Hani - Sociopolitical Organization



Social Organization. Hani society is both patrilineal and patriarchal. In a family, male children become part of their father's line, while females eventually become part of their husbands' lines. The oldest male is head of the household, and in general decision making women are subservient to men.

Political Organization. As noted earlier, during the Ming dynasty, the Hani were governed according to the tusi system, under which local Hani leaders received official titles from the Chinese emperor. In the Qing dynasty, this system was abolished in some areas and replaced by a system of rule by rotating Chinese officials. In Xishuangbanna, the Hani came under the control of Dai feudal lords. Each district encompassed several tens of villages. Some Hani leaders were also enfeoffed. In the 1950s the Chinese Communist party established the Xishuangbanna Gelang He Hani Autonomous District (1953) and the Honghe Hani Autonomous Prefecture ( zhou ) People's Government (1952), the name of which was changed to the Honghe Hani, Yi, and Dai Autonomous Prefecture in 1957. Since the 1950s there have been Hani cadres at the commune, prefecture, and county levels.


Social Control. Under the tusi system there were no written laws, and a local leader had primary authority. A militia was used for control and offenders were imprisoned. The Hani now come under the Chinese civil and criminal code, although some kinship sanctions do prevail.


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