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The term shanlin
山林 means literally "mountain and forest" in Chinese and was frequently used to describe bandits
Bandits is a 2001 American crime-comedy drama film directed by Barry Levinson. It stars Bruce Willis, Billy Bob Thornton, and Cate Blanchett. Filming began in October 2000 and ended in February 2001. It helped Thornton earn a National Board of Review Best Actor Award for 2001...
Manchuria is a historical name given to a large geographic region in northeast Asia. Depending on the definition of its extent, Manchuria usually falls entirely within the People's Republic of China, or is sometimes divided between China and Russia. The region is commonly referred to as Northeast...
from the time of the Qing dynasty, because they knew the local wooded and mountainous terrain very well. Most operated in a fairly small district and took pains to maintain the goodwill of local peasants. As a result, government troops had great difficulty in suppressing them. After the Republic of China
The Republic of China , commonly known as Taiwan , is a unitary sovereign state located in East Asia. Originally based in mainland China, the Republic of China currently governs the island of Taiwan , which forms over 99% of its current territory, as well as Penghu, Kinmen, Matsu and other minor...
was founded, they often were recruited as soldiers to end their bandit career.
It was a term frequently used later for remnants of the Anti-Japanese Volunteer Armies
After the Japanese invasion of Manchuria, and until 1933, large volunteer armies waged war against Japanese and Manchukuo forces over much of Northeast China....
that resisted the Japanese invasion of Manchuria in the Second Sino-Japanese War
The Second Sino-Japanese War was a military conflict fought primarily between the Republic of China and the Empire of Japan. From 1937 to 1941, China fought Japan with some economic help from Germany , the Soviet Union and the United States...
. Some did not flee after the defeat of the armies and fought on as small guerrilla units, called shanlin.