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EMPRESS DOWAGER CIXI (2 Viewers)

xlwoo

Senior Member
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]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.[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] 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.[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] 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. [/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] 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. [/FONT]
 

xlwoo

Senior Member
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]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. [/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] 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.[/FONT]
 

xlwoo

Senior Member
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]Chapter 41[/FONT]


[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]Thedefeat in Sino-Japanese war put a big question mark before theChinese people as well as the government: how could China becomestrong both financially and militarily like Japan, which was only asmall country, far too much smaller than China? Discussions in thatfield erupted on newspapers. A sole conclusion was drawn: “We needreform like Japan.”[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] Theemperor wanted reform. West Empress dowager wanted reform, too,because she always wished to conquer the foreign invaders forvengeance. So she agreed to the emperor's reform notion in general,though all the conservative courtiers opposed it. Prince Yihuan, theemperor's biological father had died. Now Yixin, the emperor'suncle, who had been removed from office long ago by West EmpressDowager, was appointed to be in charge again, but he also died beforelong. On his deathbed, he advised the emperor to carry out thereform step by step and do nothing against tradition. [/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] Theemperor appointed a group of officials to design for him a detailedplan for reform. His former tutor Weng, now a secretary, gave theemperor his full support. Official Kang drafted all the reformdecrees for the emperor. Kang's disciple, Official Liang, helped alot and another official Tan was an active participant. On June 11,1898, the emperor issued a statement to declare the beginning ofreform. Then he gave a series of orders, one hundred and eighty or soaltogether, during one hundred days.[/FONT]
 

xlwoo

Senior Member
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]Theorders involved (1) the selection of supporters of reform asgovernment officials; (2) the decision to abandon the old examinationsystem for the selection of officials and to develop a moderneducation system; (3) the change of government administration systemand the elimination of the national corruption; (4) the permission ofthe open expression of opinions for people at large; (5) the rewardto the inventions and the encouragement to the development of trade,agriculture and industry; (6) the rebuilding of a navy.[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] However,most governors hesitated. They waited to see whether West EmpressDowager was really a prop to the reform. So most of emperor's orderswere not carried out. Only one thing was successful: a university wasestablished in the capital.[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] OnJune 16, West Empress Dowager forced the emperor to give some ordersof appointments and removals. An important one was to appoint Rongluas the Governor of Zhidi Province in charge of the new-trained armies(the capital was in this province). (For a long time Ronglu had beenidle without a position because of bad health. His snail-crawlingpromotion was due to the reason that West Empress Dowager didn't wanther relationship with Ronglu to be known among the courtiers. So shecould not give him rocketingly fast promotion. Now when time came,Ronglu's fate turned for the better. When Prince Yihuan was takenseriously ill and stayed in bed, as he was partly paralyzed, WestEmpress Dowager had to use Prince Yixin again. Prince Yixin knew thatRonglu was talented and prudent. He suggested to West Empress Dowagerto appoint Ronglu as the commander of the garrison division to guardthe capital. West Empress Dowager had no objection, of course. Nextyear Ronglu was made the minister of Military Ministry. Then he wasgiven the title of a prime minister. When Emperor Guangxu, influencedby new concepts, wanted to reform like in Japan, West Empress Dowagertrusted the military forces to Ronglu, hence the above appointment.It was an essential move on the chessboard of West Empress Dowager,who was now a mature politician.)[/FONT]
 

