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Thread: Empress dowager cixi

  1. #361
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    Quite a few courtiers tended to pacify Yihetuan. Prince Zaiyi wanted to utilize them to drive out the foreigners so that West Empress Dowager could force the emperor to abdicate and his son could be on the throne. And West Empress Dowager wanted to use Yihetuan to expel the foreigners, too, so that she could do everything at will without any fear to be interfered.
    Since Prince Zaiyi and some courtiers supported Yihetuan, they were crazier in behavior. As a revenge for the killing by Yuan, they began to ambush some small groups of the government army. They pulled down the telegram cables and chopped down the posts. They dug up some rails to make the train derail. All these were reported to West Empress Dowager, who ordered Ronglu to send troops to protect the railroad and the telegram posts. Ronglu had already been made a secretary, but still controlled the army in the capital area. Usually a secretary could not command any armies, but Ronglu did. No one had had more power than Ronglu since the beginning of Qing Dynasty. West Empress Dowager did not want to give any other courtiers much power. But she could trust in Ronglu. Ronglu could never betray her.
    Yihetuan assailed the division that was guarding the railroad. The division killed some and dispersed the rest. In Tianjin City anyone who dared to criticize Yihetuan was killed. When they were walking in the streets, even the mayor must stand aside and let them pass. The whole city was in disorder and in a mess.
    The governor of Zhidi Province believed in their magic power and treated them as his noble guests. He even let their leader ride in his own official palanquin. Therefore, policemen didn't dare to interfere with whatever they were doing. Then Yihetuan was let into the capital and their leaders took lodging in the residence of Prince Zaiyi. The situation got worse and the capital was in a great chaos.

  2. #362
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    Gradually West 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 dogs brought in and always played with them. Once when she met the emperor and saw his upper lip a little swollen, she asked about it. The emperor said that Big Brother had knocked him down and he had fallen on his face and got his upper lip swollen. Prince Zaiyi always cursed the emperor behind his back, wishing him to die. The boy had heard his father say it so many times and developed a hatred toward the emperor, who should be his uncle in the relationship. He had gone to see the emperor and provoked him that day. When the emperor had told him to leave him alone, he had rushed to the emperor when he turned his back to him and knocked him over. West Empress Dowager was irate with 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 Empress Dowager might deprive his son of the status of the successor. Someone advised him that he should take steps to assure his son's future. The decisive step was to kill the emperor so that his son could take over the throne immediately. It was an alluring idea. One day Prince Zaiyi took some members of Yihetuan into the Forbidden City. The guards there didn't dare to stop them and let them in. Prince Zaiyi led them to where West Empress Dowager generally received the courtiers. He didn't know the way to the place where the emperor lived. He asked to see West Empress Dowager, who came out to see him. The members of Yihetuan threatened and wanted West Empress Dowager to give up the emperor to them. But Ronglu had many bodyguards stationed there to protect West Empress Dowager and they dashed out to seize all the members of Yihetuan and executed them as robbers. Prince Zaiyi had to leave the Forbidden City without his goal fulfilled.

  3. #363
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    On May 20, 1900, all the foreign envoys in Peking had a meeting and next day they sent a notice to Qing government, requesting that the leaders of Yihetuan and their accomplices be executed and the officials who refused to arrest the members of Yihetuan be punished, adding that if nothing was accomplished within five days, they would send more soldiers into the capital to protect their legations. But at that time the Qing government lost control of Yihetuan. Many Chinese soldiers sympathized with Yihetuan and even joined it.
    On May 31, more foreign soldiers came into the capital to safeguard their legations. Members of Yihetuan went to siege the largest cathedral in the capital, The North Cathedral. But they met with strong resistance. The clergyman and his assistants, helped by many Chinese people who believed in God, defended their holy building. Someone suggested to the leader of Yihetuan to use magic power, but the leader said that he had had sex last night, which had weakened his magic power. He could not use it today, maybe, the next day. But he didn't come next day, letting others to continue the attack.
    When West Empress Dowager was told about it, she gave a written order to Prince Zaiyi to oppress the behavior of Yihetuan. As he received the order, he just rumpled the piece of paper, stuffing it into his pocket. Another prince was at his residence at the time, and seeing this, he returned home and told his servants to shut the door. No one should go out and no visitors would be received. They had enough of everything in store to live on for several months. Many courtiers followed the example.

