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1. Banditry in Inner Mongolia

The first half of the twentieth century for Inner Mongolia marked a drastic rise in banditry. Prior to this, such outlawry was rare whereas by the end of the era, it had become fairly common. This was different from China, where banditry was commonplace throughout its history. The origins of banditry in Mongolia, however, do stem from China. The varying economic and political problems of China ultimately affected the frontier Inner Mongolia. Beginning in the nineteenth century, in China there was a rise of population as well as a rise in commodity prices. These problems were exacerbated by an exhaustion of the supply of available land (Kuhn:57). This contributed to the colonization of Mongolia by the Chinese. In turn, the factors which affected China began to occur in Inner Mongolia. These factors, a century earlier, led one Han Chinese, Liang Chi, to warn on the eve of the T'ai-ping rebellion:

One of the inevitable results of these trends was the creation of a growing mass of people who could find no place in the existing economic and social system. These reject groups had to seek subsistence outside it in outlawry of various types and to seek social attachments in heterodox forms: the local gang, the secret-society, the roving banditti. (Kuhn 1970:57)

This was certainly true fifty years later. However, banditry which arose during the waning years of the Ch'ing dynasty was much different from the post-Ch'ing era. Although the Ch'ing empire was weak in the beginning of the twentieth century and rapidly losing central control, the political situation was much more stable than afterwards.

During the Ch'ing Dynasty, banditry arose among the Mongols in response to a change in their economic condition. This new situation was the result of the increasing financial burdens shouldered by the Mongols as well as corvee labor in terms of supplying troops for the various wars and rebellions fought by the Ch'ing. Through increased taxation, the Mongols helped pay the heavy war indemnity imposed by as a result of the Boxer Rebellion. There was also internal causes of poverty as a consequences of the extravagance of the jasag rulers, rapid Chinese colonization, as well as problems with Chinese money lenders (Underdown:109). However, banditry was not new to Inner Mongolia. For most of the Ch'ing era, Inner Mongolia was peaceful, but during the mid-nineteenth century, poor Mongols and landless Chinese became more inclined to banditry when higher taxes were imposed (Heissig:78).

Banditry before the twentieth century included that of 1870 in the Tümed banner led by Cangming and Jimbun. They robbed the harvests from landlords as well as burned their houses. Their activities continued for twenty years until Cangming finally submitted. Despite this early Mongol rise in banditry and rebellion, it too was inspired by previous events. The real impetus to resist against governmental pressures, including those imposed by the jasag came from the T'ai-ping rebellion of the mid-1800s (Underdown:110).

Owen Lattimore points out that a tradition of banditry arose along the Inner Mongolian frontier with China:

A tradition in which recurrent phases of anti-landlord, anti-rich man, anti-provincial-government radicalism alternated with the organization of private bandits armies by the landlords themselves. There were border landlords who lived in fortified manors and after the harvest was in would lead or send bands of their retainers on freebooting forays that ranged for hundreds of miles in a great curve sweeping from the Ordos bend up the Yellow River up into Northwestern Manchuria. (Lattimore 1955:26)

This situation became more volatile with the increased colonization by Chinese into Inner Mongolia. For decades this had occurred illegally but at the turn of the century it was fully encouraged by the Ch'ing government. In part, it was a response to foreign encroachment as well as to shore up the weakened economy which was wracked by rebellion and war debts. Other underlying causes were due to famine in other areas of the empire and internal population pressures in China. However, the colonization was ``intended as a temporary measure and the basic policy forbidding Chinese to farm in Mongolia continued''. (Sechen Jagchid 1988:187)

Colonization had an adverse effect for the Mongols. In many instances, banner yamen sold land in order to pay their debts to money lenders. Furthermore, the encroachment of the Chinese settlers displaced many Mongols. This came to a head when the displaced banded together against the banner yamen and Chinese landlords and money lenders in the Töküm Valley in the Khorchin Right Front region of Eastern Mongolia. Immigrant Mongols led by Ghombo and Sambuu of the Monggholjin Banner, one hundred men began a new settlement. This force soon swelled to over a thousand must to the concern of the local taijis. The Töküm commune, as it was often called, became a focal point of the disgruntled and as a result they completely disregarded the rule of the local jasags. (Heissig:81)

While the rise of Töküm is seen in many cases as a rebellion, it was more of a instance of banditry. According to Hobsbawm, one source of bandits are those who are not integrated into rural society and thus become marginal (Hobsbawm:33). This was certainly true for the Töküm commune. The fact that they were immigrants in a land system where each person was assigned to a banner automatically upset the balance of order. Being such, they would naturally be a source of antagonism for the existing local governments. Their presence could also alienate the local population as well in the competition for resources.

