|Part of Cultural Revolution in China|
|Location||Gejiu City, Yunnan, China|
|Date||1974-1975; 46 years ago|
|Ethnic conflict, Civil unrest, Religious war, Massacre|
|Deaths||1600 Civilians |
|Victims||Hui Ethnic minority|
|Perpetrators||People's Liberation Army,|
Communist Party of China, Militia etc.
|Motive||Religious and political purge, Conflict of religious freedom with interpretation of Socialism and atheistic principles of Marxism-Leninism|
The Shadian incident (Chinese: 沙甸事件; pinyin: Shādiàn shìjiàn) was a major uprising of religious Hui people during the Chinese Cultural Revolution which ended in a military-led massacre. The massacre took place in seven villages of Yunnan Province, especially at the Shadian Town of Gejiu City, in July and August 1975, causing the deaths of more than 1,600 civilians (866 from Shadian alone), including 300 children, and destroying 4,400 homes.
The conflict between the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and local religious Hui people began in 1974, when the latter went to Kunming, the capital of Yunnan, to demand the freedom of religion granted by the Chinese constitution. However, the local government deemed the behavior of the hundreds of protesters as "causing a disturbance" and "opposing the leadership of the Party". In 1975, the villagers attempted to forcefully re-open the mosques closed during the Cultural Revolution, escalating the conflict and catching the attention of Beijing. Eventually, on 29 July, 10,000 soldiers of the People's Liberation Army were ordered by Deng Xiaoping (however some sources claim Wang Hongwen) to settle the conflict, resulting in a massacre which lasted for about a week.
Shadian Town at the time had one of the largest Hui people populations totalling about 7,200 people. During the Cultural Revolution, as part of the campaign to destroy 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. 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.
This ultimately let the central government 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 (upon the approval of Mao Zedong) against the Hui people living in seven villages in July 1975. One week later, more than 1,000 Huis lay dead with 4,400 houses destroyed. The PLA used guns, cannons and also aerial bombardment in the campaign.
See also: Boluan Fanzheng
After the Cultural Revolution, the Communist Party branch in Yunnan reviewed and investigated the Shadian Incident during the "Boluan Fanzheng" period, subsequently rehabilitating the victims and offering official apologies in February 1979. 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.
The local people received certain amount of reparations from the government for the damages suffered, and after Deng Xiaoping's Gaige kaifang policy, the Malaysian and Middle East markets have been granted more access and special treatment by the government specifically for Shadian merchants, which has increased prosperity, and also increased religious and educational exchange, as more and more Hui students left for Islamic education abroad, and brought back Arabic speaking skills, religious ideas and practices from these countries. As part of the reparations scheme, the government has also erected a Martyr's Memorial in Shadian to honor the 800 officially recognised victims, whose graves surround the pathway that leads up to the memorial. The government also partially financed the building of the Great Mosque in Shadian which was completed in 2009. It is designed in an Arab style, and now serves as the town centre and a source of pride for the local Muslim community.