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Thread: Empress dowager cixi

  1. #271
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    Governor Ding of Sichuan Province had a reputation of being never corrupt. He never accepted any gifts or money except his salary, which was eleven thousand taels of silver annually, less than one thousand taels a month. All the governors and mayors and other chief officials employed their private advisers to help with their handling of all the affairs. They paid them out of their own pockets. So less than one thousand taels monthly was really not sufficient for a governor. He had to throw some old clothes into a trunk and seal it with the mark of the governor. The trunk went to a pawnshop for two hundred taels of silver. Regularly the owner or the manager would look at the things to see if they were worth the amount of money the pawnee asked. The pawner and pawnee could bargain for how much each of them would be willing to give and take. But the trunk was sealed and the owner could not check to evaluate. Anyway, he must trust the governor. When the trunk came to the pawnshop toward the end of every month, the money was always repaid at the beginning of every month and the trunk would be taken back. Year in and year out, the monthly recycle went on as a routine until the governor was promoted to some other place.
    Once Governor Ding went back to his home land on a visit. When he traveled through another province, the governor of that province gave him three thousand taels in silver note, saying that if he didn't deign to take it, it meant an affront to the governor of that province. Governor Ding had to accept it. But on his journey back he went through that province again and returned the three thousand taels to the governor of that province.
    It was not easy to be a good governor or a good mayor or whatever. If his policy was beneficial to the common people, it would certainly be unfavorable to rich citizens. While he was welcomed by most people, he offended the local landlords and wealthy merchants. They wrote something about him, called “Your Heaven and Earth.” It went like that “The name of Your Excellency shocks Heaven and Earth. The arrival of Your Excellency gladdens Heaven and Earth. The policy of Your Excellency darkens Heaven and Earth. At the departure of Your Excellency we thank Heaven and Earth.”

  2. #272
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    Governor Ding of Sichuan Province had a reputation of being never corrupt. He never accepted any gifts or money except his salary, which was eleven thousand taels of silver annually, less than one thousand taels a month. All the governors and mayors and other chief officials employed their private advisers to help with their handling of all the affairs. They paid them out of their own pockets. So less than one thousand taels monthly was really not sufficient for a governor. He had to throw some old clothes into a trunk and seal it with the mark of the governor. The trunk went to a pawnshop for two hundred taels of silver. Regularly the owner or the manager would look at the things to see if they were worth the amount of money the pawnee asked. The pawner and pawnee could bargain for how much each of them would be willing to give and take. But the trunk was sealed and the owner could not check to evaluate. Anyway, he must trust the governor. When the trunk came to the pawnshop toward the end of every month, the money was always repaid at the beginning of every month and the trunk would be taken back. Year in and year out, the monthly recycle went on as a routine until the governor was promoted to some other place.
    Once Governor Ding went back to his home land on a visit. When he traveled through another province, the governor of that province gave him three thousand taels in silver note, saying that if he didn't deign to take it, it meant an affront to the governor of that province. Governor Ding had to accept it. But on his journey back he went through that province again and returned the three thousand taels to the governor of that province.
    It was not easy to be a good governor or a good mayor or whatever. If his policy was beneficial to the common people, it would certainly be unfavorable to rich citizens. While he was welcomed by most people, he offended the local landlords and wealthy merchants. They wrote something about him, called “Your Heaven and Earth.” It went like that “The name of Your Excellency shocks Heaven and Earth. The arrival of Your Excellency gladdens Heaven and Earth. The policy of Your Excellency darkens Heaven and Earth. At the departure of Your Excellency we thank Heaven and Earth.”

  3. #273
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    Chapter 37

    France and China were then at war about the Vietnam issue. Vietnam was always under China's protection. In the summer of 1862, Vietnam was forced to sign a treaty with France that Vietnam was under French protection. During next five years the French navy landed on the south of Vietnam and gradually occupied the southern part. In 1873, France invaded the northern part. The Vietnamese government sent General Liu to resist the French army. General Liu was a Chinese and had joined the Peaceful Army. After the Peaceful Army had failed, he had escaped into Vietnam. He brought his troops there, which were called Back Banner Army because the banners he used were black. The Black Banner Army went to fight the French army and killed its general. So next year France and Vietnam signed a new treaty in Saigon. Qing government kept neutral at that time because they were busy dealing with Japan about the Taiwan issue.
    When France encroached on the north of Vietnam again, China was duly involved. Many courtiers favored to wage war against France in Vietnam. Prince Yihuan leaned to that opinion, but Prince Yixin had his own view that China could not cope with France in Vietnam and it was better to have a peace talk. Since the opinions were not unanimous, the policy could not be decisive as to whether to declare war or to have a peace talk. When West Empress Dowager finally made the decision to prepare for war while seeking a peace talk, the chance for some military actions were missed. A great number of French army already set foot on Vietnam and began to attach the Black Banner Army. If Qing government could have sent its army into Vietnam to reinforce the Black Banner Army and occupied all the strategically important places before the French army had done, the final victory might have belonged to China.