xlwoo

Senior Member
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]Theother order was to remove the courtier Weng, who had been theemperor's tutor, from his office of the secretary of state and expelhim back to his hometown, which made the emperor lose his mostimportant supporter. Then a statement was issued that West EmpressDowager and the emperor would go to Tianjin City to watch themilitary parade. A rumor was prevalent that West Empress Dowagerwould force the emperor to abdicate when they were there.[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]OnAugust 30, the emperor made a public decision to merge six uselessgovernment bureaus, because their responsibilities were functioned bycorresponding ministries, but the merging would put a lot ofofficials out of job. Many old courtiers implored West EmpressDowager to stop the reform, but she didn't agree. She wanted to waita while longer to see how far the emperor would carry his reform.[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]Theemperor became impatient and angry because most officials refused tocarry out his orders. On September 4, the emperor decided to banishsix high-rank courtiers in Etiquette Ministry from office andappointed his own officials next day, which seemed to organizeanother administration.[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]OnSeptember 7, the emperor removed two courtiers in charge from theForeign Affairs Yamen dealing with foreign countries. Furthermore,the emperor wanted to appoint two foreigners to be his advisers, onean English priest and the other a Japanese, an ex-prime-minister inthe cabinet of Japan. All the conservative courtiers were in a panicthat the foreigners would control Qing government and thereforereported it to West Empress dowager, who, though mad about it, stilldecided to wait a bit longer.[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]OnSeptember 14, when the emperor went to see West Empress Dowager shereprimanded him for it. The rupture in their relationship becameopen. The emperor's supporters knew that if the emperor didn't haveany military forces under control the reform would eventually fail.They suggested that the emperor should send for Yuan Shikai, who wasa general training his army in a western style somewhere near TianjinCity. His army was called New Army.[/FONT]
 

xlwoo

Senior Member
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]WhenYuan came to the capital, the emperor received him and gave him asecret written order, urging him to bring his New Army to Peking, tosurround the Garden of Good Health & Harmony and confine WestEmpress Dowager. Yuan knew that most courtiers and all the governorssupported West Empress Dowager. If he wanted to keep his position, orbetter to get a promotion, he must take the side of West EmpressDowager and betray the emperor, the inexperienced, over-ambitious,stupid political novice.[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]Whenhe returned to Tianjin City, he revealed the secret to Ronglu, whoimmediately took the night train back to Peking and asked to see WestEmpress Dowager. He showed her the secret written order of theemperor, which Yuan had given him.[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]OnSeptember 19, Wet Empress Dowager confined the emperor on an islandin the middle of a lake in the Forbidden City. The island wasconnected to the other parts of the Forbidden City only by a smallfoot bridge. He was treated very badly, no fire in the room and justenough food to keep him from starving. He was declared to beseriously sick. The prescriptions of the royal doctors wereproclaimed everyday to show that the emperor was really sick. Butpeople thought differently. The newspapers said that the proclamationof the prescriptions was only a preliminary step towards the deposalof the emperor. [/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]Othernew officials whom the emperor had appointed were all dismissed fromtheir posts. Official Kang, who had been the most active andenthusiastic in the reform, had escaped on board a British ship toJapan. Official Liang, Kang's disciple, fled into the Japaneselegation and then was escorted to Japan, too. Another new officialTan decided to stay, because if he ran away, the government would gethis father instead. So he had to stay and face whatever would befallhim. Tan had a sworn brother Wang, who had kungfu and liked to helppeople. His job was like a bodyguard or property guard, or both. If arich man or a rich family wanted to travel a long way with valuableluggage, he or the family would hire Wang to protect him or thefamily all the way to the destination against any potential robbers. [/FONT]
 

xlwoo

Senior Member
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]WhenWang knew that Official Tan was in trouble, he went to see him atnight. He didn't want to be seen entering Tan's house. He jumped overthe wall from a side street and went to his study. They discussed howthey could deliver the emperor out of the confinement to transfer theemperor to the southern provinces. Once the emperor was out of thecontrol of West Empress Dowager, everything would be fine. By theirplan, as soon as the emperor was out of the Forbidden City, theywould hide him either in some foreign legations or smuggled him intoany of the foreign colonies in Tianjin City. Then they would escorthim on a foreign ship to the southern provinces, their destination.They thought where there was the emperor there was the power center.The emperor could issue orders from anywhere he was. Any courtiersand governors should carry out his orders. That was their theory.[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]Wangtook the matter into his hands. He knew some eunuchs in the ForbiddenCity. He found a eunuch and invited him to a restaurant. While eatingand drinking they were engaged in a conversation. Eunuchs liked tobrag about the life and things in the Forbidden City. Wang showedgreat interest in what the eunuch was telling. Wine makes peopletalk, plus a good listener. The eunuch even drew a sketchy map of theForbidden City at Wang's request. Next night, Wang went to theForbidden City. He slung up a hook, which held fast on a battlement.He climbed up nimbly like a monkey and jumped over the city wall in ajiffy. His black clothes made him melt into the dark night. Buteither the map was not very accurate or Wang didn't remember thedetails, he didn't find the place where the emperor was confined. Hehad to beat a retreat before dawn and would try again another night.[/FONT]
 

