Last Updated on 2022/04/14
Table of Contents
History & Facts of the Tiandihui or Hongmen
According to the mythological origins reported by the affiliate Kelvin Bechkam Chow, the sect originated during the reign of Emperor Kangxi (1654-1722). Other studies report the 60s of the eighteenth century as the most likely period.
Other studies report the 60s of the eighteenth century as the most likely period. Tiandihui, the Heaven and Earth Society, 天地会, also called Hongmen, is a Chinese fraternal organization and religious sect. As it spread to different countries and provinces, it developed into numerous branches and groups, known by several names, including Sanhehui. The term Hongmen as well as referring to the sect is also used by some criminal groups. When the British ruled Hong Kong, all Chinese secret societies were seen as a threat and were referred to as the Triads. The name Sanhehui (The society of the three harmonies) is the term that originated the definition of Triad.
History of the Tiandihui Society
All the founders, namely Ti Xi, Li Amin, Tao Yuan, and Zhu Dingyuan were from Fujian, a region bordering Guangdong. They later abandoned Zhangpu to join a cult in Sichuan, which was soon abandoned. Ti Xi, left for Guangdong where he organized a group of followers in Huizhou.
In 1761 he returned to Fujian and together with his followers founded the Tiandihui. During the following century, affiliation with secret societies was prohibited and this edict prompted members to join the anti-Manchu forces. During the eighteenth century, this kind of society began to proliferate, many of which found justification for their existence precisely in the anti-Manchu sentiment. By 1766, the sect was well established in the counties of Pinghe and Zhangpu, near Zhangzhou.
During the following year, Lu Mao organized a series of thefts with the Tiandihui to finance revolutionary activities. From this moment the sect began to affirm that it had established an alliance with the loyalists of the Chinese Ming dynasty and that with the five survivors (Choi Dak Jung, Fond Daai Hung, Ma Chiu hing, Wu Dak Tai, and Lei Sik Hoi) at the destruction of the Shaolin temple by the Qing forces had dedicated their cause to the overthrow of the ruling dynasty.
Origin of the Chinese triads
Main article: The Triad in China and Hong Kong
By the end of the nineteenth century, the Hongmen could now count on branch offices in the United States, Canada, and Australia in Chinatowns. With the fall of the Qing dynasty in 1911, the secret society suddenly found itself without purpose and split into numerous sub-groups. Unable to return to everyday life after years of hiding, its members engaged in illicit activities, giving life to the modern Triads, or the Chinese mafia.