Yongzheng Emperor

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"Yinzhen" redirects here. For the tea, see Yinzhen tea.
Yongzheng Emperor
雍正帝
Portrait of the Yongzheng Emperor in Court Dress.jpg
Flag of the Qing dynasty (1889-1912).svg 5th Qing Emperor of China
Reign 27 December 1722 – 8 October 1735
Predecessor Kangxi Emperor
Successor Qianlong Emperor
Spouse Empress Xiaojingxian
Empress Xiaoshengxian
Consort Qi
Issue Honghui
Hongyun
Hongshi
Hongli
Hongzhou
Hongpan
Fuhe
Fuhui
Fupei
Hongyan
Full name
Chinese: Aixin-Jueluo Yinzhen 愛新覺羅胤禛
Manchu: Aisin Gioro hala-i In Jen
Posthumous name
Emperor Jingtian Changyun Jianzhong Biaozheng Wenwu Yingming Kuanren Xinyi Ruisheng Daxiao Zhicheng Xian
敬天昌運建中表正文武英明寬仁信毅睿聖大孝至誠憲皇帝
Temple name
Qing Shizong
清世宗
House House of Aisin-Gioro
Father Kangxi Emperor
Mother Empress Xiaogongren
Born (1678-12-13)13 December 1678
Died 8 October 1735(1735-10-08) (aged 56)
Beijing, China
Burial Tailing, Western Qing Tombs, China
Yongzheng Emperor
Chinese name
Chinese 雍正帝
Mongolian name
Mongolian Nairalt Töv Khaan
Manchu name
Manchu script ᡥᡡᠸᠠᠯᡳᠶᠠᠰᡠᠨ ᡨᠣᠪ
Romanization Hūwaliyasun Tob hūwangdi
Personal name: Yinzhen
Chinese name
Chinese 胤禛
Manchu name
Manchu script ᡳᠨ ᠵᡝᠨ
Romanization in jen

The Yongzheng Emperor (Chinese: 雍正帝) (13 December 1678 – 8 October 1735), born Yinzhen (胤禛), was the fifth emperor of the Manchu-led Qing Dynasty and the third Qing emperor to rule over China proper. He reigned from 1722 to 1735. A hard-working ruler, Yongzheng's main goal was to create an effective government at minimal expense. Like his father, the Kangxi Emperor, Yongzheng used military force to preserve the dynasty's position. His reign was known as despotic, efficient, and vigorous.

Although Yongzheng's reign was much shorter than that of both his father (the Kangxi Emperor) and his son (the Qianlong Emperor), Yongzheng continued an era of peace and prosperity. He cracked down on corruption and reformed the financial administration.[1] His reign saw the formulation of the Grand Council, an institution which had an enormous impact on the future of imperial China.

Prince Yong[edit]

Yinzhen was the fourth son of Kangxi to survive into adulthood and the eldest son of a Manchu court attendant from the Uya clan (the later Empress Xiaogongren). At the time of his birth, his mother was of a low status and did not have the right to raise her own children. For most of his childhood, Yinzhen was raised by Tong Guifei, of "Noble Consort" rank and daughter of Tong Guowei, an eminent official of the early Kangxi years who was also the brother of Kangxi's mother.[a] After the birth of more children, Yinzhen's mother was promoted to a pin and then to a fei,[b] and became known as Defei, or the "Virtuous Consort." Kangxi did not raise his children inside the palace alone. He exposed his sons (including Yinzhen) to the outside world and gave them a rigorous education. Yongzheng went with Kangxi on several inspection trips around the Beijing area, as well as one further south. He became the honorary leader of the Plain Red Banner during Kangxi's second battle against the Mongol khan Galdan. Yinzhen was made a beile (Chinese: 貝勒, "lord") in 1689 and rose to the position of second-class prince (junwang) in 1698.

