Nian Rebellion or Nien Rebellion (both: nēˈĕn) [key], uprising that occurred against the Ch'ing dynasty of China. Bands [Chinese, = nien ] of antigovernment rebels in the south part of the North China Plain (between the Chang and Huai rivers) coalesced in 1853 as government strength weakened in the face of the Taiping Rebellion (1850–64). The Nien employed guerrilla tactics and swift cavalry movement but lacked a coherent ideology and strong central leadership. Faced with the greater Taiping challenge, the Ch'ing made little headway against the Nien. Finally in 1868, the Nien received a series of shattering blows from armies led by Li Hung-chang and Tso Tsung-t'ang, and the rebellion was brought to an end.
See study by S. Chiang (1954).
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