China and Inner Asia
Organized Panel Session
This paper investigates a conflict over who was entitled to assume officer positions in the naval division of Heilongjiang from the second half of eighteenth century to the nineteenth century involving the Hanjun corps of the Qing Eight Banners and the naval battalions (shuishi ying). Members of the regional Hanjun corps served as naval officers from the early decades of the eighteenth century. However, this practice was altered with the imperial order that that descendants of sailors who had fought in Qing-Russian border conflicts enjoyed the right to be naval officers without belonging to the Hanjun corps starting in the early Qianlong reign, which led to a tense relationship between the two groups. This policy also engendered the differentiation of Han people in Heilongjiang. Two groups of Han emerged, characterized by heritage and occupation. Hanjun took pride in their descent from Han who joined the Qing polity and started to guard Heilongjiang’s waters in the seventeenth century, and therefore were “native” to Heilongjiang.. Han of the naval battalions (shuishi ying) were permanent outsiders because their ancestors were from Shandong province and other parts of China. This paper will clarify the course of events of this conflict and try to reconstruct Heilongjiang’s Han communities in eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, both which have been underexplored research topics, using sources such as the Huanhai fubo dashiji, which was compiled by descendants of the naval battalions in the late nineteenth century, and the Manchu-language archives of the Heilongjiang general’s yamen (Heilongjiang jiangjun yamen dang).