In 1709, Kangxi stripped his second son Yinreng of his crown prince position. Yinreng had been the crown prince for his whole life; his removal left the position for heir open for competition among his remaining sons (Kangxi had 24 sons who reached adulthood). In the same year, Kangxi bestowed the title Prince Yong (雍亲王) on Yinzhen. Yinzhen maintained a low profile during the initial stages of the struggle. To appoint a new heir, Kangxi decreed for officials at court to 'nominate' a new crown prince. The eighth son of Kangxi, Yinsi, was the candidate preferred by the majority of the court as well as many of Kangxi's other sons. Kangxi however opted not to appoint Yinsi heir, largely due to apprehension that Yinsi's political clout at court was beginning to overshadow that of himself. Thereafter, Yinzhen sensed that his father was in favour of re-instating Yinreng as heir apparent, and threw his support behind Yinreng, earning the trust of the elderly emperor.

Disputed Succession[edit]

Further information: Kangxi Emperor

In 1712, the Kangxi Emperor again removed Yinreng as successor to the throne, and chose not to designate an heir for the remainder of his reign. This resulted in stiff competition amongst his sons for the of Crown Prince title. Those considered 'frontrunners' were Yinzhi, Yinsi, and Yinti (the third, eighth and fourteenth Imperial Princes respectively). Of the princes, Yinsi received the most support from the mandarins, but not from Kangxi himself. Yinzhen had supported Yinreng prior to the latter's demise, but did not build a large political base until the final years of Kangxi's reign, and, unlike Yinsi's high-profile cultivation of a partisan base of support, did so largely away from the limelight. When the Kangxi Emperor died in December 1722, the field of contenders shrank to three princes after Yinsi pledged his support to the 14th prince, Yinti.[2]

At the time of the Kangxi Emperor's death, Yinti, as border-pacification general-in-chief (Chinese: 撫遠大將軍), was at war in the northwest in what is present-day Xinjiang. Some historians believe that this implied Kangxi's favouring Yinti for succession and was training him to become the next emperor in military affairs. Others maintain that Kangxi intended to keep Yinti away from the capital to ensure a peaceful succession for Yinzhen. It was Yinzhen who nominated Yinti for the post — not Yinsi, with whom Yinti was closely affiliated.

Official court records state that on 20 December 1722 the ailing Kangxi Emperor called seven of his sons and the general commandant of the Peking gendarmerie, Longkodo, to his bedside. Longkodo read the will and declared that Yinzhen would succeed the emperor on the throne. Some evidence has suggested that Yinzhen contacted Longkodo months before the will was read in preparation for his succession through military means, although in their official capacities frequent encounters were expected. There is a widely circulated legend that Yongzheng modified Kangxi's will by modifying key Chinese characters specifying the heir to the throne. The best-known rumor was that Yongzheng modified the phrase "transfer the throne to the Fourteenth Prince" (Chinese: 傳位十四子shísì) to "transfer the throne to the Fourth Prince" (Chinese: 傳位于四子yúsì) by changing the character shi (十) to yu (于); others say it was modifying "fourteen" (十四) to "fourth" (Chinese: 第四 dìsì).[c] Historians remain divided on whether or not Yinzhen 'usurped' the throne, though Yongzheng scholar Feng Erkang believed that Yinzhen's succession was legitimate. Some events have been cited by historians as supporting the "legitimate succession" theory. For example, in January 1721, Kangxi's 60th anniversary of his throne, he sent Yongzheng and his 12th prince and grandson born by third prince to hold the veneration ritual at royal tombs. None of the princes who supported 14th prince (namely, third, eighth, ninth and tenth prince) was sent.[3]

In 2013, an exhibit in Liaoning Province's Archive Bureau showed Kangxi Emperor's succession will for the first time, and the exhibit finally disproved any notion that Yongzheng changed his father's will.[4]

Painting of Chinese man, in Western clothes, attacking a tiger with a pitchfork-like staff
18th-century Chinese painting of the Yongzheng Emperor wearing a European wig and dress, preparing to strike a tiger with a trident
Painting of people on a path in a large courtyard, flanked by soldiers, viewed from a distance
The Yongzheng Emperor offering sacrifices at the altar of the god of agriculture, Shennong
Painting of the Yongzheng Emperor sitting on the ground near a waterfall
18th-century painting of the Yongzheng Emperor in costume

