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Chinese assistants) the entire Confucian canon, eventually published as The Chinese classics.

In the twenty years from 1840 to i860, the most important set of events related to Christianity was the Taiping Rebellion, which nearly overthrew the Qing dynasty, wreaked vast damage to city and countryside alike, and cost millions of lives in the lower Yangzi valley from 1850 to its bloody denouement in Nanjing in 1864. Profoundly influenced by Christianity, and perhaps best seen as a variety of folk or indigenised Christianity, the unorthodox ideas of Taiping founder Hong Xiuquan (1814-64) were dismissed by foreign missionaries. But to the dynastic government and the elite class (gentry) or literati, the iconoclastic anti-Confucian content of Taiping ideology was anathema, and they viewed the Taipings unambiguously as Christians, thus confirming their conviction that Christianity meant social disorder and sedition. This perception was a large obstacle to Christian evangelism in the decades after i860.

1860-1900: growth, conflict and institution-building Completion of the treaty framework

In the diplomatic settlements resulting from the second China war of the late 1850s, France expanded upon its role as protector of Catholic missions. The Sino-French Treaty of 1858 and the Sino-French Convention of i860 included new guarantees for Chinese Christians to practise their faith without harassment, and for Catholic priests to preach and reside anywhere in the empire (eliminating the old restriction to treaty ports for foreigners). Among elaborations of the rights now given to Christians was the right of missionaries to rent or purchase land anywhere, and erect buildings. Although these provisions first appeared in the French treaties, all the western powers soon had equivalent rights extended to them through the most-favoured-nation clause that was part of all the treaties. These clauses granting unfettered missionary travel and property rights throughout the interior were instrumental in engendering local tensions and violence during the rest of the century.

Local society: adaptation, irritants and incidents

After i860, with the entire empire thrown open to penetration by missionaries, both the Catholic and the Protestant sectors, especially the latter, increased rapidly. In 1890, there were over 700 Catholic missionaries, but more than 1,300 Protestants. Many of the Protestants at first stayed in the treaty port cities along the seacoast and major rivers, but with aggressive new 'faith missions' such as the China Inland Mission of J. Hudson Taylor (1832-1905) leading the

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