His given name was Dai Tian, was born in China during a period of internal turmoil and external invasion. Strong nations wanted to divide and devour China. Tong Zhi died and left no sons. De Zong was crowned emperor when he was four years old. Cian and Cixi , the two queens, hung a curtain in court and governed the affairs of the nation behind that veil. Queen Cian was not interested in politics, so Queen Cixi grabbed power and ruled alone, using Guangxu (De Zong) as a puppet. After De Zong married, he tried to rule by himself. In the jiawu year (1894) China lost the war with Japan. He tried to bring about Reform to turn the fate of the nation, and, employing new people, he established a constitution, attempting to effect a semi-constitutional government.
Unfortunately he was sold out by Yuan Shikai, and the Wuxu (l900) Reform only lasted l00 days, ending in failure. Queen Cixi emerged once again as the governing power. She put De Zong under house arrest at YinTai, where he was deprived of his freedom for the rest of his life. Headstrong Cixi did just as she pleased. Hating Westerners, she encouraged the Boxer Rebellion which was quelled by a Union of Eight Western nations. In the confrontation, Beijing was ravaged; and countless innocent people suffered in the ensuing rampant rape, arson, and murder. Cixi avoided all that by taking the Emperor and escaping to Xian. She sent Prime Minister Li Hungzang to negotiate with the Union of Eight. The treaty resulted in China having to pay 450,000,000 ounces of silver in installments over a 30 year period. The following year Cixi returned to an unrecognizable Beijing. The original city had been entirely destroyed and the country was near it's demise. This outrageous incident brought on the Xinghai (l9ll) Revolution.
The last emperor of the Qing dynasty was named Xuan Tong. The emperor before Xuan Tong was named Guang Xu. After Guang Xu died, he was given the posthumous title De Zong. This emperor was a lot like Chong Zheng, who was the last emperor of the Ming dynasty. It is said that Ming emperor hung himself on Mei Mountain. How could it happen that his sons and grandsons had no way to protect their emperor who was endowed with massive blessings and who made sacrifices at the royal ancestral temple?
The story has it that previously Chong Zheng had been a Buddhist novice who possessed great resolve to cultivation the Way. But his aim in cultivation was to become an emperor in the future. He dreamed of being emperor and never did awake from the dream. After that, he died quite young and the Abbot of that monastery ordered that his corpse be drugged by a horse until it was completely ravaged. But the two monks assigned to the task couldn’t bear to do that. He’s already dead, they said. To do that to his corpse is inhumane. And so they secretly buried the corpse instead.
Actually, why did the Abbot want to use a horse to drag the corpse? It was because the monk wanted to be an emperor that the Abbot wanted to drag the corpse. Had that been done, then when he ascended the throne, he would have been an emperor who followed the Way and was endowed with blessings. He would not have had to undergo any suffering; he would not have had to hang himself on Mei Mountain. Anyway, that’s the legend of Chong Zheng.
Chong Zheng was a very good emperor. He was an outstanding intelligent individual who wanted to rectify the nation. But he was unable to do so. The empire ended up in turmoil and that is the reason he hung himself on Mei Mountain.
Now, Guang Xu of the Qing dynasty was a lot like Chong Zheng. Although he wanted to rule China well, he was never able to realize his ambitions.
You could say that Guang Xu accidently became an emperor because he was not a son born to Tong Zhi. There were those who insisted he be made the emperor. Basically it was the Empress Dowager Cixi who wanted him to act as a puppet.
When Xian Feng was dying, he knew that Cixi was treacherous and not the appropriate one to inherit the throne. And so he wrote an edict to Cian. Cian ruled the eastern court; Cixi ruled the western court. The emperor gave this secret edict to Cian, saying: “Cixi is treacherous. You watch her. If she doesn’t behave, you can use this edict of mine to have her killed. If she behaves herself, then you don’t have to use this method.” Cian kept the edict. After Xian Feng died, Cian watched Cixi.
Cixi was crafty and opportunistic; Cian was honest and reliable. When Tong Zhi died young without leaving a direct heir, Cixi should have selected an appropriate individual to become Tong Zhi’s son and heir to the throne. Instead, she insisted on choosing her own nephew, the son of her younger sister. In that way, even though Tong Zhi’s queen couldn’t be the Queen Mother.gone, she could still be the Empress Dowager. She could still direct the affairs of state.
Cian and Cixi worked together for several decades and Cian decided that Cixi was not treacherous after all, and so she told her quite frankly about the secret edict. She even brought it out for Cixi to read, telling her that Xuan Feng had prepared the secret edict so that in case Cixi didn’t behave herself, she could have her killed. By now, so many years had passed and she saw that Cixi wasn’t misbehaving and so she felt the edict no longer served any purpose. Then she burned while she watched.
Once it was burned what do you suppose happened? Cixi was furious. “Hummp! It is you who are treacherous! You’ve held that secret edict for all these years and only now do you bring it out for me to see. I’ll be in the palm of your hand for the rest of my life, and if I do anything you don’t like you could make that secret edict public knowledge and completely ruin my reputation.” With that thought in mind Cixi did her in. Today Cian told her and tomorrow Cian bled from all her orifices and died. Who killed her? Cixi poisoned her. Cixi was her assassin. See how treacherous Cixi was! She dared to do anything!
When Guang Xu ascended the throne he was still a child and so Queen Cixi and Queen Cian ruled the nation from behind a curtain. But Queen Cian was not interested in governing, which left Queen Cixi with exactly what she wanted: she grabbed power and ruled alone, commanding all the officials, who in turn catered to her wishes. It went on like that until Guang Xu grew up and married, when the emperorship and affairs of state were returned to his hands.
Attempting to bring about Reform in the tumultuous country, Guang Xu established a constitution, attempting to effect a semi-constitutional government. Unfortunately, not only did he lose the war with Japan in the jiawu year (l894), but also the Wuxu (l900) Reform. He tried to set up a constitution and brought in new people who were strong and capable of instigating the Reform, such as Liang Chichao and others.
to be continued