List of massacres in China

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The following is a list of massacres that have occurred in China. The massacres are grouped for different time periods.

Imperial China (before 1912)[edit]

Name Date Location Victims Notes
Yangzhou massacre 760 Yangzhou Thousands of Arab and Persian merchants were killed by forces under Tian Shengong.[1][2]
Guangzhou massacre 878–879 Guangzhou 120,000 Foreign merchants (Muslim Arabs, Muslim Persians, Zoroastrian Persians, Christians, and Jews) were killed.[3]
First Sichuan massacre 1221–1264 Sichuan, China 2,000,000 est.[4] It was estimated that 2,000,000 were massacred by Mongolian army and its Chinese supples.
Second Sichuan massacre 1645–1646 Sichuan, China 1,000,000 est.[4] There is no reliable figure, but estimated 1 million out of 3 million Sichuanese were massacred mainly by the army of Zhang Xianzhong.[4]
Yangzhou massacre 1645 Yangzhou =?< 300,000 (modern estimate)[5]
Dzungar genocide 1755–1757 Dzungar Khanate 540,000[6] 480,000 to 600,000 deaths. 80% of population killed[citation needed]
Ningpo Massacre 1800s Ningbo 40 Cantonese pirates supported by the Qing massacred 40 Portuguese pirates.
Jindandao incident 1891 Inner Mongolia 150,000 - 500,000 Ethnic tensions led a Chinese secret society, Jindandao, to revolt and kill 150,000 - 500,000 Mongols.
Port Arthur massacre 1894, 21 November Lüshunkou, Liaoning 4500 1000–20,000[citation needed]
Kucheng Massacre 1895, 1 August Gutian, Fujian 11 11 British Missionaries killed by a fasting folk religious group on 1 August 1895
Taiyuan Massacre 1900, July Taiyuan, Shanxi 45

Republic of China (since 1912)[edit]


Name Date Location Victims Notes
Shanghai massacre of 1927 1927, 12 April Shanghai 1200 300–400 direct deaths. 5000 missing
Kuomintang Anti-Communist massacre 1928 Nationwide in China 300,000[7] Mass executions of both alleged and actual communists by the nationalist Kuomintang.
Communist purge in Jiangxi–Fujian Soviet (Chinese civil war) 1931-1935 Most parts of Ganzhou and every part of Tingzhou 700,000[8] Occurred in the mountainous parts which are almost entirely only populated by Hakkas of Jiangxi and Fujian.
Kizil massacre 1933, June near Kashgar, Xinjiang 800
Kashgar massacre 1934 Kashgar, Xinjiang 2,000-8,000

1937–1945 (Sino-Japanese War)[edit]

Name Date Location Victims Notes
Nanjing Massacre 1937, 13 December Nanjing 300,000[9] 40,000–300,000 deaths by Japanese military.The death toll is disputed, ranging from some Japanese claims of several hundred,[10] to the Chinese claim of a non-combatant death toll of 300,000.[11] Most other nations believe the death toll to be between 150,000–300,000, based on the Nanjing War Crimes Tribunal verdict.
Three Alls Policy 1940-1942 North China 2,700,000 Scorched earth policy conducted by Japanese military.
Yan'an Rectification Movement 1942-1945 Yan'an 10,000[12] Launched by Mao Zedong and the Chinese Communist Party. Regarded by many as the origin of Mao Zedong's cult of personality.
Changjiao massacre 1943, 9–12 May Changjiao, Hunan 30,000 Conducted by Japanese military.

1945–1949 (Civil War)[edit]

Name Date Location Victims Notes
February 28 incident 1947, 28 February – 16 May Taiwan 20,000 to 28,000 Beginning of the White Terror campaign. The Chinese Kuomintang-led government imposed martial law until 1987.


Name Date Location Victims Notes
Lieyu massacre 1987, 7–8 March Fujian 19 Targets Vietnamese boat people. Conducted by the Republic of China Army.