  4. #364
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    On May 20, 1900, all the foreign envoys in Peking had a meeting and next day they sent a notice to Qing government, requesting that the leaders of Yihetuan and their accomplices be executed and the officials who refused to arrest the members of Yihetuan be punished, adding that if nothing was accomplished within five days, they would send more soldiers into the capital to protect their legations. But at that time the Qing government lost control of Yihetuan. Many Chinese soldiers sympathized with Yihetuan and even joined it.
    On May 31, more foreign soldiers came into the capital to safeguard their legations. Members of Yihetuan went to siege the largest cathedral in the capital, The North Cathedral. But they met with strong resistance. The clergyman and his assistants, helped by many Chinese people who believed in God, defended their holy building. Someone suggested to the leader of Yihetuan to use magic power, but the leader said that he had had sex last night, which had weakened his magic power. He could not use it today, maybe, the next day. But he didn't come next day, letting others to continue the attack.
    When West Empress Dowager was told about it, she gave a written order to Prince Zaiyi to oppress the behavior of Yihetuan. As he received the order, he just rumpled the piece of paper, stuffing it into his pocket. Another prince was at his residence at the time, and seeing this, he returned home and told his servants to shut the door. No one should go out and no visitors would be received. They had enough of everything in store to live on for several months. Many courtiers followed the example.

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  6. #366
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    thx.

    On June 2, more foreign troops got on land from their warships and gathered along the coast. They began to assault Tianjin City. The general whose duties were to defend the city told the mayor to send Yihetuan to drive the foreign troops back onto their warships. A leader of Yihetuan came to see the general and said to him that he should fire his cannons at the foreign troops. “What if they return the fire?” The general asked. “I will use my magic power to make their cannons dysfunctional for six hours.” When he left, it was nightfall. So the general prepared to attack the foreign troops next day. But at dawn a member of Yihetuan came to ask if the general had fired his cannons at night. It meant that during the whole night, the cannons of the foreigners had been dysfunctional by the magic power of the Yihetuan leader. That was like a joke.
    On June 10 the foreign troops began to march toward Peking. But as the rails were dug up by Yihetuan, they couldn't take the train. They had to walk and on June 12 they marched into the ambush and had to withdraw. The foreign fleets were attacking Dagukou, a fortress on the harbor, at the same time.
    From June 16 through 19, West Empress Dowager had meetings with her courtiers to discuss whether to ask for a negotiation or to fight against the foreign aggressors. Ronglu held the view to sustain peace, but Prince Zaiyi insisted in waging the war. West Empress Dowager could not yet be decisive, because she set her heart on driving foreigners out of China, but no one could assure her of her success.
    At this critical moment, Prince Zaiyi and his followers decided that they must put something on the scales that would tip to their side. Prince Zaiyi sent an adviser of his to see a telegram decoder. The adviser gave him ten thousand taels of silver for exchange of a false telegram supposed coming from foreign governments. The usual procedure was that when a telegram came in, the operator received it and gave it to the decoder, who rendered it into regular text and dispatched it to wherever it should go. If he made a false telegram supposed to come from the foreign governments and handed it in to the Secretarial Bureau, it was very easy. So when the false telegram was delivered, the decoder vanished with the money.

