Kingdom of Heavenly Peace (1845-1864)

February 13, 2011

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)

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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.

If you want to subscribe to iLook China, there is a “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar.

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Separation of Church and State — Part 1/3

January 6, 2011

In 1998, something dire happened in Washington DC while President Clinton was in the White House and the GOP controlled both houses of Congress.

Clinton must have made a compromise with the GOP since in the 105th Congress, the GOP held 55 seats in the Senate and Newt Gingrich was the Speaker of the House with 228 GOP votes of 435.

I have no idea what Clinton got out of the deal, but what happened was a huge victory for America’s conservative evangelical Christians. It also created a threatening situation for most of the world’s population.

These evangelicals are the same people who want to control women’s reproductive rights in the US and the same people who fight to block sex education designed to combat the spread of HIV AIDS.  These evangelicals are the same people that managed, while President G. W. Bush was living in the White House, to limit stem cell research possibly leading to many early deaths and much suffering among the living. 

To explore more on this topic, see Christian Today Australia – US evanglical engagement in politics is too partisan, say authors or Religion Gone Bad: The Hidden Dangers of the Christian Right.

What President Clinton and the GOP majority in Congress did was turn the U.S. Department of State into a global advocate for organized religion.

For many in China, this blending of government with religion in the US may be of a particular concern since China has a history with Christianity that has often ended badly.

When the treaty was signed ending the First Opium War (1840-1842), the British Empire included a clause that forced China to open its doors to Christian missionaries.

A decade later, the Taiping Rebellion (1851-1864) was led by a Christian convert that wanted to turn China into a Christian nation. In fact, Jonathan D. Spence wrote about this Christian convert in God’s Chinese Son.

In the end, more than twenty million were killed.  Ironically, Hong Xiuquan called the part of China he controlled the Kingdom of Heavenly Peace.

Then in 1900, there was the Boxer Rebellion (Righteous Harmony Society Movement), which was a popular peasant uprising to rid China of meddling Christian missionaries and foreigners.

An armed force made up of military from mostly Christian nations invaded China and ended the Boxer movement. The Christians stayed.

In Part 2, we will see why it is dangerous to allow a government to use taxpayer dollars to get into the business of spreading organized religion across the world.

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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.

If you want to subscribe to iLook China, there is a “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar.