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Thread: Empress dowager cixi

  1. #316
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    The maids removed the tub for the upper torso and put another tub for the lower torso before her. She didn't want to use the same tub for her whole body since she could afford two. Her thought was that the upper torso was like the master and the lower torso was like the servant. How could the master and the servant share the same thing? The maids washed her lower torso just in the same way. The sole difference was that she must stand up to let the maids wash her buttocks.
    When the bath was over, two maids remained to wash her face and hands, especially do her nails. They used the warm wet towels and then rolled a short round stick of jade to massage the skin on her face, to iron the wrinkles as they would call it. Then they did her nails. She only grew her long nails on thumbs, ring fingers and little fingers. They steeped her nails in warm water in jade bowls. They brushed the nails clean, straightened the long nails because long nails were apt to curve. They filed the nails where needed. After applying some nail polish, they put case made of yellow brocade on the long nails to protect them. That was the last thing before she went to bed. It was said that she always had white soft smooth skin and looked much younger than her real age.
    She paid particular attention to her long black bright-oily hair. Before Li Lianying came, other eunuchs had never done her hair to her gratification. She had often tried a new eunuch to do her hair, but the new eunuch could never have stayed long on the job. Many eunuchs had been scolded or even beaten for not doing their job satisfactorily. If a few pieces of her hair fell when combing, the eunuch would be beaten on the buttocks with a stick. She preferred to have a new hairdo as often as possible, but the eunuchs didn't have experience enough to invent new hairstyles until Li Lianying came to try on the job. Before Li asked her permission to do her hair, he had visited some whorehouses in the capital and learned from whores the skills and how to do hair beautifully and how to design new hairdo. Since he did her hair to her heart's content he was made the general head eunuch in the Forbidden City.

  2. #317
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    She was very fastidious about food. Besides the royal kitchen that provided for all the royal household in the Forbidden City, she had her own private kitchen, called West Kitchen. Every cook had the sole charge of certain sorts of food, like some only cooking vegetables, some making pastries, some supplying snacks of various kinds and some cooking only meat of dainties including shark's fins, sea cucumbers and abalones. West Kitchen could provide more than four hundred kinds of snacks and more than four thousand kinds of dishes.
    Breakfast was generally at six in the morning, lunch at noon, twelve o'lock, and dinner at six in the evening. And snacks at any time when she felt like to eat some. Food was carried from kitchen to her dining place in warm boxes, which had pewter containers at the bottom to hold hot water to keep the food warm. The lid of the box was very tight so that the warmth could stay inside for a long time. It was said that there were always one hundred dishes when she had main meals. When a main meal, say, dinner, was served, one young eunuch carried one food box on his right shoulder, all the eunuchs coming in a file. Some other eunuchs, a bit older, took out the dishes from the boxes and laid them one by one on the big oblong table. When she looked at a dish, a eunuch got the dish and put in front of her. But before she tasted it, the head eunuch Li would dip a pair of silver chopsticks into the dish. If the silver chopsticks turned black, they believed that there was poison in the dish. Of course, she could not eat so many dishes. She often ordered such and such dishes sent to a certain favorite courtier or given to head eunuch Li, which was considered an honor. It was said that the cost of one meal for her could feed a family of four for one year.

  3. #318
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    She was very fastidious about food. Besides the royal kitchen that provided for all the royal household in the Forbidden City, she had her own private kitchen, called West Kitchen. Every cook had the sole charge of certain sorts of food, like some only cooking vegetables, some making pastries, some supplying snacks of various kinds and some cooking only meat of dainties including shark's fins, sea cucumbers and abalones. West Kitchen could provide more than four hundred kinds of snacks and more than four thousand kinds of dishes.
    Breakfast was generally at six in the morning, lunch at noon, twelve o'lock, and dinner at six in the evening. And snacks at any time when she felt like to eat some. Food was carried from kitchen to her dining place in warm boxes, which had pewter containers at the bottom to hold hot water to keep the food warm. The lid of the box was very tight so that the warmth could stay inside for a long time. It was said that there were always one hundred dishes when she had main meals. When a main meal, say, dinner, was served, one young eunuch carried one food box on his right shoulder, all the eunuchs coming in a file. Some other eunuchs, a bit older, took out the dishes from the boxes and laid them one by one on the big oblong table. When she looked at a dish, a eunuch got the dish and put in front of her. But before she tasted it, the head eunuch Li would dip a pair of silver chopsticks into the dish. If the silver chopsticks turned black, they believed that there was poison in the dish. Of course, she could not eat so many dishes. She often ordered such and such dishes sent to a certain favorite courtier or given to head eunuch Li, which was considered an honor. It was said that the cost of one meal for her could feed a family of four for one year.