Hobsbawm also sees banditry as a method of ``self-help'' to escape the current problems of an area (Hobsbawm:24). For the dwellers of Töküm, this meant they would help themselves to the bounty of the land. While they struck against the local governing figures, the leaders of Töküm seemed more interested in profit than revolution, which only adds to the idea that Töküm was a bandit haven rather than a revolutionary front. In addition to their own herds, Töküm gained supplies through ``donations'' from local notables often in the form of one tenth of their harvest or animals. This was not merely a collection of ``protection money'' as it was done at gun point. On the other hand, when dealing with Chinese traders, the bandits of Töküm wore the guise of Robin Hood and gave booty to the poor as well as giving shelter to paupers and those charged injustly with crimes. (Heissig :81)

When Töküm continued to grow in size, the local banners became increasingly wary. Although many of the jasags were unjust, Töküm, by virtue of being a haven for those outside the law, would naturally gain elements not merely concerned with social change. The jasags quickly discovered that their own banner forces were insufficient in number and skill to keep Töküm in check (Heissig :82). Instances of Mongol banner troops battling Töküm raiders occurred. In these incidents, the banner troops were routinely defeated. This fact left the forces of Töküm in de facto control of the countryside to take vengeance against the governments which dispossessed them of their land. These bandits had the potential to grow to a full-fledge rebellion with an increase of arms. This was due to the tendency to raid the herds of the jasags and sell the horses in exchange for weapons (Heissig :83). Meanwhile, the jasags fortified their residences and waited for a solution.

This appeared in the form of a Chinese warlord, Shih Szu Yen Wang, who was sought by several of the jasags. He came against Töküm with a combined army of Chinese and Mongol troops. After a brief siege, the warlord army was also scattered by the forces of Töküm. This victory gave Töküm even greater prestige and its population soon swelled to over three thousand. The jasags decided that a status quo was inevitable. Some landlords even appeared to pay a form of protection money to Töküm (Heissig :85--86; Two landlords, Luyibarcin and Lamujab, from the Modu Ayil, sent horses.) However Töküm would eventually fall to prey to intrigues and then to an assault by a Russian mercenary force:

Lamujab acted as an agent of the Tüsiye Güng. He coordinated a peace between Töküm and Tüsiye and thus gained the trust of the leaders of Töküm. However, Lamujab also began to spread rumors against Ghanbu and Sanbuu amongst the people of Töküm. While this occurred in 1902, Tüsiye in league with other banners contracted Russian soldiers to destroy Töküm in return for the booty gained by Tökum's capture. However, the populace fled Töküm during the bombardment and left nothing for the Russians. Tüsiye Gung paid the Russians 500 horses upon the demand of the Russian troops. (Heissig, 86--87)
While Töküm was certainly a serious matter, by far the most famous and perhaps dangerous bandit was Togtakhu Taiji. Born in 1863 in the family of Enkhbiligt, a poor taiji family in South Gorlos, Togtakhu would become the foremost bandit leader in Inner Mongolia. Although he was uneducated and possessed a quick temper, Togtakhu had a good upbringing and eventually became the head of his family as well as that of his wife, Aliyakhou of the Hsiao Banner. He also was recognized by the commoners for his sense of justice. This extended to protecting the people from banditry when the local and provincial governments did nothing.

