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  1. #281
    Chapter 47

    Afterthe Sino-Japanese war, the Japanese army didn't retreat from theChinese territory. They stayed in the northeastern part of China.There were three provinces in that part. Russia also had its armythere. Russian army had entered that part during the riot of Yihetuanand had stayed there ever since. A war between Russia and Japanseemed inevitable.
    Whenat last Russia and Japan both declared war against each other, allother countries that had troops in China proclaimed that they wouldkeep neutral. Japan notified Qing government that China should alsokeep neutral. It sounded ridiculous that they would fight on the landof China and wanted China to remain neutral. It was like twointruders fought in someone's house and the owner shouldn't sayanything about it. But Qing government was too weak then to doanything to prevent the war that happened in its own territory. Butstrict neutralness was impossible. Japan had bribed Prince Yikuangand so the attitude of Qing government favored Japan. They allowedJapan to recruit the horse robbers there to fight Russia. Under thesecret help of Qing government Japan defeated Russia in LiaodongPeninsular.
    Russiahad a fleet in the harbor of Luda. Japan sank some ships at the mouthto block the escape of Russian fleet. There was a low hill at theother side of the harbor. If Japan could occupy the low hill Japanwas able to wipe out the Russian fleet. So the combat was focused onthe low hill. At last Japanese army took over the hill and controlledthe situation. The Russian fleet had to surrender.
    Thenext battle centered around Liaoyang City. Russia gathered fourhundred thousand strong and Japan had three hundred thousand. Theircombat front line lasted hundreds of kilometers. A Japanesedetachment went a roundabout way to the back of the Russian troops.When the Russian commander found it out, his troops were alreadysurrounded. But to surround four hundred thousand strong with onlythree hundred thousand soldiers was not easy. So the Russian troopsbroke out of the encirclement. Both sides were weakened in thatbattle and they had to have an unproclaimed truce.

  2. #282
    TwoRussian fleets came to the east from the Black Sea round the Cape ofGood Hope. When they reached the Yellow Sea, they were ambushed byJapanese fleets and all their warships were destroyed. But Russianarmy got reinforcement. It seemed that no one could win the war.Through the mediation of America, Russia and Japan signed a peacetreaty.
    Thewar between Russia and Japan was over, but their armies stillremained in China. Other foreign countries insisted that both Russianand Japanese armies should be withdrawn from the domain of China.When the three provinces were returned to Qing government, thereshould be three governors for these provinces. Official Duan Zhiguiliked to govern Heilongjiang Province. He wished to bribe PrinceYikuang, the head secretary of state, but someone advised him that itshould be better to bribe the son of Prince Yikuang. It was easybecause the son was a sucker for beautiful girls. To get a beautifulgirl didn't need a lot of money.
    Sometroupes began to train actresses. Yang Cuixi was a celebratedactress. Official Duan invited the son to watch an opera starring theactress Yang. From his look, Official Duan could conclude that hefell in love with the actress Yang at the first sight, like a flyfell unconsciously into the web of a spider. The actress Yang hadbeen sold to the troupe by her poor parents. Official Duan found thetroupe owner and paid him the double price and freed the girl fromthe troupe. The owner looked upon the actress Yang, a celebrity now,as the goose that lays the golden eggs, but he didn't dare to refusethe offer of an official. He had to part with the goose.
    OfficialDuan bought a house and let the actress Yang live there. Then heinvited the son to dinner in the house. When the son arrived andsettled down at the table, Official Duan excused himself that he mustgo to wash his hands. Actually he left the house, leaving the son andthe actress Yang together. The son waited for Official Duan toreturn, but to his surprise he saw the actress Yang come into theroom instead. She went to sit on his lap, smiling at him. He wasyoung and good-looking, plus a nobleman. He embraced her and kissedher on the cheek. She offered a cup of wine (no glass yet at thattime. A china cup was used for the wine) to him, but he said, “Ilike to drink wine from the fleshy cup, sweetie.” Her supple bodywrithed a bit on his lap, which meant that she was too shy to do it.At his persistence, she sucked the wine from the cup into her mouthand pressed her lips tightly against his lips. Then she fed the winefrom her mouth into his mouth. Her mouth served as the cup made ofhuman flesh. He swallowed the wine and sighed with satisfaction. “Howsweet, honey.” He whispered into her ear. He carried her into thebedroom, which was just in the back. They stripped naked and fell onthe bed in a tangled human knot, the bed groaning under theircombined weight.
    OfficialDuan got the position of the governor of Heilongjiang Province, butthe Japanese army was not withdrawn yet. He had to wait patiently.

  3. #283
    Thetradition for the celebration of the birthdays of the emperor or theempress dowager was that every year they celebrated their birthdayson a regular basis, but every ten years, especially on fiftiethbirthday, they liked to have it on a larger scale. West EmpressDowager was unhappy about her birthday for every ten years. Shewished to make her fiftieth birthday the happiest and most excitingday, but that year the Sino-French war had broken out. She had tostop the celebration. For her sixtieth birthday, it had been theSino-Japanese war that had interrupted the celebration ceremony. Nowit was the Russian-Japanese war in China that made her unable tocelebrate her seventieth birthday. She didn't know if she could doanything for her eightieth birthday.
    WestEmpress Dowager was now too old, seventy-four, and the emperor wastoo sick, though only thirty-eight. But words leaked out secretlythat the royal doctors didn't think the emperor was suffering fromany serious illness. However, in 1908, West Empress Dowager wasreally sick. Doctors diagnosed that it was dysentery, which was nota terminal disease. But considering the medicine at that time, plusher old age of seventy-four, her case was thought hopeless.
    Somecourtiers hoped that when West Empress Dowager died the emperor couldliterally get back the power. But some were afraid that once theemperor got the power, he would kill those he always had hated. Oneof those people was Yuan Shikai, who had betrayed the emperor whenthe emperor had given him a secret written order to kill Ronglu andbring his New Army to Peking to confine West Empress Dowager. It wassaid that the emperor often drew a turtle on a piece of paper, wroteYuan's name on the back of the turtle and then tore it in bits tovent his anger. So if the emperor got back the power, the first onehe wanted to kill was Yuan. But Yuan could do nothing to prevent theinevitable from happening. He lived in fear and self-pity thosedays. Another of those the emperor hated was Head Eunuch Li, who wasWest Empress Dowager's running dog, as the emperor called it. And hecould do everything to prevent the inevitable.
    OnNovember 14, 1908, the emperor suddenly died at the age ofthirty-eight. Rumors had it that the emperor was poisoned by eunuchLi, or Li executed the order of West Empress Dowager, who didn't wantthe emperor to outlive her. However, the palace was always teemedwith secrets and mysteries about the death of important individuals.
    Althoughlying on sick bed, West Empress Dowager decided to make Fuyi the heirand successor to the throne. Fuyi was the son of her nephew Zaifeng,who was appointed Prince Regent to help his son, because the son wasonly three years old when he was crowned.
    OnNovember 15, 1908, West Empress Dowager died at the age ofseventy-four.
    Theson Fuyi was Emperor Xiantong, the last emperor of Qing Dynasty, andalso the last emperor of China. He was the emperor only for threeyears. In 1911, all the new trained armies, which consisted entirelyof the Han Clan and many soldiers of which were revolutionaries, rosein arms in mutiny and forced the emperor to abdicate. Qing Dynastywas at last overthrown.


    (Iwill post another book titled TWO REPUBLICS IN CHINA next., which isthe continuance of this book. The book has a lot of generally unseenold pictures, but I can't post them online. Interested ones can get acopy on amazon.com)


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