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Environmental change, economic growth and local societies : "change in worlds" in the Songpan Region,… Hayes, Jack Patrick 2008

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ENVIRONMENTAL CHANGE, ECONOMIC GROWTH AND LOCAL SOCIETIES: "CHANGE IN WORLDS" IN THE SONGPAN REGION, 1800-2005 by JACK PATRICK HAYES B.A., The Colorado College, 1996 M.A., The University of Hawaii at Manoa, 1999  A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES (History)  THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA March 2008  © Jack Patrick Hayes, 2008  ABSTRACT This dissertation examines the relationship between human societies and natural landscape in the Songpan region of northern Sichuan, China from 1800 to 2005. It seeks to achieve three goals. First, it seeks to complicate our understanding of China's modern political transformation from dynastic state to republic and socialist state by adding an environmental perspective to these changes. Second, it seeks to complicate existing understanding of China's environmental history, which is largely concerned with developments in "China proper," by focusing on an isolated and historically autonomous locality in western China. Finally, this dissertation seeks to understand the historical processes that led to the region's gradual incorporation into the Chinese state in terms of changing patterns of land use, resource management, and how a variety of local actors interacted with one another to produce these changes. To achieve these goals, the dissertation explores and analyzes the various ways that indigenous communities, largely Tibetan, and successive Chinese states have inhabited the eastern edge of the Tibetan Plateau and how their socio-economic structures, land use strategies, political ideologies, and technologies combined with environmental factors to shape the world around them. This program of research contributes a local environmental and socio-economic dimension to existing political and religious histories of the Sino-Tibetan borderlands. No separate study has analyzed the social, political, economic and environmental encounters in the late imperial, Republican, and modern periods as a whole in western China. In order to analyze the dynamics of local socio-economic and environmental change, this dissertation de-centers  ii  China geographically and socially in order to look at an "exceptional typical" periphery. In the process, it challenges common and ideological historical chronologies of social and political development in western China. By analyzing Tibetan-Chinese political, social and market relations, it also adds to the literature of local elite and state patterns of dominance in twentieth century China. Finally, it contributes to a growing literature on Chinese environmental history by analyzing the role of changing systems of resource use and development in western China while revealing the often complex and dialectical ways that human societies and environmental factors have interacted in western China.  iii  TABLE OF CONTENTS Abstract ................................................................................................................................. ii Table of Contents ................................................................................................................. iv List of Maps ......................................................................................................................... vi List of Abbreviations ........................................................................................................... vii Acknowledgements ............................................................................................................ viii Chapter I Introduction .......................................................................................................... 1 1.1 Introduction .................................................................................................................................. 1 1.2 The Scope and Purpose of the Dissertation ............................................................................. 5 1.3 Methodology ....................................................................................................... 9 1.4 Terminology...................................................................................................... 19 1.5 Sources ............................................................................................................. 22 1.6 The Structure of the Dissertation ......................................................................... 29 Chapter II A World of Its Own: Songpan's Land and Agro-Pastoral Regime Before 1911............................................................................................................ 33 2.1 Introduction ................................................................................................................................33 2.2 The People, Rivers, Mountains, and Climate of the Songpan Region ................................35 2.3 The Songpan Region Prior to 1911: The Qing State, Tuguan/Tusi, and the "Official Middle Ground" .........................................................................................................................44 2.4 The "Unofficial Middle Ground": How Trade and Markets Connected Songpan Tibetans to the Wider Qing World ..........................................................................................70 2.5 Thang rtsa [rich Plains Grass] and Yul 'brog [Agro-pastoralism]: How Tibetans Shaped the Landscape of the Songpan Region ......................................................................79 2.6 Conclusion ...................................................................................................................................89 Chapter III Local Elites and Opium in Command: Markets, the Opium Regime, and Society Making In The Republican Era, 1911-1949 .................................. 