the Republic of China. The campaigns lasted between 1917 and 1949.
Gen. Ma Qi was a Hui Chinese commander who joined the Kuomintang after the Northern Expedition in 1927–1928. His forces were composed entirely of Hui Chinese, organized in the Ninghai Army, which was then turned into a National Revolutionary Army division.
Battles for Labrang
Ma Qi occupied Labrang Monastery in 1917, the first time non-Tibetans had seized it. Ma Qi defeated the Tibetan forces with his Hui Chinese troops. His forces were praised by foreigners who traveled through Qinghai for their fighting abilities. The Labrang monastery had strong connections to the unpacified Ngolok Tibetan tribals who refused to submit to Chinese rule unlike the other Tibetans of Qinghai.
After ethnic rioting between Hui and Tibetans erupted in 1918, Ma Qi defeated the Tibetans. He heavily taxed the town for eight years. In 1925 a rebellion broke out, and thousands of Tibetans drove out the Hui. Ma Qi responded with 3,000 Hui Chinese troops, who retook Labrang and machine-gunned thousands of Tibetan monks as they tried to flee. Ma Qi besieged Labrang numerous times but the Tibetans and Mongols fiercely resisted his Hui forces until Ma Qi gave it up in 1927. However, that was not the last Labrang saw of Gen. Ma. The Hui forces looted and ravaged the monastery again. In revenge Tibetan Nomads skinned alive many hui soldiers. One of the most common practice was to slice open the stomach of a still alive soldier and than put hot rock inside the stomach. Many hui women were sold to the ethnic Han and Kazakhs. Children were adopted by the Tibetans.
Austrian-American explorer Joseph Rock witnessed the carnage and aftermath of one of the battles around 1929. The Ma Muslim army left Tibetan skeletons scattered over a wide area, and the Labrang monastery was decorated with decapitated Tibetan heads. After the 1929 Battle of Xiahe near Labrang, decapitated Tibetan heads were used as ornaments by Chinese Muslim troops in their camp, 154 in total. Rock described how the heads of "young girls and children" were staked around the encampment. Ten to 15 heads were fastened to the saddle of every Muslim cavalryman. The heads were "strung about the walls of the Moslem garrison like a garland of flowers."
Ma Bufang's campaigns
Ma Bufang, the son of Ma Qi, was a Kuomintang warlord who dominated Qinghai. He served as a general in the National Revolutionary Army and sought to expand the Republic of China's control over all of Qinghai, as well as bringing Tibet back into the Republic by force. When Ma Bufang launched seven expeditions into Golog, killing thousands of Ngolok Tibetans, the Republic of China government, known as the Kuomintang, supported him.
Ma and his army exterminated many Ngolok Tibetans in northeastern and eastern Qinghai, and also destroyed Tibetan Buddhist temples. During one such attack in 1941 Ma Bufang sent Chinese Hui troops to destroy Sekar Gompa monastery, killing their highest ranking Lama and 300 tapas. They sacked the compound, burning it to the ground, and sold all of the property for gold and silver.
From 1918-1942 the Ma warlords waged intensive, violent war against the Ngolok tribal inhabitants of Golog. Ma Bufang also manufactured conflicts by giving pasture to Tibetan and Mongolian groups at the same time, which spread disunity.
The Kunlun middle school was established by Ma Bufang, and it recruited Tibetan students, who were subjected to a harsh military life. Ma wanted to use them as translators as he expanded his military domain over land inhabited by Tibetans.
During the pacification, a war broke out between Qinghai and Tibet. Tibet attempted to capture parts of southern Qinghai province, following contention in Yushu, Qinghai, over a monastery in 1932. Ma Bufang's army vanquished the Tibetan forces and recaptured several counties in Xikang Province.
Tibetan tribals in southern Qinghai revolted due to taxation against Ma Bufang in 1939-1941, but they were crushed by "suppression campaigns" and massacred by Ma Bufang which caused a major influx of Tibetan refugees into Tibet from Qinghai.
Under orders from the Kuomintang government of Chiang Kai-shek, Ma Bufang repaired the Yushu airport in southern Qinghai Province, close to the border with Tibet, to prevent Tibetan separatists from seeking independence. Chiang also ordered Ma Bufang to put his Hui soldiers on alert for an invasion of Tibet in 1942. Ma Bufang complied, and moved several thousand troops to the border with Tibet (1912–1951). Chiang also threatened the Tibetans with aerial bombardment if they did not comply.
A former Tibetan Khampa soldier named Aten who fought Ma Bufang's forces gave an account of a battle. He described the Chinese Muslims as "fierce". After he and his troops were ambushed by 2,000 of Ma Bufang's Chinese Muslim cavalry, he was left with bullet wounds and "had no illusions as to the fate of most of our group", the majority of whom were wiped out. Aten also asserted that "the Tibetan province of Amdo" was "occupied" by Ma Bufang.
In Tibet, the majority of Muslims are Hui people. Hatred between Tibeans and Muslims stems from events during the Muslim warlord Ma Bufang's rule in Qinghai such as the Ngolok rebellions and the Sino-Tibetan War, but in 1949 the Communists put an end to the violence between Tibetans and Muslims, however, new Tibetan-Muslim violence broke out after China engaged in liberalization.
Riots broke out between Muslims and Tibetans over incidents such as bones in soups and prices of balloons, and Tibetans accused Muslims of being cannibals who cooked humans in their soup and of contaminating food with urine. Tibetans attacked Muslim restaurants. Fires set by Tibetans which burned the apartments and shops of Muslims resulted in Muslim families being killed and wounded in the 2008 mid-March riots. Due to Tibetan violence against Muslims, the traditional Islamic white caps have not been worn by many Muslims. Scarfs were removed and replaced with hairnets by Muslim women in order to hide. Muslims prayed in secret at home when in August 2008 the Tibetans burned the Mosque. Incidents such as these which make Tibetans look bad on the international stage are covered up by the Tibetan exile community. The repression of Tibetan separatism by the Chinese government is supported by Hui Muslims. In addition, Chinese-speaking Hui have problems with Tibetan Hui (the Tibetan speaking Kache minority of Muslims).
The main Mosque in Lhasa was burned down by Tibetans and Chinese Hui Muslims were violently assaulted by Tibetan rioters in the 2008 Tibetan unrest. Tibetan exiles and foreign scholars like ignore and do not talk about sectarian violence between Tibetan Buddhists and Muslims. The majority of Tibetans viewed the wars against Iraq and Afghanistan after 9/11 positively and it had the effect of galvanizing anti-Muslim attitudes among Tibetans and resulted in an anti-Muslim boycott against Muslim owned businesses.:17 Tibetan Buddhists propagate a false libel that Muslims cremate their Imams and use the ashes to convert Tibetans to Islam by making Tibetans inhale the ashes, even though the Tibetans seem to be aware that Muslims practice burial and not cremation since they frequently clash against proposed Muslim cemeteries in their area.:19
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