Tradition of Yi Ethnic Minority
The Yi people have a glorious tradition of revolutionary struggle. In the recent 100 years or more the Yis waged powerful anti-imperialist and anti-feudal struggles as well as those against slave owners. Influenced by the Taiping Revolution (1851-1864), the struggles waged by the Yis and other nationalities against the Qing government lasted more than a decade.
In 1935, the Chinese Red Army pushed north to resist the Japanese invaders. The troops on the historic Long March passed through the Yi areas, leaving a good and deep impression on the Yis wherever they went. On their way through northwestern Guizhou and northeastern Yunnan, the Red Army cracked down on local tyrants, wicked gentry and corrupt officials, and opened their barns to relieve the starving Yis. The Red Army distributed confiscated grain, salt, ham, clothes and other such goods among the Yis and people of other ethnic groups, who in return gave enthusiastic assistance to it. Many young Yis joined the Army.
After crossing the Jinsha River, the Red Army pushed towards the Dadu River in two prongs from Yuexi and Mianning. Supported by the Army, the Yis and Hans in Mianning established the Worker-Peasant-Soldier Democratic Government of the county, formed revolutionary troops, abolished the “hostage system” imposed by the Kuomintang government, and set free several hundred Yi headmen and their relatives held as hostages. The Red Army strictly observed discipline, firmly implemented the Chinese Communist Party’s policy for minority groups, declared that it aimed to emancipate the minority groups, and proclaimed that all poor Yis and Hans were kith and kin. It called on the Yi people to unite with the Red Army and overthrow the warlords and fight for national equality.
Inspired by the Red Army’s policies, Yuedan the Junior, the chieftain of a Yi clan in Mianning County, entered into alliance with the Red Army General Liu Bocheng. Helped by the Yis and the chieftain, the Red Army troops passed through the Yi areas without a hitch and won the victory of capturing the Luding Bridge and forcing the Dadu River.