The Connection between Opium, Christianity, Cults and Cannon Balls in China

March 1, 2011

Organized religions and cults such as the Falun Gong have been in China for centuries, but have never played a major role in the culture until the 19th century when Christianity was forced on China.

C.M. Cipolla wrote in his book, Guns, Sails and Empires, “While Buddha came to China on white elephants, Christ was born on cannon balls” powered by opium.

The treaty that ended the opium wars included a clause that required China to allow Christian missionaries free access to all of China to convert the heathens.

Then the Taiping Rebellion led by Hong Xiuquan, God’s Chinese son and a Christian convert, was responsible for more than 20 million deaths. Hong claimed to be the younger brother of Jesus Christ. Millions believed him.

In the early months of 1900, thousands of Boxers, officially known as Fists of Righteous Harmony, roamed the countryside attacking Christian missions, slaughtering foreign missionaries and Chinese converts.

Confucius and possibly Lao-Tse have influenced the foundation of Chinese culture and morality the most. These two along with Buddha offer more of a blended influence on Chinese culture than Christianity or Islam.

Thanks to Confucius, China’s mainstream culture understands the importance of people within the family and society more so than many other countries and cultures.

This may explain why China is a powerhouse of industry today.

Learn of Christianity and Islam in China


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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Note: This post first appeared on iLook China March 11, 2010 as post # 128. This revised version reappears as post # 1095.

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)


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.

The Question of Religion (2/2)

August 13, 2010

Think of the violence and wars that religions have caused—the Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition, genocide against the Cathars (see video), the wars between Catholics and Protestants, and the persecution of Jews by both Muslims and Christians.

Then there are Islamic fundamentalists and the suffering and death caused by their religious beliefs.

Although most people in China are not religious, religions have caused uprising and wars in China too.

The Ming Dynasty (1368-1643) came about due to a rebellion against the Mongol Yuan Dynasty led by a religious sect known as the “Red Turbans” or “Red Scarves”, which included elements from “White Lotus”, a Buddhist sect from the late Southern Song Dynasty. Source: New World Encyclopedia

During the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) when the Manchu minority ruled China, there were a number of religious uprisings.

There was the White Lotus Rebellion (1796-1804) in the mountain region that separates Sichuan province from Hubei and Shaanxi provinces. The White Lotus was a secret religious society promising salvation to its followers similar to the Falun Gong today.

A Christian convert claiming to be the younger brother of Jesus Christ led the Taiping Rebellion (1850-1864) and more than 20 million died.

The Panthay Rebellion (1856-1873) was a separatist movement led by the Hui people and Chinese Muslims.

There was also the Dungan revolt (1862-1877), led by Muslims in China’s Shaanxi, Gansu, Ningxia and Xinjiang provinces. Chinese historians and officials believed that Islam played a role in causing that uprising.

Maybe the reason China survived for thousands of years without collapsing as Western civilization did when Rome fell was the absence of a major religious movement in China stirring the peoples’ emotions.

Instead of listening to God from the mouths of Popes, prophets and priests, the Chinese had a blend of Confucianism and Taoism, which the family taught by example.

Return to The Question of Religion – Part 1


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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Three Hundred Years – Part 5 of 5

April 7, 2010

When I read the Chinese Constitution, Article 35 does say, “Citizens of the People’s Republic of China enjoy freedom of speech, of the press, of assembly, of association, of procession and of demonstration.”

However, there are resitrictions to Article 35 when other articles in the Constitution are considered.

Article 1. The People’s Republic of China is a socialist state under the people’s democratic dictatorship led by the working class and based on the alliance of workers and peasants. The socialist system is the basic system of the People’s Republic of China. Sabotage of the socialist system by any organization or individual is prohibited.

Liy Xiaobo and his wife

Regardless of how many in the West sympathize with Liu Xiaobo’s prison sentence, he was sent to prison according to Article 28 of China’s Constitution. Liu had to know what the potential consequences were. After all, the Chinese Constitution is taught in the public schools.

There will always be individuals in China like Hong Xiuquan, Liu Xiaobo and other Chinese activists who would fit better in a Western culture than in China.

The only way to change China is if the West fought an apocalyptic war killing more than a hundred million Chinese then spent three hundred (or more) years brainwashing future generations to adopt Western ways.

This should please American neo-conservatives, since it would create a world they advocate.

See American Genocide


Three Hundred Years – Part 3 of 5

April 6, 2010

After the Opium Wars, Christian missionaries flooded China. Hong Xiuquan, a failed student of Confucian doctrine, found success after converting to Christianity. Hong claimed that he was the younger brother of Jesus Christ and started the Taiping Rebellion that lasted more than a decade and cost more than twenty million people their lives.

Hong Xiuquan - God's Chinese Son

Hong’s goals were to replace the Ch’ing Dynasty and rid China of Opium. After achieving that goal, he was going to convert China to a Christian nation and he would be the first Christian emperor.

Since the English and French did not want the opium trade stopped, these Christian nations helped the Ch’ing Dynasty defeat the Taipings even though the rebellion was a Christian uprising. I wonder if Liu Xiaobo had this in mind when he said what it would take to change China to be as Hong Kong is today.

See When in Rome, Do as the Romans