The White Lotus
Rebellion was a Chinese
anti-Manchu uprising that occurred during the Ch'ing dynasty
. It broke out in 1796
among impoverished settlers
in the mountainous region
that separates Sichuan province
from Hubei and Shaanxi.
It began as a tax protest led by the White Lotus Society, a secret religious society that forecast the advent of the Buddha, pushed for restoration of the native Chinese Ming dynasty, and promised salvation to its followers.
At first the administration, under the control of Ho-shen, sent inadequate imperial forces to suppress the rebels. On assuming effective power in 1799, however, Emperor Chia Ch'ing overthrew the Ho-shen court, and gave support to the efforts of the more vigorous Manchu commanders. A systematic program of pacification followed in which the populace was resettled in hundreds of stockaded villages and organized into militia.
In its last stage, the Ch'ing suppression policy combined pursuit and extermination of rebel guerrilla bands with a program of amnesty for deserters.
Although the Manchu finally crushed the rebellion in 1804, the myth of the military invincibility of the Manchu was shattered, contributing to the greater frequency of rebellions later in the 19th century.