xlwoo

Senior Member
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]OnSeptember 23, a ceremony was held for West Empress Dowager to takeback the power. Then she issued orders to annul all the emperor'sdecisions and restored almost everything that had been changed by theemperor, but she said that she would carry on the reform, only stepby step.[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]Thenan order was given to arrest all the emperor's supporters. Two ofthem had escaped abroad. Seven were imprisoned. Six of them werebeheaded publicly on September 28, including Official Tan and thelast one was exiled to Xinjiang Province, the farthest of all theprovinces. This was called the One Hundred Day Reform in the historyof China.[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]WestEmpress Dowager summoned all the high-rank courtiers to her presence.The emperor was there, too. West Empress Dowager blamed the emperorbefore the courtiers, saying that she had agreed to the reform, butthe bottom line was not to change traditional things and now theemperor had gone over the brim. Then she asked the emperor what hewould have done if Yuan had brought in his New Army. “Did you wantto kill me?” Her voice was loud and stern. The emperor could onlyhang his head low. What could he answer? The conquered has no saywhatsoever. But she hated Kang most, because he had drafted all thedecrees. When she asked if Kang had been under arrest yet, she gotthe answer “Escaped.” One of the courtiers said, “If we knowwho leaked to him for the escape, we should arrest that person.”West Empress Dowager glanced at the emperor and said, “It's Emperorwho wrote to advise him to do so.” No one said anything any more.[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]Kang'splace had been ransacked and all the documents found there werepresented to West Empress Dowager. Among them was a letter from theemperor to order him to go to Shanghai to publish a newspaper. It wasa code sentence. So Kang took to his heels.[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]Itwas said that if the emperor could have done one thing at a time andwaited to see the reactions and had not bombarded the country withhis reform orders so radically and carelessly, the history of Chinamight have changed.[/FONT]
 

xlwoo

Senior Member
Chapter 42


WhenWest Empress Dowager was meditating the deposal of Emperor Guangxu,all kinds of surmises appeared on the newspapers in Shanghai. Anofficial, who was taking care of the Telegram Bureau in Shanghai,sensed it and drafted a petition to the effect. He gathered onethousand two hundred and thirty-one signatures on it, including manyfamous scholars and telegraphed it to the Foreign Affairs Yamen. Theofficials in that yamen could not conceal it and sent it to theSecretarial Bureau. Ronglu, now the head secretary of the Bureau,took it to West Empress Dowager, who asked Ronglu how to deal withit. Ronglu said that the best way to quench a rumor was to let themknow the emperor was still the emperor. So they made a publicstatement in the name of West Empress Dowager that next year it wasthe thirtieth birthday of the emperor and a celebration would beheld. But they didn't have more money for the ceremony as WestEmpress Dowager had used up all the possible funds to build hergarden. Next day the emperor made another public declaration thatsince the government was tight with finance, he didn't want thecelebration, thanks to his adopted mother. It showed that he wasstill the emperor. Mother wanted to celebrate the son's birthday andthe son refused it owing to the financial difficulties. It painted apicture of a harmonious family.
Butbefore long another rumor prevailed among people in most provincesthat the emperor had escaped from the Forbidden City and wastraveling south in disguise.
 