The source of banditry was not Mongols driven by poverty, but Chinese soldiers who had deserted during the Sino-Japanese War. In Togtakhu's area there were six major groups with troops strengths which may be an exaggeration (Navaangnamjil:46; These groups were as follows: Jih Pao-chia led 500; Da Wu-ching commanded 600; Da Hau-hsiang had 300; Sung Jou commanded 70; Tren Sho-he led 80; Wu Lan commanded 80.). These marauders continuously pillaged the surrounding countryside as the government did nothing. In reaction to the Chinese bandits, Togtakhu Taiji, in December of 1901, organized a vigilante group. In the reported encounters with the bandits he and his troops often faced odds of 20 to 1 and succeeding in killing up to thirty of the bandits per encounter (Navaangnamjil:47). This account relates that Togtakhu's troops faced the corresponding bandit leader with his complete force. Although body counts for the bandits are listed, casualties among Togtakhu's force seem non-existent to negligible. This may be due to surprise as Togtakhu seems to have attacked them when the bandits were otherwise preoccupied. Togtakhu's actions apparently did not go unnoticed by the army. To solve the banditry problem the bandits were promptly enrolled into the army. Thus, ``the indigenous Mongols were freed from suffering'' (Navaangnamjil:47). Surprisingly, there is little comment on the lack of action by the local government.

However, this did not earn Togtakhu the merit he deserved. Though the bandits had been dissolved, a corrupt government still existed. One of the bandits Togtakhu once chased, Erh Fu-tzu actually became an officer in Tsitsihar and ``drove his former pursuer to adopt an anti-authoritarian stance''. (Underdown:111. I did not find any information on exactly what Erh Fu-Tzu did to accomplish this unless he was involved somehow in the events surrounding Nutagt.)

While Nutagt, Togtakhu's third son, was travelling, he was stopped by soldiers and accused of banditry. They then beat and tortured him. Nutagt was then taken to Ang-Wang district where he was further tortured. Only after paying 1000 taels was Nutagt freed.

In 1906, Prince Chimedsempil of South Gorlos banner sold most of the land to the Chinese. Togtakhu went to the banner center in order to talk him out of such a proposal. The prince had no right to sell the land as it was common Mongol property. When he arrived, the jakhiraghchi did not allow Togtakhu to see the prince. The jakhiraghchi verbally abused Togtakhu and then ordered fifty lashes. This, combined with the treatment of his son, as well as other government abuses against the Mongols prompted Togtakhu to become what he once fought.

The primary targets of his raids were principally Chinese merchants, some Chinese villages, but also Mongol nobility who cooperated with Chinese interests (Underdown:112). Other targets were Japanese land surveyors and surveyors who worked on the South Manchuria railroad (Underdown:109). Once Togtakhu entered his career as a bandit, he became possibly the most dangerous man to the non-Mongols in all of Inner Mongolia. Chinese soldiers could expect no mercy, while Mongol banner troops, when encountered, were treated in a manner to ensure that there was no loss of face. In turn, on at least one occasion when Mongol troops did attack, they were later reprimanded by their prince (Navaangnamjil:60--61). In general, there was ``little enthusiasm amongst the Banner soldiers for supporting Chinese troops in pursuing Mongol bandits'' (Underdown:110).

Naturally Togtakhu's actions provoked a response from the Ch'ing government. The commander in Mukden, Chang Tsolin, sent troops to pursue him. However, the Chinese had little success. This can be attributed to his status as a hero. His actions were directed against the Chinese and unjust banner yamen who oppressed the people. He also did not have any qualms about distributing goods taken in his raids among the common people. In addition, Togtakhu Taiji always destroyed the merchant's account books. The effect was reciprocal. The Mongols would then keep him informed about Chinese troops movements while misdirecting the Chinese (Navaangnamjil:52). In order to protect those who assisted him, Togtakhu often told them to appear sad and mention things which Togtakhu supposedly had robbed from them. Another ruse Togtakhu pulled was tying up the master of the house to enhance the story (Navaangnamjil:57--58).

Togtakhu's band was an elusive group. After capturing the distillery at Deleng Süü through subterfuge, he and his men held off a reported eight thousand troops and then escaped (Navaangnamjil:52--54). The large number of troops involved indicates the seriousness of the matter. Chang Tsolin did not merely disregard Togtakhu's predations. Soon the pressure by Chang Tsolin's forces became too much, so Togtakhu left South Gorlos in the middle of 1907. He and his troops went to the Solon mountains, which were a favorite and traditional haunt of bandits.

Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of the banditry of Togtakhu Taiji is than in a time spanning from 1906--1910, he fought 104 encounters with Chinese troops and with few exceptions, success appeared automatic. Still, success did not come easy. Of the three sons who rode with him, two died and he never was able to return to South Gorlos again. Nor did he ever see the two sons who had become lamas again (Navaangnamjil:62).

His success became legendary. To the Chinese villagers he was a bogeyman while to the Mongols, he was praise in song. This status elevated him to new heights as the Russians began to take an interest in his activities. Although the events of the meeting remain a mystery, Togtakhu did meet with them and apparently was offered a safe haven in Russia (Navaangnamjil:62).

In 1910, Togtakhu with fifty men did leave Inner Mongolia for Sechen Khan aimak in Khalkha Mongolia. He abandoned his operations in Inner Mongolia due to increased Chinese pressure. However, once in Khalkha, he did not abandon his bandit activities. This was his second foray into Khalkha. In 1908 he had also entered Sechen Khan aimak. After a brief skirmish with troops sent by the Ch'ing viceroy in Da Khüriye, Togtakhu returned to Inner Mongolia (Ewing:106).

In his return to Khalkha, Togtakhu plundered Chinese merchants with what seems to have been the consent of the banner officials. Furthermore, when troops were sent by Sandoo, the amban of Da Khüriye, they were annihilated in ambush (Ewing:107). Certainly, Togtakhu was supported by the Mongols and probably envied by the banner officials for doing something they longed to do.

From Khalkha he entered Russian territory where he received a pension. An additional bonus was his long awaited reunion with his wife whom the Russians had smuggled across the Amur river (Navaangnamjil:66). Togtakhu's retirement was not long. When rebellion broke out in Khalkha, the Russians sent him to assist the Mongols. From the Jebtsamdamba Khutugtu, he received the title of Determined Hero as well as a hero rank in the new government.

Togtakhu Taiji can easily be classified as what Hobsbawm classifies a ``social bandit'' (Hobsbawm:42--43). In accordance with Hobsbawm's definition, Togtakhu began his career as a victim of injustice. He then righted the wrongs of the people by destroying the account books of Chinese merchants. Prior to his career as a bandit, Togtakhu also protected the people from banditry when the government did nothing. On many occasions he distributed goods taken his raids among the poor Mongols and thus he was always considered a hero among the Mongols. Befitting his stature as a hero of the people, they supported him and helped him in a covert manner against the Chinese. Finally, he was also considered invincible by the people. He was even thought to have a body of iron (Navaangnamjil:60). In Hobsbawm's classification, Togtakhu's actions cannot be classified under only two headings. A true ``social'' hero does not kill except in self-defense. Chinese soldiers and land surveyors received no mercy from Togtakhu. The second was that Togtakhu was never captured or killed through betrayal. Perhaps this is because of the situation in Inner Mongolia differed from Hobsbawm's paradigm. According to Hobsbawm, ``social'' banditry occurs where there is class differentiation, or when one group is absorbed into another, or, finally, when one group is oppressed (Hobsbawm:18) While the latter may apply to Inner Mongol, the other two may only apply in a skewed manner. Only Sinicized Mongols were assimilated. The others maintained a cultural distance. As Togtakhu's banditry, for the most part was ethnically directed, it is likely that only a scant few Mongols would have thought of betraying Togtakhu Taiji. The Mongols that would have committed this act were the same that Togtakhu Taiji targeted: the banner yamen clique.

There were other bandits who operated in the waning years of the Ch'ing dynasty. Bayar, like Togtakhu, was from Gorlos. In response to growing Chinese colonization, Bayar formed a small army with the goal of driving the Chinese to beyond the Great Wall. He intended to restore the land to the Mongols (Navaangnamjil:48) Bayar also had a political platform which called for the repatriation of Chinese soldiers, Mongol autonomy and the confiscation of Chinese goods which would be then distributed to poor Mongols (Underdown:112). When these demands were not met, Bayar began to plunder Chinese shops and villages. Among the Mongols he rose to the status of hero and eventually joined Togtakhu Taiji in 1907. However, in 1908 he fell in battle.