Yinzhen chose an era name similar in sound to his given name; 1723 was to be the first year of the Yongzheng era. For his first official act as emperor Yongzheng released his long-time ally—the 13th prince Yinxiang, who had been imprisoned by the Kangxi Emperor at the same time as the crown prince. Some sources indicate that Yinxiang, the most militant of the princes, then assembled a group of special Peking soldiers from the Fengtai command to seize immediate control of the Forbidden City and surrounding areas to prevent usurpation by Yinsi's cronies. Yongzheng's personal account stated that he was emotionally unstable and deeply saddened over his father's death, and knew it would be a burden "much too heavy" for himself if he were to succeed the throne. In addition, after the will was read Yinzhen wrote that the officials (premier Zhang Tingyu, Longkedo and Yinzhi) and Prince Cheng led the other princes in the ceremonial Three-Kneels and Nine-Salutes to the emperor. The following day Yongzheng issued an edict summoning Yinti back from Qinghai, bestowing on their mother the title "Holy Mother Empress Dowager" the day Yinti arrived at the funeral.

In the first major comprehensive biography of the Yongzheng Emperor by Feng Erkang, the author puts the Yongzheng succession in perspective. Feng writes that there were some suspicious signs from the lost wills and the dates released, but the majority of evidence points to Yinzhen succeeding the throne legitimately (although with political and military maneuvering deemed necessary by the situation).[2] The eighth prince (Yinsi) had been bribing officials for support throughout his life, and his influence penetrated the Fengtai command. Furthermore, Feng suggests that "although we are not yet altogether certain on what happened with the succession, and which side is correct, it is reasonable to think that Yongzheng's political enemies manipulated all suspicion behind the will in an attempt to put a dark image on Yongzheng; Imperial Chinese tradition had led certain schools of thought in believing that Yongzheng's whole reign can be discredited simply because his succession of the throne did not come as a will of his father, the emperor and ultimate decision maker in China." He further suggests that Kangxi made a grave mistake by allowing his sons to become major political players (especially since the position of crown prince was empty) and a bloody battle of succession (including a possible usurpation) was the inevitable result of imperial Chinese institutions. Therefore, it would be an even-bigger mistake to judge a ruler solely on the way he came to power. Certainly, the Yongzheng Emperor ensured his successor would have a smooth transition when the time came.

Reign[edit]

After ascending to the throne in December 1722, Yinzhen took the era name "Harmonious Justice" (Chinese: 雍正yōngzhèng) in 1723 from his peerage title "harmonious" (Chinese: yōng) and "just, correct, upright" (Chinese: zhèng). It has been suggested that the second character of his era name was an attempt to cover up his illegal claim to the throne by calling himself "justified". Immediately after succeeding to the throne, Yongzheng chose his new governing council. It consisted of the eighth prince Yinsi, the 13th prince Yinxiang, Zhang Tingyu, Ma Qi, and Longkodo. Yinsi was given the title of Prince Lian, and Yinxiang was given the title of Prince Yi; both held the highest positions in the land.

Continued battle against princes[edit]

The nature of his succession remained a subject of controversy and clouded over the reign of Yongzheng. As many of his surviving brothers did not see his succession as legitimate, Yongzheng became increasingly paranoid that they would plot to overthrow him. The earlier players in the battle for succession, Yinzhi, the eldest, and Yinreng, the former crown prince, continued to live under house arrest. Yinreng died two years into the reign of Yongzheng.

Yongzheng continued to perceive Yinsi and his party, consisting of imperial princes Yintang, Yin'e, Yinti, and their associates to be the biggest political challenge in the early years of his reign. To diffuse their political clout, Yongzheng undertook a 'divide and conquer' strategy. Immediately after ascending the throne, Yongzheng bestowed Yinsi the title Prince Lian, nominally of the highest noble rank. Yinsi was also then named minister of Lifan Yuan (Feudatory Affairs Office) and the top-ranking member of the imperial council assisting Yongzheng; some historians believe his position at the time was essentially that of a "Prime Minister". By ostensibly elevating Yinsi to a more prominent political role, Yongzheng held Yinsi under close watch and busied Yinsi with affairs of state, reducing his chances of conducting behind-the-scenes political maneuvers. Yinsi's allies received notably different treatment. Yintang was sent to Qinghai under the pretext of military service, but in reality was watched over by Yongzheng's trusted protégé Nian Gengyao. Yin'e, the tenth prince, was told to leave the capital to send off a departing Mongol prince, but since he refused to complete this trip as the Emperor commanded, Yongzheng stripped him of all his titles in May 1724 and he was sent north to the Shunyi area to languish in solitude.