  4. #319
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    Chapter 40

    Every dynasty in Chinese history had corruption in the government, which always led to the crumble of the old dynasty and the rise of a new one. Corruption mostly included embezzlement, bribery and selling of government official positions. In late Qing Dynasty the positions sold had fixed prices, which were open secrets.
    Before power was returned to the emperor, all the courtiers were appointed by West Empress Dowager. These courtiers were still loyal to her even after the emperor took over the power. They were called the Empress Dowager's Party. When the emperor came into power, he wanted to fight the corruption. There were quite a few upright courtiers, who hated corruption and supported the emperor, hence called the Emperor's Party. The former comprised all the governors and those courtiers, who were experienced in government administration. All of them had great power. The latter consisted of those courtiers, who were mostly young and inexperienced and didn't have much power. The two parties held hostility against each other because of their different political concepts.
    While the emperor was doing his utmost to battle the national corruption, his beloved Concubine Zhen was planning how to get more income. By tradition, the queen got a thousand taels of silver every year from the government and a concubine only three hundred annually.
    Concubine Zhen was in her teens and had no experience to the outside world. It was all her head eunuch's idea to ask the emperor to appoint a certain person as an official of a certain rank, then got a certain amount of money for it. But her head eunuch got the idea from head eunuch Li of West Empress Dowager. Li had been accepting huge briberies for the sales of official positions. He didn't dare to ask West Empress Dowager to make the appointments. He just asked certain members of the Secretarial Bureau to suggest to West Empress Dowager who was suitable to fill such and such a position. In return Li would throw in a few good words for them when he had chances to speak to West Empress Dowager, because she used him as her spy to detect anything she wanted to know.
    After West Empress Dowager had dinner and before she went to bed, she would summon her head eunuch Li to her presence and commanded him to tell her whatever he had learned during the day. It was the story time, as Li would say. He got everything just from hearsay. He could not make investigations to check how much truth was in gossip. If she really wanted to know the truth, Li would send some eunuch to pry into it and then told her. That was how Concubine Zhen's doings came into her ears.

  5. #320
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    Chapter 40

    Every dynasty in Chinese history had corruption in the government, which always led to the crumble of the old dynasty and the rise of a new one. Corruption mostly included embezzlement, bribery and selling of government official positions. In late Qing Dynasty the positions sold had fixed prices, which were open secrets.
    Before power was returned to the emperor, all the courtiers were appointed by West Empress Dowager. These courtiers were still loyal to her even after the emperor took over the power. They were called the Empress Dowager's Party. When the emperor came into power, he wanted to fight the corruption. There were quite a few upright courtiers, who hated corruption and supported the emperor, hence called the Emperor's Party. The former comprised all the governors and those courtiers, who were experienced in government administration. All of them had great power. The latter consisted of those courtiers, who were mostly young and inexperienced and didn't have much power. The two parties held hostility against each other because of their different political concepts.
    While the emperor was doing his utmost to battle the national corruption, his beloved Concubine Zhen was planning how to get more income. By tradition, the queen got a thousand taels of silver every year from the government and a concubine only three hundred annually.
    Concubine Zhen was in her teens and had no experience to the outside world. It was all her head eunuch's idea to ask the emperor to appoint a certain person as an official of a certain rank, then got a certain amount of money for it. But her head eunuch got the idea from head eunuch Li of West Empress Dowager. Li had been accepting huge briberies for the sales of official positions. He didn't dare to ask West Empress Dowager to make the appointments. He just asked certain members of the Secretarial Bureau to suggest to West Empress Dowager who was suitable to fill such and such a position. In return Li would throw in a few good words for them when he had chances to speak to West Empress Dowager, because she used him as her spy to detect anything she wanted to know.
    After West Empress Dowager had dinner and before she went to bed, she would summon her head eunuch Li to her presence and commanded him to tell her whatever he had learned during the day. It was the story time, as Li would say. He got everything just from hearsay. He could not make investigations to check how much truth was in gossip. If she really wanted to know the truth, Li would send some eunuch to pry into it and then told her. That was how Concubine Zhen's doings came into her ears.