Bayar's short lived career, although not as famous as that of Togtakhu Taiji, received attention from the Japanese. Ten times, they sent emissaries to enlist him and his ``Volunteer Army'' as irregulars in the Japanese army and participate in the Russo-Japanese war. Bayar, however, was never swayed by their requests and struggled solely against the Chinese.

It should not be thought that all of bandits who struggled against the Chinese were universally popular. One of these less popular figures was Babojab. He began his career in 1902 when a Chinese town was established at Chang-wu Hsien. Before long, Babojab had raised thirteen companies to raid the Chinese territories. His popularity diminished among the Mongols after he and his troops pillaged indiscriminately in Üjümicin. (Underdown:115)

Like Bayar, Babojab was wooed by the Japanese as well as by the Russians. The Russians mainly funded him while the Japanese supported him with arms as well as advisors. Thus Babojab developed from a bandit into a freedom fighter. The Japanese believed that Babojab could be an instrumental part in restoring the Ch'ing dynasty after its drastic decline after the 1911 revolution (Underdown:114). In 1916, he was, in fact, ``one of the signatories of a petition by twenty-four Mongol princes to Yuan Shih-Kai calling for the restoration of the dynasty'' (Underdown:114). Yet this never happened and he was killed in action against the Chinese in 1916.

Between the fall of the Ch'ing dynasty and the Communist takeover, banditry in Inner Mongolia changed. This era was a time of turbulence in which the Mongols passed back and forth as almost a commodity between various warlords, the Japanese, Kuomingtang, communists, as well as pawns in Russian and Soviet diplomacy. Naturally, this caused political chaos in Inner Mongolia resulting in a general breakdown of order. There were instances in which order, such as the Japanese takeover, was restored. However, for most of this period, banditry was common place for the simple fact that there was no central government to ensure order. As shown previously, the banner government were practically powerless against the predatations of such large forces like that of Togtakhu Taiji of the Töküm commune. Only with outside help were these decentralized governments able to effectively control it.

Like the Ch'ing period of the early twentieth century, banditry remained most common along the border eras of Chinese encroachment into Mongol territory. It also appeared that banditry had become more of a second job in some regions. Inner Mongolia was perfect for banditry. It was open country and with enough irregularities to give cover for the Mongol bandits on their horses. After raiding, they could escape to the mountains, which was perfect for ambushing any pursuit. Owen Lattimore once observed that many of the bandits were actually villagers who after the raid would simply disappear into the village and hide their weapons. Thus actually discerning who was a bandit was much more difficult during this era. (Lattimore 1929:40)

This was endemic to this era of militarization. With the collapse of central government and the rise of warlords, as well as other more powerful factions such as the communists, the Kuomingtang, and the Japanese invasions, arms became more available. It was easy to find work as a soldier in any of these camps. However, many became jaded with the life of a soldier and later joined the bandits. The rise of warlordism exacerbated the bandit problem.

Whereas in the Ch'ing era, banditry was rare and in response to colonization, the increase in banditry was due to the advent of the warlord age. With the rise of the warlords, military power became the most common and effect method of settling disputes. Violence became institutionalized and this tactic of dealing with matters sifted through to all levels of society. This in turn led to the militarization of all levels of society (Billingsley). During this time of economic uncertainty and perpetual war, many turned to banditry because they had no other choice. Settlements were always targets for soldiers in search of plunder or supplies so to remain there was certain peril. The only other options was to enlist, which many did, or to join the ranks of bandits who also preyed on settlements for their livelihood.

The bandits also raided the caravan trade that was prominent in Western Inner Mongolia. In order to protect the caravans, the chamber of commerce of Kuei-Hua in 1917 formed the Pao Shang T'uan or Mercantile guard. A rich Mongol was the head of it with another Mongol as a second in command. The latter was a former bandit as were many of the troopers who were a mixed lot of Chinese and Mongols. Lattimore asserts that many of these men would still have been bandits except that the government was paying them to be bandit fighters (Lattimore 1929:40--41).

