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  1. #241
    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.

  2. #242
    Nowthe whole nation turned their attention to the navy. In 1885 whenSino-French war ended, everyone felt that China needed a strong navy.On June 21, West Empress Dowager had a meeting with the courtiers anddecided to build a fleet. Lots of silver taels were spent to buywarships from the foreign countries. The navy was at last formed in1888 with twenty-five ships of different sorts and sizes. OnSeptember 17, 1894, when the Chinese fleet was on the way back toLuda harbor, Japanese fleet came suddenly to attack the fleet of Qinggovernment. The unprepared small Chinese fleet shot out like arrowsto meet the Japanese fleet. A maritime campaign took place on theYellow Sea near the coast of China. Most of the small newly-builtfleet was destroyed by Japanese navy. Japanese army crossed theKorean boundary into the Chinese territory. On October 24, anotherJapanese detachment landed on Liaodong Peninsular and on November 22,they occupied Luda. On December 29, Japanese army set foot onShandong Peninsular. On December 31, thirty-four thousand Japanesesoldiers finished their landing and detoured to the back of WeihaiweiTown. On February 2, 1895, they took the town and captured theremaining ten ships. In early March of 1895 Japanese army occupiedthe Liaodong Peninsular. Qing government had no hope to even recovertheir lost territory and so they had to start a negotiation. On April17, 1895, a treaty was signed in Japan.
    Afterthe defeat in Sino-Japanese war in 1895, all the courtiers who didn'tdare to blame West Empress Dowager blamed Governor Li for it. It wasGovernor Li who had built the fleet. It was he who had controlled thefleet. He had always been against war. And now his long-boasted fleethad been sunk to the bottom of the ocean. This time West EmpressDowager was shocked at the bad news and resented Governor Li for somuch money he had spent on his fleet, but what now? She also needed ascapegoat. So she removed Governor Li from all his duties. But peopleall over the country blamed West Empress Dowager for using the funds,which had originally been planned to strengthen the navy, to buildher Garden of Good Health & Harmony, causing the navy to bedefeated.


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