  6. #321
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    Although West Empress Dowager returned power to Emperor Guangxu, she still controlled him. The power was returned only in name. West Empress Dowager developed a hobby to accumulate wealth. So she began to sell the official titles and posts on a large scale. Her head eunuch Li could also get some briberies through the transactions. He acted as a go-between, but he didn't dare to let West Empress Dowager know that he had gains in the deals. The emperor could not refuse whomever West Empress Dowager wanted to appoint to any vacant positions. The emperor could only notice that some of the officials were not fit for the position he got. The emperor knew that head eunuch Li was a go-between, but there should be another go-between to get clients, because Li could not always go out of the Forbidden City for that and he could not put up an advertisement. It would be too obvious. Gradually the emperor learned that a Taoist Gao often came to see head eunuch Li.
    There was a Taoist temple, called White Cloud Temple, in the western suburb of the capital, where the Taoists worshiped a statue of Taoist Qiu, who had lived in Ming Dynasty and had castrated himself for the purpose of exercising some special kind of kungfu. As Toaist Qiu had emasculated himself, the eunuchs thought him as their protective god and came to worship him. Taoist Gao was the head Taoist of that temple.
    Gao had been born in Shandong Province and had been an apprentice in a shop. Once he had embezzled some money that had passed through his hands. The owner of the shop had wanted to beat him and he had fled to a Taoist temple there to become a Taoist. Somehow the owner had learned that he had been hiding in the Taoist temple and had sent someone there to catch him. He had escaped to the capital, into the White Cloud Temple. Through years of flattery and other efforts, he had slowly clambered the ladder to the top rung as the head Taoist. Since head eunuch Li often came to the temple, they began to know each other and then became sworn brothers. Whenever Taoist Gao came into the capital, he always lodged in a certain inn. He had a room reserved there.

  7. #322
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    Although West Empress Dowager returned power to Emperor Guangxu, she still controlled him. The power was returned only in name. West Empress Dowager developed a hobby to accumulate wealth. So she began to sell the official titles and posts on a large scale. Her head eunuch Li could also get some briberies through the transactions. He acted as a go-between, but he didn't dare to let West Empress Dowager know that he had gains in the deals. The emperor could not refuse whomever West Empress Dowager wanted to appoint to any vacant positions. The emperor could only notice that some of the officials were not fit for the position he got. The emperor knew that head eunuch Li was a go-between, but there should be another go-between to get clients, because Li could not always go out of the Forbidden City for that and he could not put up an advertisement. It would be too obvious. Gradually the emperor learned that a Taoist Gao often came to see head eunuch Li.
    There was a Taoist temple, called White Cloud Temple, in the western suburb of the capital, where the Taoists worshiped a statue of Taoist Qiu, who had lived in Ming Dynasty and had castrated himself for the purpose of exercising some special kind of kungfu. As Toaist Qiu had emasculated himself, the eunuchs thought him as their protective god and came to worship him. Taoist Gao was the head Taoist of that temple.
    Gao had been born in Shandong Province and had been an apprentice in a shop. Once he had embezzled some money that had passed through his hands. The owner of the shop had wanted to beat him and he had fled to a Taoist temple there to become a Taoist. Somehow the owner had learned that he had been hiding in the Taoist temple and had sent someone there to catch him. He had escaped to the capital, into the White Cloud Temple. Through years of flattery and other efforts, he had slowly clambered the ladder to the top rung as the head Taoist. Since head eunuch Li often came to the temple, they began to know each other and then became sworn brothers. Whenever Taoist Gao came into the capital, he always lodged in a certain inn. He had a room reserved there.