The 14th Prince Yinti, born to the same mother as Yongzheng, was recalled to Beijing from his military post. Yongzheng selected Nian Gengyao to replaced Yinti as commander of the northwestern expeditionary force. Yinti, who expected to be placed on the throne himself, was reluctant to recognize Yongzheng's accession as legitimate. Yinti was accused of violating imperial decorum at the funeral proceedings of the late emperor, and placed under house arrest by Yongzheng at the imperial tombs in western Beijing. The conflict between her two surviving sons caused sorrow with their mother, the newly named Empress Dowager Renshou. Historians believe that the dowager was in favour of Yinti partly due to Yinti having spent his childhood with her, while Yongzheng had not (he was not raised by her). The increasingly sharp conflict between her two sons caused deep unease with the dowager, who died less than six months after the Kangxi emperor.

By forcibly dispatching Yinsi's party to separate locations geographically, Yongzheng made it extremely inconvenient for his rivals to link up and conspire against him. While some of Yinsi's erstwhile cronies were appointed to high office, others were demoted or banished, making it difficult for Yinsi's party to maintain the same set of partisan interests. Yongzheng publicly reprimanded Yinsi in 1724 for mishandling an assignment, eventually removing him from office and then sending him into house arrest. Yinsi was forced to rename himself "Acina", a derogatory slur in the Manchu language. Yongzheng also confiscated the assets of Yintang and Yin'e.

Relationship with the West[edit]

In 1724, by decree of the Yongzheng Emperor, proscription began of the Heavenly Lord sect (Tianzhujiao), the name given Catholicism in China in that period);[5] this would bring to temporary close successes in spreading Christianity achieved by the 16th century accommodation policy of Matteo Ricci.[citation needed] It also would give rise to persecution of Chinese Christians that steadily increased during the reign of his son, the Qianlong Emperor.[6]

Ming dynasty Imperial descendants[edit]

In 1725 Yongzheng bestowed the hereditary title of Marquis on a descendant of the Ming dynasty Imperial family, Zhu Zhiliang, who received a salary from the Qing government and whose duty was to perform rituals at the Ming tombs, and was also inducted the Chinese Plain White Banner in the Eight Banners. Later the Qianlong Emperor bestowed the title Marquis of Extended Grace posthumously on Zhu Zhuliang in 1750, and the title passed on through twelve generations of Ming descendants until the end of the Qing dynasty.

Nian and Long[edit]

Nian Gengyao was a supporter of Yongzheng long before he acceded the throne. In 1722, when he was recalling his brother Yinti from the northwest, Yongzheng appointed Nian as leading general in the northwest. The situation in Xinjiang at the time was volatile, and a strong general was needed in the area. After several military conquests, however, Nian Gengyao's stature and power grew. Some say he began seeing himself as equal to Yongzheng. Ostensibly seeing Nian as no longer within his control, Yongzheng issued an imperial edict demoting Nian to general of the Hangzhou Command. Continuing to be unrepentant, Nian was given an ultimatum and committed suicide by poison in 1726. Longkodo was commander of the militias stationed at the capital at the time of Yongzheng's succession. He fell in disgrace in 1728, and died under house arrest.