93 3.1 Introduction ................................................................................................................................93 3.2 Early Republican Markets and Taxes: Songpan Mining, Forestry and Traditional Medicines .....................................................................................................................................97 3.3 Developing Opium Agriculture in the Songpan Region: Warlord Taxes and Local Elites in Action .........................................................................................................................110 3.4 Competing Elites in the 1930s: The Pao ge, Long Marchers, and Nationalists .......... 121 3.5 Society Breaking and Lawlessness: Climate, Local Rebellions and Gang Warfare from 1936-49.............................................................................................................................132 3.6 Conclusion .................................................................................................................................144 Chapter IV The Early Governmentalization Regime: Socialist State Building and the "Shift in Worlds" in Songpan, 1949-1962........................................................ 148 4.1 Introduction ..............................................................................................................................148 4.2 The Governmentalization Regime and State Building in the Songpan Region ...............150 4.3 The Tibetan Revolt, Collectivization and Campaigns, 1957-1962.....................................174 4.4 Conclusion .................................................................................................................................188  iv  Chapter V The Songpan State Forestry Regime: The Environmental Consequences of Centralization and Decentralization ............................................................................. 193 5.1 Introduction ..............................................................................................................................193 5.2 Creating the Forestry Regime in the Songpan Region, 1962-1978 ........................... 194 5.3 Diversification of State Policies in the early Reform Period ..................................... 216 5.4 Conclusion ....................................................................................................... 234 Chapter VI Ecological and Tourism Markets: Environment and Ethnicity in Northern Sichuan, 1983-2005 ...................................................................................................... 236 6.1 Introduction ..............................................................................................................................236 6.2 Changes in Land Use Policy, Poverty Alleviation, and the Forestry Regime ...................239 6.3 The Tourism Regime and "Great Western Development Program" ................................251 6.4 Reshaping Local Commodities, People and the Environment as "Cultural Resources" .................................................................................................................................261 6.5 Quality Development, Material Civilization, and Infrastructure Development ..............284 6.6 Conclusion .................................................................................................................................297 Chapter VII Conclusion .............................................................................................. 299 Bibliography ............................................................................................................... 319 Chinese Glossary ........................................................................................................ 354  v  LIST OF MAPS  Map 1.1  The Songpan Region ...............................................................................................32  Map 2.1  Qing Dynasty Songpan (c. 1800) ...........................................................................92  Map 3.1  "District 16"—Republican Era Songpan (c. 1912) ........................................... 147  Map 4.1  Songpan Region Road Construction from 1949-1982 ..................................... 192  vi  LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS  AZQXSDZ  Aba zangzu qiangzu zizhizhou Songpan xian zangsi qingkuang diaocha ziliao  AZWZX  Aba thou wenshi ziliao xuanji  AZZ 1994  Aba zhouzhi  AZZGK 1985  Aba zangzu zizhizhou gaikuang diaocha  SAZSD 1985  Sichuan sheng aba zangzu shehui lishi diaocha  SXZ 1924  Songpan xianzhi (Minguo)  SXZ 1999  Songpan xianzhi  vii  ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Many people supported me as I wrote this dissertation. I am deeply indebted to many professors, colleagues, family and friends for their generous guidance, help, time and encouragement. In writing this dissertation, my deepest gratitude goes to my advisors. I would like to thank Dr. Glen Peterson for his support and supervision every step of the way in researching and writing this document. I want to thank him for the many hours he spent reading consecutive versions of the manuscript and making pertinent comments. My other advisors Dr. Timothy Cheek and Dr. Tina Loo also gave generously of their time and