Page:The Chinese Empire. A General & Missionary Survey.djvu/341

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267
THE PROVINCE OF KWEICHOW

market, which was held every six days, should be on the street of Panghai or on the opposite shore of the river, which was near and convenient in every way. Up to that time it had been held on the street, and the Chinese had levied a toll on all who opened stalls or brought produce for sale. To avoid this imposition, the Miao decided to hold the market on the opposite river shore, and did so for some months. The Tsingping magistrate, however, came and burned down their thatched booths, the writer himself being an eye-witness. The total value of the property could not have been more than $20 or $30, but the Miao determined on retaliation, and in the month of October suddenly raided the village of Panghai and burned it to the ground. This was interpreted as an act of rebellion, and troops were moved into the district, causing a local ferment.

Just at this period occurred the Empress Dowager's famous coup d'etat of 1898 at Peking, which was regarded everywhere in China as an anti-foreign move; and the Chinese, who believed, or pretended to believe, that the Miao had been encouraged to rebel by the missionaries furnishing them with arms, assumed such a hostile attitude that Mr. Fleming decided to retire to the capital. On November 4 he started, accompanied by P'an-ta-yeh, a Miao evangelist, and P'an-si-yin, a Miao teacher. Some 15 miles from this place he reached the Chinese market town of Tsung-an-chiang, which was full of local militia, and he had barely crossed the river by the ferry-boat when he was murderously set upon from behind. Mr. Fleming and the Miao evangelist were both killed, but the teacher managed to escape to the neighbouring hills, and conveyed the sad news to the missionaries at Kweiyang Fu. There is no doubt that the murder had been arranged by the leading men of the district, and the Chinese were much surprised when ransacking the station at Panghai to find no weapons amongst Mr. Fleming's belongings. At the close of the terrible Boxer year, 1900, serious trouble broke out at Kaili, 16 miles from Panghai.