After becoming emperor, Yongzheng suppressed writings he deemed unfavorable to his court, particularly those with an anti-Manchu bias.[1] Foremost among these were those of Zeng Jing, an unsuccessful degree candidate heavily influenced by 17th-century scholar Lü Liuliang. Zeng had been so affected by what he read that he attempted to incite the governor-general of Shaanxi-Sichuan, Yue Zhongqi, to rebellion. The general promptly turned him in, and in 1730 the case reached Yongzheng Emperor. Highly concerned with the implications of the case, Yongzheng had Zeng Jing brought to Beijing for trial. The emperor's verdict seemed to demonstrate a Confucian sovereign's benevolence: He ascribed Zeng's actions to the gullibility and naïveté of a youth taken in by Lü's abusive and overdrawn rhetoric. In addition to this the emperor suggested that Lü's original attack on the Manchus was misplaced, since they had been transformed by their long-term exposure to the civilizing force of Confucianism.

Yongzheng is also known for establishing a strict autocratic-style rule during his reign. He detested corruption, and punished officials severely when they were found guilty of an offense. In 1729 he issued an edict prohibiting the smoking of madak,[citation needed] a blend of tobacco and opium. Yongzheng's reign saw the Qing Dynasty further establish itself as a powerful empire in Asia. He was instrumental in extending what became known as a Kangqian Period of Harmony (Chinese: 康乾盛世; cf. Pax Romana). In response to his father's tragedy, Yongzheng created a sophisticated procedure for choosing a successor. He was known for his trust in Mandarin officials. Li Wei and Tian Wenjing governed China's southern areas, with the assistance of Ortai.

"The Yongzheng Emperor Offering Sacrifice at the Xiannong Altar" in Beijing, Qing Dynasty painting

Expansion in the northwest[edit]

1734 map of China
French map of "China and Chinese Tartary" from the Yongzheng era (1734)

Like his father, Yongzheng used military force in order to preserve the dynasty's position in Outer Mongolia.[1] When Tibet was torn by civil war in 1727–1728, he intervened militarily. After withdrawing, he left a Qing citizen (the amban) backed up with a military garrison to safeguard the dynasty's interests.[1] For the Tibetan campaign Yongzheng sent an army of 230,000 (led by Nian Gengyao) against the Dzungars, who had an army of 80,000. Due to geography, the Qing army (although superior in numbers) was unable to engage the more-mobile enemy at first. Eventually, however, they engaged the Dzungars and defeated them. This campaign cost the treasury at least 8,000,000 taels of silver. Later in Yongzheng's reign, he would send a small army of 10,000 to fight the Dzungars. However, that army was annihilated and the Qing had faced the danger of losing control of Mongolia. Fortunately, a Khalkha ally of the Qing Dynasty would later defeat the Dzungars.

Following the reforms of 1729, the treasury increased from the 1721 total of 32,622,421 taels to about 60,000,000 taels in 1730, surpassing the record set during Yongzheng's father's (the Kangxi Emperor's) regime; however, the pacification of the Qinghai area and the defense on the border areas were heavy burdens. For safeguarding the borders alone, 100,000 taels were needed each year. The total military budget was up to 10,000,000 taels a year. By the end of 1735 military spending depleted half the treasury, which totaled 33,950,000 taels. It was because of this burden that the Yongzheng Emperor considered making peace with the Dzungars.

Identification of Qing with China[edit]

Since our dynasty began to rule China, the Mongols and other tribes living in extremely remote regions have been integrated into our territory. This is the expansion of China’s territory (Zhongguo zhi jiangtu kaituo guangyuan)

Yongzheng's Dayi juemilu (A Record of Rightness to Dispel Confusion), (Yongzheng emperor, 1983: 5; as trans. in Elliott, 2001: 347) a translation by Mark Elliott in The Manchu Way: The Eight Banners and Ethnic Identity in Late Imperial China. (2001) p. 347., modified by Gang Zhao.[7]

