Line of succession to the former Chinese throne

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In 1912, the Qing dynasty was ousted and a republic was declared. Puyi, the last Qing emperor, was emperor of Manchukuo (Manchuria) in 1934–1945. He died without issue in 1967. His brother Prince Pujie was next in line under Manchukuo's succession law, which is the most recently published agreed upon succession rule for the house.[1] Stories published in the Chicago Times and The New York Times acknowledge Pujie as heir to the throne.[2]

Since Pujie died in 1994, a half-brother, Jin Youzhi, has claimed this status, notably in a 2006 lawsuit.[3] This case was dismissed without a ruling on the issue.[3] Jin also sued to obtain royalties from the sale of Puyi's autobiography.[4] Pujie was survived by a daughter, Princess Husheng, who was born in 1941. However, the law restricts succession to males.[5]

In The Empty Throne, Tony Scotland tells how he found another claimant, Prince Yuyan, living in a mud floor hovel near the imperial palace.[6] Yuyan, a distant cousin of Puyi, told Scotland that the former emperor made him heir to the throne in a ceremony performed while they were imprisoned in Russia together in 1950.[7] This claim is not supported by any official document, although it was customary in the Qing dynasty that an emperor name his successor in a will or edict. Puyi's autobiography confirms merely that the idea was discussed.[8] Yuyan died in 1997. His eldest son is Prince Hengzhen, who was born in 1944.[9] There is no indication that Yuyan designated him heir to the throne, or that he claims this status.

Present line of succession[edit]

Alternative proposals[edit]

During the Xinhai Revolution some advocated that a Han be installed as Emperor, either the descendant of Confucius, who was the Duke Yansheng,[13][14][15][16][17] or the Ming dynasty Imperial family descendant, the Marquis of Extended Grace.[18][19]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The Manchoukuo Year Book 1941, "Text of the Law Governing Succession to the Imperial Throne", March 1, 1937, p. 905, Tōa Keizai Chōsakyoku (Japan). "In the absence of sons or descendants, the brothers of the reigning emperor, borne of the same mother, and their male-line descendants succeed according to age." (Article 5)
    Buyers, Christopher, The Royal Ark, "China".
  2. ^ Schmetzer, Uli, "Emperor-in-waiting recalls bygone age", Chicago Tribune, Oct. 25, 1992.
    "Pu Jie, 87, Dies, Ending Dynasty Of the Manchus", New York Times, March 2, 1994.
  3. ^ a b "Brother of last emperor loses lawsuit", China Economic Net, 2006-12-12
  4. ^ "China's courts asked to settle dispute on last emperor's memoir", Mathaba, 11 Oct. 2007.
  5. ^ "The Imperial Throne of Manchoukuo shall be succeeded to by male descendants in the male line of His Majesty the Emperor for ages to come." (Article 1, "Text of the Law Governing Succession to the Imperial Throne", The Manchoukuo Year Book 1941, p. 905.)
  6. ^ Scotland, Tony, and Patrick Leigh Fermor, The Empty Throne: Quest for an Imperial Heir in the People's Republic of China, (1993).
  7. ^ Scotland, p. 180.
  8. ^ Henry Pu Yi, Paul Kramer, The Last Manchu: The Autobiography of Henry Pu Yi, Last Emperor of China, p. 244.
  9. ^ Scotland, p. 177.
  10. ^ Heir to China's throne celebrates a modest life, The Age, November 27, 2004
  11. ^ "La vie d'un neveu du dernier empereur de Chine", Le Quotidien du Peuple, Dec. 12, 2000.
    金毓峑, Baidu.
  12. ^ 金毓岚, Baidu.
  13. ^ Eiko Woodhouse (2 August 2004). The Chinese Hsinhai Revolution: G. E. Morrison and Anglo-Japanese Relations, 1897-1920. Routledge. pp. 113–. ISBN 978-1-134-35242-5. 
  14. ^ Jonathan D. Spence (28 October 1982). The Gate of Heavenly Peace: The Chinese and Their Revolution. Penguin Publishing Group. pp. 84–. ISBN 978-1-101-17372-5. 
  15. ^ Shêng Hu; Danian Liu (1983). The 1911 Revolution: A Retrospective After 70 Years. New World Press. p. 55. 
  16. ^ The National Review, China. 1913. p. 200. 
  17. ^ Monumenta Serica. H. Vetch. 1967. p. 67. 
  18. ^ Percy Horace Braund Kent (1912). The Passing of the Manchus. E. Arnold. pp. 382–. 
  19. ^ M.A. Aldrich (1 March 2008). The Search for a Vanishing Beijing: A Guide to China's Capital Through the Ages. Hong Kong University Press. pp. 176–. ISBN 978-962-209-777-3. 

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