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PA Tea

PA Tea, Bitchy or PA Chai Vue ( Vwj Paj Cai . Puas Cai Vue . Batchai ) — the leader of the Hmong during the uprising against the French authorities in French Indochina from 1918 to 1921, which was called the uprising of the insane. He is revered as a national hero of the Hmong in French literature, he acquired the reputation of a madman.

1. The political situation

The first World War seriously disrupted the French economy, which affected the colonies. In 1918, the French imposed excessive taxes on the local population, trying to make the colony more profitable. Those who could not pay his taxes with silver or opium, were forced even to sell their children; the colonial authorities began to use forced labor.

2. Youth

PA Tea was an orphan, he grew up in the province of Lao Cai in the family of his uncle Cao Chu Vue (Xauv Tswb Vwj). From childhood he was a born leader. He often showed a spectacular show — for example, jumping onto the roof of the house and blew a cotton ball. The Hmong began to attribute to him supernatural powers. He got married, he had a son. He showed great social activity. He stated that he communicates with God, who will protect the Hmong, will make them rich and healthy, and will free them from Thai and French. He taught the Hmong the letter. His followers worshipped him like the Messiah.

He managed to raise and unite a large number of Hmong against French rule. The movement spread North of Laos and North Vietnam. and takee the South of China. The rebellion raised PA Tea, was covered in the French literature as “the mad Rebellion” (FR.  Guerre Du Fou . Nrog Paj Cai).

3. The rebellion

The beginning of the uprising, the Hmong split into two opposing factions — those who hated the French regime (and suffered from taxes, and from the Lao tax collectors), and those who were satisfied with the French authorities.

The uprising was a purely Hmong movement. The Hmong used a weapon of its own production, the powder was improved and gave a large blast effect. Had developed effective tactics of guerrilla warfare in the jungle, which at first led the French into confusion. At the same time France was forced to wage war in Europe.

The uprising spread to the territory 40 000 square kilometers. The French used harsh punitive measures. The Hmong, suffering defeat, were sure to blame their own soldiers who violate the Oath to the Sky.

4. Death

According to the stories. attitudes among the Hmong, PA Tea was killed on the French plan. Knowing about the feud between the peoples of Khmu and Hmong, they enlisted mercenaries from Khmu to find PA Tea. In other stories, they bribed someone close to the PA Tea. Know the name of only one of the four killed PA Tea — Khao Kuam Lis . When PA Tea carried his son back to his hut in Muong Heup (near the city of Luang Prabang) where he was hiding, he was waylaid in ambush. He was killed along with his son with a shotgun on November 17, 1921. He cut off the head, and with his gun brought for examination to the French authorities.

After the death of PA Tea the confrontation between the Hmong continued. At first, the supporters of PA Tea was persecuted. Later the nephew of PA Tea Tobi Lifang have gained power and began to fight against the Japanese and Communists.

Hmong was named in honor of PA Tea herb with small red flowers — “Nrog PA Tea”, which blooms in winter in December – January.

The Communist government of Laos formed from the Hmong squadron behalf of the PA Tea.

6. Link


Le Boulanger, P. 1969; Histoire du Laos Francais (Farnborough : Gregg International).


Gunn, Geoffrey. 1990. Rebellion in Laos: Peasants and Politics in a Colonial Backwater. Boulder: Westview Press. (pages 151-60)

Historical figures of the Hmong