  8. #323
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    Once when Taoist Gao stayed in the inn a man came to see him. The man was a wood merchant by the name of Yuming, recommended by someone working in the Royal Family Affairs Management. Merchant Yuming supplied wood to the Management whenever there were repairs or constructions in the Forbidden City. He was very rich and recently earned thousands and thousands of taels of silver from the repair work in the Garden of Good Health & Harmony. Someone had hinted to him that the head of the Department of Salt & Tea Tax Collection in Sichuan Province had been accused of corruption and the position would soon be vacant. That was a fat position, involving lots and lots of money, because Sichuan Province yields tea and halite (rock salt), which were sold to Tibet, Yunnan Province, Guizhou Province, Hunan Province and Hubei Province for huge profit. He desired to acquire the post. He offered one hundred thousand taels of silver for the post. Taoist Gao promised to get the post for him, but he must contact head eunuch Li first. Anyway, the merchant Yuming gave him the silver note of one hundred thousand taels. But eunuch Li was busy these days and Taoist Gao could not find him.
    The merchant was anxious and afraid that the vacancy would be given to someone else. He also knew that Concubine Zhen was now the favorite concubine of the emperor. If Concubine Zhen could ask the emperor to give the vacancy to a certain person as a favor, the emperor wouldn't reject. And it was more direct, because any order of appointment was issued by the emperor. So through another clerk in the Royal Family Affairs Management, he got in touch with the head eunuch Wang of Concubine Zhen. Eunuch Wang always envied Eunuch Li for getting easy money. Now this was the chance for him to show how he could make easy money, too. One hundred thousand taels was considerably a big amount of money. Only if he could persuade Concubine Zhen. Eunuch Wang knew that Concubine Zhen needed money to give to her parents. Her father, though a high-rank government official, was not rich, but as a high-rank official the expenditure was enormous. If her father went to visit some superiors or princes as etiquette demanded, he must first give money to the doorkeepers there, or they wouldn't report to their masters that he was there waiting to be received. How could his superiors or princes know that he came to pay respects, but their doorkeepers wouldn't report? They would even think that he neglected what the etiquette required and began to dislike him. Thus he could never get a promotion. Of course he could mention to the masters that their doorkeepers wanted money, or they wouldn't let him in. But this was a long-established custom and no one could change it.

  9. #324
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    Once when Taoist Gao stayed in the inn a man came to see him. The man was a wood merchant by the name of Yuming, recommended by someone working in the Royal Family Affairs Management. Merchant Yuming supplied wood to the Management whenever there were repairs or constructions in the Forbidden City. He was very rich and recently earned thousands and thousands of taels of silver from the repair work in the Garden of Good Health & Harmony. Someone had hinted to him that the head of the Department of Salt & Tea Tax Collection in Sichuan Province had been accused of corruption and the position would soon be vacant. That was a fat position, involving lots and lots of money, because Sichuan Province yields tea and halite (rock salt), which were sold to Tibet, Yunnan Province, Guizhou Province, Hunan Province and Hubei Province for huge profit. He desired to acquire the post. He offered one hundred thousand taels of silver for the post. Taoist Gao promised to get the post for him, but he must contact head eunuch Li first. Anyway, the merchant Yuming gave him the silver note of one hundred thousand taels. But eunuch Li was busy these days and Taoist Gao could not find him.
    The merchant was anxious and afraid that the vacancy would be given to someone else. He also knew that Concubine Zhen was now the favorite concubine of the emperor. If Concubine Zhen could ask the emperor to give the vacancy to a certain person as a favor, the emperor wouldn't reject. And it was more direct, because any order of appointment was issued by the emperor. So through another clerk in the Royal Family Affairs Management, he got in touch with the head eunuch Wang of Concubine Zhen. Eunuch Wang always envied Eunuch Li for getting easy money. Now this was the chance for him to show how he could make easy money, too. One hundred thousand taels was considerably a big amount of money. Only if he could persuade Concubine Zhen. Eunuch Wang knew that Concubine Zhen needed money to give to her parents. Her father, though a high-rank government official, was not rich, but as a high-rank official the expenditure was enormous. If her father went to visit some superiors or princes as etiquette demanded, he must first give money to the doorkeepers there, or they wouldn't report to their masters that he was there waiting to be received. How could his superiors or princes know that he came to pay respects, but their doorkeepers wouldn't report? They would even think that he neglected what the etiquette required and began to dislike him. Thus he could never get a promotion. Of course he could mention to the masters that their doorkeepers wanted money, or they wouldn't let him in. But this was a long-established custom and no one could change it.

