The Hillside Tujia/Miao Lady Takes a Bandit Husband Rich from Growing Opium (Honest!)

Back again to the opium traffic and CCP history. (The subject will never lose interest….)

Surely one of the (since covered over) conduits for Yenan 120th Division Gen. He Long’s interest in opium production and sale (see previous…) is his birth-connection with Northwestern Hunan’s tujia minority in Sangzhi county.

As the below attests, and the referenced documentary confirms, montagnard “minorities” in the Hunan hill country where He Long grew up take poppy-growing and marketing quite casually. They seem habituated to low dosage levels of consumption (one pipe per day), limited to older men (the younger ones seem to be aware of the danger of debilitation, a hazard in an environment where blood feuds and armed resistance to authority is a way of life – one summarized by the Chinese grabbag phrase “tufei” – or “bandits with roots in the local hills”.

“In Guzhang County in the (N) West Hunan Tujia/Miao Minority AR, there is a picture-perfect village atop the hills called Li Family Cave, within which is Zhang Family Mound. It hasn’t lost its primitive innocence/simplicity of manners. [But] every traveller who shows up is, besides being shown the scenery, always taken off with great curiosity to meet an oldster, a lady [named Yang Binglian} known as the “last bandit-wife in China”. ….{her husband] Zhang Ping some time ago discovered [in this spot] a “plot perfect for opium-poppies”. He used the opium to trade for rifle(s), and then retailed the weapons at a handsome mark-up to the peasants [ordinary folks]. He window-dressed his weapons as so-called “Self-defense guns”, and stipulated that every household must buy one, or else…. The petty exactions [that accompanied all of this] were infinite: a tax on land, a poll tax, a harvest tax, a warehousing tax, a rifle cartrudge tax, and a fortification [earthworks-building] tax. There was a behind-his-back saying thereabouts: “If Heaven sees Zhang Ping, neither the sun nor the moon shall shine; If Earth, then the grass and trees will not grow; if Humans, only one in ten shall survive the sight.” But Ms. Yang swears she never saw him kill anyone. ”

在湘西土家族苗族自治州古丈县,有一个风景如画的村落——高峰乡李家洞村张家坨,如今这里还保持着淳朴的民风。每一位来到此地的客人,除了看风景,也会带着满心的好奇去看望一位老人,她就是“中国最后一位压寨夫人…..

Below: a Nearby Tujia settlement today:

2013012517043522810Guzhang village

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