  7. #367
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    On June 2, more foreign troops got on land from their warships and gathered along the coast. They began to assault Tianjin City. The general whose duties were to defend the city told the mayor to send Yihetuan to drive the foreign troops back onto their warships. A leader of Yihetuan came to see the general and said to him that he should fire his cannons at the foreign troops. “What if they return the fire?” The general asked. “I will use my magic power to make their cannons dysfunctional for six hours.” When he left, it was nightfall. So the general prepared to attack the foreign troops next day. But at dawn a member of Yihetuan came to ask if the general had fired his cannons at night. It meant that during the whole night, the cannons of the foreigners had been dysfunctional by the magic power of the Yihetuan leader. That was like a joke.
    On June 10 the foreign troops began to march toward Peking. But as the rails were dug up by Yihetuan, they couldn't take the train. They had to walk and on June 12 they marched into the ambush and had to withdraw. The foreign fleets were attacking Dagukou, a fortress on the harbor, at the same time.
    From June 16 through 19, West Empress Dowager had meetings with her courtiers to discuss whether to ask for a negotiation or to fight against the foreign aggressors. Ronglu held the view to sustain peace, but Prince Zaiyi insisted in waging the war. West Empress Dowager could not yet be decisive, because she set her heart on driving foreigners out of China, but no one could assure her of her success.
    At this critical moment, Prince Zaiyi and his followers decided that they must put something on the scales that would tip to their side. Prince Zaiyi sent an adviser of his to see a telegram decoder. The adviser gave him ten thousand taels of silver for exchange of a false telegram supposed coming from foreign governments. The usual procedure was that when a telegram came in, the operator received it and gave it to the decoder, who rendered it into regular text and dispatched it to wherever it should go. If he made a false telegram supposed to come from the foreign governments and handed it in to the Secretarial Bureau, it was very easy. So when the false telegram was delivered, the decoder vanished with the money.

  8. #368
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    When West Empress Dowager read the telegram, she was stunned into silence, because the telegram listed the following demands: (1) to free the emperor and return the power to the emperor; (2) to disperse Yihetuan and if Qing government can't do it alone, all the foreign governments are willing to send their armies to help; (3) Qing government should get the agreement from the foreign governments as to how many troops Qing government would train and keep standing. Qing government must ask foreign officers to drill its army; (4) foreign governments must supervise and control the collection of all the taxes and the use of them.
    Those conditions were just what West Empress Dowager could not bear with. So on June 19, when Dagukou fell to the foreign hands, West Empress Dowager decided to declare war and the foreign envoys were notified to leave Peking in 24 hours.
    On June 20, the German envoy wanted to go to the Foreign Affairs Yamen to see the courtier in charge, but on the way he met a squad of Chinese patrolling soldiers and was killed by the leader of the squad. The situation went from worse to worst. At four o'lock in the afternoon that same day, instigated by Prince Zaiyi Yihetuan started to assault the foreign legations in Peking. A division under the command of Ronglu turned over to Prince Zaiyi and joined the besiegement. The general of the division had been a rebel in the northwestern provinces. He had turned over to Qing government and had been promoted to be a general. Prince Zaiyi had promised him that if his son would succeed to the throne, he would be made a governor. So he took orders from Prince Zaiyi instead from Ronglu. This was not deemed as betrayal since Prince Zaiyi and Ronglu both served West Empress Dowager. Ronglu could not even report this inside turnover to West Empress Dowager for fear that she would blame him for his inability. But what could he do as this was not betrayal?

  9. #369
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    When West Empress Dowager read the telegram, she was stunned into silence, because the telegram listed the following demands: (1) to free the emperor and return the power to the emperor; (2) to disperse Yihetuan and if Qing government can't do it alone, all the foreign governments are willing to send their armies to help; (3) Qing government should get the agreement from the foreign governments as to how many troops Qing government would train and keep standing. Qing government must ask foreign officers to drill its army; (4) foreign governments must supervise and control the collection of all the taxes and the use of them.
    Those conditions were just what West Empress Dowager could not bear with. So on June 19, when Dagukou fell to the foreign hands, West Empress Dowager decided to declare war and the foreign envoys were notified to leave Peking in 24 hours.
    On June 20, the German envoy wanted to go to the Foreign Affairs Yamen to see the courtier in charge, but on the way he met a squad of Chinese patrolling soldiers and was killed by the leader of the squad. The situation went from worse to worst. At four o'lock in the afternoon that same day, instigated by Prince Zaiyi Yihetuan started to assault the foreign legations in Peking. A division under the command of Ronglu turned over to Prince Zaiyi and joined the besiegement. The general of the division had been a rebel in the northwestern provinces. He had turned over to Qing government and had been promoted to be a general. Prince Zaiyi had promised him that if his son would succeed to the throne, he would be made a governor. So he took orders from Prince Zaiyi instead from Ronglu. This was not deemed as betrayal since Prince Zaiyi and Ronglu both served West Empress Dowager. Ronglu could not even report this inside turnover to West Empress Dowager for fear that she would blame him for his inability. But what could he do as this was not betrayal?

