Secret Societies

China has a long history of secret societies. Some of these were fairly innocuous, even benign. Others were dedicated to overthrowing the Manchu and restoring the earlier dynasty. Many were also martial-arts schools (and viceversa), and students of the school would be recruited into the secret society.

In some areas, these secret societies amounted to bandits or organized criminals. In others, they became a de facto part of the local government, providing police forces, charity centers, and social gatherings. In yet others, they were the government!

Ironically, secret societies eventually became an ally and tool of the ruling

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