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Your reader barcode: Your last name:. Cite this Email this Add to favourites Print this page. You must be logged in to Tag Records. In the Library Request this item to view in the Library's reading rooms using your library card. Details Collect From YY Order a copy Copyright or permission restrictions may apply.

We will contact you if necessary. To learn more about Copies Direct watch this short online video. Need help? How do I find a book? Can I borrow this item? Can I get a copy? These behaviours angered the educated Chinese literati, making them develop less favourable opinions towards the rebels Kuhn The ideology of the Taiping rebellion was so alien to ordinary Chinese that it rendered its propaganda of overthrowing the barbarian rulers unappealing since the rebels were worse in terms of preserving Chinese culture and traditions Boardman Such perception costed the Taiping Rebellion the potential support of the ordinary Chinese and the powerful landed gentry class were in particular upset and antagonized by the horrendous conducts of the rebels Jin Eventually, some of the local defence systems organized into forceful armies such as the Xiang Army and the Huai Army, later proven to be the nemeses of the Taiping Rebels, eventually annihilating them altogether Xia The prevalence of these local defence systems was the best testament to the unpopularity of the Taiping Rebellions in these parts of China.

From a purely utilitarian point of view, it is difficult to envision why the Taiping rebels decided to adopt such a radical approach to the traditional Chinese belief systems. While the largely uneducated Hakka rebels could be easily tricked into abandoning the traditional Chinese belief systems and such acts could enhance coherence and solidarity among them, the practical purpose of such acts was annulled when the power base of the Heavenly Kingdom shifted to Jiangsu and Zhejiang, the two provinces which had long been the stronghold of traditional Chinese culture Wang A potential counter-argument could be that similar iconoclastic activities happened during other rebellions as well, e.

While it is true that the Dungan Revolt involved mass destruction of Chinese religious establishments Xiao , there was no evidence that it was deliberately and systematically conducted, like what happened during the Taiping Rebellion. Furthermore, the iconoclastic activities of the Dungan Revolt did not serve any particular objective. There was no proselytizing attempt although some non-Muslim Chinese did convert due to fear Wu The iconoclastic activities were best regarded as savage behaviour stemming from ethnic hatred and complete chaos during the revolt.

Additionally, in any case the Dungan Revolt was subject to foreign ideological influence, i. Wahhabism and enjoyed little support among non-Muslim Chinese as well Gillete Another rebellion may better serve the role of a more typical Chinese rebellion for the purpose of comparison.

The Panthay Rebellion in Yunnan, which happened around the same time as the Taiping Rebellion, led by the Chinese Muslims too presented a rather different picture. The leader of the rebellion, Du Wenxiu, was a xiucai, and a devout believer of a monotheistic religion, like Hong Xiuquan.


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Du Wenxiu did encourage the development of Islam to a certain extent. However, there was no overt attempt to fundamentally challenge the time-honoured institutions in China and Du was content to allow the Han and the Yi to keep practising their respective religions without much interference Xiao The Panthay Rebellion had better chance of success in this regard as the leaders were more concerned with gaining political and military power rather than ideological unity. Accordingly, the Panthay Rebellion did not encounter the same degree of resistance by the local defence systems experienced by the Taiping Rebellion Xiao In contrast, the Taiping rebellion had a strong ideological focus and a vision to establish the Heavenly Kingdom on earth, led by the son of Jehovah — Hong Xiuquan, whose concept should be accepted without questioning by every decent person living under his just rule, even if the odds of doing so were clearly against his favour.

Being at least nominally Christian, it seemed natural for the rebels to invite their powerful Western religious brethren to aid them. Why was it not the case? His fellow rebels were mostly illiterate peasants who received very little education and there was ample evidence that the Christian ideology had being re-interpreted by them, e. Despite wild discrepancies between the Taiping Christianity and Christianity in the Western nations, the rebels were initially well received by Christian nations with America, Britain and France dispatching missionaries to the rebels Zhang The Westerners once considered treating the Taiping rebels as potentially better partners to deal with than the Qing officials Boardman However, the initial feeling of co-religiosity soon waned due to closer observation of the rebellion.

