According to the Jinchuan suoji ("Petty Notes on Jinchuan") [note 4] 3 by Li Xinheng [note 5], a paternal aunt of Sonom was the wife of Senggesang [note 6]. Langkya's daughter married Senggesang. Therefore, Langkya is also Sonom's great-uncle.
Sonom, along with Langyka, supported Senggesang's military campaigns. They argued in favor of their actions in reports they sent to the Chinese government. At 19 sui Sonom became the leader of Greater Jichuan after Langkya's death. At the beginning of his rule, Atsang and Atsing assisted him. Ulrich Theobald, author of "The Second Jinchuan Campaign (1771 – 1776) Economic, Social and Political Aspects of an Important Qing Period Border War", wrote that Sonom "hesitated a long time before promising his support to Lesser Jinchuan during the second Jinchuan war."
Circa June 13–14, 1776, Sonom and other rebel leaders were executed by lingchi. Of his family, some of the women were enslaved and given to lords of the Ölöd Mongol and Solun. Other women and the children were sentenced to life imprisonment (永遠監禁; 永远监禁; Yǒngyuǎn jiānjìn; Yung-yüan Chien-chin).
Misidentification as a Hmong king
The 1988 book Hmong: History of a People by H. Keith Quincy stated that Sonom was a Hmong king. The book by Quincy, cited by others, stated that in 1772 Sonom had defeated a Chinese army and that Sonom had held the Chinese government forces at bay for four years. According to the Quincy account, ultimately Sonom surrendered when the Chinese promised that his family would survive if he did so. Instead he and his family were executed. Paul Hillmer, the author of the A People’s History of the Hmong, wrote that "This compelling story helps set a dramatic tone for discussing the Hmong's life of hardship in China".
Robert Entenmann, author of "The Myth of Sonom, the Hmong King," stated that Sonom in fact was not Hmong. Entenmann argued that the use of the word "Miao" was imprecise during the time when Jean Joseph Marie Amiot wrote an account of the Jinchuan Wars, since the Qing government under the Qianlong Emperor referred to all ethnic minorities in Southwest China as "Miao people" (苗民; Miáomín; Miao-min). Amiot uses "Miao-tsée" (苗子; Miáozi; Miao-tzu) to refer to the Gyalrong people, of which Sonom was a part. This is distinct from the word "Miaozu" (苗族; Miáozú; Miao-tsu).
François Marie Savina, in Histoire des Miao, reprinted the account by Amiot. Entenmann stated that Savina made the error confusing the Gyalrong for the Hmong because he "was unfamiliar with Chinese history and the subtleties of Chinese vocabulary" even though he had studied Chinese. The word "Miao" in general was also used to refer to Hmong people. Entenmann stated that the book Hmong: History of a People "does not offer a reliable history of the Hmong in China" because Quincy was "evidently not trained as a historian" and did not read Chinese, so he introduced the error made by Savina. Jean Mottin also included the Savina account in The History of the Hmong (Meo).
Anne Fadiman in her book The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down cited Quincy and stated that Sonom was Hmong. Entenmann wrote that because of the reliance on Quincy's book, Fadiman's book propagated the mistaken idea that Sonom was a Hmong king.
Hillmer wrote that Entenmann's article "has largely proved[...]that Sonom was not Hmong".
- Langkya: Chinese: 郎卡; pinyin: Lángkǎ; Wade–Giles: Lang-k'a
- Atsang: 阿倉; Ācāng; A-ts'ang
- Shaloben Gangdak: 莎羅奔岡達克; 莎罗奔冈达克; Shāluóbēn Gāngdákè; Sha-lo-pen Kang-ta-k'o
- Jinchuan suoji: 金川瑣記; 金川琐记; Jīnchuān Suǒjì; Chin-ch'uan So-chi - It is within Congshu jicheng (叢書集成; 丛书集成; Cóngshū Jíchéng; Ts'ung-shu Chi-ch'eng) Volume 3199
- Li Xinheng: 李心衡; Lǐ Xīnhéng; Li Hsin-heng
- Senggesang: 僧格桑; Sēnggésāng; Seng-ko-sang
- Leržirhi 勒爾日爾習; 勒尔日尔习; Lèěrrìěrxí; Le-erh-jih-erh-hsi
- Atsing: 阿青; Āqīng; A-ch'ing
- Dundju Wangdjar 敦珠汪札爾; 敦珠汪札尔; Dūnzhū Wāngzháěr; Tun-chu Wang-cha-erh
- Entenmann, Robert (St. Olaf College). "The Myth of Sonom, the Hmong King" (Archive). Hmong Studies Journal, Volume 6, 2005. p. 1. Retrieved on July 11, 2014.
