Hong Xiuquan

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Hong Xiuquan

Hong Xiuquan [ xʊŋ˧˥ ɕi̯ou̯˩˥ tɕʰy̆ɛn˧˥ ] ( Chinese  洪秀全 , Pinyin Hong Xiuquan , W.-G. Hung Hsiu-ch'uan1. January 1814 in Fuyuanshui in circles Hua province Guangdong , †  first June 1864 in Nanjing ) was the leader of the Taiping uprising .

Origin and family

Hong Xiuquan was born as Hong Huoxiu. Hong Xiuquan came from a Hakka farming family in Guangdong Province . The Hakka differed from the rest of the Chinese population by their own dialect and a freer position for women. Likewise was endogamy tradition. The family lived in the village Guanlubu in circles Hua in Guangdong Province. The Hong lineage families were the dominant social group in the village. The Hong family themselves had migrated from northern China to Guanlubu in the 17th century. Hong's father belonged to the respected leadership class of the village in his village and acted as a dispute arbitrator within the rural community. However, the family itself lived in simple circumstances and Hong Xiuquan had to contribute to the family's income through school lessons in kind. The Hong family traced their ancestry back to a successful scholarly lineage during the Tang Dynasty . Since the 17th century, however, no family member has been able to advance socially through the examination system of the civil service examination .

Hong Xiuquan's family consisted of two older brothers and an older sister. After the mother's death, the father remarried. Hong Xiuquan herself was married in an arranged marriage .


Religious movement

Hong Xiuquan failed several imperial exams . After such a failure in the Canton provincial exam , he experienced severe physical weakness and had to be brought back to his home village by litter. His symptoms persisted with his family and he spent the days in seclusion. During this time he admittedly had a religious appearance . In this the God of Christianity appeared to him as Heavenly Father and had revealed to him that he was his second son next to Jesus of Nazareth . His job is to cleanse the world of demons , which would prevent people from accepting the true Christian faith. In his visions, on behalf of the Heavenly Father who appeared to him, Hong fought against those demons who had also invaded Paradise . He also described a baptism experience in which the ritual was performed on him by his Heavenly Mother . In the course of the visions, Hong changed his name to Hong Xiuqan, the state of the name Huo (dt. Fire) by Xuan (dt. Perfection) , which he justified with an order from his heavenly Father . In his vision he had from the Heavenly Father has been informed that he as king over China should rule. After a while the visions and physical weakness subsided. Hong reintegrated into rural society, took a job as a village teacher, and prepared to take another exam.

Since 1836, Hong had had the tract Good Works in Admonition of the Age , written by Protestant priest Liang Fa . In this, the author referred to biblical traditions and presented the religions that have hitherto been widespread in China as idolatry . The term Taiping (English: Heavenly Kingdom ) was also found in the treatise . According to Liang Fa, it referred to the religious community of true Christians to be created on earth. In addition to the concept of paradise in the hereafter, this fulfilled the function of a utopia in this world . Hong interpreted the biblical traditions and Liang Fa's arguments in terms of his experiences in southern China, which was destabilized by the First Opium War . He attributed the political instability and inferiority to foreign powers as paralysis by idolatry on Confucianism , Buddhism and Taoism . A turn to Christianity under the leadership of Hong Xiuquan would, according to him, wash China of its sins before God. Hong developed his own religious interpretation of history. The Hongwukaiser that of the as the leader of the White Lotus Rebellion in the fourteenth century Ming Dynasty had brought to power, Hong explained to God's Messenger as a matter of him. However, Hong said in his writings the Gottkaisertum a rejection, since he and Jesus, but only saw God as the bearer of the divine.

However, according to statements by Hong's family, he did not read this script until 1843 on the advice of his uncle Li Jingfang . Li Jinfang became Hong's first convert. Both baptized each other in a ceremony. Li Jinfang, like Hong, worked as a village school teacher. When both of them removed Confucian symbols from their schools after their conversion and Hong refused to write a poem for a religious ceremony, the villagers withdrew their students and they had to give up their jobs in 1844.

Thereupon both went on trips with the other converts Hong Rengan and Feng Yunshan . They planned to keep their heads above water and preach by selling writing materials. Their journey took them via Canton to Qinguan County, where they performed several baptisms. After thirty-four days of travel, the group was about 160 kilometers west of the starting point of Guanlubu. The group broke up there, and Hong went to Sigu Village, Guiping County, Guangxi Province . There he found support from the Huang Hakka clan, who were distantly related to his family. He was able to win many converts there and build a local community of around 100 followers. As an educated man, Hong also acted as a mediator between the clan and the authorities on legal matters. In addition, Hong was able to win some converts among the Miao in the province with the help of a Chinese teacher . On this occasion he left the teacher with written evidence of his teaching for the first time. From this point on he continued to write down his teachings in several treatises called admonitions . At this time he also formulated ritual rules for the daily routine of the believers and set up the Six Commandments . These prohibited lust , murder , theft , witchcraft and magic , as well as gambling. One command required obedience to parents. In addition to establishing his own rules of faith, Hong preached iconoclasm against the religions traditionally accepted in China. He also banned his followers from consuming tobacco and alcohol, and abolished slavery and the mutilation of the feet of women .