  10. #325
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    Eunuch Wang and the merchant struck up a bargain that the eunuch would get him the post within twenty-five days and the merchant would pay him one hundred thousand taels of silver. If the eunuch couldn't get him the post within that period of time, the deal would be off. Then at the earliest chance Eunuch Wang mentioned to Concubine Zhen that if she could say one word to the emperor she would get one hundred thousand taels. Concubine Zhen looked doubtful. She was only thirteen then and had no experience whatever in life. Although she needed money, she knew that was the interference with the handling of the state affairs and West Empress Dowager would be mad at her if she came to know it. But eunuch Wang assuaged her fear, saying that West Empress Dowager sold posts for money herself. This message gave Concubine Zhen a little encouragement. “Who wants the position?” She asked timidly. Eunuch Wang presented her with a slip of paper with a name on it. Concubine Zhen glanced at the name. Of course she didn't know it. She bade eunuch Wang to leave the paper on the table. “Is the post worth so much money?” She was curious. “Yes. It is one of the fattest positions in the country.” Eunuch Wang said respectfully. “I'll consider about it.” She dismissed him.
    The emperor finished his routine and came to see Concubine Zhen as usual. After some pleasant chat, the emperor noticed the paper on the table and asked what it was. Concubine Zhen replied nonchalantly that this man wanted to have this position and begged her to say a few good words for him to the emperor, but she knew that she should not interfere with the appointment of the government officials and so she didn't promise him anything. Though young, Concubine Zhen was a clever girl. She adopted the ruse: Retreat before advance The emperor loved Concubine Zhen so much and always wanted to do her a favor. So he picked up the paper and put it into his pocket.

  11. #326
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    Eunuch Wang and the merchant struck up a bargain that the eunuch would get him the post within twenty-five days and the merchant would pay him one hundred thousand taels of silver. If the eunuch couldn't get him the post within that period of time, the deal would be off. Then at the earliest chance Eunuch Wang mentioned to Concubine Zhen that if she could say one word to the emperor she would get one hundred thousand taels. Concubine Zhen looked doubtful. She was only thirteen then and had no experience whatever in life. Although she needed money, she knew that was the interference with the handling of the state affairs and West Empress Dowager would be mad at her if she came to know it. But eunuch Wang assuaged her fear, saying that West Empress Dowager sold posts for money herself. This message gave Concubine Zhen a little encouragement. “Who wants the position?” She asked timidly. Eunuch Wang presented her with a slip of paper with a name on it. Concubine Zhen glanced at the name. Of course she didn't know it. She bade eunuch Wang to leave the paper on the table. “Is the post worth so much money?” She was curious. “Yes. It is one of the fattest positions in the country.” Eunuch Wang said respectfully. “I'll consider about it.” She dismissed him.
    The emperor finished his routine and came to see Concubine Zhen as usual. After some pleasant chat, the emperor noticed the paper on the table and asked what it was. Concubine Zhen replied nonchalantly that this man wanted to have this position and begged her to say a few good words for him to the emperor, but she knew that she should not interfere with the appointment of the government officials and so she didn't promise him anything. Though young, Concubine Zhen was a clever girl. She adopted the ruse: Retreat before advance The emperor loved Concubine Zhen so much and always wanted to do her a favor. So he picked up the paper and put it into his pocket.

