Red God

Wei Baqun and His Peasant Revolution in Southern China, 1894-1932

By Xiaorong Han

Subjects: Asian Studies, History, Chinese Studies
Series: SUNY series in Chinese Philosophy and Culture
Paperback : 9781438453842, 358 pages, July 2015
Hardcover : 9781438453835, 358 pages, December 2014

Alternative formats available from:

Table of contents

List of Illustrations
1. Frontier Youth: 1894–1914
2. First Journey: 1914–1921
3. First Revolt: 1921–1924
4. Second Journey: 1924–1925
5. Second Revolt: 1925–1929
6. Third Revolt: Integration of the Local and National Revolutions, 1929–1930
7. Defeat: The Ecology and Culture of the Revolution, 1930–1932
8. Red God as a Mediating and Unifying Agent
Glossary of Chinese Names and Terms

The career of communist revolutionary Wei Baqun, one of China’s “three great peasant leaders” and man of the southern frontier.


Robin Hood–style revolutionary Wei Baqun is often described as one of China's "three great peasant leaders," alongside Mao Zedong and Peng Pai. In his home county of Donglan, where he started organizing peasants in the early 1920s, Wei Baqun came to be considered a demigod after his death—a communist revolutionary with supernatural powers. So much legend has grown up around this fascinating figure that it is difficult to know the truth from the tale. Presenting Wei Baqun's life in light of interactions between his local community and the Chinese nation, Red God is organized around the journeys he made from his multiethnic frontier county to major cities where he picked up ideas, methods, and contacts, and around the three revolts he launched back home. Xiaorong Han explores the congruencies and conflicts of local, regional, and national forces at play during Wei Baqun's lifetime while examining his role as a link between his Zhuang people and the Han majority, between the village and the city, and between the periphery and the center.

Xiaorong Han is Professor of History at Lingnan University, Hong Kong. He is the author of Chinese Discourses on the Peasant, 1900–1949, also published by SUNY Press.


"…Red God must count as one of the best English-language studies we have of an early local peasant movement that became connected to the Chinese Communist movement after 1927. " — Pacific Affairs

"This account of the short life of a charismatic revolutionary is very well written and based on thorough research in Guangxi archives and other Chinese-language materials. A valuable addition to scholarship on revolution and regional politics in twentieth-century China … Essential. " — CHOICE