2016 New History
P. O. Box 1-44, Nankang, Taipei 11529, Taiwan, R. O. C.
02-2782-9555 # 226

Rural Socialist Transformation and the Hmong People’s Apocalyptic Movement in 1950s China

Chi-jui Hu

Graduate Institute of Religious Studies, National Chengchi University

This article discusses three kinds of religious movements of the Hmong people. The Hmong people lived in southwestern China in the 1950s, and the movements discussed are the Fake Rapture Surge (鬧升天), House-moving Surge (鬧搬家), and New-emperor Surge (鬧皇帝). With regard to the Fake Rapture Surge, some Hmong people fabricated stories about Jesus’ Second Coming, which gave rise to mass panic among those who believed the rumor. With regard to the House-moving Surge, many families moved their homes from one place to another within a short period of time. With regard to the New-emperor Surge, rioters tried to uphold their own leader in order to resist the central government. These three surges were all triggered by the fabrication of rumors that had occurred several times since the 1920s, and eventually caused great social impact. Though the three surges seem unrelated at first glance, they are rooted in the Hmong people’s historical memory and ethnic identity. Stemming from those ideologies and further inflamed by eschatology, millenarianism, and messianism, the three surges generated complicated, intertwining networks. In this article, the three surges are recognized as not merely religious, but also sociopolitical, particularly responding to the transformational policies of People’s Republic of China in the countryside. It is found in the literature that these surge conflicts were conducted by different groups of people and mostly occurred between Hmong and Han people. Most of the conflicts were about food and land, and were directly influenced by the agrarian reform policies in the early period of the founding of the PRC.


Keywords: Apocalypticism, Miao/Hmong, Christianity, agricultural cooperativization, controlled procurement and distribution