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The Chinese situation was made more complicated by the emergence of a group known as “the party of the purists’’ (a rough translation of qingliu dang), who stressed China’s moral superiority and power in comparison with that of France and argued that China should continue the fight until victory. They were opposed by “realists’’ like Li Hongzhang who contended that self-strengthening had not yet reached the point where the country could fend off France. The persistence of the purist party in pressing the vacillating empress dowager for the continuation of the war helped to scuttle the second treaty; the consequent delay in ending the war made possible an event that not only justified Li’s position but was a disaster.

The Muslim Rebellions Two bloody rebellions waged by Muslims ravaged southwest and northwest China concurrently with the Taiping and the Nian. The southwest rebellion in Yunnan Province grew from a mix of ethnic, religious, and economic rivalry. Long-term friction between Muslims and non-Muslim communities was exacerbated by competition over control of mineral resources. Beginning in 1855, the rebellion was led by a devout Muslim, based in eastern Yunnan, who believed that Islam was incompatible with Confucianism; he was, however, induced to agree to terms and peace in 1861.

Reportedly, the pirate suppression campaign was generally successful, forcing these men and women into the interior, where, as land-based bandits, they now preyed on inland Chinese. In addition to these new forces, old ethnic rivalries tore at the region’s social amity. There were Hakkas, “guest people,’’ immigrants from north China centuries earlier, who had remained separate from the locals, speaking their own dialect. They were known to be industrious; both male and female Hakkas worked the fields—often the poorer land since the area had been settled when they moved in.

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