Conflicts between Two Chinese Ethnic Minorities
Punti-Hakka Clan Wars or Hakka-Punti Clan Wars (Chinese: 土客械斗) refers to battles or conflicts between the Hakka and the Punti in Guangdong, China, between 1855 and 1867, during the Qing Dynasty. The wars were particularly fierce in the area around Pearl River Delta, especially Taishan of Sze Yup. The war's estimated death toll was roughly a million, with many more fleeing for their lives.
Hakka literally means guest family, and Punti literally means original land. The Punti are also referred to by the dialect they speak, Cantonese. The basis of these bloody conflicts were the Punti's resentment against the Hakka that they were increasing dramatically in number, and encroaching on their land. From the Hakka's point of view, they were marginalized, discriminated against, and had to farm left-over or unwanted, hilly land.
During the rebellion, the Hakka in the Pearl River Delta had helped the imperial army to suppress the rebellion; the imperial official decided to keep the area clear of rebellion participants and raided the Punti villages. This caused hostility between the Hakka and the Punti, and the Punti attacked Hakka villages in revenge.
Bloody battles raged, with both sides fortifying their villages with walls, and raising armies as best as they could. Of course, entire villages would be involved in the fighting, and all able-bodied men were called on to fight against the other side. For the Punti, money for armaments was forthcoming from their relatives in Hong Kong, and abroad.
The conflicts escalated into large-scale clan wars.
The clan war is related to the Chinese Diaspora in the 19th century. Some of those who lost in the clan wars were sold to Cuba and South America as coolies via Hong Kong and Macau, and some females were sold to Macau as prostitutes.