Local Heroes or Aboriginal Predators?: 土匪 or “Embedded Banditti” in PRC Lore

It is pretty obvious that the former type of “bandit”, almost always in control of a private paramilitary, collecting petty taxes from under-protection villages, but also preying on caravans (also through toll-collection) and thus often also involved in competitive clashes with the bottom-layer outposts of what (in the pre-1950s) stood in for a local constabulary, that were the swing-leaders that Party base-builders and army “recruiters” (en bloc) had to deal with.

(Belatedly, we now have a multi-volume reference library or historical and geographic census of all Party-documented or intelligenced bandit-“gangs” in this class, available as an e-book for cadre study: published by the 焦作市人力资源和社会保障局 (Jiaozuo, N. Henan, Human Resources and Social Safety Bureau) in 2012, http://jz.hngwypx.gov.cn/book/ChapterDetail.aspx?BookNameID=226, Zhongguo tufei; it is uploaded by an on-line “university” for public sector (Party) employees called 焦作市公务员网络培训学院). The purpose and scope is glossed as: “comprehensively and systematically to discuss late Qing and Early Republic through 1949 the birthing, development, disruptions caused by, and disappearance of China’s tufei as well as their latent capacity for revolution.”)

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毛泽东 《井冈山的斗争》:“土籍的本地人和数百年前从北方移来的客籍人之间存在着很大的界限。” 萧克 《永铭在心的亲切教诲》:“要注意土籍和客籍关系的政策。”


Cereals (Rice) vs Tubers (yams, potatoes): Mountain crops Much More Volatile

Rice Harvest

Tubers yams harvest

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