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Thread: Empress dowager cixi

  1. #196
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    But the critique officials really aimed at Minister Ho, not the pawnshop owner, like they had said that they wanted to hit the tiger, not a fly. Then another critique official filed in his report, asking what relationship actually was between Minister Ho and the pawnshop owner. After the perusal of the report, West Empress Dowager ordered Minister Ho to explain it. Minister Ho replied in his report that he didn't really have any relationship with the pawnshop owner and that he met him whenever he went to buy some books there. If that was the truth, he was not guilty of anything. But as a matter of fact, Minister Ho took the wife of the pawnshop owner as his dry daughter (In China, dry father/mother and dry daughter/son have no flesh-and-blood tie between them. Their relationship is somewhat like god-father/mother and god-daughter/son, only without any religious meaning in it.) When the wife had died, Minister Ho made one of his maids as his dry daughter and married her to the pawnshop owner. So the relationship between them was dry father-in-law and dry son-in-law. To show his gratitude for marrying his dry daughter to him, the pawnshop owner bought a young girl and presented her to Minister Ho as his concubine. Minster Ho's wife had long been dead. So Minister Ho made the girl his wife. Now the pawnshop owner got himself a young dry mother-in-law. If the girl were still a concubine and when they met, he didn't need to show any respect to her, but as the wife of Minister Ho, he should go down on his knees before her and kowtowed to her when they met on certain occasions.
    The critique officials accused Minister Ho of cheating in his reply about his relationship with the pawn shop owner. So Minister Ho was demoted to be the deputy general critique official since there was no other vacancy. (General critique official was the head of the critique department.) Now all the critique officials were opposed to it. That was a wrong move of the Secretarial Bureau. It seemed as if they had made the appointment without serious consideration. Some critique official asked if this appointment meant that a critique official should lie and cheat. Of course not. On the contrary, a critique official should be upright and honest. So the Secretarial Bureau had to let him retire with the promise that his son would get a promotion.

  2. #197
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    For five years General Governor Zuo at last put an end to the Hui Clan rebellion. Just as he was about to return to the capital victoriously, an international event happened in Xinjiang Province. So West Empress Dowager ordered him to stay there for a while longer. If war should break out in Xinjiang Province between Russia and China he could go there to reinforce.
    Russia had occupied Yili Town in Xinjiang Province for quite some time. They had declared that they only kept that town for Qing government till Qing government was capable of ruling the town peacefully and efficiently, because there lived in Yili Town so many Russian merchants and people and Russian government should protect them. At least Russia still occupied Yili Town that belonged to Qing government, which had been busy dealing with rebellions at that time. Now there were no more rebels. Qing government put the Yili Town problem on their agenda. They delivered a diplomatic note to Russia for the return of Yili Town to China. Both governments agreed to have a talk about it in Peterburg in Russia. (Peterburg was then the capital of Russia. They call it Leningrad now.) So Qing government sent a courtier Chonghou there as a royal representative. He had been working in the Foreign affairs Yamen for a long time and knew how to deal with the foreigners. The courtiers often wanted to guess what West Empress Dowager really wished so that they could do things to her satisfaction. But this time Royal Representative Chonghou had a wrong guessing that West Empress Dowager was afraid of war and would maintain peace at any costs. Therefore, he gave in to Russian demands more than necessary. And the worst of it was that he didn't even send a copy back for the approval of West Empress Dowager. He thought that he had the full authority to do that and signed the treaty. Then he didn't wait for any further order and just returned to the capital. By the treaty, Qing government lost a lot of rights, though Russia promised to let Qing government take back Yili Town.

  3. #198
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    For five years General Governor Zuo at last put an end to the Hui Clan rebellion. Just as he was about to return to the capital victoriously, an international event happened in Xinjiang Province. So West Empress Dowager ordered him to stay there for a while longer. If war should break out in Xinjiang Province between Russia and China he could go there to reinforce.
    Russia had occupied Yili Town in Xinjiang Province for quite some time. They had declared that they only kept that town for Qing government till Qing government was capable of ruling the town peacefully and efficiently, because there lived in Yili Town so many Russian merchants and people and Russian government should protect them. At least Russia still occupied Yili Town that belonged to Qing government, which had been busy dealing with rebellions at that time. Now there were no more rebels. Qing government put the Yili Town problem on their agenda. They delivered a diplomatic note to Russia for the return of Yili Town to China. Both governments agreed to have a talk about it in Peterburg in Russia. (Peterburg was then the capital of Russia. They call it Leningrad now.) So Qing government sent a courtier Chonghou there as a royal representative. He had been working in the Foreign affairs Yamen for a long time and knew how to deal with the foreigners. The courtiers often wanted to guess what West Empress Dowager really wished so that they could do things to her satisfaction. But this time Royal Representative Chonghou had a wrong guessing that West Empress Dowager was afraid of war and would maintain peace at any costs. Therefore, he gave in to Russian demands more than necessary. And the worst of it was that he didn't even send a copy back for the approval of West Empress Dowager. He thought that he had the full authority to do that and signed the treaty. Then he didn't wait for any further order and just returned to the capital. By the treaty, Qing government lost a lot of rights, though Russia promised to let Qing government take back Yili Town.