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xlwoo

Senior Member
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]Asmall group of seven men came to lodge in a temple just outsideQizhen Town in Hubei Province. One looked like the master, anobleman, dressed in elegance. Another looked like the butler. Fourmen looked like the servants or bodyguards without uniforms and thelast one looked like a cook, shouldering some utensils. They rentedan independent housing unit in the backyard with fifty taels ofsilver as the deposit. The master kept to himself, staying in hisroom most of the time. The butler was busy, in and out, in and out.The four servants were waiting on the master. The cook went out everymorning shopping for food, then came back and did the cooking. Themonk, whose duty was to receive visitors, thought that these peoplewere suspicious and reported to the local yamen. Some policemen weresent in plain clothes to watch over them. The policemen even followedthe butler and the cook everywhere, but nothing unusual happened.Only this group of people seemed mysterious. So the mayor discussedthe matter with his aide. The aide suggested that he should pay avisit to the master to feel the pulse first. The mayor consented. Theaide went to the temple and found the monk, who told him that theyspoke the Peking dialect and seemed to come from the capital. Thebutler and the servants acted like serving a prince. The aide askedhow the master looked. The answer was lean, pale, about thirty.[/FONT]
 

xlwoo

Senior Member
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]Theaide gave the monk a name card and told him to go and announce hisvisit to the master. He followed the monk into the backyard. Thebutler received the monk. When he looked at the name card, he said tothe monk, “I don't know him.” The monk said, “His Esquire is anofficial of this town.” The butler made a gesture like Okay. “I'llsee him.” So the aide stepped forward and introduced himself. Thebutler said, “What can I do for you, Your Esquire?” The aidesaid, “Let's talk in the room.” He wanted to see the master. Ashe was about to enter the master's room, the butler blocked his way,saying, “We'd better talk here.” The butler clapped his handstwice. A servant came carrying two chairs. He put the chairs underthe eaves outside the windows. “What's your master's name?” Theaide inquired. “Tang.” The butler replied curtly.[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] “Ishe an official? Where did he come from? Where will he go?”[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] “Sorry,I can't tell you.”[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] “Then,your master must be an imperial envoy in disguise.”[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] “Whateveryou want to guess.”[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] “Ifyour master is an imperial envoy, we local officials must have theresponsibility to protect him.”[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] “Thisis not necessary. It would be better if the local officials justpretend to know nothing about us. They will be rewarded later fortheir silence. We won't stay here long.”[/FONT]
 