Upon finding out the true nature of the ideology of the rebellion, some Christian missionaries offered to guide it back to orthodox Christianity. Hong, however, was very adamant and firmly adhered to his own interpretation Zhang By doing so, Hong effectively severed the link of his ideology with all other forms of Christianity, resulting in losing potential powerful allies. The case of Yang Xiuqing should be analysed further as it caused the Taiping ideology to work against the rebellion even among the Hakka, who had been pious believers of the ideology.

With the benefit of hindsight, there was no doubt that this was political manoeuvring and not some sort of supernatural phenomenon. This sequence of events showed that the exploitation of the loophole in the ideology of the Taiping Rebellion had a disastrous impact on the rebellion. When the ugly reality behind the glamorous ideology was exposed, the earlier positive influence brought by the ideology reversed and instead adversely influenced the diehard followers of the rebellion, the Hakka people.

Eventually, the internal conflicts escalated further and further, causing the implosion of the rebellion. Conclusion: The Taiping Rebellion was remarkable, from its miraculous inception and explosive growth to its tumultuous struggle and quick downfall.

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The influence of the Taiping ideology is evident in every phase of the rebellion, first initiating and aiding the rebellion, and then working to its detriment. The ideology does not explain everything during the rebellion but was nevertheless something that should not be ignored. Although the multifaceted effect of Christianity on the Taiping Rebellion was certainly not limited to what was discussed in the essay, it shows how Christianity was intricately interwoven with the fortune of the Taiping Rebellion. The Nian Rebellion —68 , and several Muslim rebellions in the southwest Panthay Rebellion , —73 and the northwest Dungan revolt , —77 continued to pose considerable problems for the Qing dynasty.

He was not aiming his rebellion at Han Chinese, but was anti-Qing and wanted to destroy the Manchu government. The other Muslim rebellion, the Dungan revolt was the reverse: it was not aimed at overthrowing the Qing dynasty since its leader Ma Hualong accepted an imperial title. Rather, it erupted due to intersectional fighting between Muslim factions and Han Chinese. Various groups fought each other during the Dungan revolt without any coherent goal.

The rebels announced social reforms, including strict separation of the sexes, abolition of foot binding , land socialisation, and "suppression" of private trade. In religion, the Kingdom tried to replace Confucianism , Buddhism and Chinese folk religion with a form of Christianity, holding that Hong Xiuquan was the younger brother of Jesus.

Troops were nicknamed "long hair", because they sported a traditional Confucian hairstyle that was different from the queue , which was customary in the Qing dynasty. Within the land it controlled, the Taiping Heavenly Army established a theocratic and highly militarised rule. However, the rule was remarkably ineffective, haphazard and brutal; all efforts were concentrated on the army, and civil administration was non-existent. Rule was established in the major cities and the land outside the urban areas was little regarded.

Even though polygamy was banned, Hong Xiuquan had numerous concubines and frequently mistreated them.

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Marxism, Religion and the Taiping Revolution

Many high-ranking Taiping officials kept concubines as a matter of prerogative, and lived as de facto kings. The Taiping army was the rebellion's key strength. It was marked by a high level of discipline and fanaticism. They typically wore a uniform of red jackets with blue trousers, and grew their hair long so in China they were nicknamed "long hair".

The large numbers of women serving in the Taiping army also distinguished it from other 19th-century armies. Combat was always bloody and extremely brutal, with little artillery but huge forces equipped with small arms.

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The Taiping army's main strategy of conquest was to take major cities, consolidate their hold on the cities, then march out into the surrounding countryside to recruit local farmers and battle government forces. Estimates of the overall size of the Taiping army are around , soldiers. These corps were placed into armies of varying sizes. In addition to the main Taiping forces organised along the above lines, there were also thousands of pro-Taiping groups fielding their own forces of irregulars.

Ethnically, the Taiping army was formed at the outset largely from these groups: the Hakka , a Han Chinese subgroup, the Cantonese , local residents of Guangdong province and the Zhuang a non-Han ethnic group , which were minority groups as compared to the Han Chinese subgroups that form dominant regional majorities across south China. It is no coincidence that Hong Xiuquan and the other Taiping royals were Hakka. As a Han subgroup, the Hakka were frequently marginalised economically and politically, having migrated to the regions they inhabit only after other Han groups were already established there.