  4. #199
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    When the contents of the treaty became known, the first ones who got angry were the critique officials. Some of them wrote reports to accuse Chonghou even of treason. The empress dowagers were irate, too. They instructed the Secretarial Bureau to deprive him of his title of Royal Representative and to have a discussion what punishment should be inflicted on him. On hearing it, the Russian envoy came to the Foreign Affairs Yamen to protest, saying that it was an insult to Russia if Qing government punished the Royal Representative who had signed the treaty. The head official in that yamen explained that Qing government punished him because he hadn't waited for any order and had signed on his own decision and that it had nothing to do with the signing of the treaty. So the Russian envoy could not protest for that reason and left.
    Critique Official Zhang Zhitong wrote a report, suggesting that first to execute Chonghou for treachery, second to declare to Russia that the treaty was still invalid since Qing government hadn't approved it yet, third to make war preparations to defend the territory if Russia waged war on China. A lot of courtiers supported his suggestion. Someone even said, “If war is inevitable, it's better to let it come earlier since there are still so many experienced generals survived from the combats with rebels.” What all the courtiers had said could be concluded in two points: Execute Chonghou and if Russia wants to fight, let's fight.

  5. #200
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    When the contents of the treaty became known, the first ones who got angry were the critique officials. Some of them wrote reports to accuse Chonghou even of treason. The empress dowagers were irate, too. They instructed the Secretarial Bureau to deprive him of his title of Royal Representative and to have a discussion what punishment should be inflicted on him. On hearing it, the Russian envoy came to the Foreign Affairs Yamen to protest, saying that it was an insult to Russia if Qing government punished the Royal Representative who had signed the treaty. The head official in that yamen explained that Qing government punished him because he hadn't waited for any order and had signed on his own decision and that it had nothing to do with the signing of the treaty. So the Russian envoy could not protest for that reason and left.
    Critique Official Zhang Zhitong wrote a report, suggesting that first to execute Chonghou for treachery, second to declare to Russia that the treaty was still invalid since Qing government hadn't approved it yet, third to make war preparations to defend the territory if Russia waged war on China. A lot of courtiers supported his suggestion. Someone even said, “If war is inevitable, it's better to let it come earlier since there are still so many experienced generals survived from the combats with rebels.” What all the courtiers had said could be concluded in two points: Execute Chonghou and if Russia wants to fight, let's fight.

  6. #201
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    To appease their innocent fury, the Secretarial bureau, approved by the empress dowagers, told Judicial Ministry to detain Chonghou in the jail. Chonghou had confined himself at home since he had returned to the capital, waiting for things to get quiet down so that he might have been let go with only slaps on the wrists. His servants went about the city to hunt for any news for him. When the message came for his apprehension, he put on a prisoner's uniform, which he had made. He also knew that if war broke out he would be executed to encourage people to fight. That's politics. When he was put in a prison cell, his butler bribed the jailers so that his master could be treated well.
    The Secretarial Bureau held a series of joint meetings with the cabinet members. They even invited Critique Official Zhang to attend. Yixin enumerated the reasons why the government should not have war against Russia. He said, “Our guns and cannons are not so good and so many as Russians have. We don't have enough provisions and money to support the war. We haven't known the attitude of the generals and soldiers. What if they don't want to fight?” The war cries lowered a little. The only feasible way at present was to send another Royal Representative to Peterburg to renegotiate with Russia to change the articles of the treaty. This was a very difficult task. Then they made several decisions: the government could delay to take back Yili Town and Chonghou could not be executed yet, which would be a friendly gesture to Russia. But why should Russia really care for a Chinese official, dead or alive?
    War preparations were still going on. General Governor Zuo left Gansu Province for Xinjiang Province, closer to Russia. News came to the ears of the empress dowagers that Zuo had taken a coffin with him. The empress dowagers were greatly moved and openly extolled him for loyalty and bravery.
    After a great deal of bargaining and reasoning with Russia, the old treaty had been denounced and a new treaty was signed, which made Qing government lose less rights, but more money. Russia had asked for the repayment of the maintenance fee they had spent on Yili Town. It sounded reasonable to West Empress Dowager. In the old treaty the fee was five million silver rubles and in the new treaty the fee was increased to nine million silver rubles, which was equivalent to five million taels of silver. As long as West Empress Dowager felt gratified, everything was fine. The new Royal Representative was praised for the completion of the difficult task. He was the eldest son of the late Elder Zeng. As the event was settled to the content of the empress dowagers, Chonghou was pardoned and released.

