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Taiping Rebellion

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    Posted: 24 Jun 2009 at 16:56
the Taiping Rebellion was according to some the second bloodiest war in human history after ww2. it was led by a guy who styled himself brother of Jesus and was consdidered mentally ill by contemporaries. the rebellion occured at the same time as the American Civil War but was bloodier and started ten years earlier.

considdering this, i found it hard to believe that such a significant rebellion was led by someone who was mentally ill for so long, i mean who follows a madman? also i'm intrigued by the religious implications as he supposedly considdered himself younger brother of Jesus, so does that mean Christianity is indirectly responsible for one of the major bloodsheds in history? what is actually the stance of the established Christian Churches on that? his 'religion' has been called a heterodox form of Christianity by the establsihed Churches but this is soemwhat funny, considdering how all forms of modern day Christianity are heterodox as far as i can tell.

others have argued that this rebellion was not a social rebellion contra the Qign dynasty but a national uprising of Hakka and Zhuang vs the Manchu and Han. is that so? apparently both Sun Yatsen and Mao zedogn considdered the Taiping Rebellion as early form of social rebellion vs the established Imperial order.

finally, what contributed to the ultimate downfall and failure of the Taiping? some people argue it was because they've styled it Taiping Heavenly Kingdom, which defies the traditional view of a single unified China "All under Heaven". others said the lack of support from the neighbouring Nian rebellion in Anhui province, particularly in the Taipings northern campaign against the Qing capital of Beijing. then there was also the involvement of the Colonial Powers after the Taipings started to threaten their trade in China. was it a mistake by the Taiping?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Paul Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Jun 2009 at 17:22
He wasn't considered insane by his kings. Both the captured kings when being interviewed told the Chinese they genuinely believed in him and his religion.
 
The Taiping movement failed because of the coup and subsequent civil war that weakened them. The war effort was lead by the Wing King who had conquered most their territory and stayed loyal to Hong during the coup but was criticised by Hong after, so he upped and left with his army. The Taiping lost their veteran army and most able commander.
 
Later when Nanking was being beseiged Loyal Prince Lee the other quality Taiping general was not allowed to properly defend the city thanks to the then raving Hong interfering, after when interviewed he reckoned he could have held off the Manchu onslaught and extracated his army from the city given free reign.
 
 


Edited by Paul - 24 Jun 2009 at 17:25
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Prince of Zeila Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Jun 2009 at 09:46

I watched the movie 'Warlords' and had heard of this historical event before, but i never realized the scale of it until i read the opening text of the movie stating it was as bloody as WWII!. This event would be one of the domino stones responsible for the weakness and fall of Later Qing.  

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote cfdghbbster Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 Jul 2009 at 03:10
Taiping movement had a good policy at beginning, the leader Hong, who is a farmer, distributed the plowland to every farmer, and got the supports of farmer-class, which was the biggest class in China. When the bigger movement getting ,the less manager he had(he is a farmer, less educated). so he began to enjoy the life, and ignored other good opinnions(for example, a famous guy who from oversea, suggested him manage the 'country' like other west country). finally, he failed in Nanjing, which was the capital of Taiping movement.
BTW, Mao Zedong did the different with him, so Mao successed and he failed.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote lirelou Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Jul 2009 at 18:38
My knowledge of the Taiping rebellionis limited to a single book, Spence's. (profiled here at: http://www.amazon.com/Gods-Chinese-Son-Taiping-Heavenly/dp/0393315568/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top)

As I recall, Hong was translating the bible into Chinese when he began to have headaches, fevers, and visions. I doubt that any christians would consider his somewhat esoteric vision of Christianity as bearing even a passing resemblance to Christianity. On an aside, there is a "China Post One" of the American Legion named for Frederick Ward Townsend, the founder of what became the "Ever Victorious Army" during the Taiping Rebellion. This was the first Chinese unit raised on western standards and provided an example of what Chinese troops could do if modernized. (see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frederick_Townsend_Ward)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Lance Armstrong Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Jul 2009 at 22:33
Where do the casuality estimates for the Taiping rebellion come from?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote tradition Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Aug 2009 at 09:49
Originally posted by Lance Armstrong Lance Armstrong wrote:

Where do the casuality estimates for the Taiping rebellion come from?
my english is poor,but i can anwser your question
 
 
 a missionary in china estimate 20 million chineseman die in the taiping rebellion in that time .
 
 
and the chinese historian estimate 50million or 70 million chinesemen die in the taiping period,accoriding the record of population in qing dynasty.but first, those record is not very exact,second,these casuality number conclude nian rebellion and Hui rebellion. most of them died for starvation
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote tradition Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Aug 2009 at 10:05
in fact, hong is  like the founder of a religion ,but the religion is not christian,it is heresy founded by hong and his gangs.
 
 
his policy like Khmer Rouge in combodia.force erver people to destroy their families,join the concentration camp,diveded men and women.they called men camp and women camp.but the leader hong have over more 80 women as his sex slave.kuomingtang say hong is a nationalist,ccp say hong is  a great soldier of Class struggle,bec they use history served for the politics.in that time.hong and his changmao army(long hair army)is Symbol of evil and fear
 
 
if you guys know chinese,you can come here,down load chinese history book freely,thousands of books
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote lirelou Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Aug 2009 at 15:24
Tradition, in reference to: "if you guys know chinese,you can come here,down load chinese history book freely, thousands of books"


