Page:The Chinese Empire. A General & Missionary Survey.djvu/333

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259
THE PROVINCE OF KWEICHOW

munity morally and physically as the habitual use of opium in any form.

The Chung-chia are unquestionably the same race as the Shans of Burmah and the Siamese. There was at one time a Shan kingdom in Yunnan. In the course of time some of these people moved south and formed the present kingdom of Siam. Others of them drifted eastwards, and are now to be found in Kwangsi and Kweichow, while large numbers of them remain in Yunnan. They are, we believe, very numerous in Kwangsi. We estimate that there are about a million of them in Kweichow. They entered the regions which now form part of Kweichow about a thousand years ago. Wherever they are to be found in Kwangsi or Kweichow they invariably assert that their ancestors were Chinese who came from the province of Kiangsi, and many of them can name the prefecture and district from which their forefathers came. But it must be borne in mind that these people speak a language which is not Chinese, and for the identification of scattered tribes there is no more trustworthy guide than a comparison of their vocabularies. Their speech is a dialect of Shan and Siamese, and by this we recognise them to be of the same race.

But how comes it, then, that these people claim to be Chinese when they are not Chinese ? This we shall attempt to explain. When they entered these regions the Miao were here before them. They probably looked down on the Miao then as they do now, especially as the Heh Miao, who are in every way their equals, had probably not at that time arrived in these parts. Before the Chinese occupied this province and systematically colonised it, there had been frequent wars and military demonstrations against the turbulent Miao. There were also on these occasions garrisons left in different parts of the country, and these being composed of soldiers whose wives were not with them, some of the men married into Chung-chia families. The Chinese never seem to have despised the Chung-chia as they do the Miao. This marrying of Chung-chia