The Qing Dynasty’s Last Leader was a Woman: Part 2 of 2

June 20, 2018

The National Library of Australia reports, “Hugh Trevor-Roper, Regius Professor of Modern History at Oxford, was asked to examine the Backhouse manuscript by its Swiss custodians. In Hermit of Peking: The Hidden Life of Sir Edmund Backhouse, Trevor-Roper dismissed the autobiography as historically worthless fiction by a man he called a forger, confidence trickster and fantasist. He concluded, ‘Backhouse’s ‘memoirs’ are not an edifying work. They are a pornographic novelette’, and unpublishable.”

But Backhouse’s journalistic fraud served as the foundation for most history texts still used today that continue to slander Tzu Hsi.

To do Tzu Hsi justice and to discover the truth, one should read Seagrave’s Dragon Lady, The Life and Legend of the Last Empress of China.

To learn who the real woman was that ruled China pay attention to what Robert Hart wrote about Hzu Hsi in his letters and journals.  Robert Hart arrived in China from Ireland in 1854 to learn the language as an interpreter for the British consulate in Ningpo. In 1859, almost five years later, Hart quit his job with the British and went to work for the Emperor of China as an employee. He returned to England in 1908.

When I was researching Robert Hart’s life while working on my historical fiction novel My Splendid Concubine, I learned that Hart became Inspector General of Chinese Maritime Customs and worked closely with the Imperial ministers and Manchu princes. Before returning to England after living in China for fifty-four years, Hart met with the Dowager Empress in a private audience inside the Forbidden City.

Hart referred to Tzu Hsi as “the Buddha” and later “the old Buddha” since she was a devout Buddhist and it is obvious that he thought of her with affection and admiration.

In fact, Hart, who is considered the Godfather of China’s modernization, at no time indicated in anything he wrote that Tzu Hsi was conspiratorial, sinister or manipulative. However, he did indicate that she was strong-willed and hot-tempered, clever and had ability.

Tzu Hsi died in 1908 a few weeks after Robert Hart left China and returned to England to live out his final few years. The Qing Dynasty collapsed in 1911, the same year Robert Hart died.

Return to or Start with Part 1

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine, Crazy is Normal, Running with the Enemy, and The Redemption of Don Juan Casanova.

Where to Buy

Subscribe to my newsletter to hear about new releases and get a free copy of my award-winning, historical fiction short story “A Night at the Well of Purity”.

About iLook China

Advertisements

The Qing Dynasty’s Last Leader was a Woman: Part 1 of 2

June 19, 2018

Empress Dowager Tzu Hsi ruled the Qing Dynasty as a coregent after her husband, the Xianfeng Emperor died in 1861, and her son, The Tongzhi Emperor (1856 – 1875), was too young at age five to rule China.

Sterling Seagrave, the author of Dragon Lady, writes, “Absurdly little was known about her life. The New York Times printed a long, error filled obituary calling her Tzu An, the title of her coregent, who had died twenty-seven years earlier.”

Many current history texts continue to slander the Dowager Empress Tzu Hsi (1835 – 1908) without much evidence as one of history’s most monstrous women, an alleged ruthless Manchu concubine who seduced and murdered her way to the throne in 1861 to rule China through prevision, corruption and intrigue.

This is how many still think of Tzu Hsi. In addition, she was accused of murdering her son, and then years later her nephew, who died the day before she did.

Instead, her son died of syphilis because he preferred prostitutes to the hundreds of virgin concubines that belonged to him. Rumors claimed that Tzu Hsi had her nephew poisoned, but Yuan Shikai may have had him poisoned so he could become the next emperor. There is no evidence to support either allegation.

How did Tzu Hsi earn such a bad reputation?

It seems that she earned this reputation similar to how today’s China has been smeared in much of the Western media. Thanks to a liar and fraud by the name of Edmund Backhouse, who was a reporter for The London Times and his bestselling book “China under the Empress Dowagers”, Tzu Hsi’s fate to be labeled a monster and murderer  was guaranteed until 1976 when Backhouse’s fraud and lies were revealed.

Continued in Part 2 on June 20, 2018

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine, Crazy is Normal, Running with the Enemy, and The Redemption of Don Juan Casanova.

Where to Buy

Subscribe to my newsletter to hear about new releases and get a free copy of my award-winning, historical fiction short story “A Night at the Well of Purity”.

About iLook China


Jesus Christ’s Younger Chinese Brother

June 13, 2018

After China lost both of the Opium Wars started by the British and French, Christian missionaries flooded China along with a tsunami of opium.

Hong Xiuquan (1814 – 1865), a failed student of Confucian doctrine, converted to Christianity and woke up one morning claiming he was the younger brother of Jesus Christ. From there, he built a following and started the Taiping Rebellion (1850 – 1864) that lasted for more than a decade.

