This article investigates Chinese warlord authority in the east of the Kham Tibetan region between 1911 and 1949. The colonial government established by the Qing Empire in Kham during the five years before the end of dynastic rule relied on central government funding. With the fragmentation of the Chinese state in the Republican period, Chinese regimes in Kham were forced to raise more revenue locally and reduce expenditure. Responding to these challenges shaped the nature of Chinese authority in Kham. The late Qing colonial government had paid Tibetans who provided livestock and labor for transport as part of the 'u-lag corvée. Republican-era governors lacked the resources to do the same. They struggled to develop other ways of controlling the corvée, and attempted to create alternative state transport organizations. Changes in the sources of county government revenue also had important effects on Chinese officials' approach to what they considered to be “wasteland.”

You do not currently have access to this content.