Br, Joche-Albert Ly



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11-In Chinese Tibet
The Tibetan Marches (or Chinese Tibet) are a territory of 460.000Km2, and in 1939 they formed the new Si Kang Province, which the Communists have dissolved. Only two Apostolic Vicariates existed in this territory. In 1946 they were erected into the diocese of Kan Ting or Tatsienlu and of Sichang, known as Ningyuanfu in the time of the Empire.
Sichang is situated to the North of the “Sa Ñi” population , commonly called “lolo”, a disparaging name, it seems, in the Yunnan Province, a nickname given by the Chinese, and which they interpret as “barbarian”. The Sañi race stretches to both sides of the Blue River, to the point where it is known as “the River of Golden Sand” (King Sha Kiang), but its population has yet not been estimated because of the great difficulty in penetrating its deep valleys. All the same it is believed that some three million people from the genuine race is living in this immense territory. It took me three solid weeks in 1938 to travel through it from north to south.
This is not an uncultured race, since it possesses its writing, traditions, religion; and it relies on its priests or dervishes. The people live obstinately attached to their independence and to their mountains, partly unexplored in the Sichang region. There is no political unity and their petty kings, called “he i”, live independently, although they manage to maintain mutual treaties for peace and defence against the invader. The hatred against the latter throbs powerfully in their veins and, and limiting ourselves to the northern sector, or Sichang, openly expresses itself quite frequently in a war of mutual reprisals, killings, refined cruelties, imprisonment and slavery. All these things transform the region into a country of savages. And this is not all the fault of the aborigines or “lolo” for the Republic of China has alienated their good will more and more a system of determined extermination of the “he i” or petty kings and their vassals. Such an ominous policy of the mandarins proved extremely disastrous before the take over by the Communists which practised a tactical trust, even as to give them a share in the civil administration of the regions as much as the Red mandarins. The system of a double simultaneous authority was introduced with very great success, and by this very fact the hatred and the silent though bloody war came to an end.




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