Shadian incident

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The Shadian incident (Chinese: 沙甸事件; pinyin: Shādiàn shìjiàn) was a massacre of Hui people by the People's Liberation Army that occurred in Shadian Town, Gejiu City, Honghe Hani and Yi Autonomous Prefecture, Yunnan Province, People's Republic of China in July 1975.[1]


Shadian Town at the time had one of the largest Hui people populations totalling about 7,200 people.[2] As part of the Four Olds, the People's Liberation Army closed down mosques and burned religious books. Many Muslims set up their own factions to preserve their rights as guaranteed under the PRC constitution.[1] The statements of the Gang of Four, especially Jiang Qing, encouraged violence against minorities.


While Hui in other towns were allowed to reopen their Mosques, Shadian was singled out in not being allowed to reopen its Mosque. In 1974 a notice was issued ordering closure of mosques in the town. As many as 1,000 people boarded a train to Beijing to complain.[2] The conflict escalated when Communist leftists criticised the conservative Muslims whereupon the Muslims took control of local PLA barracks and arsenals. This led to a string of incidents culminating in a military attack by a 10,000 strong force of PLA soldiers against the Hui people living in seven villages in July 1975. One week later, more than 1000 Huis lay dead with 4,400 houses destroyed. The PLA used guns, cannons and also aerial bombardment in the campaign.[1][2]


After the Cultural Revolution was ended and the Gang of Four responsible for most of the violence were arrested, in February 1979 the Yunnan Communist Party reviewed the incident, officially rectified the incidents and apologized.[2]


The Communist Party under Deng Xiaoping blamed the worst and most violent parts of the Cultural Revolution which were directed at minorities upon the Gang of Four, especially Jiang Qing. After the Gang of Four were toppled by Hua Guofeng, the Communist Party ended the Cultural Revolution and issued apologies and reparations to survivors. The Gang of Four variously received death sentences or long prison terms, commuted to life imprisonment.

Hui in Shadian do not view their actions in the incident as separatist against the Chinese state, but rather, them acting as Chinese citizens to reclaim their rights. They accept that the government addressed the issue, apologized, issued reparations, and brought the Gang of Four to justice, and now the town is economically flourishing. The government has also compensated then economically with payments, and the Malaysian and Middle East markets have been granted more access and special treatment by the government specifically for Shadian merchants. The government erected a Martyr's Memorial in Shadian to honor the victims, whose graves are around the memorial. The government also partially financed the building of the Great Mosque in Shadian, which is the biggest Mosques in China.[3]


  1. ^ a b c Israeli Raphael, (2002) Islam in China: religion, ethnicity, culture, and politics. Lexington Books. ISBN 0-7391-0375-X, 9780739103753.
  2. ^ a b c d Mystery Archive: More than 1,000 Hui Minority killed in Cultural Revolution military suppression (神秘檔案﹕雲南沙甸事件 逾千回民死亡文革武鬥變成軍事鎮壓) Retrieved on 2010-02-07.
  3. ^ Khalid, Zainab (4-1-2011). "Rise of the Veil: Islamic Modernity and the Hui Woman". SIT Graduate Institute - Study Abroad. pp. 8, 11. Retrieved 25 July 2014.  Check date values in: |date= (help)