  7. #202
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    To appease their innocent fury, the Secretarial bureau, approved by the empress dowagers, told Judicial Ministry to detain Chonghou in the jail. Chonghou had confined himself at home since he had returned to the capital, waiting for things to get quiet down so that he might have been let go with only slaps on the wrists. His servants went about the city to hunt for any news for him. When the message came for his apprehension, he put on a prisoner's uniform, which he had made. He also knew that if war broke out he would be executed to encourage people to fight. That's politics. When he was put in a prison cell, his butler bribed the jailers so that his master could be treated well.
    The Secretarial Bureau held a series of joint meetings with the cabinet members. They even invited Critique Official Zhang to attend. Yixin enumerated the reasons why the government should not have war against Russia. He said, “Our guns and cannons are not so good and so many as Russians have. We don't have enough provisions and money to support the war. We haven't known the attitude of the generals and soldiers. What if they don't want to fight?” The war cries lowered a little. The only feasible way at present was to send another Royal Representative to Peterburg to renegotiate with Russia to change the articles of the treaty. This was a very difficult task. Then they made several decisions: the government could delay to take back Yili Town and Chonghou could not be executed yet, which would be a friendly gesture to Russia. But why should Russia really care for a Chinese official, dead or alive?
    War preparations were still going on. General Governor Zuo left Gansu Province for Xinjiang Province, closer to Russia. News came to the ears of the empress dowagers that Zuo had taken a coffin with him. The empress dowagers were greatly moved and openly extolled him for loyalty and bravery.
    After a great deal of bargaining and reasoning with Russia, the old treaty had been denounced and a new treaty was signed, which made Qing government lose less rights, but more money. Russia had asked for the repayment of the maintenance fee they had spent on Yili Town. It sounded reasonable to West Empress Dowager. In the old treaty the fee was five million silver rubles and in the new treaty the fee was increased to nine million silver rubles, which was equivalent to five million taels of silver. As long as West Empress Dowager felt gratified, everything was fine. The new Royal Representative was praised for the completion of the difficult task. He was the eldest son of the late Elder Zeng. As the event was settled to the content of the empress dowagers, Chonghou was pardoned and released.

  8. #203
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    Chapter 30

    West Empress Dowager was sick for some time already, but she still went to discuss things with the courtiers. Then her sickness became serious. On March 12, 1880, East Empress Dowager had to handle the state affairs alone, with the help of Yixin and other courtiers, of course. But West Empress Dowager was not happy. She was afraid that East Empress Dowager would seize the power at the chance.
    The royal doctor said that her sickness was due to the strains of too much work and suggested that she should have a complete rest till she recuperated entirely. As her anxiety added to her sickness, she didn't feel any better for four months. Medicine proved no effect on her. No one could persuade her to take more rest. Then Big Princess was thought of, who was a widow now and lived separately in her own residence. She went to the Forbidden City to see West Empress Dowager and stayed there to look after her day and night. It was said that Big Princess spoke so convincingly that West Empress Dowager always listened to her.
    On July 13, a notice of doctors Wanted in the emperor's name was put up throughout the empire. The governor of Zhejiang Province recommended a famous Doctor Xi, who was dispatched to the capital, into the Forbidden City. The coincidence was that other two governors also recommended Doctor Xi. So Doctor Xi was then summoned to the presence of West Empress Dowager in her chamber. She was lying in bed. First Doctor Xi kowtowed before the bed, then he knelt close to the bed to feel the pulse of West Empress Dowager. He had been taught all the rituals beforehand. After feeling the pulse, he asked permission to look at the tongue of West Empress Dowager. Then he was allowed to stand up and backed away from the bed. Near the door he turned round and walked out of the chamber. He was led into another room to write out his prescription, which was then checked by the courtiers in the Secretarial Bureau and even sent to West Empress Dowager herself to be approved before a eunuch took it to the drug storage room in the Forbidden City for the medicine.

