The Taiping Rebellion is the largest and bloodiest ever to take place in china, the rebellion lasted all the way from 1850 until 1864. It is estimated that over twenty million Chinese died resulting from this rebellion. This movement was started by a man name Hong Xiu-quan who started his career as a failed Confucian scholar that later claimed to have been visited by God and Jesus in a vision. Xui-quan convinced his followers that he was the younger brother of Jesus and that he was sent to establish a “Heavenly Kingdom of Great Peace”.

A new form of Christianity was formed by his followers where the bible was the centerpiece and a stern moral code of behavior was enforced. The movement grew to include millions of believers who were ready to rebel against the ruling dynasty. The rebels were dissatisfied with the internal conditions of China. After losing a naval war with the British over opening port cities for trade, the Chinese government was very weak and open to foreign influence. Many treaties allowed for other countries to take advantage of China, which greatly bothered Hong Xiu-quan and his followers.

The weak Chinese government was full of corruption and incompetent government officials. Hong Xui-quan and his followers, the Taipings, gained control of most of south china and they established their “Heavenly Kingdom of Great Peace”. This kingdom was ruled by a supreme monarch, Hong Xui-quan, who ruled using a court and bureaucracy system. The Taipings established a counter government with their capitol at Nanjing. Xui-quan had men constantly producing Chinese copies of the bible and required his soldiers to memorize the Ten Commandments.

Many westerners thought that Xui-quan would be the founder of Christian china but were eventually proven wrong. The Taipings resented western influence and were strongly against the use and importation of opium by the British East India Company. In the “Heavenly Kingdom of Great Peace”, there was a strict disciplinary code against the use of opium as well as other things like fornication, wine and gambling. Another reform topic of the Taiping Rebellion was sexual and social equality.

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Xui-quan preached about equality between all people where property would be shared and a strong code of sexual behavior would be enforced. While they preached about equality this was often not enforced. What they did heavily enforce was the death penalty for anyone breaking the strict code against using opium, fornicating, gambling, or drinking wine. The lack of enforcing equality is what eventually became responsible for the downfall of the rebellion. Leaders in Taiping Rebellion became jealous of one another; they became “demoralized through a life of luxury”.

Without unity the rebellion was starting to be put down. Once western powers realized it would be in their own interest to help the Chinese government they started backing the Qing dynasty and helped defeat the rebel. The Taipings were defeated and Hong Xui-quan along with tens of thousands of Taiping were massacred in Nanjing. There is no one reason the rebellion failed, but a mix of problems that halted success. One reason other than the disunity between the leaders is that there was no progressive class. In order for a rebellion to be successful the people fighting for it must be able to move up the social ladder.

Another main reason for the failure of the rebellion is the ineffective rule. All focus was on the army and fighting for control over China with the Qing dynast, there was no attention put towards civil administrations. If the Taipings would have thought out what they were going to do after the rebellion started and they created their own establishment they could have been more prepared and the rebellion would not have failed in the end. Although The Taiping Rebellion failed, it succeeded in showing the weakness of the current Chinese control, which would eventually lead to its downfall.


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