  4. #274
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    Chapter 37

    France and China were then at war about the Vietnam issue. Vietnam was always under China's protection. In the summer of 1862, Vietnam was forced to sign a treaty with France that Vietnam was under French protection. During next five years the French navy landed on the south of Vietnam and gradually occupied the southern part. In 1873, France invaded the northern part. The Vietnamese government sent General Liu to resist the French army. General Liu was a Chinese and had joined the Peaceful Army. After the Peaceful Army had failed, he had escaped into Vietnam. He brought his troops there, which were called Back Banner Army because the banners he used were black. The Black Banner Army went to fight the French army and killed its general. So next year France and Vietnam signed a new treaty in Saigon. Qing government kept neutral at that time because they were busy dealing with Japan about the Taiwan issue.
    When France encroached on the north of Vietnam again, China was duly involved. Many courtiers favored to wage war against France in Vietnam. Prince Yihuan leaned to that opinion, but Prince Yixin had his own view that China could not cope with France in Vietnam and it was better to have a peace talk. Since the opinions were not unanimous, the policy could not be decisive as to whether to declare war or to have a peace talk. When West Empress Dowager finally made the decision to prepare for war while seeking a peace talk, the chance for some military actions were missed. A great number of French army already set foot on Vietnam and began to attach the Black Banner Army. If Qing government could have sent its army into Vietnam to reinforce the Black Banner Army and occupied all the strategically important places before the French army had done, the final victory might have belonged to China.

  5. #275
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    Qing government promised to provide the Black Banner Army with ammunition and provisions through Guangxi Province, but the governor of Guangxi Province gave the black Banner Army only a little of the promised stuffs. How could they resist the attack of the French army? The Black Banner Army was beaten this time. Then Qing government did launch some detachments into Vietnam for reinforcement, but among those detachments, they could not strategically support each other when required by the situation. The result was that they were also overpowered by the French army. News about the loss of some occupied towns in Vietnam came to the capital, the courtiers made angry comments and one of the critique official wrote a report that the secretaries should be blamed. So West Empress Dowager blamed Yixin for it and removed him from all his offices. She then changed all members of the Secretarial Bureau and put Yihuan, her brother-in-law and the biological father of the present emperor, in charge. But Yihuan was not a bit as talented as Yixin. Therefore, things didn't get any better, even though the Qing government army and the Black Banner Army did win some battles later in Vietnam.
    Some French warships came to cruise near the coast of Fujian Province with the intention to land there. Someone suggested that the Chinese southern sea navy could take the initiative to sink the French warships, but those who wanted a peace talk, including Governor Li of Zhidi Province, opposed to it. They held the opinion that China should not initiate the war. Then the French warships began to attack the small Chinese navy and sank four Chinese warships. West Empress Dowager was really enraged and declared war against France. Since China could not fight France on the sea, the strategy was to let the French soldiers come on the land and to ambush them. But French soldiers didn't come on the shore.
    The French navy went to attack Taiwan. China didn't have any warships at Taiwan. The general who guarded Taiwan sank some boats to block the entry into the Fresh-Water Harbor. The one thousand French soldiers landed on Taiwan and had a fight with the Chinese soldiers, who outnumbered them. The French soldiers were driven back onto the sea, to their warships. So China won battles on land and France on the sea. However, no war can go on forever. It must end one way or the other, either in entire conquest or in a truce. A treaty was signed between Qing government and France.

  6. #276
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    Qing government promised to provide the Black Banner Army with ammunition and provisions through Guangxi Province, but the governor of Guangxi Province gave the black Banner Army only a little of the promised stuffs. How could they resist the attack of the French army? The Black Banner Army was beaten this time. Then Qing government did launch some detachments into Vietnam for reinforcement, but among those detachments, they could not strategically support each other when required by the situation. The result was that they were also overpowered by the French army. News about the loss of some occupied towns in Vietnam came to the capital, the courtiers made angry comments and one of the critique official wrote a report that the secretaries should be blamed. So West Empress Dowager blamed Yixin for it and removed him from all his offices. She then changed all members of the Secretarial Bureau and put Yihuan, her brother-in-law and the biological father of the present emperor, in charge. But Yihuan was not a bit as talented as Yixin. Therefore, things didn't get any better, even though the Qing government army and the Black Banner Army did win some battles later in Vietnam.
    Some French warships came to cruise near the coast of Fujian Province with the intention to land there. Someone suggested that the Chinese southern sea navy could take the initiative to sink the French warships, but those who wanted a peace talk, including Governor Li of Zhidi Province, opposed to it. They held the opinion that China should not initiate the war. Then the French warships began to attack the small Chinese navy and sank four Chinese warships. West Empress Dowager was really enraged and declared war against France. Since China could not fight France on the sea, the strategy was to let the French soldiers come on the land and to ambush them. But French soldiers didn't come on the shore.
    The French navy went to attack Taiwan. China didn't have any warships at Taiwan. The general who guarded Taiwan sank some boats to block the entry into the Fresh-Water Harbor. The one thousand French soldiers landed on Taiwan and had a fight with the Chinese soldiers, who outnumbered them. The French soldiers were driven back onto the sea, to their warships. So China won battles on land and France on the sea. However, no war can go on forever. It must end one way or the other, either in entire conquest or in a truce. A treaty was signed between Qing government and France.

