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Secret Societies

(1,871 words)

Author(s): Haar, Barend ter
In contemporary Chinese context, "secret societies" (modern: mimi shehui, traditionally: huidang; Japanese: himitsu shakai) refers above all to the Triads ( sandian hui, sanhe hui)-also known as the Heaven and Earth Society ( tiandi hui) and hongmen and the Society of Brothers and Elders ( gelao hui). It is much less common to use this designation for new religious groups (sects), such as the White Lotus ( bailian jiao). Research into secret societies has always struggled to distinguish between truth and fiction. What is nowadays known to be fiction exerted almo…