God's Chinese Son: The Taiping Heavenly Kingdom of Hong Xiuquan

God's Chinese Son: The Taiping Heavenly Kingdom of Hong Xiuquan

Jonathan D. Spence

Language: English

Pages: 432

ISBN: 0393315568

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


"A magnificent tapestry . . . a story that reaches beyond China into our world and time: a story of faith, hope, passion, and a fatal grandiosity."--Washington Post Book World

Whether read for its powerful account of the largest uprising in human history, or for its foreshadowing of the terrible convulsions suffered by twentieth-century China, or for the narrative power of a great historian at his best, God's Chinese Son must be read. At the center of this history of China's Taiping rebellion (1845-64) stands Hong Xiuquan, a failed student of Confucian doctrine who ascends to heaven in a dream and meets his heavenly family: God, Mary, and his older brother, Jesus. He returns to earth charged to eradicate the "demon-devils," the alien Manchu rulers of China. His success carries him and his followers to the heavenly capital at Nanjing, where they rule a large part of south China for more than a decade. Their decline and fall, wrought by internal division and the unrelenting military pressures of the Manchus and the Western powers, carry them to a hell on earth. Twenty million Chinese are left dead.

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time, does any one among you know, 16. How tall Jesus is, or how broad? 17. What his appearance or colour is? 18. What kind of beard he grows? 19. Of what colour his beard is? 20. What kind of cap and clothes he wears? 21. Whether his first wife was our elder sister? 22. How many children he has had? 23. Of what age is his eldest son? 24. How many daughters has he had? 25. Of what age is his eldest daughter? 26. How many grandsons has God at this moment? 27. How many granddaughters

officials to stop the slaughter in Nanjing, and to spare the old Taiping veterans from Guangxi and Guangdong, to give them permission to return home and “engage in some trade.” “If you are willing to spare them,” Li points out to his interrogators, “everyone will hear of it, and everyone will be willing to submit.”27 Li Xiucheng also has advice for his captors: buy the best cannon from the foreigners, and the most efficient type of gun carriages—for one is useless without the other—and then

Zhen, 74–75 Yan Luo (Underworld King), King, 38, 39, 42, 48, 64,91, 108, 254 Ye-huo-hua (Jehovah), see God Yen Hui, 73–74 Yongan, Taiping occupation of, 139, 140–41, 145, 152–53 Yow-a-he, 83 Yulin campaign, 136–37 Yung Wing, 270 Zeng family, 80, 96, 99 Zeng Guofan, 216, 218, 227–28, 273, 280, 317, 371n223 Zeng Guoquan, 280, 302, 314, 323, 326 Zhang Bingyuan, 228 Zhang family, 78, 79 Zhang Yong, 130 Zhang Yongxiu, 80 Zhenjiang campaign, 218, 236, 239 Zhili province, 181–82 Zhouli

call themselves, have formed joint stock companies to invest in the rackets, drawing back a percentage of the profits in return.23 Many of the river bandits, too, were members of secret societies or brotherhoods during their seafaring days, and they bring their old allegiances with them to their new river domains. Strongest of the groups—really a loose confederation—are the so-called Triads, or Heaven-and-Earth Society. The initial formation of this brotherhood dated to the 1760s, when a group

to be buried by the God-worshipers’ rites. By the traditional Confucian rituals of mourning for the death of a parent, there are two essential paths Hong should now follow: for the three years of grief he should not cut his hair, and during the same period he should abstain from sexual intercourse even with his wife. These rules are meant to show the homage and respect one owes to the dead, who brought one into this world and nurtured one for the expanse of time one now returns to them by

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