This was a fairly common practice. It was easier to hire bandits in order to reduce the crime rate rather than mount expeditions against them, and less expensive (Billingsley:18--19). However, apparently the money was not enough to persuade most of them to make it a career as often members of the Pao Shang T'uan would drift away only to become bandits again.

This guard was financed through a tax which was applied to every load they escorted in the caravan trade. A larger tax was charged upon escorting travelers. This was enough to finance a corps of four hundred men stationed at two barracks, one at Chao Ho and the other at the other end of the caravan route at Pai-ling Miao. Against the bandits, this unit recorded a very successful record. However, the bandits were not the only problems for the caravan trade as in this war torn region, deserting soldiers were common. Furthermore, the average soldier was better armed than a bandit and the soldiers could sometimes be found in groups of several hundred heading towards Kansu (Lattimore 1929:41).

Also in the Western regions of Inner Mongolia, there were opium runners who tended to be Chinese Muslims. According to Lattimore they appeared consistently in Ma Fu-Hsiang's army. They tended to operate in smaller groups than the bandits did and were often preyed on by the latter (Lattimore 1929:78--79).

Petty banditry against caravans seems to have been fairly common as a result of the general breakdown in order. Naturally there were bandits of this sort prior to the fall of the Ch'ing but apparently not to the extent of which it existed in the post-Ch'ing era. Moving farther East, this trend seems to remain in place. The mountains around Kalgan were also a haven of bandits. Furthermore, a place known as Ts'ang chou in the Chih-li area along the Shang Tang border seems to have been a spawning ground for bandits who would later operate throughout all of Inner Mongolia. A common piece of advice for travelling safely was that ``the best passport `beyond the Eastern gate' is a Ts'ang Chou accent'' (Lattimore 1929:152).

It should not be thought that the only bandits in Inner Mongolia were Mongols. The Ordos regions in particular suffered from acute Chinese banditry, again attributable to a break down in law and order. While the duguilangs are more well know for their protest against the banner governments as well as Chinese colonization, they were also a focal point for combating banditry. In particular, they protested against banner officials who were in league with the Chinese bandits (Serruys:13).

In Otog banner, the duguilang sent a list of twelve complaints to the amban. The fifth complaint was that bandits had stolen livestock from the Mongols. The duguilang wanted to know why there was no military force patroling the area to protect them against such incursions (Serruys:13). In the seventh complaint against the government, the duguilang accused the jakirughchi, Sunomrasi and Möngkebayar, of bringing presents to the Chinese bandits and for inviting them into the banner. Furthermore, Möngkebayar had encouraged people to join the bandits. His reasons for this are not stated (Serruys:14). In the twelfth complaint, it is revealed that the jakirughchi also supplied opium to the bandits as well as joining them with repeating rifles. As a result and a lack of action on part of the government, the duguilangs operated as vigilantes. During a brief fire-fight which erupted after the duguilang attempted to arrest the two jakhirughchi, Sunomrasi and Möngkebayar were killed. They were then decapitated and the heads sent to the yamen (Serruys:15). Wary of a reprisal from the bandits, the duguilangs formed a militia with weapons acquired from their mysterious superiors.

The complaint, by the duguilangs, about a lack of military patrols seems to have been well founded. These patrols apparently existed in other banners in the Ordos. However, their effectiveness is debatable. The soldiers often merely herded the bandits. The bandits, when pursued would drop opium behind them. The soldiers in return after collecting the opium would then leave behind ammunition. This may have been what the jakhirughchi of Otog were doing. In most cases, the bandits were never caught but merely chased into a neighboring banner and left alone (Lattimore 1941:14--15). Another problem is that when local defenses, in addition to military units, began to appear to defend the people, the soldiers would become more negligent in their duties. They had a vested interest in the bandits. If the bandits ceased to be a threat, then the soldiers would no longer be needed and thus disbanded. So often they would stand aside during battles between the masses and bandits. (Billingsley:155)