their insightful comments, patience, and support added considerable depth to my dissertation. This dissertation would never have been completed without my advisor's guidance and sage advice. The research for this dissertation required extensive archival, library and field research in China. In Chengdu, Dr. Ran Guangrong, Dr. Ren Xinjian, and Dr. Fan Ying of Sichuan University generously shared with me their time, manuscripts, and helped me navigate various libraries in 2005. The staff of the Sichuan Provincial Archive both welcomed and aided me in my search for a wide variety of documents. They also made suggestions for contacts in prefecture and county archives. In Songpan, Jiuzhaigou and Ruo'er gai Counties, Mr. Mike Wu, Emma Wu, and Tsering Dorje taught me a great deal about the Songpan region, shared with me their families and reminiscences, boarded my horse, and helped me make travel arrangements into remote corners of the region. For all of their help, I am extremely grateful. I would also like to thank Dr. Timothy Brook, Dr. Diana Lary, Dr. Tsering Shakya, Dr. Peng Wenbin, and Dr. Colin Green for their comments, suggestions, and encouragement during the course of my research and writing bits and pieces of this dissertation. I would also like to  viii  express my gratitude to Dr. Alexander Woodside for challenging me to analyze different forms of "elite patterns of dominance" in his final graduate reading seminar. His course and encouragement inspired a significant portion of the early chapters of this dissertation. I am also deeply indebted to Dr. Louisa Kozey and Ms. Isabelle Patenaude for reading, editing, and commenting on my work. Their patience, advice, and gracious support under deadlines helped me tremendously. I would like to express my thanks to the Department of History, Institute of Asian Research, and Faculty of Graduate Studies for the generous financial aid they have provided during my studies and research. I would particularly like to thank Dr. Pitman Potter for helping me secure funding early on in my studies. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the Faculty of Graduate Studies at the University of British Columbia for awarding me the Tina and Morris Wagner Foundation Fellowship (2004-05) and Li Tze Fong Memorial Fellowship (200506) for the duration of my research in China and North America. I am extremely grateful for this support, but any views, errors, or questionable interpretations expressed in this dissertation are mine alone. Most of all, I would like to thank Jane Cauvel and my parents Tom and Sue Hayes for their unwavering support and encouragement throughout the years of my undergraduate and graduate studies. I would like to express my deepest gratitude to Jane and my parents—they have always supported my academic and personal pursuits and showed their faith in me by making my education at every level and every possible turn a wonderful and fruitful experience. Finally, thank you Michelle for making my world complete and inspiring the final sprint to the finish.  ix  I INTRODUCTION  1.1 Introduction  In 1903, in the waning days of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), a European visitor reported that the Songpan region was a constant scene of Han-Tibetan fighting in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. While the region was under the nominal jurisdiction of the Qing government, local officials rarely interfered with local Tibetan elites outside of the town of Songpan. His report also noted the region's rich and untapped natural resources, lively provincial and local commodity trade, and the numerically superior and industrious Tibetan population along the Min River and around town.' This apt description of north-central Sichuan depicts it as a rugged, mountainous and isolated landscape inhabited by diverse communities, few of them Chinese. Approximately thirty years later, a Chinese journalist visiting the same region and town noted continuing inter-ethnic strife and apparent local autonomy in the Songpan and Nanping Counties. He also described the terribly impoverished Tibetan population, the coercive landlord and opium based economy, an excess of official and deserter Han Chinese military forces, and a natural environment headed toward ruin. 2 In the late 1950s, anthropological and socio-economic studies initiated by the new socialist state explored the same topics, noting many of the same problems with the exception of environmental concerns. The cadres emphasized that under the new centralized socialist state, this region was undergoing •^• William C. Haines Watson was an Imperial Maritimes Commissioner of the British government in Chongqing who oversaw tax and customs receipts in Sichuan that were ostensibly used to pay down the Qing debt dating from the Opium Wars (1839-42, 1858-60). See William C. Haines Watson, "Journey to Sungp'an," in Journal of the China Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society 36 (1905), 51-101; 74-81. 2 The journalist was Fan Changjiang. His study of western China highlighted inter-ethnic tensions, poverty, and the costs of warfare. In 1935 this meant war between Sichuan warlords, Mao Zedong's Long Marchers, Nationalist forces, and bandits. His account was produced in serial form for newspaper readers in eastern China. See Fan Changjiang, Zhongguo de xibei jiao [China's Northwest Corner] (Shanghai: Dagong baoguan, 1934). China's Northwest Corner appeared serially in the Shanghai Dagong bao guan in 1934-35. I used a reprint, Fan Changjiang, Zhongguo de xibei jiao [China's Northwest Corner] (Beijing: Xinhua chubanshe, 1980), 23-28.  