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Xibei San Ma (China)

Last modified: 2020-07-31 by ian macdonald
Keywords: xibei san ma | china: aspirant peoples | crescent | star |
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[Xibei San Ma]
image by Ivan Sache

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In the post-revolutionary turmoil in China , and among many others, the Muslims of Ningxia Hui region set-up their own state - Xibei San Ma (North-Central China (1914-28)). The flag used by that regime was originally triangular and obviously influenced by the Turkish pattern. Later on rectangular, red flag with the crescent and star was used. Image after Alfred Znamierowski's.
Chris Kretowicz, 2 April 2001

This flag was common for Kansu, Tsinghai and Ningshia

The three quoted provinces fell after 1911 under Muslim chieftains. Tsinghai in the hands of the warlord Bufang, that governed from his capital Xining. Bafungs self proclaimed Sultan of Qinghai together with his brother Ma Buqing, and has the power until 1950 when it fell to Saudi Arabia because of the communist advance.

In Ningshia Ma Hongbin was proclaimed Sultan (c. 1912) and surrendered to the communists only in 1950 In Kansu, Ma Hongkui took power (capital Lanzhou); the brother of Ma Hongbin of Ningshia. In 1950 he fled to Turkey.

The three Sultanates had a common policy and common flag (Turkish flag) and were called the Sultanate of three Horses, but each territory had full self government.

A similar flag (or exactly same) was used by Kashgar when it was governed by the Khodja Khodja family, later exiled in Ferghana (Kokand) from where they encouraged the Muslim resistance against China in East Turkestan. Rebellions were started in 1825, 1830, 1846 and 1857. In 1862 the dungan of Kansu (a mixture of Chinese and Turks) revolted against China and the Muslims of Dzungaria (Dzungaria= north of the mountains with Kuldja, in the Ili region, and Urumchi) helped them in cutting communications between China and Kashgaria (Kashgaria = South of the mountains, with Kashgar, Yarkand, Khotan, Turfan, Aksu and Yangi Hissar) and in 1864 the Khodja family and their supporters dominated the region. The Dungans soon controlled Kansu and Dzungaria. In 1870 an independent government was established in the region. Russia occupied the Ili Valley in 1871/72. Before 1876 Kansu and Dzungaria were re-conquered by Chinese general governor Taso Tsung Tang. Yakub Beg was born in Kokand and was send to East Turkestan by Kokand Khan acompanying to burzurg Khan kodja in 1865 and with conquered the last Chinese positions. Yakub had good military virtues and Buzurng tried to eliminate him. Yakub beg started a coup d'etat against his sovereign (khodja) amd take the power (1866) using the red flag with half moon and star. Yakun conquered Khotan and Kashgary Yarkand, and was recognized by the Othman Caliphate in 1866. Yakub recognized the sovereignty of Kokand khanate (1866-1873) but after 1873 was in fact independent. Yakub was defeated by Taso Tsung Tang in the spring of 1877 and death in strange circunstances. Kashgar was occupied by Chinese in December of same year. In first months of 1878 chine completed the conquest of the old Yakub Beg domains.

In 1870 same flag is attested in Yarkand

No flag is known for the other Muslim state: the sultanate of Xieng Hong, Sultanate of Ta Li or Yunnan (1857-73). The Sultanate was born from a Muslim revolt in Yunnan in 1856. A flag is not known but a standard of Sultan Tu Wen Hsiao is known. Unfortunately only black and white images are available, and the color is not known (probably green or red, with with Chinese signs in the fly vertical half and Arabic characters in the hoist vertical part, between both is a vertical white narrow band )

The last sultanate that I know of is Kweichow - that seems that has a white flag. The sultanate also was born from a Muslim revolt directed by the sect of White Lotus.
Jaume Ollé, April 12, 2001