xlwoo

Senior Member
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]Theaide had to leave. He reported to the mayor. The mayor sent for oneof his advisers. This adviser was known to be informative andknowledgeable. He analyzed that before any imperial envoy left thecapital, the message would appear on the official newsletter from thecapital. Since there was not such a message on the most recentnewsletter, the master could not be an imperial envoy. Besides, ingeneral, an imperial envoy would be much older. Then he consultedhimself in a stage whisper, If the rumor is true, could he be theemperor escaped south?” The mayor was shocked to hear it. He asked,“What did you say?” The adviser said that the matter was verysubtle, very delicate, must be handled very carefully. If the rumorwas true, what should they do? If the rumor was false, they wouldsurely arrest him. But how could they know if it was true or false?The mayor decided to visit the master himself. But the adviser got abetter idea.[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] Oneday when the cook went to buy some meat in a market place, someonecaused a fight with him and he was taken to the local yamen. Themayor didn't ask him anything about the fight. [/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] “Whois your master?” The mayor queried.[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] “Idon't know.” The cook said in a quivering voice. He was nervous andfrightened.[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] “It'simpossible you don't know for whom you work.” The mayor didn'tbelieve him.[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] “Ireally don't know. The butler arranges everything and gives orders.”[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] “Haveyou seen your master? Don't say you're never seen him.”[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] “Yes.He's thin, pale, early thirties, quiet. He's never spoken to me.”[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] “Isthere anything unusual about your master? You can take time tothink.”[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] Thecook considered for a while. “He gets up very early, has lunch atnoon and dinner at six in the evening.” That was just like theschedule in the Forbidden City.[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] “Anythingelse special?” The mayor asked hopefully.[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] “Mymaster is afraid of thunder. During a thunderstorm, the butler andthe servants are always with him.” All the courtiers knew that theemperor was afraid of thunderclaps because the eunuchs talked a lotabout it. Since nothing more could be squeezed out of the cook, hewas let go with a warning that he shouldn't speak to anyone about theevent of today.[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] Stillthey were not sure who the master was. So the mayor went to see himwith some policemen, all in plain clothes. Their strategy was that ifhe was an impostor, they would take him into custody right away. Ifhe was really the escaped emperor, they would pretend that theydidn't know anything about the emperor escaped and went back for adiscussion what they should do next. If they couldn't make sure, thatwas the problem. [/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] Thistime since the mayor came himself, the master received him. “Wheredo you come from?” The mayor inquired like a routine patrolpoliceman asking a lodger in an inn. [/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] “Thecapital.” His voice was low like having a sore throat.[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] “Inwhich yamen do you work?”[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] “TheRoyal Family Affairs Management.”[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] “Youhave any official business down here?”[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] “Sure.”The butler stood beside the master all the time.[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] “What'syour business?”[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] “Can'ttell.” He cast a glimpse at the butler.[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] “Willyou go further south?”[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] “Sure.”[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] “Doyou have any official traveling documents?”[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] “Can'tlet you see.”[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]Sowhat else could the mayor say? He returned to his yamen forconsultation. The mayor said, “I think he is an impostor.”[/FONT]
 

xlwoo

Senior Member
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]Animpostor for what?The aide wanted to know.[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]Hedidn't say he's the emperor. How could he be an impostor?” said theadviser.[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] “I'lltake full responsibilities if anything happens to show I am wrong.”The mayor persisted. The aide and the adviser had to obey him. Theylaid out the ploy in details. They would invite him to stay in theyamen, even by force if necessary. He must be under their controlfirst. Then the mayor would report to the governor. If it turned outthat he was really the emperor, they could say that they wanted toprotect him. If he was not, he would go to jail, which was veryclose, just in the yamen. [/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] Nextday the mayor sent some policemen to escort the master, the butler,the servants and even the cook into the yamen and confined them. Thenat the command from the governor, they escorted the group to WuchangCity where the governor had his yamen and the group was confinedthere. The mayor thought that as the governor had had an interviewwith West Empress Dowager and the emperor, he should recognize theemperor. But the problem was that even the governor could not tell ifhe was the emperor or not, because during the interview the governorhad prostrated before West Empress Dowager and the emperor and didn'tdare to look up. Their last resort was to send someone to the capitalto glean the information about the emperor. The man the governor hadsent was smart. He went to some tea houses where the eunuchs wouldgather after their duties. He got acquainted with some of the eunuchsand treated them with food and drink. He learned at length that theemperor was still confined in the Forbidden City.[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] Whenthe man brought back the message, the governor accused Yang, themaster, of the impersonation of the emperor. The master pleaded thathe had never said that he was the emperor. Only the mayor had thoughthim to be the emperor. The master was really innocent. But no, he wasguilty of what the mayor had originally mistaken him to be. Thegovernor knew that such a case would please West Empress Dowager.That was what really mattered to him. So all the seven people wereexecuted. They would eventually die even if they could live up to theage of one hundred years. Therefore, why not let them die earlier toplease West Empress Dowager?[/FONT]
 

xlwoo

Senior Member
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]Chapter 43[/FONT]