People's Republic of China (since 1949)[edit]


Name Date Location Victims Notes
Chinese Land Reform 1949–1953 Nationwide 1,000,000 – 4,700,000[13] Launched by Mao Zedong and the Communist Party of China (CPC). Liquidation of the landlord class in struggle sessions.
Campaign to Suppress Counterrevolutionaries 1950–1953 Nationwide 712,000 – 2,000,000[14][15] Launched by Mao Zedong and CPC.
Three-anti and Five-anti Campaigns 1951–1952 Nationwide Exact death toll is unknown. In Shanghai alone, from 25 January to 1 April 1952, at least 876 people committed suicides.[16][17][18] Launched by Mao Zedong and CPC.
Sufan movement 1955–1957 Nationwide 53,000[19][20] Launched by Mao Zedong and CPC.
Anti-Rightist Campaign 1957–1959 Nationwide Exact death toll is unknown. Official statistics shows that at least 550,000 people were purged and many died.[21][22][23] Launched by Mao Zedong and CPC.
Xunhua Incident 1958 Qinghai 435 The massacre was conducted by People's Liberation Army towards local civilians.[24]
1959 Tibetan uprising 1959 Tibet 87,000[25][26][27] The exact number of deaths has been disputed.[28]
Violence in the Great Chinese Famine 1959-1961 Nationwide 2,500,000[29][30] Killings occurred during the Great Chinese Famine.[31][32] According to Frank Dikötter, at least 2.5 million (2-3 million) people were beaten or tortured to death, which accounted for 6%-8% of the total deaths in the famine.[30][32][33]
Socialist Education Movement 1963–1965 Nationwide 77,560[34] Launched by Mao Zedong.

1966–1976 (Cultural Revolution)[edit]

Cultural Revolution was launched by Mao Zedong in May 1966, with the help of the Cultural Revolution Group. The estimated total death toll ranges from hundreds of thousands to 20 million,[35] while massacres took place across the country. Some of the massacres occurred during the Violent Struggles (200,000-500,000 deaths), struggle sessions or political purges such as Cleansing the Class Ranks (0.5-1.5 million deaths). In total, some Chinese researchers have estimated that at least 300,000 people were killed in Cultural Revolution massacres.[36][37] Massacres in Guangxi Province and Guangdong Province were among the most serious: in Guangxi, the official annals of at least 43 counties report massacres with 15 of them recording a death toll of over 1,000, while in Guangdong at least 28 counties report massacres with 6 of them seeing over 1,000 deaths.[38][39] The following table only includes major massacres which have been well documented in literature.

Name Date Location Victims Notes
Red August August – September 1966 Beijing 1,772[40] Origin of the Red Terror in Chinese Cultural Revolution, triggering "Daxing Massacre" which killed 325 people in a few days. Statistics from 1985 showed a death toll of over 10,000 due to the Red August.[41]
Guangxi Massacre 1966–1976 Guangxi 100,000 – 150,000[42][43] Massive cannibalism occurred.[42][43]
Inner Mongolia incident 1967–1969 Inner Mongolia 16,632 – 100,000[39] Mostly Mongols.
Qinghai Massacre February 1967 Qinghai 173[39] Conducted by People's Liberation Army.[39][44]
Guangzhou Laogai Fan Incident August 1967 Guangzhou,


187-197[45][46] Part of the Guangdong Massacre. Caused by the rumor that Laogaifan (prisoners of Laogai) were released. Local citizens began massive killings as self-defense.[45][46]
Anti-Peng Pai Incident August 1967 Shanwei, Guangdong >160[47] Targeted the relatives of Peng Pai.
Qingtongxia Incident August 1967 Qingtongxia, Ningxia 101[39][48] Conducted by People's Liberation Army.[39][48]
Yangjiang Massacre 1967–1969 Yangjiang, Guangdong 3,573[39][49] Part of the Guangdong Massacre. Mainly in Yangjiang and Yangchun.[39][49]
Daoxian massacre August – October


Daoxian, Hunan 9,093[50] Took place in more than 10 counties, mainly in Dao County.
Shaoyang County Massacre July – September




991[39][51] Influenced by Daoxian Massacre.
Dan County Massacre August 1968 Danzhou, Hainan >700[39][52] Part of the Guangdong Massacre. Over 50 thousand people were jailed and thousands were permanently disabled. Conducted by People's Liberation Army and local militias.[39][52]
Ruijin Massacre September –October 1968 Ruijin, Jiangxi >1000[39][53] Took place in Ruijin County, Xingguo County, and Yudu County.[39][53]
Zhao Jianmin Spy Case 1968–1969 Yunnan 17,000[39] Over 1.3 million people persecuted.
Shadian Incident July – August


Yunnan 1,600[54] Mostly Hui people. Conducted by People's Liberation Army.