Rebellion and utopian theocracy

In 1847, Hong's movement had around 2,000 followers. These were mainly recruited from the Hakka ethnic group. As the number of believers increased, attacks on traditional religious sites occurred. The religious teachings of Hong acquired an increasingly political claim during this period. They were increasingly directed against the Manchu ethnic group , who made up the ruling Qing dynasty . In the wake of an epidemic in southern China in 1850, the Taiping continued to gain popularity, as legend circumvented the prayer to Hong's God would be able to cure the disease. In the fall of the same year, violent clashes broke out between Taiping Hakka and traditional Han people. The imperial authorities responded by attempting to arrest Hong Xiuquan. However, Hong was warned and was able to evade law enforcement access. As a result, Hong gathered his believers as fully as possible at his retreat. Several tens of thousands of people came to the meeting. On January 11, 1851, Hong proclaimed the "Heavenly Empire of Supreme Peace" ( Chinese  太平天國 , Pinyin Tàipíng Tiānguó ). He and his followers first seized a small town and began military operations against the Qing Dynasty. In March 1853 they conquered the old Ming imperial city of Nanjing . There Hong established his capital as the New Jerusalem of his religious movement. After the conquest, his followers destroyed Buddhist and Taoist temples and statues. The local Manchu minority was systematically murdered by the Taiping. Hong also introduced gender segregation . He made the Sabbath a Christian holiday according to the biblical model. They also tried to initiate a social revolution by organizing work brigades with communal private property. The actions of the Taiping led to the flight of the traditional urban population. The city filled with the approximately 500,000 supporters who had followed Hong on his military campaign to Nanjing. Hong's political role quickly waned after the conquest of Nanjing. In the administration and the establishment of the Taiping state, the Eastern King Yang Xiuqing assumed the central role in the daily political affairs of the Taiping, while Hong Xiuquan withdrew to his spiritual role and the palace. After the falling out , Hong Rengan became the first man in the state to succeed the Heavenly King .

However, the military situation in the civil war turned in favor of the Qing. Under the scholar and military leader Zeng Guofan and his Hunan army , a siege ring was successfully built around the city in 1863. The subsequent scarcity of resources weakened the Taiping in the city significantly. On July 19, the Qing troops were finally able to conquer the city and storm the palace of the Heavenly King . Hong had died six weeks earlier. The most likely cause of death is an illness. There are still suspicions that Hong Xiuquan might have died of poison. Hong's death was only announced by the Taiping government about ten days late. He was succeeded by his son Hong Tianguifu as heir to the throne . After the capture, Hong Xiuquan's body was exhumed by Zeng Guofan's soldiers to verify his identity. Li Xiurcheng tried unsuccessfully to get the child king Hong Tianguifu to safety from the Qing.


  • Yu-wen Jen: The Taiping Revolutionary Movement. Yale University Press, New Haven CT et al. 1973, ISBN 0-300-01542-9 .
  • Stephen R. Platt: Autumn in the Heavenly Kingdom - China the West and the Epic Story of the Taiping Civil War. New York, 2012
  • Jonathan D. Spence: God's Chinese Son: The Taiping Heavenly Kingdom of Hong Xiuquan. New York, 1996
  • Rudolf G. Wagner : Reenacting the Heavenly Vision. The Role of Religion in the Taiping Rebellion (= China Research Monograph. Vol. 25). University of California Press, Berkeley CA 1982, ISBN 0-912966-60-2 .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. a b c Jonathan D. Spence: God's Chinese Son: The Taiping Heavenly Kingdom of Hong Xiuquan. New York, 1996, pp. 23-30
  2. Stephen R. Platt: Autumn in the Heavenly Kingdom - China, the West and the Epic Story of the Taiping Civil War. New York, 2012, p. 13
  3. Jonathan D. Spence: Chinese Son - The Taiping Heavenly Kingdom of Hong Xiuqan. New York, 1996, pp. 46-50
  4. Jonathan D. Spence: Chinese Son - The Taiping Heavenly Kingdom of Hong Xiuqan. New York, 1996, pp. 51-73
  5. ^ P. Richard Bohr: The Taipings in Chinese Sectarian Perspective. in Kwang-Ching Liu, Richard Shek (Ed.): Heterodoxy in Late Imperial China. Honolulu, 2004, p. 401
  6. Jonathan D. Spence: Chinese Son - The Taiping Heavenly Kingdom of Hong Xiuqan. New York, 1996, pp. 51-73
  7. Jonathan D. Spence: Chinese Son - The Taiping Heavenly Kingdom of Hong Xiuqan. New York, 1996, pp. 51-73
  8. a b Dr. Xiaobing Li: Hong Xiuquan. in China at War - An Encyclopedia. Oxford 2012, pp. 165-167
  9. Stephen R. Platt: Autumn in the Heavenly Kingdom - China the West and the Epic Story of the Taiping Civil War. New York, 2012, pp. 17f, pp. 53-55
  10. a b Stephen R. Platt: Autumn in the Heavenly Kingdom - China the West and the Epic Story of the Taiping Civil War. New York, 2012, pp. 348-354