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Saturday, September 15, 2012

God’s Chinese Son , Hong Xiuquan ( the Second Great Awakening ? )

Was the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom Rebellion the said  Second Great Awakening  of the bible ?

Who is God's Chinese Son, Hong Xiuquan ?

the below will be some extracts


The Taiping Rebellion of 1850-1864 was a millenarian war in the literal sense of the term. Inspired and led by the visionary Hong Xiuquan, it was a campaign with the ultimate goal of establishing the Kingdom of Heaven everywhere on earth. It very nearly succeeded in overthrowing the Qing Dynasty, which had ruled China since 1644. It was the most devastating conflict of the nineteenth century. The figure usually given for the number of deaths is twenty million. Most of these were civilians who died of famine or pestilence caused by the back-and-forth struggle of Taiping and Imperial Chinese forces.

A large percentage, however, were casualties of battles comparable in size to those of the contemporary Civil War in America. Millenarian insurrections have not been rare in human history, and the nineteenth century was particularly rich with them. Few if any, however, have matched the Taiping in size, sophistication and degree of success.

This account of the Taiping movement by Jonathan D. Spence, a Sterling Professor of History at Yale, is a rare delight. Spence is a veteran sinologist, notable for maintaining his critical integrity in a field traditionally marred by political kowtowing. The literature on the Taiping is understandably considerable, and a book on the subject could easily become distended into a general study of Chinese culture or of millenarian movements. Spence keeps close to the narrative history, giving just enough background information on Chinese (particularly southern Chinese) folk customs and religious beliefs to make the story comprehensible.

The result is an account that is objective but sympathetic to the principal figures. The book is short on analysis and uses speculation only to cover inevitable gaps in the sources. All in all, this is a very good way to cover a large subject.

In outline, at least, the history of the Taiping resembles the history of the Third Reich in its melodramatic simplicity. A prophet of humble birth had a vision. After a time of confusion and war, he formed a little cult. At first obscure, the cult suddenly became a crusading army, the Kingdom of Heaven on the march. In a few years they seized the second city of the empire and continued to expand militarily even as they established the divine order on earth.

The millennium turned out to be a nightmare, however, a totalitarian state racked by bloody purges. As his competent ministers died or fled, the prophet increasingly lost touch with reality. When he died, isolated in his palace during the final siege of his capital by the resurgent forces of the old order, the Kingdom of Heaven collapsed. In China and in Europe, the drama took just over half a generation to enact.

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