The Qing Emperors since Shunzhi had identified China and the Qing as the same, and in treaties and diplomatic papers the Qing called itself "China".[8] During Yongzheng and Kangxi's reigns, China (Dulimbai Gurun in Manchu) was used as the name of the Qing state in official Manchu language documents, identifying Qing and China as the same entity, with "Dulimbai Gurun" appearing in 160 official diplomatic papers between Qing and Russia.[9] The term "China" was redefined to be a multi-ethnic entity which non-Han peoples and their lands by Yongzheng and the other Manchu Emperors like Kangxi and Qianlong.[10] China and Qing were noticeably and increasingly equated with each other during Qianlong's reign, with Qianlong and the Qing government writing poems and documents using both Zhongguo- the Chinese name for China Dulimbai Gurun- the Manchu name for China. Compared to the rule of previous Qing Emperors like Yongzheng and Kangxi, the use of China to refer to the Qing then increased under Qianlong, when scholars examined documents on Sino-Russian relations.[11]

Religion[edit]

Yongzheng was firmly against Christian converts among his own Manchu people. He warned them that the Manchus must follow only the Manchu way of worshipping Heaven since different peoples worshipped Heaven differently.[12] Yongzheng stated: "The Lord of Heaven is Heaven itself. . . . In the empire we have a temple for honoring Heaven and sacrificing to Him. We Manchus have Tiao Tchin. The first day of every year we burn incense and paper to honor Heaven. We Manchus have our own particular rites for honoring Heaven; the Mongols, Chinese, Russians, and Europeans also have their own particular rites for honoring Heaven. I have never said that he [Urcen, a son of Sunu] could not honor heaven but that everyone has his way of doing it. As a Manchu, Urcen should do it like us."[13]

Death and succession[edit]

The Yongzheng Emperor ruled the Qing empire for thirteen years before dying suddenly in 1735 at age 56. Legend holds that he was assassinated by Lü Siniang, daughter or granddaughter of Lü Liuliang, whose family was executed for literary crimes against the Manchu Regime. Another version was that he had been a lover of Lü Siniang; Siniang was the real mother of Qianlong, but Yongzheng refused to allow Siniang to be the empress. It is generally accepted that he died while reading files. It is likely that his death was the result of an overdose of the medication he was consuming which he believed would prolong his life.

To prevent the succession tragedy which he himself had faced, he was said to have ordered his third son (Hongshi, an ally of Yinsi) to commit suicide. He also devised a system to whereby heirs would be chosen in secret. Yongzheng wrote his chosen successor's name on two scrolls, placed one scroll in a sealed box and had the box stored behind the stele in the Qianqing Palace. He then kept the other copy with him or hid it. With his death, the ministers would compare the scroll in the box and with the copy Yongzheng had. If they were deemed identical, the person whose name was on the paper would be the new emperor.[14]

The Yongzheng Emperor was interred in the Western Qing Tombs (Chinese: 清西陵), 120 kilometres (75 mi) southwest of Beijing, in the Tailing (Chinese: 泰陵) mausoleum complex (known in Manchu as the Elhe Munggan). His son Hongli, Prince Bao, then became the sixth emperor of the Qing dynasty under the era name of Qianlong. Qianlong was regarded as one of the great emperors of the Qing Dynasty, with a historical stature comparable to that of his grandfather, Kangxi. Qianlong rehabilitated many figures who had been purged during the Yongzheng years, including restoring honours to many of his uncles who had at one point been rivals to his father.

Family[edit]

The Yongzheng Emperor had 14 children with his primary wife and consorts. Of these children, only five, Hongshi, Hongli, Hongzhou, Hongyan, and the Princess Huaike, were known to have survived into adulthood.

  • Father: Kangxi Emperor (of whom he was the fourth son)
  • Mother: Concubine from the Manchu Uya clan (1660–1723), who became known as Empress Dowager Renshou (仁壽皇太后) when her son became emperor. She is posthumously known as Empress Xiaogongren (孝恭仁皇后; Manchu: Hiyoošungga Gungnecuke Gosin Hūwanghu).