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For example, when the Hakka settled in Guangdong and parts of Guangxi , speakers of Yue Chinese Cantonese were already the dominant regional Han group there and had been for some time, just as speakers of various dialects of Min are locally dominant in Fujian province. The Hakka settled throughout southern China and beyond, but as latecomers they generally had to establish their communities on rugged, less fertile land scattered on the fringe of the local majority group's settlements. As their name "guest households" suggests, the Hakka were generally treated as migrant newcomers, often subject to hostility and derision from local majority Han populations.

Consequently, the Hakka, to a greater extent than other Han Chinese, have been historically associated with popular unrest and rebellion. The other significant ethnic group in the Taiping army were the Zhuang , an indigenous people of Tai origin and China's largest non-Han ethnic minority group. Over the centuries Zhuang communities had been adopting Han Chinese culture. This was possible because Han culture in the region accommodates a great deal of linguistic diversity, so the Zhuang could be absorbed as if the Zhuang language were just another Han Chinese dialect which it is not.

As Zhuang communities were integrating with the Han at different rates, a certain amount of friction between Han and Zhuang was inevitable, with Zhuang unrest on occasion leading to armed uprisings. Prominent at this level was Shi Dakai , who was half-Hakka, half-Zhuang and spoke both languages fluently, making him quite a rare asset to the Taiping leadership.

In the later stages of the Taiping Rebellion, the number of Han Chinese in the army from Han groups other than the Hakka increased substantially. Socially and economically, the Taiping rebels came almost exclusively from the lowest classes. Many of the southern Taiping troops were former miners, especially those coming from the Zhuang. Very few Taiping rebels, even in the leadership caste, came from the imperial bureaucracy. Almost none were landlords and in occupied territories landlords were often executed. A particularly famous imperial force was Zeng Guofan 's Xiang Army. Although keeping accurate records was something imperial China traditionally did very well, the decentralised nature of the imperial war effort relying on regional forces and the fact that the war was a civil war and therefore very chaotic meant that reliable figures are impossible to find.

The destruction of the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom also meant that any records it possessed were destroyed. Zuo Zongtang from Hunan province was another important Qing general who contributed in suppressing the Taiping Rebellion.

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The Taiping Rebellion was a total war. Almost every citizen of the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom was given military training and conscripted into the army to fight against Qing imperial forces. During this conflict both sides tried to deprive each other of resources to continue the war and it became standard practice to destroy agricultural areas, butcher the population of cities and in general exact a brutal price from captured enemy lands in order to drastically weaken the opposition's war effort.

This war was total in the sense that civilians on both sides participated to a significant extent in the war effort and in the sense that armies on both sides waged war on the civilian population as well as military forces. This resulted in massive civilian death toll with some towns destroyed [28] and other bloody policies resulting.

Since the rebellion began in Guangxi , Qing forces allowed no rebels speaking its dialect to surrender. After the war, one of the Taiping Rebellion retired soldier was back to his hometown at Cuiheng Village , Xiangshan County. The old soldier told the kids there about the Taiping Rebellion. Sun Yat-sen approached himself as the second Hong Xiuquan at his early years. Pieces of art depicting the Taiping Rebellion are on display at the Monument to the People's Heroes in Tian'anmen Square and other public places in Beijing and Nanjing.

The Taiping Rebellion has been referenced in many different artistic mediums. For instance in novel form Robert Elegant 's book Mandarin depicts the time of the Taiping Rebellion from the unusual point of view of a Jewish family living in Shanghai at the time. Lisa See 's novel Snow Flower and the Secret Fan takes place in China during the reign of the Xianfeng Emperor; the title character is married to a man who lives in Jintian and the characters get caught up in the revolution.


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  7. The civil war has also been documented in various television shows and films. The Warlords is a historical film set in the s concerning the Taiping Rebellion showing that General Pang Qinyun, leader of the Shan Regiment, is the man responsible for the capture of Suzhou and Nanjing. Richard Berg created the boardgame Manchu which covers the entire rebellion.

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