[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]Sincethe emperor was confined on the island in the Forbidden City, WestEmpress Dowager had often wanted to depose him. A statement wasissued that the emperor was sick and doctors should be recommended. So it was deemed a sign that the emperor would soon be forced toabdicate. The French envoy came to the Foreign Affairs Yamen torecommend a French doctor, but an official in charge there said thatthey were not entitled to make such a decision, either in affirmativeor in negative. They must report to West Empress Dowager and theanswer would be given after three days. Three days later the Frenchenvoy came once more. He got a negative reply. The reason was thatthe emperor was accustomed to Chinese herbal medicine. The Britishenvoy came, too. They confessed that their governments were worriedabout the emperor's health and must send someone to see how theemperor was. (implied if the emperor was still alive.) So WestEmpress Dowager had a meeting with the courtiers. A courtier remarkedthat it was not polite to refuse the visit of a French doctor. It wasjust like a neighbor was concerned with the health of anotherneighbor and came to visit. But West Empress Dowager didn't want theforeign neighbors to be concerned with the health of the emperor. Atlast she was persuaded to yield that a French doctor could come tosee the emperor, accompanied by two princes. [/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]ButWest Empress Dowager was still contemplating how to depose theemperor. But who could succeed the throne? She did not want anyadult to be the successor, because she should return power to him assoon as he was crowned. She would choose a small boy, but nonesuitable at the time. Besides, many courtiers disagreed to her idea.Even foreign countries interfered in that matter. She had to give in,but hated the foreigners all the more.[/FONT]
 

xlwoo

Senior Member
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]Rongludidn't like the idea to change the emperorship, because it mightoccasion a lot of troubles like foreign intervention and oppositionfrom the governors and from the people throughout the nation. But hecould not disobey West Empress Dowager and didn't want to directlyshow his disagreement with her. Two prime ministers had submitted areport to West Empress Dowager to propose the deposal of the emperor.West Empress Dowager told them to show the report to Ronglu for hisopinion. When they came to see Ronglu and handed it to Ronglu for himto read, Ronglu pretended that he didn't hold the report tight enoughand let it fall into the brazier. It was burned to aches immediately.The two prime ministers were furious and went back to West EmpressDowager to accuse Ronglu of disrespect to West Empress Dowager. Theyhoped that West Empress Dowager would punish Ronglu for it. But ofcourse they were disappointed. Ronglu consulted with his advisers andgot a notion that it was better at present to choose someone to bethe successor to the emperor.[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] SinceWest Empress Dowager could not remove the present emperor from thethrone, she accepted the idea and chose the son of Prince Zaiyi asthe future successor when the emperor died. Ronglu had persuaded WestEmpress Dowager, saying that the foreign governments declared thatthey would disown any new emperor and that it would be better if WestEmpress Dowager could choose some boy as the adopted son of the lateEmperor Tongzhi, a potential successor. West Empress Dowager thoughtit feasible. The boy was fifteen then. He didn't like to read, whichwas a bad omen to be a successor. He loved to play and fight. ButWest Empress Dowager didn't know it at first. Almost all the eunuchsand royal maids took a dislike to him on the first day he moved intothe Forbidden City. He didn't look likable, with thick lips and theupper lip curving upward, almost touching the nose. It was a facethat anyone would say that it was not a face for an emperor. But hewas the relative of West Empress Dowager. His mother was the nieceof West Empress Dowager.[/FONT]
 