  12. #327
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    Taoist Gao learned it through his grapevine and resented it. He reported it to head eunuch Li, who was infuriated with Concubine Zhen for her cutting in and snatching what it should belong to him. Since West Empress Dowager took eunuch Li as her eye and ear, she always consulted him about things she was not quite sure. When she read the report from Personnel Ministry that the former head of the Department of Salt & Tea Tax Collection in Sichuan Province had embezzled four hundred thousand taels of silver within two years, she said to eunuch Li, “I never know this position's worth so much money.” Eunuch Li remarked casually that was why he was told that someone was willing to pay one hundred thousand taels of silver to get the post. When West Empress Dowager wanted to know who it was, eunuch Li answered evasively that he didn't know the name and suggested that Old Buddha should watch out for the name. Therefore, when the emperor sent in the appointment order for that position for the approval of West Empress Dowager, she put it aside by Li's advice.
    When the appointment was stranded, eunuch Wang knew that it was eunuch Li's doing. After twenty-five days, the deal was off accordingly. Then eunuch Li reported to West Empress Dowager that the man offered one hundred thousand taels of silver for the post. West Empress Dowager was in great ecstasy to hear it and granted the appointment of the emperor. According to the ceremony requirements, there should be an interview with an official who got an appointment to a high position outside the capital. The date for the interview was fixed. When eunuch Wang reported the truth to Concubine Zhen she was outraged with eunuch Li. So she decided to make the whole business a failure. She implied to the emperor that this man was only a merchant, even illiterate, not fit for the post. The emperor was surprised to hear it, but he didn't have the heart to blame Concubine Zhen, because she hadn't really asked him to give the man the position. It was he who wanted to do her a favor. During the interview the emperor wanted the merchant to write his bio before him. But the merchant could not even write his own name. So the post was given to someone else. The merchant lost one hundred thousand taels to Taoist Gao, but he didn't dare to demand the return of the money, since Taoist Gao was the sworn brother of eunuch Li and eunuch Li was the favorite eunuch of West Empress Dowager.

  13. #328
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    Taoist Gao learned it through his grapevine and resented it. He reported it to head eunuch Li, who was infuriated with Concubine Zhen for her cutting in and snatching what it should belong to him. Since West Empress Dowager took eunuch Li as her eye and ear, she always consulted him about things she was not quite sure. When she read the report from Personnel Ministry that the former head of the Department of Salt & Tea Tax Collection in Sichuan Province had embezzled four hundred thousand taels of silver within two years, she said to eunuch Li, “I never know this position's worth so much money.” Eunuch Li remarked casually that was why he was told that someone was willing to pay one hundred thousand taels of silver to get the post. When West Empress Dowager wanted to know who it was, eunuch Li answered evasively that he didn't know the name and suggested that Old Buddha should watch out for the name. Therefore, when the emperor sent in the appointment order for that position for the approval of West Empress Dowager, she put it aside by Li's advice.
    When the appointment was stranded, eunuch Wang knew that it was eunuch Li's doing. After twenty-five days, the deal was off accordingly. Then eunuch Li reported to West Empress Dowager that the man offered one hundred thousand taels of silver for the post. West Empress Dowager was in great ecstasy to hear it and granted the appointment of the emperor. According to the ceremony requirements, there should be an interview with an official who got an appointment to a high position outside the capital. The date for the interview was fixed. When eunuch Wang reported the truth to Concubine Zhen she was outraged with eunuch Li. So she decided to make the whole business a failure. She implied to the emperor that this man was only a merchant, even illiterate, not fit for the post. The emperor was surprised to hear it, but he didn't have the heart to blame Concubine Zhen, because she hadn't really asked him to give the man the position. It was he who wanted to do her a favor. During the interview the emperor wanted the merchant to write his bio before him. But the merchant could not even write his own name. So the post was given to someone else. The merchant lost one hundred thousand taels to Taoist Gao, but he didn't dare to demand the return of the money, since Taoist Gao was the sworn brother of eunuch Li and eunuch Li was the favorite eunuch of West Empress Dowager.