  9. #204
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    Chapter 30

    West Empress Dowager was sick for some time already, but she still went to discuss things with the courtiers. Then her sickness became serious. On March 12, 1880, East Empress Dowager had to handle the state affairs alone, with the help of Yixin and other courtiers, of course. But West Empress Dowager was not happy. She was afraid that East Empress Dowager would seize the power at the chance.
    The royal doctor said that her sickness was due to the strains of too much work and suggested that she should have a complete rest till she recuperated entirely. As her anxiety added to her sickness, she didn't feel any better for four months. Medicine proved no effect on her. No one could persuade her to take more rest. Then Big Princess was thought of, who was a widow now and lived separately in her own residence. She went to the Forbidden City to see West Empress Dowager and stayed there to look after her day and night. It was said that Big Princess spoke so convincingly that West Empress Dowager always listened to her.
    On July 13, a notice of doctors Wanted in the emperor's name was put up throughout the empire. The governor of Zhejiang Province recommended a famous Doctor Xi, who was dispatched to the capital, into the Forbidden City. The coincidence was that other two governors also recommended Doctor Xi. So Doctor Xi was then summoned to the presence of West Empress Dowager in her chamber. She was lying in bed. First Doctor Xi kowtowed before the bed, then he knelt close to the bed to feel the pulse of West Empress Dowager. He had been taught all the rituals beforehand. After feeling the pulse, he asked permission to look at the tongue of West Empress Dowager. Then he was allowed to stand up and backed away from the bed. Near the door he turned round and walked out of the chamber. He was led into another room to write out his prescription, which was then checked by the courtiers in the Secretarial Bureau and even sent to West Empress Dowager herself to be approved before a eunuch took it to the drug storage room in the Forbidden City for the medicine.

  10. #205
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    Doctor Xi had passed the second government test and had come to the capital for the final test. At that time there had been war in the southern provinces. He could not have gone back to Wuxi City, where he had been born and grown up. He had stayed in the capital for preparation for the next test. He had had plenty of time and begun to study medicine all by himself. He had bought an official title, but could never have got a post, because the government had needed money badly and sold more titles than the real positions could have held. Everyone who had bought a title should have waited for a vacancy. To get a vacancy, one should have spent more money. Xi couldn't have paid more money and so he had had to wait. In the meantime, he had practiced his medicine and had greatly improved his skills and knowledge. After war had ended in the southern provinces, Doctor Xi had got a vacancy there.
    Now he came to the capital as a doctor. He met the royal doctor first, who asked him a lot of questions as if he was testing his medical knowledge. Doctor Xi answered all his questions deliberately and at last the royal doctor could think of no more questions to ask. It meant that Doctor Xi was a better doctor than the royal doctor. When Doctor Xi asked the royal doctor what illness West Empress Dowager was suffering, the royal doctor could not say anything definite. He couldn't even tell what kind of the illness it was.
    Sometimes West Empress Dowager didn't take the medicine if she didn't trust in the expertise of the doctor, who wrote out the prescription, though. But this time West Empress Dowager took medicine for forty-three days, because she trusted Doctor Xi. She was soon convalescent and could see the courtiers again.
    There had been a rumor that West Empress Dowager had had a miscarriage and the royal doctor had misdiagnosed. If a doctor could not diagnose correctly, how could he prescribe the right medicine? That was why the sickness of West Empress Dowager had lasted so long. Doctor Xi diagnosed it, but he couldn't say it. So he just prescribed the right medicine under another name of the disease with somewhat similar symptoms. Anyway, when he cured West Empress Dowager, he was given a very good position near the capital so that if next time West Empress Dowager was sick again, he could come on a very short notice.