History of War says, “Conservative estimates of the dead in the 14-year Taiping Rebellion in southern China start at between 20 and 30 million. In contrast, around 17 million soldiers and civilians were killed fifty years later during the First World War. The devastating death toll between 1850 to 1864 certainly makes the uprising one of the bloodiest events in history, with more than 100,000 people killed in three days during the Third Battle of Nanking in 1864.”

Hong’s goals were to replace the Qing Dynasty and rid China of Opium. After achieving that goal, he was going to turn China into a Christian nation. He planned to be China’s first Christian emperor.

Since the English, United States, and French did not want the opium trade to end, these Christian nations helped the Ch’ing Dynasty defeat the Taipings even though the rebellion was a Christian uprising.

If the British and their western allies had sided with Hong Xiuquan, China would probably be a Christian nation today, but think of all the lost profits.

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine, Crazy is Normal, Running with the Enemy, and The Redemption of Don Juan Casanova.

Where to Buy

Subscribe to my newsletter to hear about new releases and get a free copy of my award-winning, historical fiction short story “A Night at the Well of Purity”.

About iLook China


China’s Last Imperial Dynasty was not ruled by the Han Chinese: Part 3 of 3

June 8, 2018

During the 19th century, the two Opium Wars started by Britain and France weakened the Qing Dynasty.

Besides the Opium Wars, there was also the Taiping Rebellion, which lasted more than a decade.

In 1900, the so-called Boxer Rebellion (known as “I-ho Chuan” or the “Righteous and Harmonious Fists”) was originally started to bring down the Manchu Qing Dynasty but the Qing government managed to redirect the rebellion against the foreigner invaders that had defeated China during the Opium Wars.

This ended in a worse defeat after the foreign powers formed an alliance and marched on Beijing slaughtering the rebels.

Back to the Qing Dynasty

How does a country innovate and prosper when it is fighting endless rebellions and wars. For a brief example, Business Insider estimates 25-million died during the Qing conquest of the Ming dynasty, a period of extreme political turmoil in China that lasted for sixty-five years. It is estimated that during the Taiping Rebellion 1850-1864, another 20-million died (some estimates allege the number was closer to 100-million). During the Dungan Revolt 1862-1877, another 10-million were killed.  If you click this link, you will discover a list of thirty wars and revolts that the Qing Dynasty was involved in. Do you see any comparison to the United States since the end of World War II?

The driving force behind the revolution of 1911 that ended the Qing Dynasty was Dr. Sun Yat-sen, who had been educated in Hawaii when it was an American territory. This exposure to the U.S. Republic motivated Sun Yat-sen to build a Republic to China but one that would fit the Chinese culture.

Return to Part 2 or start with Part 1

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine, Crazy is Normal, Running with the Enemy, and The Redemption of Don Juan Casanova.

Where to Buy

Subscribe to my newsletter to hear about new releases and get a free copy of my award-winning, historical fiction short story “A Night at the Well of Purity”.

About iLook China


China’s Last Imperial Dynasty was not ruled by the Han Chinese: Part 2 of 3

June 7, 2018

The next Qing Emperor Yongzheng ruled from 1722 to 1735, and he was frugal like his father.

Yongzheng created an effective government and used military force to preserve the dynasty’s position as his father had. Under his leadership, he continued the era of peace and prosperity by cracking down on corruption and waste while reforming the financial administration of the empire.

The next one was the Qianlong Emperor, also known as the warrior emperor, and he ruled China for much of the 18th century (1735 – 1796). During his leadership, he subdued several rebellions known as the “ten successful campaigns”, which drained the Qing Dynasty’s treasury. These rebellions went on for forty-five years from 1747 to 1792.

However, when the Qianlong Emperor died, China was unified, at peace, and still strong. He was a brilliant military leader and expanded the empire further into Mongolia and Tibet.

During Qianlong’s rule, Manchu and Chinese armies spread Qing sovereignty over Burma and Nepal.

In addition, Chinese settlers in Yunnan, Guizhou, Sichuan, and Taiwan dealt with rebellions of the aboriginal tribes that could only be subdued by military force. Muslim people also resisted the Qing regime in Gansu and Xinjiang.

Part 3 will be posted on June 8, 2018 or return to Part 1

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine, Crazy is Normal, Running with the Enemy, and The Redemption of Don Juan Casanova.

Where to Buy

Subscribe to my newsletter to hear about new releases and get a free copy of my award-winning, historical fiction short story “A Night at the Well of Purity”.

About iLook China


China’s Last Imperial Dynasty was not ruled by the Han Chinese: Part 1 of 3

June 6, 2018

The Qing Dynasty can be traced back to the 1580s when a Manchurian chieftain Nurhachi (1558–1626) unified the Jurchen tribes in an area north of the Great Wall of China. In time, Nurachi controlled most of Manchuria. In 1616, Nurhachi declared himself khan, and founded the Later Jin Dynasty, that his successors renamed in 1636, the Qing Dynasty.