  14. #329
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    At first when Imperial Concubine Zhen had come into the Forbidden City, West Empress Dowager had treated her just as she did to other royal family members. She hadn't liked her specially, but hadn't disliked her, either. Later when Concubine Zhen had done something against the palace rules, she had begun to dislike her.
    Concubine Zhen was young, bold and careless. Once she had asked the emperor to allow her to ride on a sedan-chair carried by eight eunuchs, which certainly offended the rules, because by tradition only the empress dowager, the emperor and the queen could sit on such a sedan-chair. When West Empress Dowager had been told about it, she hadn't believed it. One day, she had come across Concubine Zhen riding on one, she had been angry and ordered the sedan-chair to be broken into pieces. Concubine Zhen had been scolded, of course.
    Concubine Zhen liked her photos taken. Her cousin got a camera for her. Once she was photographed, dressed in the emperor's formal clothes with pictures of dragons embroidered on them. This was also against the rules. When the queen got a photo like that, she showed it to West Empress Dowager, who, in her rage, wanted to punish Concubine Zhen for all the offenses in addition to the acceptance of briberies. Concubine Zhen was thereby confined in a deserted building. It was toward the end of the year of 1894. The Sino-Japanese war had broken out that year in Korea, which was then under Chinese protection.
    Vying for power happens everywhere. It happened in Korea then. Qing government sent troops to maintain law and order there. Japan always wanted to devour Korea. Now this provided Japan with an excuse. So on July 23, 1894, Japan sent their army into Korea and occupied the Korean palace, seizing the king. The conflict between the troops of Qing government and the Japanese army began. At first the glory on the battlefield favored the troops of Qing government, but when Japan reinforced their army, the troops of Qing government were vanquished on July 28. On August 1, under the pressure of public opinion and media, West Empress Dowager declared war against Japan. But Chinese armies in Korea was finally put to rout after only one battle. It was because the commanders of the Chinese armies were all fools, historians said.

  15. #330
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    At first when Imperial Concubine Zhen had come into the Forbidden City, West Empress Dowager had treated her just as she did to other royal family members. She hadn't liked her specially, but hadn't disliked her, either. Later when Concubine Zhen had done something against the palace rules, she had begun to dislike her.
    Concubine Zhen was young, bold and careless. Once she had asked the emperor to allow her to ride on a sedan-chair carried by eight eunuchs, which certainly offended the rules, because by tradition only the empress dowager, the emperor and the queen could sit on such a sedan-chair. When West Empress Dowager had been told about it, she hadn't believed it. One day, she had come across Concubine Zhen riding on one, she had been angry and ordered the sedan-chair to be broken into pieces. Concubine Zhen had been scolded, of course.
    Concubine Zhen liked her photos taken. Her cousin got a camera for her. Once she was photographed, dressed in the emperor's formal clothes with pictures of dragons embroidered on them. This was also against the rules. When the queen got a photo like that, she showed it to West Empress Dowager, who, in her rage, wanted to punish Concubine Zhen for all the offenses in addition to the acceptance of briberies. Concubine Zhen was thereby confined in a deserted building. It was toward the end of the year of 1894. The Sino-Japanese war had broken out that year in Korea, which was then under Chinese protection.
    Vying for power happens everywhere. It happened in Korea then. Qing government sent troops to maintain law and order there. Japan always wanted to devour Korea. Now this provided Japan with an excuse. So on July 23, 1894, Japan sent their army into Korea and occupied the Korean palace, seizing the king. The conflict between the troops of Qing government and the Japanese army began. At first the glory on the battlefield favored the troops of Qing government, but when Japan reinforced their army, the troops of Qing government were vanquished on July 28. On August 1, under the pressure of public opinion and media, West Empress Dowager declared war against Japan. But Chinese armies in Korea was finally put to rout after only one battle. It was because the commanders of the Chinese armies were all fools, historians said.

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