xlwoo

Senior Member
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]Ashis son (Now everyone called him Big Brother.) was selected as thepotential successor, Prince Zaiyi became powerful. If the emperorwas deposed, his son would be the emperor and he would be the fatherof the emperor, more powerful. But the meddling of the foreignerscrushed his sweet dream. He hated the foreigners. He wanted todrive all of them out of China. He waited for a chance.[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] Sincein the Opium War the foreign fleets had broken open the golden gateto China, many priests had come to build churches and preached toChinese people. Quite a few Chinese people began to believe in God. But the traditional religions in China were Taoism and Buddhism, inwhich much more people believed. Different religions always haveconflicts, which even develop to killing. At that time, those whobelieved in God were looked upon as heathens. Many God-believingpeople, including priests, were killed and churches burned to ashes. This often occasioned diplomatic problems.[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] Therewere always some kind of organizations among the Chinese people. Onewas called Yihetuan in Shandong Province. They declared that they hadmagic power. The bullet could not injure them. They hated theforeigners and those God-believing Chinese people. Accordingly theykilled those people and foreign priests and burned churches. Whereversuch things happened, the foreign envoys protested to the Chinesegovernment. So the local government began to arrest and even executethe members of that organization, which enlarged very fast. Under thepressure of foreign governments, West Empress Dowager had to appointYuan Shikai as the governor of Shandong Province. He arrived there onDecember 25, 1899. Yuan used guns to deal with Yihetuan, who had onlyswords and spears, even hoes as weapons. Yuan captured some of themand gunned them down in public to show that it was a lie that theyhad magic power as the bullets penetrated through their bodies. Theyhad to flee in Spring, 1900, from Shandong Province into ZhidiProvince, closer to the capital.[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] Thensomeone in that organization got a wonderful idea. They put up abanner bearing these words, Help Qing Dynasty To Wipe Out Foreigners.The slogan struck home.[/FONT]
 

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[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]Quitea few courtiers tended to pacify Yihetuan. Prince Zaiyi wanted toutilize them to drive out the foreigners so that West Empress Dowagercould force the emperor to abdicate and his son could be on thethrone. And West Empress Dowager wanted to use Yihetuan to expel theforeigners, too, so that she could do everything at will without anyfear to be interfered.[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] SincePrince Zaiyi and some courtiers supported Yihetuan, they were crazierin behavior. As a revenge for the killing by Yuan, they began toambush some small groups of the government army. They pulled down thetelegram cables and chopped down the posts. They dug up some rails tomake the train derail. All these were reported to West EmpressDowager, who ordered Ronglu to send troops to protect the railroadand the telegram posts. Ronglu had already been made a secretary, butstill controlled the army in the capital area. Usually a secretarycould not command any armies, but Ronglu did. No one had had morepower than Ronglu since the beginning of Qing Dynasty. West EmpressDowager did not want to give any other courtiers much power. But shecould trust in Ronglu. Ronglu could never betray her. [/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] Yihetuanassailed the division that was guarding the railroad. The divisionkilled some and dispersed the rest. In Tianjin City anyone who daredto criticize Yihetuan was killed. When they were walking in thestreets, even the mayor must stand aside and let them pass. The wholecity was in disorder and in a mess. [/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] Thegovernor of Zhidi Province believed in their magic power and treatedthem as his noble guests. He even let their leader ride in his ownofficial palanquin. Therefore, policemen didn't dare to interferewith whatever they were doing. Then Yihetuan was let into the capitaland their leaders took lodging in the residence of Prince Zaiyi. Thesituation got worse and the capital was in a great chaos.[/FONT]
 

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[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]GraduallyWest Empress Dowager began to find that she didn't like the boy,because he was naughty and didn't want to study. He had two dogsbrought in and always played with them. Once when she met the emperorand saw his upper lip a little swollen, she asked about it. Theemperor said that Big Brother had knocked him down and he had fallenon his face and got his upper lip swollen. Prince Zaiyi always cursedthe emperor behind his back, wishing him to die. The boy had heardhis father say it so many times and developed a hatred toward theemperor, who should be his uncle in the relationship. He had gone tosee the emperor and provoked him that day. When the emperor had toldhim to leave him alone, he had rushed to the emperor when he turnedhis back to him and knocked him over. West Empress Dowager was iratewith the boy for his misbehavior and summoned him to her presence.She told her eunuchs to give the boy a good whipping on the butts.When Prince Zaiyi, the father, heard it, he feared that West EmpressDowager might deprive his son of the status of the successor. Someoneadvised him that he should take steps to assure his son's future. Thedecisive step was to kill the emperor so that his son could take overthe throne immediately. It was an alluring idea. One day Prince Zaiyitook some members of Yihetuan into the Forbidden City. The guardsthere didn't dare to stop them and let them in. Prince Zaiyi led themto where West Empress Dowager generally received the courtiers. Hedidn't know the way to the place where the emperor lived. He asked tosee West Empress Dowager, who came out to see him. The members ofYihetuan threatened and wanted West Empress Dowager to give up theemperor to them. But Ronglu had many bodyguards stationed there toprotect West Empress Dowager and they dashed out to seize all themembers of Yihetuan and executed them as robbers. Prince Zaiyi had toleave the Forbidden City without his goal fulfilled.[/FONT]
 

