During her purported survey of religion in China, I waited for Mayfair Yang to speak to one of the most momentous events in Chinese history, which has colored the attitudes of the Chinese social and political leadership toward religion to the present day. As anyone who knows Chinese history, including presumably Yang, is aware, the Taiping Rebellion, 1850-1864, was spearheaded by a messianic leader who, inspired by an American missionary, portrayed himself as "Jesus's younger brother." His movement attempted to seize power by force, occupying major cities in China. When the rebellion finally ended, between 20 and 30 million people were dead. It was arguably the bloodiest civil war in world history. It is no wonder that China's political leaders have a prejudice against what they regard as cults, no matter how innocuous they may seem to Westerners; for the Chinese know their history, especially such a recent and shattering history as Taiping . Yang's omission of Taiping, in discussing Chinese attitudes regarding religion, is like omitting The War Between the States, in a discussing slavery in America. If not dishonest -- the attempt of a pseudo-scholar advocate to cherry-pick her facts -- then it is grossly incompetent, as is your failure of preparation. (Competent interviewers read up on their subjects.) In any case, the omission thoroughly discredits your program.
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