Jinxiu Yao Autonomous County

ethnic china

Jinxiu Yao Autonomous County

It was established in 1952 with the name of Dayaoshan (Big Mountain of the Yao) Autonomous Zone, but in 1966 the name was changed to Jinxiu Yao Autonomous County. It is a mountainous county with rugged lands and a climate hot and wet. It has an area of 2,517 sq km and a population (2004) of 150.000.

Situated in the central part of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region it is one of the places where the Yao are concentrated. Practically isolated from the outside world until the 1930s, Jinxiu County, also called Dayaoshan or Mountain of the Yao, was inhabited formerly by five different kinds of Yao: Chashan Yao, Ao Yao, Hualan o Flowery Yao, Pan Yao, and Shanzi Yao. The first three branches were considered the owners of the lands, because of their first arrival; they lived in settled villages and enjoyed a kind of economical stability. The last two branches, newly arrived, lived as tenants of the others’ lands, in a continuous nomadic life that did not allow them to get many material goods.

Before the beginning of the policy of assimilating ethnic minorities, most of the people in Jinxiu were Yao (18,000 of a total population of 26,000) The discovery of some Tang dynasty coins in the forest of Jinxiu make the experts think that the first wave of Yao arrived about 1,000 years ago.

Their life changed forever in the 1940s when the government of the Kuomintang tried to enforce direct rule over the Yao. They abolished the «Tablet system» that regulated in the past Yao society, and set up a garrison command and a «Bureau for the Establishment of Order.»

After the victory of the Red Army over the nationalist government, some of their soldiers resisted for some months in these inexpugnable mountains.

In 1952 began the first reforms in Jinxiu, and in 1954 the land reform was carried out. Most of the nomads that suffered the worst living conditions were resettled in low lands.

From then on the Yao from Jinxiu were slowly integrated into the political life of China, being affected by any political movement in the central areas.

The Cultural Revolution brought to Yao lands some devastating economic policies, destroying some of their oldest forests and impoverishing their lands.

In the last years, some of its pristine environment has been restored and the Dayaoshan Mountain has been designated as the national natural reserve by the State Council, as the 25 rivers that flow through these lands supply the water needs of more than 2 million people in the lowlands.

Suggested reading: Fei Xiaotong. Revisiting the mountains of the Yao people. China’s Minority Nationalities. pg 206.

Back to Yao main page

To cite this post: Ceinos-Arcones, Pedro, "Jinxiu Yao Autonomous County," in Ethnic China, 2 marzo 2021, https://ethnic-china.com/jinxiu-yao-autonomous-county/.

jinuo book

Last posts

Caractères chinois – le livre
Caractères chinois – le livre

Caractères chinois - le livre Ce livre est consacré à révéler à l'étudiant occidental le "mystère" des caractères chinois, rendre leur apprentissage simple, fournir les clés pour entrevoir le sens et la prononciation des caractères inconnus. Pour ce faire, nous allons...

10 activities not to be missed in Jianshui
10 activities not to be missed in Jianshui

10 activities not to be missed in Jianshui Sleeping in an old hotel. Not only does the city boast a number of ancient areas, but in recent years the local government assisted in the restoration of 10 hotels in old houses, making Jianshui an ideal place to immerse...

Yan Lianke. The Four Books
Yan Lianke. The Four Books

Yan Lianke. The Four Books The Four Books refers to the famous Four Books of Confucius, the basis of Chinese thought for two millennia. And like those of Confucius, these by Yan Lianke could become a new model for understanding the glories and miseries of human...

Pin It on Pinterest