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[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]OnMay 20, 1900, all the foreign envoys in Peking had a meeting and nextday they sent a notice to Qing government, requesting that theleaders of Yihetuan and their accomplices be executed and theofficials who refused to arrest the members of Yihetuan be punished,adding that if nothing was accomplished within five days, they wouldsend more soldiers into the capital to protect their legations. Butat that time the Qing government lost control of Yihetuan. ManyChinese soldiers sympathized with Yihetuan and even joined it. [/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] OnMay 31, more foreign soldiers came into the capital to safeguardtheir legations. Members of Yihetuan went to siege the largestcathedral in the capital, The North Cathedral. But they met withstrong resistance. The clergyman and his assistants, helped by manyChinese people who believed in God, defended their holy building.Someone suggested to the leader of Yihetuan to use magic power, butthe leader said that he had had sex last night, which had weakenedhis magic power. He could not use it today, maybe, the next day. Buthe didn't come next day, letting others to continue the attack. [/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] WhenWest Empress Dowager was told about it, she gave a written order toPrince Zaiyi to oppress the behavior of Yihetuan. As he received theorder, he just rumpled the piece of paper, stuffing it into hispocket. Another prince was at his residence at the time, and seeingthis, he returned home and told his servants to shut the door. No oneshould go out and no visitors would be received. They had enough ofeverything in store to live on for several months. Many courtiersfollowed the example.[/FONT]
 

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[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]OnJune 2, more foreign troops got on land from their warships andgathered along the coast. They began to assault Tianjin City. Thegeneral whose duties were to defend the city told the mayor to sendYihetuan to drive the foreign troops back onto their warships. Aleader of Yihetuan came to see the general and said to him that heshould fire his cannons at the foreign troops. “What if they returnthe fire?” The general asked. “I will use my magic power to maketheir cannons dysfunctional for six hours.” When he left, it wasnightfall. So the general prepared to attack the foreign troops nextday. But at dawn a member of Yihetuan came to ask if the general hadfired his cannons at night. It meant that during the whole night, thecannons of the foreigners had been dysfunctional by the magic powerof the Yihetuan leader. That was like a joke. [/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]OnJune 10 the foreign troops began to march toward Peking. But as therails were dug up by Yihetuan, they couldn't take the train. Theyhad to walk and on June 12 they marched into the ambush and had towithdraw. The foreign fleets were attacking Dagukou, a fortress onthe harbor, at the same time.[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] FromJune 16 through 19, West Empress Dowager had meetings with hercourtiers to discuss whether to ask for a negotiation or to fightagainst the foreign aggressors. Ronglu held the view to sustainpeace, but Prince Zaiyi insisted in waging the war. West EmpressDowager could not yet be decisive, because she set her heart ondriving foreigners out of China, but no one could assure her of hersuccess.[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] Atthis critical moment, Prince Zaiyi and his followers decided thatthey must put something on the scales that would tip to their side.Prince Zaiyi sent an adviser of his to see a telegram decoder. Theadviser gave him ten thousand taels of silver for exchange of a falsetelegram supposed coming from foreign governments. The usualprocedure was that when a telegram came in, the operator received itand gave it to the decoder, who rendered it into regular text anddispatched it to wherever it should go. If he made a false telegramsupposed to come from the foreign governments and handed it in to theSecretarial Bureau, it was very easy. So when the false telegram wasdelivered, the decoder vanished with the money. [/FONT]
 
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