Hong Rengan

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Hong Rengan (; 1822 – 23 November 1864) was an important leader of the Taiping Rebellion. He was the cousin of the movement's founder and spiritual leader Hong Xiuquan. His position as the Prince Gan (干王) resembled the role of a Prime Minister. He is a noted figure in history because of the sweeping reforms attempted under his rule, and because of his popularity in the West.

In Hong Kong

During the early years of the rebellion, Hong was separated from the rebellion and had to flee to Hong Kong, where he met the Swedish missionary Theodore Hamberg and converted to Christianity. He helped with church work for the Basel Mission in Sheung Wan and learned much about Christianity. Hong provided Hamberg with important information on the Taiping rebellion, which Hamberg later used to write a book about the movement, The visions of Hung-Siu-tshuen, and origin of the Kwang-si insurrection, published in Hong Kong in 1854. This was the first Western-language work about the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom and remains an important source on the early life of Hong Xiuquan.

Hong also served as an assistant to James Legge, working on translations of Chinese classics into English, and on the Chinese Serial, the first Chinese language newspaper in Hong Kong. During this time he learned much about Western politics, economics, history, geography, astronomy and other sciences.

With the Taiping

When Hong Xiuquan called for his cousin Hong Rengan to come to Nanjing to help him rule, the Taiping...
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