Muslim conflict in Gansu (1927–30)

Muslim conflict in Gansu
Part of Chinese Civil War
LocationGansu, Qinghai, Ningxia

Muslim rebels
Supported by:

Fengtian clique
Commanders and leaders

Ma Tingxiang
Ma Zhongying
Supported by:

Zhang Zuolin

Feng Yuxiang
Ma Lin (warlord)[1][2][3]

Ma Hongbin
Chinese Muslims Guominjun army, including non-rebel Muslim forces

Muslim Conflict in Gansu was when a coalition of Muslim Generals broke out in revolt against the Guominjun in 1927. Prominent among the rebels was Ma Tingxiang, the son of the General Ma Anliang, who received aid in the form of arms from Zhang Zuolin in Manchuria.


Famine, natural disaster, and use of their land for planting opium precipitated the rebellion of the people of Gansu under Guominjun rule.

Two Muslim Hui Generals, Ma Tingxiang and Ma Zhongying raised the flag of revolt, and attacked Guominjun forces throughout Gansu, participating in sieges of Hezhou.[4]

The fighting was often brutal. The revolt degenerated from an anti Guominjun movement into general ethnic and religious conflict with Muslims, with mass atrocities on both sides.

Throughout the revolt, some Muslim Generals like Ma Fuxiang did not join in the revolt, remaining officially as a part of the Guominjun, and appealing for peace. At the end, Ma Fuxiang and his son Ma Hongkui defected to the Kuomintang without doing any fighting.

Some Muslim Generals like Ma Lin remained on the Guominjun's side and fought the rebels.

The Revolt

A revolt led by Ma Tingxiang (Ma T'ing-hsiang) (馬廷勷) (a son of Ma Anliang) in the spring of 1928 broke out among the Hui people in Gansu province against the Guominjun of Feng Yuxiang. The Fengtian clique under Zhang Zuolin sent weapons shipments to Ma to aid him in his revolt.

Linxia (Hezhou) was often wracked by these frequent rebellions. The entire southern suburbs of the city (ba fang) "eight blocks" was ruined in 1928 by savage fighting between the Muslims and Guominjun forces.[5][6]

Ma Lin defeated Ma Ting-hsiang (Ma Tingxiang).[7]

Ma Tingxiang was attacked by the Muslim General Ma Hongbin who was serving in Feng's administration in Ningxia.[8][9]

Ma Zhongying, a Hui commander led three separate attacks against Feng's forces in Hezhou, and the following year, traveled to Nanjing and pledged his allegiance to the Kuomintang, attending the Whampoa Military Academy and promoted to General.[10] Ma Zhongying also fought against his great uncle Ma Lin (warlord), who was a Muslim General in Feng Yuxiang's army, defeating him when Ma Lin attempted to retake Hezhou.[11] the slogan of the rebels was "don't kill Hui, don't kill Han, only kill the Guominjun" "不杀回,不杀汉,只杀国民军的办事员"的口号,并以".[12]

Hui Muslims belonging to the Xidaotang sect and Tibetans in Taozhou were attacked by Hui Muslim leader Ma Zhongying and his own Hui Muslim soldiers, causing an exodus of panicked Xidaotang Hui Muslims running away.[13]

The Kuomintang incited anti Yan Xishan and Feng Yuxiang sentiments among Chinese Muslims and Mongols, encouraging for them to topple their rule.[14]

The revolt ended with all the Muslim Generals and Warlords, like Ma Qi, Ma Lin, and Ma Bufang reaffirming their allegiance to the Kuomintang government after defeating the Guominjun.

Ma Zhongying and Ma Fuxiang travelled to Nanjing to pledge alleigance to the Kuomintang and Chiang Kai-shek. Ma Fuxiang was promoted, and Ma Zhongying was trained at the Whampoa Military Academy under Chiang, making secret agreements for a future invasion of Xinjiang.

By 1931 the rebellion stopped totally.[15]

Ma Tingxiang first rebelled against Feng and the Guominjun, defected to Chiang Kai-shek and the Kuomintang after Chiang and Feng went to war against each other, and finally after Chiang dismissed Ma from his posts, attempted to flee and was captured by Feng and executed in 1929.

Ma Zhongying's 1928 revolt led to a blaze which destroyed the Multicoloured Mosque[16]

See also


  1. Who's who in China (Biographies of Chinese). Volume 4 of Who's who in China (reprint ed.). 1973. p. 185.
  2. The China Monthly Review, Volume 67. J.W. Powell. 1933. p. 289.
  4. Jonathan Neaman Lipman (2004). Familiar strangers: a history of Muslims in Northwest China. Seattle: University of Washington Press. p. 174. ISBN 0-295-97644-6. Retrieved 2010-06-28.
  5. American Asiatic Association (1940). Asia: journal of the American Asiatic Association, Volume 40. Asia Pub. Co. p. 659. Retrieved 2011-05-08.
  6. Hartford Seminary Foundation (1941). The Moslem World, Volumes 31-34. Hartford Seminary Foundation. p. 180. Retrieved 2011-05-08.
  7. Who's who in China; biographies of Chinese leaders. Shanghai: THE CHINA WEEKLY REVIEW. 1936. p. 185. Retrieved 24 April 2014.
  8. 刘国铭主编,中国国民党九千将领,北京:中华工商联合出版社, 1993年
  9. 清末民国两马家 Archived 2016-03-04 at the Wayback Machine.
  10. Andrew D. W. Forbes (1986). Warlords and Muslims in Chinese Central Asia: a political history of Republican Sinkiang 1911-1949. Cambridge, England: CUP Archive. p. 334. ISBN 0-521-25514-7. Retrieved 2010-06-28.
  11. Andrew D. W. Forbes (1986). Warlords and Muslims in Chinese Central Asia: a political history of Republican Sinkiang 1911-1949. Cambridge, England: CUP Archive. p. 334. ISBN 0-521-25514-7. Retrieved 2010-06-28.
  13. Jonathan Neaman Lipman (1 July 1998). Familiar strangers: a history of Muslims in Northwest China. University of Washington Press. pp. 196–197. ISBN 978-0-295-80055-4.
  14. Hsiao-ting Lin (2010). Modern China's Ethnic Frontiers: A Journey to the West. Taylor & Francis. p. 22. ISBN 0-415-58264-4. Retrieved 2010-06-28.
  15. Frederick Roelker Wulsin, Joseph Fletcher, Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, National Geographic Society (U.S.), Peabody Museum of Salem (1979). Mary Ellen Alonso, ed. China's inner Asian frontier: photographs of the Wulsin expedition to northwest China in 1923 : from the archives of the Peabody Museum, Harvard University, and the National Geographic Society (illustrated ed.). The Museum : distributed by Harvard University Press. p. 49. ISBN 0-674-11968-1. Retrieved 2010-06-28.
  16. Michael Dillon (1999). China's Muslim Hui Community: Migration, Settlement and Sects. Psychology Press. pp. 119–. ISBN 978-0-7007-1026-3.
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