Che-li Military and Civilian Pacification Superintendency / Che-li Pacification Super

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A Tai polity depicted in the MSL as a “pacification superintendency” (宣慰司) of Yun-nan. The Chinese term Che-li was used to represent a Tai Lüe polity known by diverse names including Muong Le, Kenghung, Chienrung, Jengrung and “the city of dawn". This was the central polity in the "Sipsong Panna" (or "Twelve Panna"). The origin of the term Che-li has been the subject of much study and diverse explanations, but no consensus has been reached. However, it appears that the “Che” element means "city" as it does in Tai Ahom. For Ahom examples, see Buragohain (1987). This is probably the same Tai term represented in the initial element in a range of other Yun-nan place names, including Zhe-fang (遮放), Zhe-an (遮安), Jie-mao (姐冒) and Zhi-na (支那). See Wu Guang-fan (1993; 30-31, 39-41).

On the extent of Che-li's territory, the Du-shi fang-yu ji-yao notes: “To the east it extends to the territory of the Luo-kong man, to the south it extends to the Ba-bai/Da-dian Pacification Superintendency, while to the north-west it reaches to the Yuan-jiang Military and Civilian Prefecture” (Gong Yin (1985;181). This shows that its territory extended south to what is now northern Thailand and to the north extended close to the Red River. It was a far larger polity than depicted by Tan Qi-xiang (1982; 77) and would have included much of what is today northern Laos. There is a range of Tai texts against which the MSL references can be compared. Some have, however, been recently compiled in China to depict Che-li as long an integral part of the Chinese state. A Tai history of Muong Le has been translated into Chinese by Li Fu-yi (1946). See also Dao, Dao and Kang (1989) and Li Fu-yi (1983 and 1984). For information on further Chinese sources relating to this polity, see Dao Yong-ming (1989; 284-310, 967-69), Fang Guo-yu (1987; 779, 884, 898-901, 1074) and Gong Yin (1985; 179-81 and 1992; 598-601). For secondary literature on the Tai Lue, see Tanabe (1991; 57-66).

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