Shadian incident

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The Shadian incident (Chinese: 沙甸事件; pinyin: Shādiàn shìjiàn) was a militarized separatist movement of religious Hui people, who sought to break away from the control of PRC's governance, that occurred in Shadian Town, Gejiu City, Honghe Hani and Yi Autonomous Prefecture, Yunnan Province, People's Republic of China in July 1975, during the Cultural Revolution. It ended with military intervention of the People's Liberation Army. [1] The cause of the incident was in January 1975, the local akhoond (Islamic cleric) sentenced a female youth to stoning, resulting in the closure of the local mosque by a military unit stationed in Shadian. Soldiers were killed and dismembered by the Hui Muslims in the town.[citation needed]


Shadian Town at the time had one of the largest Hui people populations totaling 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[1] to preserve their rights as guaranteed under the PRC constitution[citation needed]. The statements of the Gang of Four, especially Jiang Qing, encouraged violence against all religious believers.


Shadian was not being allowed to reopen its mosque as a result of the aforementioned earlier incident in January. In 1974 a notice was issued ordering closure of mosques in the town. More than 1,000 people boarded a train to Beijing to complain.[2] The conflict escalated when Communist leftists criticized the conservative Muslims, and when those Muslims took control of local PLA barracks and arsenals in several counties, they made weapons by themselves, arming themselves against perceived outside oppression.

This ultimately let the central government to conclude that the movement had become militarily rebellious. A string of incidents ensued, 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 did 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 them 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.[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 People (i.e. Muslims) killed in Cultural Revolution; popular armed conflicts turn into military suppression (神祕檔案﹕雲南沙甸事件 逾千回民死亡文革武鬥變成軍事鎮壓) Archived 2011-07-20 at the Wayback Machine 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: 8, 11. Retrieved 25 July 2014. Check date values in: |date= (help)