14 AUGUST 1964, Page 12


SIR,—'Zambia's Holy War' described by Harry Franklin in his article last week has a parallel in the Holy War of Hung Siu-tsuen, a student of the Reverend Roberts, who started the Taiping Rebel- lion, for Hung wrote that 'he [Hung] returned to Heaven where the great God gave him great authority—He bade him, together with the Elder Brother, Jesus, drive away impish fiends.'

Alexander Mickie, a writer, described a visit to Hung's headquarters: 'The Heavenly Prince has a large palace. His attendants are females, three hundred in number, besides sixty-eight wives allowed to his rank.... His person is held sacred. . .. The other day two writers writing documents to the Heavenly ,Prince, made a mistake of one Chinese character each, and they were both condemned by him to be murdered, without even a hearing, and in three days were beheaded.' This rebellion cost more lives than the First World War, Lord Elgin wrote: 'The population of Chinkiang was formerly estimated at about 500,000; it does not now probably contain above 500 souls.' Many other cities suffered equally. New (for them)- and foreign ideas ferment primitive minds, with at times devastating results.