In 1788, Lin Shuang-Wen(林爽文 Lîm Sóng-bûn) led the remaining rebels to gather on the mountain Xiaobantian(Lugu, Nantou) where the fierce battle was about to happen against the regular army of the Qing dynasty who had come across the sea from the mainland. It has been a year and three months since the peasant uprising, which was drawing to its end. After the rebels were hunted down, Qianlong Emperor had the incident been recorded as the Ten Great Campaigns in his reign. Always the winner has the right to speak in history. Should there be monuments to heroes? This is Moso bamboo ancient battlefield, where there are stone steps for travelers to visit. Lugu produces tea and bamboo shoots. Because of the natural resources in the mountains, some of the sightseeing spots were developed.
Official Records of Qing Dynasty
As early as 1782, Qianlong Emperor issued an order saying that the term of officers stationed in Taiwan changed from 3 years to 5 years, because Taiwan was an important territory overseas and inhabited by people from all regions, 3-year term of officers apparently too short to manage. In 1785, the chief commander of Taiwan, Chia Daji presented a memorial to Qianlong Emperor. After two days, he presented another one. The Emperor thought it would be something urgent, but later knew it’s little things that didn’t matter. The Emperor believed Chia Daji couldn’t be fit for the position overseas, so consider Chia’s transfer. Not long after the transfer order, there were officials encountered indigenous people and were beheaded, over ten people killed. Chia Daji led civil and military officials into the mountains to revenge twice and killed 38 indigenous people in number. This incident made Qianlong Emperor change his mind and let Chia return to his position as an effective way to threat all the indigenous people by Chia’s reputation.
In the beginning of 1787, the general and the admiral of Fujian army presented memorials to the Emperor of rebellion in Taiwan one after another, and led troops across the sea. At first, the Emperor thought Lin Shuang-Wen was just an ordinary bandit with his followers, would collapse at the first blow. But after three months, farmers in northern, central and southern Taiwan responded to the uprising attacking and occupying the government city. The troops had barely recaptured the government. Although Qing army had shotguns and cannons, they still couldn’t been able to capture the mountain strongholds of Lin and his followers. The Emperor decided to send the governor general Chang Qing to command the troops in Taiwan.
The uprising couldn’t been suppressed until the end of 1787, when Fuk’anggan and cavalry Hailancha led the new troops who were well equipped, disciplined and had combat experience. In addition, local people with different ethnic groups from Lin Shuang-Wen supported government’s military moves, also the people who originally joined Lin defected due to the change of situation. Three months later, Lin, his family and key rebels were captured alive, sent to the mainland for trial, recorded their confessions and executed by a method of torture. Qianlong Emperor also put forward a review afterward. He believed that officers and soldiers dispatched to Taiwan had long benefited from the people that it’s corrupting disciplines. In the name of suppressing bandits, they burned down houses causing public complaints and later the peasant uprising.
Most of notorious officials were killed shortly after the uprising. As a chief commander of Taiwan, Chia Daji led the troops drove back Lin and his followers for many times. At that time, Zhuluo City was only surrounded by bamboo fences and was difficult to defend. Chia successfully stopped Lin’s attacks by ambush on the road outside the city. For the merit Chia was conferred first-class count by the Emperor. However, Chia had known the officials corrupt and without justice before the uprising happened, for this he was to blame and executed 1788 in the mainland, no later than four months after Lin’s execution. There were two more officials put to death and six were dismissed for the incident, including the governor general Chang Qing.
Taiwanese Folk Studies
Lin Shuang-Wen had ever worked as a policeman, he often gave financial help to those who under arrest and tried to bail them out. He confessed that he was illiterate and his family was poor. He was elected as the leader of rebels by the outraged crowd, because the officers burned down houses by the reason of pursuing gangsters without a proof. However, this was a confession under torture. When the authority couldn’t suppress chaos, the anxious Emperor ordered to excavated the tombs of Lin’s ancestors in Fujian ZhangZhou to break their spirit, but nothing found after search. At that time Lin’s father and key followers were under arrest, no more clues found at their trials. Finally, a reliable evidence provided by an educated local man who had ever seen a young man, not resident but his ancestors buried in this place, where the tombs were found. Oianlong Emperor had ever changed his mind to spare the tombs and the life of Lin’s father when the triumph was in his sight, but the thought was severely opposed by his ministers.
If Lin Shuang-Wen was really a bandit, how can there be such a determined will to continue for one year and three months of fights against the government and its supporters until the last shot. He calmly faced the punishment and trials without surrender or suicide. Besides, Lin’s family and close followers were solidly united, reluctant to confess more details about companions, relatives and ancestors. The elders of Lin family once had tried to persuade him not to rebel, but the trend was overwhelming. Lin’s decision was by no means a sudden impulse, although he knew the outcome might fail.
Qianlong Emperor, the dignity of a kingdom who could dispatch the strongest army, had spent more than a year and cost about 296 tons silver to suppress the rebellion. He took the rebels’ confession seriously, so the Emperor believed Lin Shuang-Wen is a force to be reckoned with. Anyone who is a threat to kingship, even the minister who made mistakes, will be executed as a warning. Currently in Taiwan, schools and roads named after Shuang-Wen are located in Dali and Zhongliao. Those who were responsible after the incident faced the death penalty, while the indelible impressions were stored in shared memories of others.
Another one worth mentioning is the rebel leader Zhuang Datian who captured Fongshan city twice. For the first time, he pretended to be defeated and lured the armed forces out of the city, meanwhile attacked the other side of the city. For the second time, he also lured the armed force out and fought them back to the city. In the same time, some of the rebels who were wearing the soldiers’ uniforms withdrew with their enemies and set fires in the city. Zhuang Datian was good at using a strategy and caught an enemy off guard with a surprise attack, who was just a farmer before. In the end until Fuk’anggan marched into Pingtung, Zhuang had been caught and executed by torture. Zhuang said that he had never met Lin Shuang-Wen and was not under Lin’s jurisdiction in his confession, which is not different with Lin’s. Whether it is true or not, the two brave leaders had the same goal.