1  great change. Local elites were being replaced by central officials, land was redistributed, and means were being sought to exploit the rich natural resources and labor pool for the good of the nation. 3 Finally, at the beginning of the twenty-first century, other Chinese authors continued to note the rich natural resources, especially grasslands and forests of the region that was now one of four separate counties with a small but now more diverse ethnic community with the presence of more Han Chinese. These authors also noted the problems of the isolated regional economy that also included a growing tourism sector, and that the Songpan region was an indelible part of the Chinese nation. 4 Since the late imperial period, officials and settlers, local ethnic elites and commoners, central and local governments, and tourists have in their interactions with one another encountered a variety of individual polities and local landscapes, practiced a variety of market exchanges, and exploited the natural resources of the Songpan region. This study relates these social, economic and ecological encounters—the story of the changes wrought in local society and landscapes, and of Songpan's incorporation into the wider Chinese world. This dissertation examines the relationship between the human society and the natural landscape of the Songpan region of northern Sichuan, China from 1800 to 2005. It seeks to achieve three goals. First, it seeks to enrich and complicate our understanding of China's modern political transformation from dynastic state to republic and socialist state by adding an environmental perspective to these changes. Second, it seeks to complicate existing See Nationalities Institute of Minority Nationalities of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and the Sichuan Investigation Team of Social History of National Minorities, Sichuan sheng abazhou zangzu shehui lishi diaocha [A Survey of Tibetan Society and History in Aba Prefecture, Sichuan Province] (neibu, collection of 1957-61 field reports from various cadres, university study groups, anthropologists, and army survey teams). Most of these reports were reprinted in 1985 under Nationalities Institute of Minority Nationalities of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and Southwest Nationalities College, Sichuan sheng abazhou zangzu shehui lishi diaocha [A Survey of Tibetan Society and History in Aba Prefecture, Sichuan Province] (Chengdu: Sichuan Academy of Social Sciences Press, 1985) (hereafter SAZSD), 20-24. 4 See Editorial Board of Aba Prefecture, Aba zangzu zizhizhou gaikuang [A General Description of Aba Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture] (Chengdu: Minzu chubanshe, 1985), 1-12; Da Er'ji and Li Mao, Aba tonglun [An Overview of Aba (Prefecture)] (Chengdu: Sichuan cishu chubanshe, 2001, 2" d ed.), 6-23, 52-76; Ran Guangrong and Ou Zegao, Sichuan zangqu de fazhan zhi lu [The Development Path in Sichuan Tibetan Areas] (Chengdu: Sichuan renmin chubanshe, 2000). 3  2  understanding of China's environmental history, which is largely concerned with developments in "China proper" (the eastern and central provinces) by focusing on an isolated and historically autonomous locality in western China. Finally, this dissertation seeks to understand the historical processes that led to the region's gradual incorporation into the Chinese state in terms of changing patterns of land use, resource management, and how a variety of local actors— Tibetan, Han Chinese, state officials, local elites, and businessmen—interacted with one another to produce these changes. To achieve these goals, the dissertation explores and analyzes the various ways that indigenous communities, largely Tibetan, and successive Chinese states have inhabited the eastern edge of the Tibetan Plateau and how their socio-economic structures, land use strategies, political ideologies, and technologies combined with environmental factors to shape the world around them. Changes in the Songpan region in the twentieth century were so great that local Tibetans use the term 'Jig rTen (a shift in worlds) to describe their magnitude and constancy. In the Songpan region, the legacy of changing markets, different patterns of land use, local autonomy and incorporation under the socialist state, and technological and environmental factors demonstrates that both Tibetans and Chinese progressively extended their reach over regional ecosystems. They eventually reengineered local society and landscapes to serve national states, regional markets and local needs. Prior to the 1950s, the most important agents of social and environmental change were local Tibetan elites, supplemented in the early twentieth century by increasing numbers of Han Chinese elites, criminal networks, and state military officials. But the social, political and economic transformations of the late imperial and Republican eras were small compared to the transformative power of the socialist state and state-led command economy after the 1950s, and even larger market forces later on. Under state-led command  3  economies, ideological and social remolding, and infrastructure development the socialist Chinese state accelerated processes of resource and socio-political development that resulted in the incorporation of this previously isolated and autonomous region into the centralized political and economic structures of the modern Chinese state. Yet the development and implementation of state policy in this largely Tibetan region was neither linear nor uniform. The major agents of political and social change included not just state representatives after the 1950s, but also local Tibetan elites, who