The involvement of opium in banditry during this period seems to have been common throughout all of China. Opium appeared as a cash crop which the bandits, what they did not use themselves, would sell in order to buy arms and ammunition, often from soldiers. Another form of obtaining arms was to deliver messages to local soldiers where a portion of the bandit's booty was hidden. In return, the soldiers after recovering the booty would leave behind weapons. Thus a profitable trade between the two groups was established. Evidently it became so prosperous for some groups, that they would allow over zealous military units to be destroyed by the bandits as it hurt everyone's business. (Billingsley:156)

Some of the bandits in the Ordos as well as elsewhere took an interest in the people. This went across the ethnic line and included both Mongols and Chinese. These social bandits would then would strike mainly against the ruling institutions and were a real source of trouble for the soldiers. Like the Mongol bandits in the early part of the century who gravitated to the independence movement of Mongolia, these newer bandits went over to the communists. As the communists were active just to the south of the Ordos, this made since. They would have support, much like Babojab had in Eastern Mongolia, although perhaps not on such a grand scale.

However, this was often the exception. Many of the Chinese landlords recruited bandits for their own private armies. These were used for defense as well as for offense. The army paid for itself through the accumulation of booty so their own aims were met. The landlord in turn was able to keep the local populace in check through the threat of military might (Lattimore 1941:17).

Elsewhere in Mongolia, banditry was used as an outlet for political goals. In the ensuing political chaos that occurred in the decades after the fall of the Ch'ing and the establishment of the Communists, many former political activists had no alternative but to resort to banditry. Laws could no longer protect them nor allow them to achieve their own aims. Instead, with the break down in law and order, banditry and violence was the only option.

After the Inner Mongolian Kuomingtang rejoined the Kuomingtang, many of the younger Mongols who opposed the KMT left the organization. Being in Eastern Mongolia, they tended to enlist in Babojab's Thirteen Companies or other bandit groups. These Young Mongols were hostile to the taijis as well as towards the Chinese (Lattimore 1934:131).

This was not the only episode of reactionary banditry during this era. During the Khinggan Reclamation Project, the Chinese warlords attempted to incorporate the Mongols into Chinese colonization and keep pastoral nomadism at the same time (Lattimore 1934:214--215; The Khinggan Reclamation Project was headed by General Tsou-Tso-hua, a senior officer of the Manchurian Artillery. General Tsou-Tso-hua was also a crony of Zhang Xuelin). This was not a practical idea which was realized quickly. However, the armed forces of the Reclamation Project were very effective in stopping any organized resistance early. The only effective resistance against the Khinggan Reclamation Project was through banditry. However, the Project was not halted because of banditry, but rather through Japanese intervention.

In Jehol, the Monggoljin banner produced the most well known bandits, such as Babojab. However, the banner itself was curiously free of banditry. The strict control of banditry here is attributed by Lattimore to an individual known as Begejing (Lattimore 1934:252).

Even during the Republican years when Josoto was swamped by Chinese colonists, Jehol did not suffer from banditry. Beijing organized the Mongols and ensured that the Chinese bandits stayed out of Mongol regions. As for the Mongol bandits, they ``walked gently within the districts patrolled by Mongol self-defense corps'' (Lattimore 1934:252).

It may have been that the Mongol bandits saw this as a haven and dared not operate within the region for fear of disrupting their own safety. Yet it seems fairly certain, that the areas free of Chinese colonization were free of bandits. To a certain extent, banditry did slow the process of colonization. In the Bairin West Wing Banner there is not much colonization although the county of Linhsi has been in existence since 1908. Lattimore asserts that banditry has hampered colonization (Lattimore 1934:270). Indeed, this is the area in which Babojab was killed so it would develop a reputation of a bandit infested region.

One specific region in which the social breakdown contributed to a rise in banditry is Chakhar. Since intensive colonization began, the Mongol lands in Chakhar have been pushed back seventy miles from the Great Wall when originally they extended to the wall. The Chakhars withdrew due to heavy colonization. The Mongols who had to move from their original banners have disrupted the social order in the new banners to which they moved. The quasi-tribal distinctions became blurred. As a result, many who have no land or options due to the move joined the bandits (Lattimore 1934:280).

