“Instead of being imprisoned like other offenders, the Hmong who were not executed outright were to have their noses, ears, or testicles sliced off. The Hmong rebelled; the Chinese cracked down; the Hmong rebelled again; the Chinese cracked down again; and after a few centuries of this the Hmong gradually retreated from their rice fields in the valleys of the Yangtze and Yellow rivers, moving to more and more southerly latitudes and higher and higher altitudes. “That is how the Miao* became mountain people,” wrote Father Savina. “That is also how they were able to preserve their independence in the midst of other peoples, maintaining intact, along with their language and their customs, the ethnic spirit of their race.”"
Excerpt From: Anne Fadiman. “The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down.” iBooks.