Wei Changhui

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Wei Changhui
North King of the Heavenly Kingdom
Reign 1851 - 1856
Born 1823
Died 1856 (aged 33)

Wei Changhui (simplified Chinese: 韦昌辉; traditional Chinese: 韋昌輝; pinyin: Wéi Chānghuī) was the North King of the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom during the Taiping Rebellion.

Pre-Rebellion involvement[edit]

Wei Changhui was a wealthy native of Jintian, Guiping, Guangxi, who owned both land and a pawnshop.[1] Wei was also educated and a member of a prosperous clan that had ensured that the market town of Jiantin was a safe haven for the God Worshippers.[2] During the early days of the movement during the 1840s, Wei converted to God Worshipping by Feng Yunshan and Hong Xiuquan. During the summer of 1848, Wei entered into a sworn brotherhood with Hong Xiuquan, Feng Yunshan, Yang Xiuqing, Xiao Chaogui, Shi Dakai, and Jesus Christ.[3]

During the Rebellion[edit]

Wei was a principal Taiping general since the early days of the rebellion.[4] On December 4, 1851, Hong Xiuquan declared Wei to be the North King, Lord of 6,000 Years.[5] Once the Taiping captured Nanjing, Wei began to coordinate the defense of the surrounding region and managed Nanjing's food supplies.[6]

Tianjing Incident and Death[edit]

In order to consolidate his power, Yang Xiuqing began to humiliate and threaten Wei.[7] Shortly before seeking a title commiserate with Hong Xiuquan's, Yang dispatched Wei, Shi Dakai, and Qin Rigang to separate provinces.[8] Hong, viewing Yang's request as treasonous, alerted the three generals to return at once.[8] Wei returned to Nanjing with three thousand troops on September 1, 1856 and found that Qin Rigang had already arrived.[9] In consultation with Hong Xiuquan and his allies, the two generals decided not to wait for Shi Dakai's arrival.[9] Instead, they and their troops immediately stormed Yang's palace and slew him before he could escape.[9] They then slaughtered his family and followers within the palace, despite having agreed with Hong that only Yang was to die.[9] At this point, six thousand of Yang's followers remained in Nanjing.[10] Hong and his generals agreed to set a trap for those men.[11] Hong pretended to arrest Wei and Qin Rigang for their actions and invited Yang's followers to watch as the two were beaten.[11] Once the majority of Yang's followers were inside, the beatings ceased and Yang's followers were imprisoned inside the halls from which they were watching the beatings.[11] The next morning, they were all systemically slaughtered.[12] Killings of Yang's followers continued for three additional months.[13]

Shi Dakai finally reached Nanjing in October and blamed Wei for the excessive bloodshed.[13] Wei in turn suggested that Shi may be a traitor[13] Having been warned that he could be assassinated next, Shi fled Nanjing, leaving the same day he arrived.[13] That night, Wei and Qin Rigang stormed Shi's mansion and slaughtered his family and retinue.[13] Shi then consolidated an army of 100,000 and demanded the heads of Wei and Qin.[13] Wei directed Qin to block Shi's advance and began plotting to imprison Hong Xiquan.[13] Hong Xiuquan was able to preempt those plans, however, and had his bodyguards kill Wei.[13] Qin was lured back and killed shortly thereafter.[13]


  1. ^ Franz H. Michael, The Taiping Rebellion: History 38 (1966)
  2. ^ Jonathan D. Spence, God's Chinese Son 112, 125, 223 (1996)
  3. ^ Jen Yu-wen, The Taiping Revolutionary Movement 40-43 (1973)
  4. ^ Jonathan D. Spence, God's Chinese Son 146 (1996)
  5. ^ Jonathan D. Spence, God's Chinese Son 143 (1996)
  6. ^ Jen Yu-wen, The Taiping Revolutionary Movement 218 (1973)
  7. ^ Jonathan D. Spence, God's Chinese Son 223, 236 (1996)
  8. ^ a b Jonathan D. Spence, God's Chinese Son 237 (1996)
  9. ^ a b c d Jonathan D. Spence, God's Chinese Son 242 (1996)
  10. ^ Jonathan D. Spence, God's Chinese Son 242-43 (1996)
  11. ^ a b c Jonathan D. Spence, God's Chinese Son 243 (1996)
  12. ^ Jonathan D. Spence, God's Chinese Son 243-44 (1996)
  13. ^ a b c d e f g h i Jonathan D. Spence, God's Chinese Son 244 (1996)