Actually, the book I referenced in my last post contains all the negative factors you mention about the Taiping rebellion. It would be nice if everyone could read Chinese, but I'm afraid most of the world will have to do in English. In many English language sources, the shorthand term for the Taiping armies is "Black Flags", a reference to their raising a black flag as a sign that no one could retreat, and no quarter would be given their enemies. This is the first time I've seen them referred to as"Long Hair Army". I assume that this was a reference to the
ir use of the older long hair topknot style of hair, similar to what we see in modern martial arts movies, instead of the long hair braided into a cue, the men's hairstyle that was mandatory to show loyalty to the Qing.

The Taiping creed was a cult rather than a heresy.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote tradition Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Aug 2009 at 17:53
you are right,Before Qing Dynasty, the Chinese does not have a haircut,Because the Confucianist said, own all are the parents gives.
Qing Dynasty's braid is the Manchu nationality person's symbol which the achievement conquers the han nation.
so the taiping rebellion call themself long hair sometimes.and qing's army call taiping creed the 
Bandit of long hair.chinese is chang mao (long hair)
 

 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote tradition Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Aug 2009 at 18:14

spencer's book,of course, i read all the spencer's book in chinese version,

but the book  is too simple for me, i have a book called the taiping rebellion in china,writed by a colonel in that time,but how can i upload it?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote RollingWave Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Aug 2009 at 09:58
Hong Xiu Chuang was pretty well educated actually, he's born to a farmer's family but they were small land owning farmers. so he had a traditional education and was considered by the locals to have a good chance in passing the imperial exam to become a Qing dynasty offical. he tried 3 times and failed the local exams though, and gave up while on his way to the 4th. but anyway. he was far from an uneducated farmer. he was by Qing dynasty standards amoung the top 5% of educated people (and probably higher). 
 
The war was particularly bad because it tore through the most populated region of the world at that time (and still today anyway) the Pearl River and Yangtsi river region.  so obviously a lot of people got in the way of the rebellion. which lead to the huge casualties. and since it was a rebellion and the nature of the Taiping for most of it's stages were like maruaders. moving around from city to city looting, only holding a few place  permently. it was a war with no obvious borders and definition.  so it was a lot like the Eastern front in WW2, or the initial stages of the Japanese invasion into China . but it lasted a lot longer.
 
The timing the place it took was probably the biggest factor though, at that stage. the Qing population was at it's zenith but it was in a state of overpopulation. and during the various stages of the rebellion it also coincided was several major natural disastors like the famine in the south and one of the worest flood of the century in the north. with most of the country being in a state of chaos but with a huge population that was on the brink of exploding anyway. it amplified the situation that much more.
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote necoo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Aug 2010 at 09:15

I watched the movie 'Warlords' and had heard of this historical event before, but i never realized the scale of it until i read the opening text of the movie stating it was as bloody as WWII!. This event would be one of the domino stones responsible for the weakness and fall of Later Qing.  



Edited by gcle2003 - 21 Aug 2010 at 16:09
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote lirelou Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Aug 2010 at 15:07
Yes, the Taiping rebellion showed the weaknesses of Qing China to its Han subjects. An interesting footnote to that war was the career of Frederick Townsend Ward and the development of the "Ever Victorious Army, which, if Ward had had his way, would have been commanded by a Filipino upon his death. Instead, the Chinese government opted for a British Army Engineer officer named Gordon.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frederick_Townsend_Ward  
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote RollingWave Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Jul 2011 at 09:53
Originally posted by Paul Paul wrote:

He wasn't considered insane by his kings. Both the captured kings when being interviewed told the Chinese they genuinely believed in him and his religion.
 

The Taiping movement failed because of the coup and subsequent civil war that weakened them. The war effort was lead by the Wing King who had conquered most their territory and stayed loyal to Hong during the coup but was criticised by Hong after, so he upped and left with his army. The Taiping lost their veteran army and most able commander.

 

Later when Nanking was being beseiged Loyal Prince Lee the other quality Taiping general was not allowed to properly defend the city thanks to the then raving Hong interfering, after when interviewed he reckoned he could have held off the Manchu onslaught and extracated his army from the city given free reign.

 

 


This is only part of the equation, the real issue have deeper roots.


The Taiping rebellion thought to dismantle a lot of the things that held the Chinese society together . This "war" continued for much longer than the Rebels and in reality it's final cultimation was the Cultural Revolution, over 100 years later. So in effect, Mao Zhi Dong finished what Hong started.

If you view it in this context, you will see why rebellion ended up unsuccessful, why many Qing locals fought against them and not for them. The internal split really came after the movement past it's zeneth and was becomming clear that it was not going to overthrow the Qing.

The biggest issue lies in understanding why in China it was able to sustain long stable dynasties over such a massive realm. This answer lies in how the social structure formed, especially from the Song dynasty onward.

