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The Manchu ethnic minority (8)

(People's Daily)

09:57, August 11, 2011

Contemporary History

China was reduced to the status of a semi-colonial and semi-feudal country after the Opium War of 1840. During the war, many Manchus, as well as Hans, lost their lives in fighting for China's independence and the dignity of the Chinese nation. A 276-man Eight Banner unit under Major Fu Long, fighting to the last man at Tianzunmiao in Zhejiang Province, beat back the onslaught of British invaders five times in succession. In another battle fought in Zhenjiang City, Jiangsu Province, 1,500 Eight Bannermen yielded no ground in defiance of an enemy force ten times their strength.

The Second Opium War of 1856-60 ended with Russia annexing more than a million square kilometers of northeast China. Local Manchus and people of other nationalities in this area waged tenacious resistance against the aggression and colonialist rule of Russia.

In 1894, the Japanese launched a war against China and Korea, occupying large tracts of Chinese territory in eastern Liaoning Province. This aroused nationwide protest and gave rise to strong resistance by the Han, Manchu and Korean peoples, who sprang surprise attacks on the enemy day and night. Chinese troops and civilians defending Liaoyang, Liaoning, Province, inflicted heavy casualties on the invading Japanese troops.

The year 1900 marked the outbreak of the Yi He Tuan movement or Boxer Rebellion, which was composed mainly of peasants of Han and Manchu nationalities.

The Revolution of 1911 led by Dr. Sun Yat-sen won wide acclaim and support among the broad masses of the Manchu people. Manchus staged a series of armed uprisings including those of Fengcheng and other places led by the Manchu progressives, Bao Huanan and He Xiuzhai, who cooperated with the Han revolutionary Ning Wu. Manchu and Han intellectuals in Shenyang (Mukden) formed a "Progressives' Radical Alliance." Leaders of the alliance, Manchu intellectuals Bao Kun and Tian Yabin and Han progressive Zhang Rong, a member of the Tong Meng Hui (Chinese Revolutionary League), proposed the establishment of a "coalition republican government composed of Manchu and Han people." Though executed by the Qing government, the two Manchus represented the correct position many Manchu people took in the Revolution of 1911.

On September 18, 1931, Japanese forces launched a surprise attack on Shenyang and installed the puppet "Manchukuo" government to control the area.

The rigging up of the puppet "Manchukuo" soon gave rise to strong national protest throughout China. Anti-Japanese volunteers, anti-Japanese organizations and guerrilla units were formed with massive participation by Manchu people.

On September 9, 1935, a patriotic demonstration was held with a large number of Manchu students in Beijing participating. Many of them later joined the Chinese National Liberation Vanguard Corps, the Chinese Communist Youth League or the Chinese Communist Party, carrying out revolutionary activities on their campuses and outside.

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