- Theobald, Ulrich. "The Second Jinchuan Campaign (1771 – 1776) Economic, Social and Political Aspects of an Important Qing Period Border War" (Archive) (PhD thesis). University of Tübingen, 2010.
- Entenmann, p. 4.
- Theobald, Ulrich. War Finance and Logistics in Late Imperial China: A Study of the Second Jinchuan Campaign (1771–1776) (Monies, Markets, and Finance in East Asia, 1600-1900). BRILL, July 11, 2013. ISBN 9004255672, 9789004255678. p. 20.
- Theobald, "The Second Jinchuan Campaign," p. 60 (PDF 70/458). "Senggesang was supported by two of his relatives in Greater Jinchuan, Sonom 索諾木 and Langyka, who both wrote official reports to the imperial court to defend their aggressions." and "Langkya in Greater Jinchuan died from a disease, allegedly likewise caused by an evil spell mantra cast by the king of Gebshidza. His heir was his fourth son Sonom, aged 19 sui,132 and therefore assisted by his mother Atsang 阿倉 and his aunt Atsing 阿青."
- Theobald, "The Second Jinchuan Campaign," p. 83 (PDF 93/458).
- Theobald, "The Second Jinchuan Campaign," p. 431 (PDF 441/458), the Bibliography section.
- Theobald, "The Second Jinchuan Campaign," p. 59 (PDF 69/458). "130 Pingding Liang Jinchuan fanglüe 5, fol. 11b-12a (QL 32/2/wushen). The Jinchuan suoji 3, p. 26, writes that Senggesang’s wife was the aunt (gu 姑) of Sonom, which would mean that Langkya was Sonom’s great- uncle."
- Theobald, "The Second Jinchuan Campaign," p. 61 (PDF 71/458). "Sonom offered the excuse that the king of Gebshidza had planned to kill his nephew Dundju Wangdjar 敦珠汪札爾 and[...]" and "The Jinchuan suoji 3, p. 26, says that the murderer was Sonom’s grandfather (zu 祖) Leržirhi 勒爾日爾習."
- Theobald, "The Second Jinchuan Campaign (1771 – 1776) Economic, Social and Political Aspects of an Important Qing Period Border War," p. 30 (PDF 40/458). "6.2. Even Sonom, the rebel leader, had been assisted by his mother and an aunt at the beginning of his reign as lord of Greater Jinchuan (see below)."
- Theobald, "The Second Jinchuan Campaign," p. 13 (PDF 23/458).
- Theobald, "The Second Jinchuan Campaign," p. 84 (PDF 94/458).
- Entenmann, p. 1.
- Hillmer, Paul. A People’s History of the Hmong (UPCC book collections on Project MUSE). Minnesota Historical Society, 2010. ISBN 0873517903, 9780873517904. Google Books Page unstated PT20.
- Entenmann, p. 5.
- Entenmann, p. 6.
- Entenmann, p. 14. "30 Herbert A. Giles, A Chinese-English Dictionary, 2nd ed. (Shanghai: Kelly & Walsh, 1912), p. 973. "Miaozi 苗子" — which has a pejorative connotation — must be distinguished from "Miaozu 苗族" (Miao nationality), which does not." and "33 Nicholas Tapp's harsh criticism of the book as "extraordinarily inaccurate and utterly misleading" is fully justified. See his review essay, "The State of Hmong Studies," in Nicholas Tapp, Jean Michaud, Christian Culas, and Gary Yia Lee, eds. Hmong/Miao in Asia (Chiangmai: Silkworm Books, 2004). "
- Entenmann, p. 12.