He launched his war against China in 1618. In February 1626, he was defeated for the first time by the Chinese and died of his wounds by the end of September.

In 1644, his son Dorgon conquered China. However, the Chinese fought hard to drive the Manchurians from China and continued resistance in Southern China until crushed.

The second emperor of the Qing Dynasty was Kangxi (1654 – 1722) who ruled for sixty-two years and is considered by many historians one of the ablest emperors to govern the vast Chinese empire. He laid the foundation of a long period of political stability and economic prosperity for China.

The rebellions Kangxi put down was called the Rebellion of the Three Feudatories, which lasted from 1673 to 1681.

Then there was the pirate-merchant Zheng Chenggong, who set up an independent kingdom on the island of Taiwan. Eventually, that kingdom was defeated and brought back into the Qing empire.

The Kangxi emperor also fought wars with Russia from 1685 until 1689 when the Treaty of Nerchinsk was signed.

Next were the campaigns against the Mongols until they were defeated. In 1720, the Qing Dynasty occupied Tibet adding that region to the empire.

However, even in times of war, the Kangxi emperor provided tax relief for the people, and he was known as a frugal and wise leader. When he died, he left China strong and in good financial shape

It is also well known that the Qing Dynasty did not trust the Han Chinese and went out of its way to hire foreigners to fill government positions held by Han Chinese for centuries.

Part 2 will be posted on June 7, 2018

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine, Crazy is Normal, Running with the Enemy, and The Redemption of Don Juan Casanova.

Where to Buy

Subscribe to my newsletter to hear about new releases and get a free copy of my award-winning, historical fiction short story “A Night at the Well of Purity”.

About iLook China


Although Established by a Nationalistic Religious Cult, the Ming Dynasty Was Not a Total Failure

May 30, 2018

During the Ming Dynasty (1368 – 1644), great achievements were recorded in architecture, shipbuilding, porcelain making, and textile weaving.

Eighty years before the British discovered what caused scurvy, Chinese sailors were not suffering from this disease because the Chinese had developed porcelain containers to grow bean sprouts in while the ships were crossing oceans.  Bean sprouts are a rich source of vitamin C.

During his voyages, Admiral Zheng He took more than 10,000 copies of books to give away in the hope of spreading Chinese civilization and traditional Confucian ideas. Instead of diseases and cannonballs that were ruthlessly used to spread colonialism out of Europe, the Chinese gave away books.

Of all the textile industries, silk weaving was number one and could be found in almost every large and small town in Southern China.

Shang Chuan, a Research Fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences says, “Textiles in China have a long history (back to the Warring States Period, BC 475-221). By the Ming Dynasty… large workshops had appeared, although work was still done by hand.

“However, compared with the old family production model, large worships were superior as the products were quality guaranteed, all looked the same and were the same standard.”

The silk industry in China was the beginning of modern manufacturing. As many think, modern manufacturing techniques did not start in England in the 18th century. It started in China centuries earlier.

The reputation of the Chinese products that Admiral Zheng He took with him on his voyages brought him considerable honor and made him welcome everywhere he visited. On his sixth voyage, he reached the African coast and twelve hundred envoys from sixteen African and Asian countries returned to China with Zheng He’s fleet.

In Beijing, the Ming Emperor presented these envoys with forty-thousand roles of silk and brocade.

Even before the Ming Dynasty, China had been sending diplomatic missions overland to the West for centuries and trade had extended as far as east Africa.

However, never before had a government-sponsored mission the size of Zheng He’s fleet been organized.  His voyages were a vivid demonstration of the economic and cultural prosperity of the Ming Dynasty.

The Great Wall, which the Ming Dynasty had continued to rebuild, modernize and strengthen, stretched from China’s eastern coast to the far northwest. This Great Wall is what tourists in China see today.

In 1637, the largest encyclopedia of ancient China was published. It was a comprehensive book covering science and handicraft technologies. Another encyclopedia was published on agriculture. A third described China’s geology in detail. A fourth was the most comprehensive medical book in Chinese history, the Compendium of Materia Medica.

Meanwhile, The Industrial Revolution in Europe would not start in Britain until about 1760, more than a century after the Ming Dynasty had been replaced in 1655 by the Manchu led Qing Dynasty.

However, after 1433, the Ming Dynasty turned inward and became isolated from the world, setting the stage for its collapse and the madness and horror that followed for more than a century up to 1949.

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine, Crazy is Normal, Running with the Enemy, and The Redemption of Don Juan Casanova.

Where to Buy

Subscribe to my newsletter to hear about new releases and get a free copy of my award-winning, historical fiction short story “A Night at the Well of Purity”.

About iLook China