Name Date Location Victims Notes
Tibetan unrest 1987-1989 Tibet >10 Official source states the death toll between 10-20, but other estimates range from dozens to hundreds.[55]
Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 1989, 4 June Tiananmen Square, Beijing 200–10,000[56][57] Between 200 and 10,000 civilians were killed. The Red Cross states that around 2,600 died and the official Chinese government figure is 241 dead with 7,000 wounded.[58][59] Amnesty International's estimates puts the number of deaths at several hundred to close to 1,000.[60] As many as 10,000 estimated people were arrested during the protests.[61]
Thousand Island Lake robbery killings 1994, 31 March Zhejiang Province 32 24 Taiwanese tourists, 6 crew members, and 2 mainland Chinese passengers on board the "Hai Rui" sightseeing cruise were robbed and murdered. The incident cast a shadow over cross-strait relations.[62]
Ghulja Incident 1997, 5 February Ghulja, Xinjiang 9 Demonstrations in Ghulja were violently put down by police after two days of protesting. Official reports put the death toll at 9.[63]
Long wins round robbery 1998 November 15 Shanwei 23 Guangdong Province, Shanwei City, the territory of an armed robbery case, the Hong Kong shipping company "Changsheng" million tons of cargo ship on which 23 Chinese expatriate crew were all killed and their corpses dumped into the sea.[64]


Name Date Location Victims Notes
2008 Tibetan unrest 2008, 16 March Sichuan, Lhasa, Qinghai, Gansu 20-150 In order to commemorate the 49th anniversary of the armed uprising on 10 March 1959, some Tibetan demonstrators protested collectively in Tibetan areas of China and parts of southern Tibet. However, it later evolved into Tibetan attacks on civilians such as Han and Hui civilians and shops, cars, The Lhasa Great Mosque and other civilian facilities.
2008 Kashgar attack 2008, 4 August Kashgar, Xinjiang 17 Two men drove an attack on the armed police of the border guard detachment of Kashgar, which was in operation. A total of 17 People's Armed Police were killed and 15 injured.
July 2009 Ürümqi riots 2009, 5 July Ürümqi 197 At first it was just a demonstration, which later evolved into an indiscriminate terrorist violent attack by Uyghurs against non-Muslim ethnic groups such as the Han. At least more than 1,000 Uyghurs participated in the riot on the first day of the incident. A total of 197 people died, most of whom were Hans,[65] with 1,721 others injured,[66] and a large number of vehicles and buildings were destroyed.
2012 Yecheng attack 2012, 28 February Yecheng, Xinjiang 13 A group of eight Uyghur men led by religious extremist Abudukeremu Mamuti attacked pedestrians with axes and knives on Happiness Road. 7 terrorists were killed on the spot by the police, while the other one was injured and died after rescue. 1 police officer died and 4 police were injured, while 15 pedestrians died from Mamuti's assault and 14 more civilians were injured.[67]
June 2013 Shanshan riots 2013, 26 June Shanshan, Xinjiang 35 On 26 June 2013, 35 people died in the riots, including 22 civilians, two police officers and eleven attackers.
2013 Tiananmen Square attack 2013, 28 October Beijing 5 A car crashed in Tiananmen Square, Beijing, China, as a terrorist suicide attack. 5 people died in the incident; 3 inside the vehicle and 2 civilian nearby.
2014 Kunming attack 2014, 1 March Kunming 35 Xinjiang terrorist organization planned a terrorist attack on civilians. A total of 31 civilians were killed and 141 injured.[68] On the afternoon of 3 March, the official announced the resolution of the case. A total of 8 people were killed. Of the 5 directly involved in the attack, 4 were killed on the spot and 1 was captured on the spot.
May 2014 Ürümqi attack 2014, 22 March Ürümqi, Xinjiang 43 Two sport utility vehicles (SUVs) carrying five assailants were driven into a busy street market in Ürümqi, the capital of China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. Up to a dozen explosives were thrown at shoppers from the windows of the SUVs. The SUVs crashed into shoppers then collided with each other and exploded. 43 people were killed, including 4 of the assailants, and more than 90 wounded. The event was designated as a terrorist attack.
July 2014 Yarkant attack 2014, 28 July Yarkant, Xinjiang 96 The case resulted in the death of 37 innocent people (including 35 Han people and 2 Uyghurs), 13 people were injured, 31 vehicles were smashed, and 6 of them were burned. During the disposal process, 59 terrorists were killed, 215 people were arrested, and the "jihad" banner and tools such as swords and axes were seized.
2015 Aksu colliery attack 2015, 18 September Aksu Prefecture, Xinjiang >50 The Aksu coal mine attack was an armed attack on a coal mine in the Aksu region of Xinjiang on 18 September 2015. A group of armed separatists attacked coal miners and security personnel, killing at least 50 people and injuring 50 others. When the local police arrived at the scene, the attacker used a truck full of coal to hit the police vehicle and then fled into the mountains. The majority of the victims of this attack were Han people.

See also[edit]


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