sometimes faced great ideological pressures from the state, and at other times helped shape local and regional social and political practices vis-à-vis the central state. Changes in land and resource use patterns were not just a function of state quotas or local elite patterns of dominance, but a reaction to a variety of economic forces in the twentieth century that included changing tax structures, access to and control of timber, redistribution of land, and the globalization of ethno-ecological tourism to name a few. At the same time, all of these changes and processes of transformation combined to transform the regional landscape—a landscape shaped by both Tibetans and the Chinese state. Changes from land use strategies that promoted biological diversity and relative ecological stability in the forests and grasslands of the Songpan region shifted to more ideological and commercial strategies in the twentieth century. These changes led to a profound restructuring of the local landscape, more profound than earlier Tibetan transformations of the forests and grasslands. In the process of environmental and resource transformation, local society was also fundamentally reshaped in such a way that local ethnic cultures became commodities in much the same manner as the environment, and it was likewise exploited.  4  1.2 The Scope and Purpose of the Dissertation Dissatisfied with the general and often ideological interpretations of north Sichuan social and political history, I became interested in understanding Songpan's regional social and environmental history. No social or cultural history of the region has been written that includes the length and breadth of the late imperial, Republican and post 1949 periods. The Songpan region, with its rich geographical, ecological and ethnographic diversity, constitutes a world of its own, different from central Tibet (Kham) and west-central China centered on the Chengdu Plain and Yangtze River. No separate study has analyzed the socio-political, economic and environmental encounters in the late imperial, Republican Era, and modern period as a whole— when arguably, the majority of modern patterns of social, political and environmental interaction developed. How did local society evolve? What economic patterns developed in the region, and what effect did they have on local society and landscapes? How drastic were socio-political changes under the socialist state, and when did they happen here? If the environment of the region was constantly undergoing change, what were the political, social and economic loci of change? Past research on the northern and western Sichuan and the Songpan region falls into two general and somewhat contrasting categories. In the first category, research by Chinese cultural and socio-economic historians tends to mention the Songpan region within the generalized context of the slow expansion of late imperial authority into the region and treats the subject largely within discussions of the evolution of the "tusi system" on the whole of Sichuan's SinoTibetan borderlands of Kham and Amdo. 5 Some of the most influential Chinese research on the  5  She Yize, Zhongguo tusi zhidu [China's Tusi System] (Chongqing: Zhengzhong Bookstore, 1944); Gong Yin, Zhongguo tusi zhidu [The Chinese Tusi System] (Kunming: Yunnan minzu chubanshe, 1992); Yu Xiangwen, "Xibei yu mu zangqu zhi shehui diaocha" [A Social Survey of the Tibetan Areas of our Northwest] (Chicago: Manuscript, 1947); Wang Xiguang, Anduo zangqu tusi jiazu pu jilu yanjiu [Research on Amdo Tibetan Area Tusi-Clan Family  5  region mentions the distribution and general features of indigenous (Tibetan) leaders in the region and Qing "control," and this characterization has been popularly adopted as applicable to all regions where the Qing came into contact with indigenous leaders in western China. 6 However, what was observed in official discourse varied considerably with what happened in local practice. In contrast, in Western socio-historical and anthropological literature, the Songpan area, if it is mentioned at all, is sandwiched between entirely autonomous Tibetan substates and the functional and powerful Qing state with its representatives in Chengdu and eastern Sichuan. 7 In addition to these more China-centered studies, there are studies on Tibetan religion and the Chinese state—with Chinese authors mostly discussing indigenous religion in the remote past or under the socialist transition, and Western authors examining contemporary issues and relationships between Bon and Buddhist religions and the Reform Era socialist state (1978-...).  8  The second category of research that mentions the Songpan region discusses the environment and economy in the context of the Tibetan Plateau as a whole. The Chinese environmental literature of the northern Sichuan has pointed out that human activities such as overgrazing, improper reclamation, and heavy bio-collection of fuel wood and medicinal herbs Trees] (Beijing: Minzu chubanshe, 2000); History and Economic Studies Department of Sichuan University, Sichuan Minjiang shangyou lishi wenhua yanyiu [Historical and Cultural Research on Sichuan's Upper Reaches of the Min River] (Chengdu: Sichuan daxue chubanshe, 1996); Luo Runcang and Ran Xinjian, eds., Sichuan zangxue lunwen ji [Collected Essays on Tibetan Culture in Sichuan] (Chengdu: Zhongguo zangxue chubanshe, 1993). 