Atfirst when Imperial Concubine Zhen had come into the Forbidden City,West Empress Dowager had treated her just as she did to other royalfamily members. She hadn't liked her specially, but hadn't dislikedher, either. Later when Concubine Zhen had done something againstthe palace rules, she had begun to dislike her.
ConcubineZhen was young, bold and careless. Once she had asked the emperor toallow her to ride on a sedan-chair carried by eight eunuchs, whichcertainly offended the rules, because by tradition only the empressdowager, the emperor and the queen could sit on such a sedan-chair. When West Empress Dowager had been told about it, she hadn't believedit. One day, she had come across Concubine Zhen riding on one, shehad been angry and ordered the sedan-chair to be broken into pieces. Concubine Zhen had been scolded, of course.
ConcubineZhen liked her photos taken. Her cousin got a camera for her. Onceshe was photographed, dressed in the emperor's formal clothes withpictures of dragons embroidered on them. This was also against therules. When the queen got a photo like that, she showed it to WestEmpress Dowager, who, in her rage, wanted to punish Concubine Zhenfor all the offenses in addition to the acceptance of briberies. Concubine Zhen was thereby confined in a deserted building. It wastoward the end of the year of 1894. The Sino-Japanese war had brokenout that year in Korea, which was then under Chinese protection.
Vyingfor power happens everywhere. It happened in Korea then. Qinggovernment sent troops to maintain law and order there. Japan alwayswanted to devour Korea. Now this provided Japan with an excuse. So onJuly 23, 1894, Japan sent their army into Korea and occupied theKorean palace, seizing the king. The conflict between the troops ofQing government and the Japanese army began. At first the glory onthe battlefield favored the troops of Qing government, but when Japanreinforced their army, the troops of Qing government were vanquishedon July 28. On August 1, under the pressure of public opinion andmedia, West Empress Dowager declared war against Japan. But Chinesearmies in Korea was finally put to rout after only one battle. It wasbecause the commanders of the Chinese armies were all fools,historians said.