BBC In Our Time - The Taiping Rebellion Listening Guide

This is an optional listening guide to help you complete the assigned material. Below you will find questions to consider as you listen, as well important vocabulary and time codes to look up particular segments. Note that time codes may not work on mobile phones.

Topics Covered: Taiping Rebellion, Hong Xiuquan, Qing dynasty, Manchus, Hakka (people), civil service examination system

Links: BBC In Our Time [with download option]
Youtube [alternate link]

[00:19] Introduction

[01:20] What was the situation for the Qing dynasty before the Taiping Rebellion? How were the Qing (Manchus) viewed? What was the situation for the common people?

[05:16] How much influence did Christian missionaries have before the Taiping Rebellion?

[06:21] What do we know about Hong Xiuquan? Vocabulary: charisma

[07:34] How are the civil service examinations described?

[08:18] What was Hong Xiuquan's encounter with Christianity? What points about Christianity did Hong like? Vocabulary: pamphlet, delirious, messiah

[11:01] What was Hong's vision for China? Vocabulary: adherent, dispossess, expunge

[13:04] What was the appeal of the Taiping Kingdom to its followers? What, if anything, was special or new about Hong's movement? Vocabulary: iconoclastic, millenarian, pragmatism

[17:50] What was the military organization of the Taiping Kingdom? What was the internal structure? Who was Yang Xiuqing? Vocabulary: trance

[21:41] How are the first victories of the Taiping Rebellion significant? How is the capture of Nanjing a "turning point"? Vocabulary: regime

[23:42] What is Hong Xiuquan's status during the Taiping Rebellion? What does it mean to say Hong's rule had "double standards"? Vocabulary: puritanical, ensconce, harem

[26:56] How are the Taipings able to advance on Shanghai? Vocabulary: sedentary

[27:59] How were the western missionaries viewing the developing situation between the Qing and the Taiping Kingdom?

[29:48] How do the Qing respond to the successes of the Taiping Rebellion? What effects does this have? What mistakes do the Taipings make?

[32:35] How do the Taipings respond to defeat?

[34:33] What was the final stand of the Taiping Rebellion? How did Hong Xiuquan die? Who was Zeng Guofan?

[37:11] What later influence did the Taiping Rebellion have on the Qing?

[38:45] How does the Taiping Rebellion compare to other rebellions in Chinese history? What influence does the memory of the Taiping Rebellion have today in China?


charisma, pamphlet, delirious, messiah, adherent, dispossess, expunge, iconoclastic, millenarian, pragmatism, trance, regime, puritanical, ensconce, harem, sedentary