  7. #277
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    After Sushun had been executed, Yihuan had been appointed as the head of the royal bodyguards, the special division, with Ronglu as his assistant. Yihuan had all the ambition, but lacked the abilities. When Yixin had been in charge, Yihuan had envied him. Now as Yihuan took over the charge of the state affairs, Yixin said to a friend, “There is a Chinese saying. It goes like that: when you see someone shouldering a burden, you don't know how heavy it is.” After only a few months, Yihuan came to feel the heavy burden on his shoulders, but none he could shift it to.
    One day Yihuan went to see Yixin and said, “I really envy you of your leisure, no responsibilities.”
    “How can that be?” Yixin smiled at him.
    “Could you help me?” Yihuan really needed someone who could share his burden. But what could Yixin say? He had been forced to retire when the empire needed him. So he just sighed. Yihuan knew that it depended on West Empress Dowager, not on Yixin himself. So later, at an earliest chance, he hinted to West Empress Dowager that she should let Yixin resume some of the responsibilities, but West Empress Dowager was adamant about her earlier decision, because many things she wanted to do and Yixin would say NO.
    West Empress Dowager could never forget that when she had wanted to rebuild the Round-Bright Garden, many courtiers, headed by Yixin, strongly opposed to it. Her plan had failed. Now Yixin was out of the way and so were many of his supporters. If she wanted to rebuild the garden now, no one would say NO to her. But where was the money for it? The cost was too much, she knew it herself. Finally she decided to repair the buildings at the Three Lakes and made it a royal garden. She named it the Garden of Good health & Harmony. But there was still the question: where was the money?

  8. #278
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    Someone suggested to her head eunuch Li that they could use part of the money that was supposed to build a strong navy. After the Sino-French war, which was resulted in a treaty that Vietnam became under the French protection after a lot of bargaining, West Empress Dowager and the Secretarial Bureau had had a meeting and had decided to build a strong navy. The money needed came from customs duties and salt tax collections, and also from the contributions of all the provinces. West Empress Dowager thought that since the war already ended there was no urgency to build a strong navy immediately. That was why the small Chinese fleet was defeated on the sea by Japan in 1894.
    West Empress Dowager ordered to set up the Navy Yamen and made Yihuan the head of it. All the expenses in the construction of the garden came from the Navy Yamen and Yihuan could never say NO. Why didn't West Empress Dowager order the Internal Revenue Ministry pay the expenses? That ministry should be a reasonable place to pay for the expenditure. It was because Minister Yan would refuse to pay unless he was removed. And West Empress Dowager didn't want to remove him for no reason at all, or for that reason. She still wanted to keep a good image in the eye of people. So the repair work was under way secretly.
    Her head eunuch Li thought of another way to get fund for the building. The emperor would soon reach the age to get married. They needed to prepare for the wedding. So West Empress Dowager ordered the Internal Revenue Ministry to collect money for that purpose. Though it was a bit early, Minister Yan could not refuse that. And West Empress Dowager transferred the money to the reconstruction.

  9. #279
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    Someone suggested to her head eunuch Li that they could use part of the money that was supposed to build a strong navy. After the Sino-French war, which was resulted in a treaty that Vietnam became under the French protection after a lot of bargaining, West Empress Dowager and the Secretarial Bureau had had a meeting and had decided to build a strong navy. The money needed came from customs duties and salt tax collections, and also from the contributions of all the provinces. West Empress Dowager thought that since the war already ended there was no urgency to build a strong navy immediately. That was why the small Chinese fleet was defeated on the sea by Japan in 1894.
    West Empress Dowager ordered to set up the Navy Yamen and made Yihuan the head of it. All the expenses in the construction of the garden came from the Navy Yamen and Yihuan could never say NO. Why didn't West Empress Dowager order the Internal Revenue Ministry pay the expenses? That ministry should be a reasonable place to pay for the expenditure. It was because Minister Yan would refuse to pay unless he was removed. And West Empress Dowager didn't want to remove him for no reason at all, or for that reason. She still wanted to keep a good image in the eye of people. So the repair work was under way secretly.
    Her head eunuch Li thought of another way to get fund for the building. The emperor would soon reach the age to get married. They needed to prepare for the wedding. So West Empress Dowager ordered the Internal Revenue Ministry to collect money for that purpose. Though it was a bit early, Minister Yan could not refuse that. And West Empress Dowager transferred the money to the reconstruction.

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