Unlike most other places in the civilized world, China essentially removed Nobilities from politics at a very early date, this process began very early but became very well enforced by the Song dynasty. And the one key that tied it all together was the Imperial exam.

In short, the Imperial Exam's role in the formation of Chinese history can not be overstated, for the Song / Ming / Qing era, it was essentially the center of the entire social order. the glue that held everything together.

Because officials come from such exams and their titles were generally not inheritable and the exam were generally fair and incorruptable, it became the center basis for both political participation and social movements for China, many social phenomenons form base on this, and the core of the society, the middle to upper class elites, are almost all tied into this system.


How does that tie into the Taiping TianGou (The Heavenly Kingdom of Eternal Peace) though? because Hong was a radical, he wanted to reshape the society as part of the rebellion, he was not a ture politician in the sense that he does not understand what was holding China together and how to win the heart and mind of those that would help him succeed.

The Taiping system was essentially founed in military terms, he made lords of his main genearl not unlike a western Feudal system, what's more was that he had banned the imperial exam system (though was never really clear on what system would replace it) . part of this probably comes out of self hatred for the exam as he had failed in multiple attempts to pass it.

This seemingly simple step essentially doomed the movement, first off it basically meant that no Qing official (all of them from imperial exams) would surrender or think about defecting to his side, and in fact many local gentries organized against them, in the end the two biggest forces that defeated them (the army of the Xian and Army of the Hui) were precisely local militia forced organized by local gentries.

The imperial system formation gave considerable power to the local gentries, though they were commoners, if they pass even the lower levels of the exam they were usually considered something of an honory citizen, if they are familes of officals then they usually exerted considerable local influences, espeically since local governments in Chinese history were usually very small and was only there to mostly settle dispute and collect taxes. Thus you could say it was the gentries that actually run China outside of it's capitals. IN many places laws were enforced more often by those people then by officials.


The other interesting aspect of Hong's extreme views on social politics is that he was essentiallly aiming for a communist society ( a reason why Mao and the CCP generally regard him as a hero). he wanted to abolish private land ownership and generally aimed for a communist agenda, the problem was that his lords and himself were living a lavished life during all this so it was hardly convincing to the public (and even if they weren't, such extreme measures would take many many decades to really push through).



The funny irony of all this though, is that the Qing dynasty ALSO had it's last straw on the camel's back by ending the imperial exam.


The history of China after the end of the the Qing until the death of Mao can be viewed through the prism of a society where the old order was suddenly shattered and remanents of it (like the gentry's control of the rural areas) still remained, thus it was a society in chaos and all the combatants searched for the answer to recreat a new order. Ultimately it was Mao that succeeded, though the means of which would forever be a sad sad tale .


Hong was ... at least until he locked himself in his palace at Nanjing, not actually crazy, he was more of a political extremist then anything else. But he was not a Karl Marx or even a Lenin / Stalin that truely understood the politics and the society it was in and/or is a true scholar with a complete thought process,
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Lao Tse Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Jun 2012 at 15:20
My opinion is that the Taiping Rebellion was brought upon by foreigners stealing port cities, and that part of Zhenggong wanted to be seperated from foreign rule. You must remember that the Qing Dynasty was not han chinese or even wei, rouran, or mongol, they were manchu. Nanking has always had a terrible past, the walls, the rebellions, and the Japanese attacking it didn't really help.
在財富的害處,而是一件好事永遠不持續。我在和平中仅居住在新的風下。 Wei Jia Hong No harm in wealth, but a good thing doesn't last forever. I live only among peace under
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote lirelou Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Jun 2012 at 16:14
Lao Tse, Do you mean the Taiping Rebellion, or the Boxer Rebellion? I see very little connection between the Taipings and foreign concessions. On the other hand, the Boxer Rebellion was overtly anti-foreign, as was the Tonghak (Eastern Learning) rebellion in nearby Korea, which was contemporary with the Boxers (1894-95), both of which may have found similar movements in the Japanese rebellions of a decade earlier.

Of course, the last Black Flag armies did fight a proxy-Chinese campaign against the French in Northern Vietnam the early 1880s, which certainly was a campaign to deny the French a foothold closer to China proper.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Lao Tse Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Jun 2012 at 23:31
I mean actually both rebellions. Taiping had a larger connection to Religion than the Boxers did. Many generals who opposed Cixi Taihou and Xianfeng Tongbao and were in Nanking at the time were converted Chinese-christian. This was not only a threat to the Aisin Gioro, Yehe Nara, and many other noble clans by power, but a threat to religion, which for the imperial family it was christianity against Chinese tradition. Europeans stealing trade cities was although minor to the Taiping, it was still very major in events leading up to the Boxers Rebellion. A few of the opposers to Cixi Taihou who were christian were Xiao Chaogui, Feng Yunshan, Shi Dakai, and Li Xiucheng. But there is evidence of later influences from Europe. In the last part of the war, France and Britain began fighting aswell.
在財富的害處,而是一件好事永遠不持續。我在和平中仅居住在新的風下。 Wei Jia Hong No harm in wealth, but a good thing doesn't last forever. I live only among peace under
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