  11. #206
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    Official Yan was an ugly man, short and lean. His eyes were not on the same level, one a bit higher and the other a little lower. The line connecting the two eyes was slanting. But he was an upright official, never afraid of any unreasonable superiors. At that time he was the Financial Official in Hubei Province, directly under the governor. The governor of Hubei Province was bisexual and doted on his page, a handsome young boy with fair skin. Sometimes, the governor would sleep with him at night. As the boy grew up, the governor gave him official titles till he was then a deputy general and the head of the governor's bodyguards. The deputy general often bullied people and extorted money from people. Official Yan always wanted to put him away in jail, but didn't get a chance.
    One day, the deputy general trespassed into a house and raped and killed a girl in that family. The father sued him in Yan's yamen. Now Yan had a reason to arrest him. So he went to the governor's yamen with his guards. The governor hid his boyfriend, the deputy general, in the back of his yamen. Official Yan asked to see the governor, but the governor feigned sick and wouldn't come out to receive Yan. One of his bodyguards said to Yan, “When Governor get well, Governor will come to see Your Excellency.” The governor had thought that Yan would go away and after things got cool off, he could save the skin of his boyfriend. But Yan said to the governor's bodyguard, “Governor will surely recover some day. I'd better wait here till Governor gets well.” He ordered his guards to fetch his sleeping bag and other necessary things from his own yamen. He stayed in the receiving room of the governor's yamen for three days and managed his own official business from there. It really looked bad to the governor, who asked the Judicial Official and his own private advisers to persuade Yan to leave, but Yan insisted that he should execute the deputy general for the murder of the girl before he left. The governor had to come out to see Yan. The governor knelt before Yan to implore him to spare the life of his boyfriend, the deputy general. The governor was Yan's immediate boss. So someone said that it was not appropriate to let the governor kneel before him. Yan helped the governor on his feet and promised to spare the life of his boyfriend, but on one condition. As long as Yan could spare his boyfriend's life, the governor would agree to any conditions. “What's the condition?” he asked. “He must be deported to his home village and Governor can never hire him again.” said Yan. The governor consented to the condition and sent for the deputy general, who kowtowed to Yan for sparing his life. Yan ordered his guards to give him forty beatings before deporting him out of the province. The governor was not a bad man, only a good-for-nothing. He didn't hate Yan for that and never thought of revenge. On the contrary, he recommended him to West Empress Dowager, who then appointed Yan as the governor of Shandong Province.

  12. #207
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    Official Yan was an ugly man, short and lean. His eyes were not on the same level, one a bit higher and the other a little lower. The line connecting the two eyes was slanting. But he was an upright official, never afraid of any unreasonable superiors. At that time he was the Financial Official in Hubei Province, directly under the governor. The governor of Hubei Province was bisexual and doted on his page, a handsome young boy with fair skin. Sometimes, the governor would sleep with him at night. As the boy grew up, the governor gave him official titles till he was then a deputy general and the head of the governor's bodyguards. The deputy general often bullied people and extorted money from people. Official Yan always wanted to put him away in jail, but didn't get a chance.
    One day, the deputy general trespassed into a house and raped and killed a girl in that family. The father sued him in Yan's yamen. Now Yan had a reason to arrest him. So he went to the governor's yamen with his guards. The governor hid his boyfriend, the deputy general, in the back of his yamen. Official Yan asked to see the governor, but the governor feigned sick and wouldn't come out to receive Yan. One of his bodyguards said to Yan, “When Governor get well, Governor will come to see Your Excellency.” The governor had thought that Yan would go away and after things got cool off, he could save the skin of his boyfriend. But Yan said to the governor's bodyguard, “Governor will surely recover some day. I'd better wait here till Governor gets well.” He ordered his guards to fetch his sleeping bag and other necessary things from his own yamen. He stayed in the receiving room of the governor's yamen for three days and managed his own official business from there. It really looked bad to the governor, who asked the Judicial Official and his own private advisers to persuade Yan to leave, but Yan insisted that he should execute the deputy general for the murder of the girl before he left. The governor had to come out to see Yan. The governor knelt before Yan to implore him to spare the life of his boyfriend, the deputy general. The governor was Yan's immediate boss. So someone said that it was not appropriate to let the governor kneel before him. Yan helped the governor on his feet and promised to spare the life of his boyfriend, but on one condition. As long as Yan could spare his boyfriend's life, the governor would agree to any conditions. “What's the condition?” he asked. “He must be deported to his home village and Governor can never hire him again.” said Yan. The governor consented to the condition and sent for the deputy general, who kowtowed to Yan for sparing his life. Yan ordered his guards to give him forty beatings before deporting him out of the province. The governor was not a bad man, only a good-for-nothing. He didn't hate Yan for that and never thought of revenge. On the contrary, he recommended him to West Empress Dowager, who then appointed Yan as the governor of Shandong Province.

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