I’ve mentioned the Taiping Rebellion often. After writing more than a thousand posts and about four hundred thousand words, it’s difficult to recall all that I’ve said of the man that started this rebellion.
There is irony in Hong Xiuquan’s choice of naming his kingdom. During the years his Christian rebellion thrived, he ruled over a third of China and had an army of more than two million troops.
Since he was a converted Christian, Hong Xiuquan made overtures to the British and French asking for an alliance to help defeat the Godless Qing (Manchu) Dynasty. The British and French turned him down.
After all, profits often come before God. Christians may always ask for forgiveness later.
Xiuquan made his mistake by wanting to rid China of opium, which British merchants along with French, Germans, Americans, etc. wanted to keep selling to the Chinese.
The embedded video is about Hong Xiuquan. Hal Holbrook is the narrator and says, “While the seventh day Sabbath doctrine was gaining ground in America in the middle of the 19th century, the Taiping Revolution was sweeping across China…”
Hong Xiuquan was the ambitious son of a poor, peasant farmer.
However, he had a goal to become successful. After failing the Chinese civil service examinations several times, he met a Chinese Christian convert passing out pamphlets published by Protestant missionaries.
Hong put the pamphlets on a shelf and forgot them. After failing several more civil service exams, Hong suffered a breakdown and had strange dreams of an old man.
Holbrook says, “Traditional Chinese would not attach any importance to dreams unless or until there was some clear connection to real life.” At first, Hong did not see a connection.
Jonathan Spence, the author of God’s Chinese Son, which is about the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom of Hong Xiuquan explains that eventually the connection was made between the dreams and the Protestant pamphlets. The old man in Hong’s dreams had to be God.
After that, Hong Xiuquan believed the purpose of his life was to establish the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom of Great Peace. His religious zeal spread among the suffering peasants and inspired the greatest revolutionary movement of the 19th century.
The Qing Dynasty successfully asked the British and French for help, which allowed the Manchu to crush Hong’s Christian rebellion in 1864. In 19 years of rebellion, more than 20 million died.
Learn more of The Opium Wars (1839 – 1852) and (1856-1860)
Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too.
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