Although banditry in these two periods differed and in fact evolved in intensity, they did share certain characteristic. The main one was who was labeled as a bandit. This basically came down to one point: All who were opposed to the local regime were bandits (Billingsley:11). It made no difference whether the government was the Ch'ing, Japanese controlled Manchuko, the communists, or the Kuomingtang, or various warlords. By calling an opponent a bandit, it automatically destroyed that individual's legitimacy in the eyes of the regieme. Naturally, not all of those who were called bandits were actually bandits. Still, it is significant that this label should be used. Part of this significance is that it, at least on paper, demonstrated the stability of the government as a rash of banditry is much more preferable than a rebellion. Rebellion indicates mass opposition to the government, banditry does not. Banditry is simply an incidence in which a group lives outside of normal society and does not live in accordance with the laws of that society.

During the Ch'ing period however, social banditry was much more common. This was, in part, due to the common perception of who should be preyed upon: the Han Chinese. Only Mongols who were involved with the Han for profit were included as targets by the social bandits like Togtakhu and Bayar. Of course there were other forms of banditry, but as banditry in Inner Mongolia rose as a direct result of the growing colonization by Han Chinese, it was more common for the Han to be the target. With the rise of militarization in the post Ch'ing era, bandits of all ethnic types roamed Inner Mongolia. With large numbers of soldiers either deserting or disbanded from various armies, there was a natural increase in predatory banditry without high minded ideals. Blok's argument supports this. He views ``social'' bandits being a rare occurrence and that bandits actually work against the poor by supplanting one authority, that of the local government, with their own (Blok:496).

In spite of this, bandits did turn revolutionary in many instances. In Inner Mongolia, many bandit leaders were major figures of the independence movement. According to Hobsbawm, two factors play in the transformation from ``social'' bandit to revolutionary. The first is when the bandit and his objectives becomes the symbol of resistance to that which destroys the traditional system. Togtakhu Taiji became this in his struggle against Chinese colonization, although it should be clarified that his activities were purely that of a bandit at first. Not until the Mongolian movement for independence in 1911, did he join the revolution. Secondly, peasant or pastoral societies dream of a better life. When existing order breaks down, it is the ray of hope for change (Hobsbawm:27). This, too, may be true for Togtakhu Taiji. However, Hobsbawm's paradigm again fails to take into consideration ethnic identity. That bond, especially in a situation such as that of the Mongols would be stronger motivation for a bandit to become a revolutionary.

Finally, Hobsbawm's theory on bandits and revolutions recognizes that bandits were virtual reservoirs of fighting men and fighting leaders for a revolution (Hobsbawm:102). However, these were not reliable troops. Once defeated they would usually resort to banditry, or if disbanded, or not paid. The former and the latter also applied to regular soldiers, but the bandits were the least reliable.

In conclusion, it should be noted that in the case of Inner Mongolia, much of the banditry was ethnic based. The bandits tended to move along the edge of colonization (Lattimore 1934:201--202). The Mongols themselves rarely attacked non-Chinese. This was not always an ethnic issue, as most non-Han Chinese possessed an ample amount of wealth and attacking foreigners would only lead to an increased intervention of soldiers.

John Hedly, Tramps in Dark Mongolia, (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, no date), 367.
In the case of Russia and Japan, such an attack could lead to direct intervention by their troops. Finally, Mongol bandits did not exist in purely Mongol territories. They were found only in areas where the administration was interfered with by outsiders or that Mongols suffered from political or economic discrimination (Lattimore 1934:131).

The major differences between Ch'ing era and post-Ch'ing banditry comes down to militarization. Militarization enabled arms to become more available in the early twentieth century. However, during the Ch'ing era, the government still had enough power to keep generals, bandits, etc. in check, so militarization too was kept somewhat under control. With the total collapse of the government and the ensuing power vacuum, militarization arose on a grand scale. The demand for men and arms was widespread. As most of these ragtag arms lacked proper training, desertions were rampant and economic uncertainty promoted desertion as well as banditry to supplement the soldier's income. Furthermore, banditry in the Ch'ing era was something noteworthy and rare. After the collapse of the Ch'ing, the countryside was rampant with banditry as well as skirmishes between rival powers. The post Ch'ing era was one of wide-spread violence which brought out large numbers of men, unlike the ``social'' bandits of Hobsbawm, who could not have survived in such an era.

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