Consorts[edit]

Sons[edit]

  • Honghui (弘暉; 1697–1704), posthumously granted title of Prince Duan of the First Rank (端親王) by the Qianlong Emperor
  • Hongpan (弘昐; 1697–1699)
  • Hongyun (弘昀; 1700–1710)
  • Hongshi (弘時; 1704–1726)
  • Hongli (弘曆; 1711–1799), the Qianlong Emperor
  • Hongzhou (弘晝; 1712–1770), Prince Hegong of the First Rank (和恭親王)
  • Fuyi (福宜; 1720–1721)
  • Fuhui (福惠; 1721–1728), posthumously the title of Prince Huai of the First Rank (懷親王)
  • Fupei (福沛; 1723)
  • Hongyan (弘曕; 1733–1765): Prince Guogong of the Second Rank (果恭郡王)

Daughters[edit]

  • Oldest daughter (1695)
  • Heshuo Princess Huaike (和碩懷恪公主; 1695–1717)
  • Third daughter (1706)
  • Fourth daughter (1715–1717)
  • Foster daughters:
    • Heshuo Princess Shushen (和碩淑慎公主; 1708–1784), sixth daughter of Yunreng.
    • Heshuo Princess Hehui (和碩和惠公主; 1714–1731), fourth daughter of Yunxiang.
    • Heshuo Princess Duanrou (和碩端柔公主; 1714–1754), eldest daughter of Yunlu (允祿).

Ancestry[edit]

In fiction and popular culture[edit]

  • The Yongzheng Emperor is mentioned in Qing Dynasty writer Wenkang (文康)'s wuxia novel Ernü Yingxiong Zhuan (兒女英雄傳). It was adapted into the 1983 Hong Kong television series The Legend of the Unknowns (十三妹), and the 1986 Chinese film Lucky 13 (侠女十三妹).
  • A popular legend tells of the Yongzheng Emperor's death at the hands of a female assassin Lü Siniang (呂四娘), a fictitious granddaughter (or daughter, in some accounts) of Lü Liuliang. She did so to avenge her grandfather (or father), who was wrongly put to death by Yongzheng. The legend was adapted into many films and television series.
  • There were two legends about the origins of the Yongzheng Emperor's son and successor, the Qianlong Emperor. The first, more widely circulated in southern China, says that Qianlong is actually the son of Chen Shiguan (陳世倌), a Qing minister from Haining, Zhejiang. Shortly after birth, Qianlong was exchanged with one of Yongzheng's daughters and raised as Yongzheng's son and eventually succeeded to the throne. Wuxia writer Louis Cha (Jin Yong) adapted this legend for his novel The Book and the Sword. The second legend on Qianlong's origins, more popular in northern China, stated that during a trip to the Mulan Hunting Ground (木蘭圍場) in Rehe Province, Yongzheng had an illegitimate affair with a palace maid and they conceived a son, who would become the Qianlong Emperor.
  • The Yongzheng Emperor is featured as an important character in Tong Hua's novel Bu Bu Jing Xin and he had a romantic relationship with the protagonist Ma'ertai Ruoxi. In 2011 the novel was adapted into the Chinese television series Scarlet Heart.
  • The Yongzheng Emperor appears in the romance fantasy novel series Meng Hui Da Qing (梦回大清) by Yaoye (妖叶).
The Yongzheng Emperor in film and television
Year Region Title Type Yongzheng Emperor actor Notes
1975 Hong Kong The Flying Guillotine
血滴子
Film Chiang Yang Produced by the Shaw Brothers Studio
1980 Hong Kong Dynasty
大內群英
Television series Alex Man 57 episodes
1988 Hong Kong The Rise and Fall of Qing Dynasty Season 2
滿清十三皇朝2
Television series Wai Lit 50 episodes
1994 Mainland China The Book and the Sword
书剑恩仇录
Television series Liu Dagang 32 episodes
1995 Hong Kong Secret Battle of the Majesty
九王奪位
Television series Kwong Wa 40 episodes
1996 Taiwan 雍正大帝 Television series Tou Chung-hua
1997 Taiwan Legend of YungChing
江湖奇俠傳
Television series Adam Cheng 58 / 59 episodes
1997 Hong Kong The Hitman Chronicles
大刺客
Television series Eddie Cheung 35 episodes
1997 Mainland China Yongzheng Dynasty
雍正王朝
Television series Tang Guoqiang 44 episodes
2001 Taiwan 玉指環 Television series Chin Han alternative Chinese title 才子佳人乾隆皇
2001 Mainland China Emperor Yong Zheng
雍正皇帝
Television series Liu Xinyi 31 episodes
2002 Mainland China Li Wei the Magistrate
李卫当官
Television series Tang Guoqiang 30 episodes; also known as Li Wei Becomes an Official
2002 Hong Kong Doomed to Oblivion
郑板桥
Television series Savio Tsang 30 episodes
2002 Mainland China Jiangshan Weizhong
江山为重
Television series Liu Guanxiong 31 episodes; alternative Chinese title 大清帝国
2003 Mainland China Palace Painter Master Castiglione
宫廷画师郎世宁
Television series Kenny Bee 24 episodes
2003 Hong Kong The King of Yesterday and Tomorrow
九五至尊
Television series Kwong Wa 20 episodes
2004 Mainland China 36th Chamber of Southern Shaolin
南少林三十六房
Television series Zhang Tielin 32 episodes
2004 Mainland China Huang Taizi Mishi
皇太子秘史
Television series Zhao Hongfei 32 episodes
2004 Mainland China Li Wei the Magistrate II
李卫当官2
Television series Tang Guoqiang 32 episodes
2005 Mainland China Shang Shu Fang
上书房
Television series Kou Zhenhai 52 episodes
2005 Mainland China The Juvenile Qianlong Emperor
少年宝亲王
Television series Zhang Guoli 40 episodes
2008 Mainland China The Book and the Sword
书剑恩仇录
Television series Shen Baoping 40 episodes
2010 Mainland China The Legend of Zhen Huan
后宫甄嬛传
Television series Chen Jianbin 76 episodes
2011 Mainland China Scarlet Heart
步步惊心
Television series Nicky Wu 35 episodes
2011 Mainland China Palace
宫锁心玉
Television series Mickey He 35 episodes
2012 Mainland China Palace II
宫锁珠帘
Television series Mickey He 35 episodes
2014 Hong Kong Gilded Chopsticks
食為奴
Television series Ben Wong 25 episodes