6 She Yize 1944; Gong Yin 1992; Herold Wien, China's March Toward the Tropics: A Discussion of the Southward  Penetration of China's Culture, Peoples, and Political Control in Relation to the Non-Han Chinese People's of South China and in the Perspective of Historical and Cultural Geography (Hamden: Shoestring Press, 1954); John Herman, "National Integration and Regional Hegemony: The Political and Cultural Dynamics of Qing State Expansion," PhD dissertation, University of Washington (1993); Geoffrey Samuel, Civilized Shamans: Buddhism in Tibetan Societies (Washington D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1993); Pedro Carrasco, Land and Polity in Tibet (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1959); Robert Ekvall, Fields on the Hoof: Nexus of Tibetan Nomadic Pastoralism (Prospect Heights: Waveland Press, Inc., 1983); Robert Ekvall, Cultural Relations on the Kansu-Tibetan Border (Chicago: Midway Reprint of the University of Chicago Press, 1977). 8 See, for example, Ran Guangrong's Zhongguo zangzhi fojiao siyuan [Traditional Tibetan Buddhist Monastaries in China] (Beijing: Zhongguo zangxue chubanshe, 1994); History and Economic Studies Department of Sichuan University 1996; Samten Karmay, "Mountain Cults and National Identity in Tibet," in Barnett and Akiner (eds.), Resistance and Reform in Tibet (London: Hurst & Co., 1994); Toni Huber (ed.), Amdo Tibetans in Transition: Society and Culture During the Post-Mao Era, vol. 5, Proceedings of the Ninth Seminar of the International Association for Tibetan Studies, Leiden 2000 (Leiden: Brill Academic Publishers, 2002).  6  have contributed to environmental degradation. 9 These studies usually point overwhelmingly to contemporary climatic and indigenous factors as at fault in recent environmental developments. In socio-economic literature, other Chinese authors have discussed the region as a whole, often including all of western and northern Sichuan. I° In these studies, the core of regional issues revolves around Tibetans and their relationship with the landscape and the modern state, or how the up-river environment of northern Sichuan plays a role in political and environmental issues along the Yangtze River. With an emphasis on environmental conditions and mitigating environmental problems, the discourse on this region and its ethnic groups posits that national and regional issues could be vastly improved if the Chinese state provided proper funding and guidance for economic social development. This dissertation analyzes the social and environmental history of the Songpan region as a distinct place shaped by geography, trade, and a wide variety of forms of political governance. I argue that local elites, whether indigenous (largely Tibetan) or state representatives, have adapted, used and led coercive strategies of development to shape the markets and landscape of the region—from agro-pastoral production to an opium regime, and from state-making and forestry regimes to cultural commodification and tourism. Especially after 1958, local Han and Tibetan cadres have helped to shape state policy to serve local or regional purposes. I view these 9  See, for example, Sichuan University and Sichuan Grassland Research Bureau, Sichuan Caodi [Sichuan's Grasslands] (Chengdu, research journal 1981-...); Hu Zizhi (ed.), Qingzang gaoyuan de caoye fazhan yu shengtai huanjing [Qinghai-Tibet Plateau Grasslands Development and the Ecological Environment] (Beijing: Zhongguo zangxue chubanshe, 1996); Li Sen, Dong Yuxiang, and Dong Guangrong (eds.), Qingzang gaoyuan shamouhua wenti yu kechixu fazhan [Qinghai-Tibet Plateau and the Problem of Desertification and Sustainable Development (Beijing: Zhongguo zangxue chubanshe, 2001); Wang Tianjin (ed.), Qingzang gaoyuan renkou yu huanjing chetanli [Qinghai Tibet Plateau Population and Environmental Issues] (Beijing: Zhongguo zangxue chubanshe, 1996); Yang Ming, Zangzu youmu doule ji shehui zhuyi xiandaihua [Tibetan Nomadism and Socialist Modernization] (Chengdu: Dianru gonghe xueyuan chubanshe, 1988); Wen Houyi, Qingzang gaoyuan dongdu zangzu diqu shimuye ziyuan fazhan yanjiu [Research on the development of animal husbandry resources in the Tibetan areas of the eastern Qinghai-Tibet Plateau Uplands] (Chengdu: Sichuan kexue zimu chubanshe, 1993). io See, for example, Ran and Ou 2000; articles in Ran Guangrong (series editor), Xibu kaifa zhong xizang ji zitazangqu teshuxing yanjiu, 3 vls. [Research on the Characteristics of Western Development in Tibet and Tibetan Areas] (Heilongjiang: Heilongjiang chubanshe, 2003); Li Shantong (ed.), Xibu dakaifa yu diqu shehui fazhan [Develop the Great Northwest in Regional Social Development] (Beijing: Gaodili shuguan, 2003).  7  political, social, and economic development projects as two way processes, in which states have pursued their own different market and administrative policies, and local agents of change have manipulated and altered the course of these policies to their own advantage. These social, political and economic patterns and processes have had distinctive consequences for the local landscape, sometimes with great and at other times with limited impact on both the local and wider environments. Despite our growing understanding of the dynamics of society, politics and the environment of eastern China, we still know little about western China's political, economic, social and environmental transformations. There are at least two reasons for this lack of knowledge. First, no major studies have sought to understand early modern and modern indigenous actors and their roles or perspectives in the socio-political and environmental history of western China, even though non-Chinese communities never ceased to be politically, culturally, or economically central to the region. Second, we are only beginning to investigate the continuities and discontinuities inherent in the varieties of land use, social regulation, economic markets, and adaptive power of local societies in the socio-political and environmental landscapes of western China. The majority of studies on socio-political and environmental transformation have hinged on eastern, Han China. 