Falun Gong and Taiping Heavenly Kingdom
Posted in the Falun Gong Forum
Since: Aug 11
#1 Sep 25, 2012
When looking at the FLG, its hard not to think of the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom, the religious/political movement in the nineteenth century that caused the deaths of more than 25 million people in what is considered the most destructive civil war in modern history.
There, Hong Xiuquan, an otherwise ordinary individual who had failed several times in passing the imperial examinations, had feverish visions and comes to believe he is the younger brother of Jesus Christ after studying pamphlets given to him by a Protestant missionary. He converts his relatives and leads them in destroying idols in his village and surrounding villages. He comes under the influence of a American Southern Baptist missionary, Issachar Roberts. Hong is hailed by many American and British protestant missionaries as a great leader who would bring about a Christian revolution in China and liberate China from the evil Qing imperial government.
Roberts wrote:Behold, what God hath wrought! Not only opened China externally for the reception of the teachers of the gospel, but now one has risen up among themselves, who presents the true God for their adoration, and casts down idols with a mighty hand, to whom thousands and tens of thousands of people are collecting!
Hong leads a rebel army (supported in part by Western mercenary military leaders and arms), and millions die as the Taiping rebel army conquers Nanjing. His cousin, Hong Rengan, who had been in exile and studying with Western missionaries in British-controlled Hong Kong, then rejoins his cousin in Nanjing and is elevated to the title of Prime Minister of the now-renamed Gods Heavenly Kingdom.
Since: Aug 11
#2 Sep 25, 2012
Meanwhile Hong Xiuquan invites his former teacher, Rev. Issachar Roberts, to Nanjing to be a spiritual advisor. But after arriving at Nanjing, Roberts denounces Hong Xiuquan as a crazy man, unfit to rule and accuses Hong Rengan of murder and robbery, charges which are later admitted to be false. However, British newspapers seize upon the denunciations as evidence that the Taiping rebel leadership cannot be trusted and were not really Christians after all. Western military forces then back the Qing government and destroy the Taiping rebels.
Fourteen years of civil war in the wake of the attempts by Hong Xiuquans followers and supporters (Chinese and Western) to establish a uniquely Chinese version of a Christian kingdom left more than 25 million dead, and much of Southern China a wasteland, and millions of Chinese migrating overseas, many as coolie (poorly paid slave-like) laborer.
Given this history, its not hard to understand why China would want to avoid a repeat.
A great book to read on this is Gods Chinese Son: The Taiping Heavenly Kingdom of Hong Xiuquan.
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