  10. #370
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    Yihetuan and the division could not do much damage even to the buildings of the legations because their weapons were not advanced enough. They had only rifles. So the general went to see Ronglu to borrow cannons that was under Ronglu's control. Of course Ronglu gave him a flat refusal. He complained to Prince Zaiyi.
    When West Empress Dowager was told that Prince Zaiyi wanted to use Yihetuan to assault the foreign legations, West Empress Dowager didn't say anything. It meant that she acquiesced. Prince Zaiyi had promised to seize all the legations and capture all the foreigners within a short period of time. But it was now three days. So he went to complain to West Empress Dowager that Ronglu rejected to lend him cannons and without cannons how could he take the legations in a short time? He meant that it was Ronglu's fault, not his fault, that he had failed in his task. West Empress Dowager told Ronglu to lend his cannons to Prince Zaiyi, but Ronglu said that he could not lend his cannons to Prince Zaiyi, because they might hit the Temple of General Deng, which was very close to the foreign legations.
    General Deng had been a general of Ming Dynasty. His troops had been camped north of the Great Wall. The first emperor of Qing Dynasty had liked to travel alone to check geographical conditions for his military purposes. He had been taken captive by the soldiers of Ming Dynasty and sent to General Deng. The first impression the emperor had made on General Deng had been favorable and Deng had secretly released him. He had been always grateful. Later when Japan had invaded Korea, General Deng had been sent to fight the Japanese army in Korea and died there. As the first emperor of Qing Dynasty had learned the death of General Deng, he had built a temple in his memory, called the Temple of General Deng. When Qing Dynasty had been founded within the entire territory of China, the emperor had built another temple in Peking, also called the Temple of General Deng. Every subsequent emperor would go there to worship. If the temple was hit by the cannons, it would be a crime done to the ancestors. Ronglu used it as a pretext to reject the demand of Prince Zaiyi. West Empress Dowager agreed, but she wanted Ronglu to use his cannons to support the attack to the foreign legations. Ronglu went back to tell the officer in charge of the cannon regiment to open fire. He didn't say towards the foreign legations He hinted to the officer that he should make the sound of the cannons reach the inside of the Forbidden City. So the officer turned his cannons in the opposite direction and kept firing. Ronglu always opposed to Yihetuan and their actions. Only he didn't want to sing a different tune to displease West Empress Dowager.
    So many people were killed on both sides from June 20 through 24. But Prince Zaiyi and his followers hadn't seized the legations yet. West Empress Dowager blamed him, saying, “If you can't take a few buildings in our own land, how can you drive out the foreigners?” On June 25, West Empress Dowager ordered to stop the attack, but the Chinese soldiers and Yihetuan still surrounded the foreign legations and the attack didn't really cease until August 14.

  11. #371
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    Yihetuan and the division could not do much damage even to the buildings of the legations because their weapons were not advanced enough. They had only rifles. So the general went to see Ronglu to borrow cannons that was under Ronglu's control. Of course Ronglu gave him a flat refusal. He complained to Prince Zaiyi.
    When West Empress Dowager was told that Prince Zaiyi wanted to use Yihetuan to assault the foreign legations, West Empress Dowager didn't say anything. It meant that she acquiesced. Prince Zaiyi had promised to seize all the legations and capture all the foreigners within a short period of time. But it was now three days. So he went to complain to West Empress Dowager that Ronglu rejected to lend him cannons and without cannons how could he take the legations in a short time? He meant that it was Ronglu's fault, not his fault, that he had failed in his task. West Empress Dowager told Ronglu to lend his cannons to Prince Zaiyi, but Ronglu said that he could not lend his cannons to Prince Zaiyi, because they might hit the Temple of General Deng, which was very close to the foreign legations.
    General Deng had been a general of Ming Dynasty. His troops had been camped north of the Great Wall. The first emperor of Qing Dynasty had liked to travel alone to check geographical conditions for his military purposes. He had been taken captive by the soldiers of Ming Dynasty and sent to General Deng. The first impression the emperor had made on General Deng had been favorable and Deng had secretly released him. He had been always grateful. Later when Japan had invaded Korea, General Deng had been sent to fight the Japanese army in Korea and died there. As the first emperor of Qing Dynasty had learned the death of General Deng, he had built a temple in his memory, called the Temple of General Deng. When Qing Dynasty had been founded within the entire territory of China, the emperor had built another temple in Peking, also called the Temple of General Deng. Every subsequent emperor would go there to worship. If the temple was hit by the cannons, it would be a crime done to the ancestors. Ronglu used it as a pretext to reject the demand of Prince Zaiyi. West Empress Dowager agreed, but she wanted Ronglu to use his cannons to support the attack to the foreign legations. Ronglu went back to tell the officer in charge of the cannon regiment to open fire. He didn't say towards the foreign legations He hinted to the officer that he should make the sound of the cannons reach the inside of the Forbidden City. So the officer turned his cannons in the opposite direction and kept firing. Ronglu always opposed to Yihetuan and their actions. Only he didn't want to sing a different tune to displease West Empress Dowager.
    So many people were killed on both sides from June 20 through 24. But Prince Zaiyi and his followers hadn't seized the legations yet. West Empress Dowager blamed him, saying, “If you can't take a few buildings in our own land, how can you drive out the foreigners?” On June 25, West Empress Dowager ordered to stop the attack, but the Chinese soldiers and Yihetuan still surrounded the foreign legations and the attack didn't really cease until August 14.

