History of XishuangBanna
In the chaos of the Xinhai Revolution that overthrew the Qing government in 1911 in favor of a Chinese republican government, a local official, Chao Meeng Jie, staged a rebellion against Qing remnant officials. The Yunnan provincial government of the newly established Republic of China sent troops in 1913 to oust the rebels. Ke Shuxun remained in Xishuangbanna to govern with his “13 Principles of Governing the Frontier”, which emphasized equality between Han and Dai in areas such as land ownership and taxation, allowed intermarriage between the ethnic groups and promoted education in secular and technical subjects, rather than Burmese-based monastic education. The Second Sino-Japanese War (1931-1945) saw the heavy bombardment of Xishuangbanna by Japanese troops and a simultaneous influx of Pan-Taiist propaganda from Japan’s ally, Thailand. According to Hsieh, this reduced the appeal of a broad pan-Tai identity among the Dai Lue.
During the final phase of the Chinese Civil War, many remnants of the Kuomintang fled from Communists forces into Burma’s Shan State from Xishuangbanna. The new People’s Republic of China sent various non-military expeditions to Xishuangbanna from 1949 to provide services such as schools and hospitals to replace those from Christian western missionaries.
The Communists took control of the prefecture from Kuomintang loyalists in 1952. On January 23, 1953, the PRC established the Xishuangbanna Dai Autonomous Region and ended the native-chieftain system. That year, the People’s Congress of Xishuangbanna created the New Tai Lue alphabet, based on the Tai Tham alphabet, for printing material in the Tai Lü language.
Xishuangbanna was made an autonomous prefecture in 1955 but lost some territory on the creation of Jingdong Yi Autonomous County and Jiangcheng Hani and Yi Autonomous County. Land reform started in earnest in January 1956, destroying the power of the village headmen. State-owned rubber plantations accounted for most of the region’s wealth during the early PRC period.
Xishuangbanna also received an influx of educated youth during the Down to the Countryside Movement of the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976). During this period Buddhist temples in Xishuangbanna were used as barns, only being restored to their original purpose in 1981.
In 1987, the Xishuangbanna government promulgated the Law of the Xishuangbanna Dai Nationality Autonomous Prefecture for Self-government to bring local laws into line with the national Law of the People’s Republic of China for Regional National Autonomy.
Shao Cunxin (召存信, 1922-2015), former head of the Chieftain’s outer council (1944-1950) and chief of Meng Peng (1938-1950), was the chief of the autonomous prefecture from 1955 to 1992.