a memorial for all wars: the Polynational War Memorial


Chinese Govt vs Bai Lang (White Wolf) Rebels

Years: 1914-1914
Battle deaths: 5,000 [1]

Nation(s) involved and/or conflict territory [note]

Published prior to 2013 | Updated: 2014-08-03 23:32:12
The Bai Lang Rebellion, was a Chinese "bandit" rebellion that lasted from mid-1913 to late-1914. Launched against the Republican government of Yuan Shikai, the rebellion was led by Bai Lang (which can be translated as "White Wolf", hence the rebellion’s more common title of White Wolf Rebellion in western media). His army was an eclectic mix of anti-Yuan Shikai troops and rebels, bandit groups, and Gelaohui (secret society) members, and also allied to southern Guangdong based revolutionaries.

During the Second Revolution he [Bai Lang] threw his lot in against Yuan Shikai’s government. For a year his troops waged a guerrilla war, evading government Beiyang Army troops and ravaging no less than fifty cities in central China. His actions caused mixed outpourings of mass-support and popular outrage, with his army variously called by itself and supporters "The Citizen’s Punitive Army", "Citizen’s Army to Exterminate Bandits" and "The Army to Punish Yuan Shikai" among others. As his fame grew, deserters, bandits and revolutionaries bolstered his divisions and he swiftly moved through Henan, Anhui, Hubei, Shaanxi, Gansu, disrupting swathes of Northern China. In Henan, the city of Yuxian, famed for its vital pharmaceutical industry, was ransacked of everything from medicine to guns and the military governor, Chang Chen-fang, was dismissed for his failure to suppress the uprising. Support from peasants grew due to Bai’s anti-gentry and anti-tax stance (slogans like "take from the rich and give to the poor" increased rural support, as did the murder of magistrates and the distribution of grain stores). Upon entering Gansu, however, the rebellion encountered strong civil and military resistance.

Here, the traditionalist and Confucianist Muslim generals Ma Anliang and Ma Qi backed Yuan Shikai. Bai Lang faced opposition from nearly everyone, from the Tibetans serving under the Gansu-allied Yang Jiqing, the Gansu and Sichuan provincial armies, ethnic Hui and Han militia, and Yuan Shikai’s own National Beiyang Army.

Protracted warfare and this lack of public support led to a reversal in the rebels’treatment of the population; there was an increase in acts of looting and pillage, as well as strikingly brutal massacres.

Eventually, General Ma Anliang’s passive defence, rather than chasing the far more agile rebel army, succeeded in wearing down Bai. The Tibetans attacked and drove Bai’s army into retreat, with Ma Qixi’s troops chasing them out of the Province. According to Gansu legend, Bai Lang died at Daliuzhuang, with his corpse decapitated and head put on display. However, official Chinese documents say he vanished in Shanxi and his body was never found. Yuan Shikai ordered Bai Lang’s family tombs destroyed, and had the corpses cut to pieces. Bai’s headless body was left to rot.

Yan Xishan crushed the remnants of Bai Lang’s bandit army in late 1914.

Source: Wikipedia, published under the GNU FDL. Retrieved 2014-08-02

More information about this war:
At Globalsecurity.org
Bandits in Republican China By Phil Billingsley


Notes on fatalities

[1] Battle deaths: Correlates of War, Intra-State War Data v4.1 #672 (no fatality data in dataset. Wikipedia article: thousands of civlian casualties)

More about sources


NOTE! Nation data for this war may be inconlusive or incomplete. In most cases it reflects which nations were involved with troops in this war, but in some it may instead reflect the contested territory.



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