  12. #372
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    On July 14, the foreign united troops seized Tianjin City. No one wanted to be the bearer of the bad news to West Empress Dowager, but it was Prince Zaiyi's responsibility. He couldn't avoid it and had to report it to West Empress Dowager, who chided him, “You said that Yihetuan has magic power and can resist the foreigners. How could that be that Tianjin City was lost?” Prince Zaiyi trembled while answering, “I was told that traitors were hiding among Yihetuan and made their magic malfunction.” West Empress Dowager flared up at such childish excuse. She slapped hard on the table before her, which startled Zaiyi prostrating in front of the table. “I don't care about their magic functioning or not. If the foreigners come to the capital, I will put you before the muzzles of their cannons.” She dismissed him in frustration.
    Next day Ronglu went to see West Empress Dowager to report that after the investigation, the telegram supposed to come from the foreign governments was proved to be a fake. No such a telegram had really come through the cable. There was no record about such a telegram at the stations on both ends. It must have been written by the order of Prince Zaiyi, who had always urged West Empress Dowager to declare war against the foreigners. So West Empress Dowager summoned Zaiyi. “Do you know what is deception?” She hit the side table with her fist. Zaiyi quivered with fear, but he pleaded weakly, “I never dare to cheat Old Buddha.
    “Then who created a phony telegram?” She accused indignantly. Zaiyi could have nothing to say for himself. He only knocked his forehead on the floor, imploring to be pardoned. “You think I don't know the things you did. I know what you want. You want to be the over-emperor when your son inherits the crown. I can tell you now, don't even think about it.”

  13. #373
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    On July 14, the foreign united troops seized Tianjin City. No one wanted to be the bearer of the bad news to West Empress Dowager, but it was Prince Zaiyi's responsibility. He couldn't avoid it and had to report it to West Empress Dowager, who chided him, “You said that Yihetuan has magic power and can resist the foreigners. How could that be that Tianjin City was lost?” Prince Zaiyi trembled while answering, “I was told that traitors were hiding among Yihetuan and made their magic malfunction.” West Empress Dowager flared up at such childish excuse. She slapped hard on the table before her, which startled Zaiyi prostrating in front of the table. “I don't care about their magic functioning or not. If the foreigners come to the capital, I will put you before the muzzles of their cannons.” She dismissed him in frustration.
    Next day Ronglu went to see West Empress Dowager to report that after the investigation, the telegram supposed to come from the foreign governments was proved to be a fake. No such a telegram had really come through the cable. There was no record about such a telegram at the stations on both ends. It must have been written by the order of Prince Zaiyi, who had always urged West Empress Dowager to declare war against the foreigners. So West Empress Dowager summoned Zaiyi. “Do you know what is deception?” She hit the side table with her fist. Zaiyi quivered with fear, but he pleaded weakly, “I never dare to cheat Old Buddha.
    “Then who created a phony telegram?” She accused indignantly. Zaiyi could have nothing to say for himself. He only knocked his forehead on the floor, imploring to be pardoned. “You think I don't know the things you did. I know what you want. You want to be the over-emperor when your son inherits the crown. I can tell you now, don't even think about it.”