1' Without an understanding of indigenous  II More general socio-political histories of China focus on northern and eastern China, but contain environmental history characteristics. See, for example, Joseph Esherick, The Origins of the Boxer Uprising (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1987); Philip Huang, The Peasant Economy and Social Change in North China (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1985); Elizabeth Perry, Rebels and Revolutionaries in North China, 1845-1945 (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1980). More specific studies of China's environmental history tend to focus on the Yellow and Yangtze River systems and their socio-political historical networks. See, for example, Mark Elvin, The Retreat of the Elephants: An Environmental History of China (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2004); William Rowe, "Water Control and the Qing Political Process: The Fankou Dam Controversy, 1876-1883," Modern China 14:4 (October 1988), 353-87; Peter Perdue, Exhausting the Earth: State and Peasant in Hunan, 1500-1850 (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1987); Randall Dodgen, Taming the Dragon: Confucian Engineers and the Yellow River in Late Imperial China (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2000); Eduard Vermeer, Development and Decline in Fukien Province in the 17 th and 18 th Centuries (Leiden: Brill, 1990); Robert Marks, Tigers, Rice, Silk and Silt: Environment and the Economy in Late Imperial South China (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998); and Keith Schoppa, Song Full of Tears: Nine Centuries of Chinese Life at Xiang Lake (Boulder: Westview  8  communities in their local context, their own transformative or adaptive power on political and environmental landscapes, or central-local relationships we are unable to explain fully the longterm transformations of border politics, economics, and societies. Further, we are left unprepared to fully understand modern developments. The challenge of this thesis is to enrich our political-social narrative of nineteenth and twentieth century China by integrating the local, ethnic, and environmental story of north central Sichuan. This dissertation contributes a local environmental and socio-economic dimension to existing political, ideological and religious histories of the Sino-Tibetan borderlands of western China. By analyzing Tibetan-Chinese social and market relations, it also adds to the literature of local elite and state patterns of coercion and dominance in twentieth century China. Finally, it also contributes to a growing literature on Chinese environmental history by analyzing the role of changing systems of resource use and development on China's western frontier while revealing the often complex and dialectical ways that human societies and environmental factors have interacted in northern Sichuan over the past three centuries. 1.3 Methodology This dissertation approaches social, political and environmental issues on several fronts in a manner reminiscent of historians Richard White and Arun Agrawal that include locality, ethnicity and the environment with the interior Sino-Tibetan border region as its focus. I2 In order to reflect an emphasis on societies, politics, markets and environment with a focus on local events, this dissertation de-centers China geographically, ethnically, and socially in order to look  Press, 2002). Important exceptions to the norm include articles in Mark Elvin and Ts'ui-jung Liu (eds.), Sediments of Time: Environment and Society in Chinese History (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998). 12 See Richard White, Land Use, Environment, and Social Change: The Shaping of Island County, Washington (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1992), and Arun Agrawal, Environmentality: Technologies of Government and the Making of Subjects (Durham: Duke University Press, 2005).  9  at an "exceptional typical" periphery of China in northern Sichuan. I3 In Chinese studies in general, and in studies of ethnic and ecological borderland areas of western China, this shift in perspectives has been marked by re-examining of the centralized view of Chinese hegemony and local subordination. 14 Traditional studies of western China have often emphasized the imperial state, centers of power, or the socialist state as the sole historically-important actor in the relationship between the center and periphery, and in doing so, they have denied the local perspective and agency of border societies by portraying them as largely passive subjects.  15  In  this sense, these studies have overlooked the border societies' initiatives as well as their responses to the hegemonic center. 16 Recent scholarship in Qing studies, studies of ethnic groups and historical experience in southwestern China and elsewhere have begun to question to the hegemonic power of the center in Chinese history. Such questioning has led to a "reentering of the local." I7 In this regard, in a study of the Sino-Tibetan borders in Amdo-Kham, Lawrence Epstein recently noted, "...Pre-eminent meta-narratives of nation-states are under critical 13 I borrow the term "exceptional typical" from Matti Peltonen's study of micro-macro history and the methodologies of "clues" and "margins" in introducing locality into much grander narratives. See Matti Peltonen, "Clues, Margins, and Monads: The Micro-Macro Link in Historical Research," History and Theory 40 (October 2001), 347-59; 347, 349, 356-58. 14 Another recent and useful book in this regard, especially for western China, is Susan Blum and Lionel Jensen's edited volume China Off Center (2002). In this text, various authors approach contemporary and historical China as a complex, decentralized place where the view from the center (Beijing, eastern and Han China) is a skewed one. Their text points to a China that is better conceived of as a "set of Chinas." These "Chinas" are made up of different environments, different ethnicities, and different languages in a complex set of dialogues contrasting localism with regionalism to nationalism and centralization. See Jensen and Blum (eds.), China Off Center: Mapping the Margins of the Middle Kingdom (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2002), xiii-xv, 2-17. 15 For example, Kent Smith's dissertation "Ch'ing Policy and the Development of Southwest China" (PhD dissertation, University of Washington, 1970), and Pei Huang's conclusions about the aggressiveness of Qing frontier policy in Autocracy at Work: A Study of the Yung-Cheng Period (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1974), while both good studies of major issues in western China, understand local relations among Han, Tibetan, Hui and other ethnic groups strictly from the imperial center's point of view. 16 In this regard, I attempt to take the approach of Guha (1990) and Agrawal (2005) and analyze local environments exploited by elites or the state, local forms of resistance to central hegemony, and their environmental consequences. See Ramachandra Guha, The Unquiet Woods: Ecological Change and Peasant Resistance in the Himalaya (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1990); Arun Agrawal 2005. 17 This is what Richard White would term "at the center of the scene." See Richard White, The Middle Ground: Indians, Empires, and Republics in the Great Lakes Region, 1650-1815 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991), ix. See also, C. Patterson Giersch, Asian Borderlands: The Transformation of Qing China's Yunnan Frontier (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2006); Janet Sturgeon, Border Landscapes: The Politics of Akha Land Use in China and Thailand (Washington: University of Washington Press, 2005).  10  scrutiny with concern over local voices and events in history-making, rather than their being submerged by grand narratives." 18 With an emphasis on local contexts, events unfold as a dialogue and negotiation rather than with a hegemonic center and passive local. Even when the state and centralizing forces are ascendant, as it can be argued for periods of post-1949 China, state policies and practice still unfold in a dynamic process at the local level that can often include creative adaptations of official policy used by the local vis-a-vis the state. 19 Recent studies of borderland areas of China, their diverse societies, and their socio-political experiences under the modern Chinese state take note of the dynamism inherent in this approach. 2° However, those borderlands are truly at the geographical borders of the nation while the Songpan region, in contrast, is near the geographical center of China.  18 Lawrence Epstein, Introduction, in Lawrence Epstein (ed.), Khams pa Histories: Visions of People, Place and Authority: PIA TS 2000: Tibetan Studies: Proceedings of the Ninth Seminar of the International Association for Tibetan Studies (Leiden: Brill, 2000), 1. 19 Tibetan studies in general have begun to shift away from centralizing or hegemonic views of a singular Tibet or unitary history of the Tibetan people. A variety of new "local histories" explore the diversity of Tibetan societies and social formation across the entire Tibetan Plateau, from Mustang in Nepal to Amdo Tibetans in Qinghai, Sichuan, and Gansu. These studies of local histories, Sino- and Indo-Tibetan borderlands, place different groups and localities of Tibetans at the forefront of regional events, acting in dialogue with or contrast to centralizing forces in China, Lhasa, or elsewhere. See David Jackson, The Mollas of Mustang: Historical, Religious, and Oratorical Traditions of the Nepalese-Tibetan Borderland (Dharamsala: Library of Tibetan Works and Archives, 1984); Lawrence Epstein 2002; Toni Huber (ed.), Amdo Tibetans in Transition: Society and Culture in the Post-Mao Era (Leiden: Brill, 2002). See also, Steven Harrell (ed.), Cultural Encounters on China's Ethnic Frontiers (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1995). As with traditional frontier and border studies of Chinese-Tibetan interaction, studies of relationships between successive Chinese political regimes and central and eastern Tibet also tend to focus on the official policies or the establishment of administrative and military institutions by the center of power. See, for example, Hsiao-Ting Lin, Tibet and Nationalist China's Frontier: Intrigues and Ethnopolitics, 1928-49 (Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 2006); Peng Wenbin, "Frontier Process, Provincial Politics and Movements for Khampa Autonomy During the Republican Period," in Lawrence Epstein 2000. 20 For example, Janet Sturgeon examines Chinese-Akha-Thai relations, Erik Muegler discusses Yunnan minority groups and post-1949 environmental, ethnic, and political debacles, and Peter Ho analyzes the Uighurs minority and land use at the northern and western borders of Xinjiang Province. See Janet Sturgeon, Border Landscapes: The Politics of Akha Land Use in China and Thailand (Washington: University of Washington Press, 2005); Erik Mueggler, The