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    When Prince Zaiyi got home, he was told that his favorite assistant general and his family had been killed by Yihetuan. They had accused him of insufficient provisions to them. Zaiyi sent for their leader, who said that there were traitors among them who had done it. Zaiyi knew that the mention of the traitors were just a pretense they made to elude the criticisms from other courtiers. That the leader would say it to him was really beyond his belief and imagination. He was like to invite wolves into the fold of his sheep.
    He was more afraid of the courtiers to oppose him than Yihetuan to betray him. First he accused three courtiers of treason and put them into jail. Then two courtiers wrote a report to West Empress Dowager that Prince Zaiyi should be responsible for all the occurrences. But Zaiyi said that they were guilty of treachery and begged West Empress Dowager to execute them. And West Empress Dowager did order these two courtiers to be executed. Then Prince Zaiyi insisted that the three already imprisoned courtiers should also be executed and likewise West Empress Dowager did issue an order to execute them.
    On August 4, the foreign troops left Tianjin City and marched towards Peking. Outside Peking, there were Chinese troops camping there to defend the capital led by ex-governor Li Binheng, but when the united foreign troops approached, the Chinese soldiers were all scattered at the sound of cannons and guns. Ex-governor Li had originally opposed to war against the foreigners, but when the foreign troops had been attacking Tianjin City, he had recruited a division and marched the division to rescue the capital. West Empress Dowager was excited at the action and interviewed him and gave him a royal sword. A royal sword had some authority of itself. Anyone who had the royal sword could execute everyone who disobeyed his order without the need to get the approval from the emperor first. It was as if he represented the emperor to execute people. It was a specially given power as well as an honor and an encouragement. When his newly-recruited soldiers dispersed, he cut his own throat with the royal sword. Now the foreign troops marched forth without any resistance like they were on a parade. On August 14, the allied troops entered Peking without a hitch and then they strutted into the Forbidden City, from which West Empress Dowager had already escaped.

  15. #375
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    When Prince Zaiyi got home, he was told that his favorite assistant general and his family had been killed by Yihetuan. They had accused him of insufficient provisions to them. Zaiyi sent for their leader, who said that there were traitors among them who had done it. Zaiyi knew that the mention of the traitors were just a pretense they made to elude the criticisms from other courtiers. That the leader would say it to him was really beyond his belief and imagination. He was like to invite wolves into the fold of his sheep.
    He was more afraid of the courtiers to oppose him than Yihetuan to betray him. First he accused three courtiers of treason and put them into jail. Then two courtiers wrote a report to West Empress Dowager that Prince Zaiyi should be responsible for all the occurrences. But Zaiyi said that they were guilty of treachery and begged West Empress Dowager to execute them. And West Empress Dowager did order these two courtiers to be executed. Then Prince Zaiyi insisted that the three already imprisoned courtiers should also be executed and likewise West Empress Dowager did issue an order to execute them.
    On August 4, the foreign troops left Tianjin City and marched towards Peking. Outside Peking, there were Chinese troops camping there to defend the capital led by ex-governor Li Binheng, but when the united foreign troops approached, the Chinese soldiers were all scattered at the sound of cannons and guns. Ex-governor Li had originally opposed to war against the foreigners, but when the foreign troops had been attacking Tianjin City, he had recruited a division and marched the division to rescue the capital. West Empress Dowager was excited at the action and interviewed him and gave him a royal sword. A royal sword had some authority of itself. Anyone who had the royal sword could execute everyone who disobeyed his order without the need to get the approval from the emperor first. It was as if he represented the emperor to execute people. It was a specially given power as well as an honor and an encouragement. When his newly-recruited soldiers dispersed, he cut his own throat with the royal sword. Now the foreign troops marched forth without any resistance like they were on a parade. On August 14, the allied troops entered Peking without a hitch and then they strutted into the Forbidden City, from which West Empress Dowager had already escaped.

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