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ Tong Guifei was Kangxi's cousin. She made a Guifei ("Noble Consort") in 1677 and later promoted to Huang Guifei, and, after the death of Empress Xiaozhaoren, became the highest-ranked consort of the Kangxi Emperor's harem.
  2. ^ The ranks of consorts in the palace were, Empress, Noble Consort (guifei), Consort (fei), pin, guiren, and so on; fei is therefore the third highest rank of the Emperor's consorts.
  3. ^ There is little supporting evidence—especially considering that the character was not widely used during the Qing Dynasty; on official documents, () is used. Secondly, Qing tradition insists that the will be written in both Manchu and Chinese, both of which are official languages of court. Manchu writing, however, is more intricate and (in this case) impossible to modify. Furthermore, princes in the Qing Dynasty are referred to as "the Emperor's son", in the order which they were born (for example, "the emperor's fourth son": Chinese: 皇四子)
  1. ^ a b c d Schirokauer, Conrad; Brown, Miranda (2006). A Brief History of Chinese Civilization. Belmont, California: Thomson Higher Education. ISBN 0-534-64305-1. 
  2. ^ a b Feng, Erkang. A Biography of Yongzheng (Chinese: 雍正传) China Publishing Group, People's Publishing House, Beijing: 2004. ISBN 7-01-004192-X
  3. ^ original words are:「康熙六十年正月,命皇四子雍親王胤禛、皇十二子貝子胤祹、世子弘晟以御極六十年,告祭永陵、福陵、昭陵。」
  4. ^ "康熙遺詔首曝光:傳位皇四子 雍正沒篡位 (Kangxi's Will Revealed For The First Time: He Actually Transferred The Throne To His Fourth Son. Yongzheng Did Not Scheme To Take The Thronw)" (in Chinese). Liaoning Evening News (Via Xinhua News Agency). 2 September 2013. Retrieved 26 July 2014. 
  5. ^ Thomas H. Reilly, 2004, "The Taiping Heavenly Kingdom: Rebellion and the Blasphemy of Empire," Seattle, WA:University of Washington Press, p. 43ff, 14ff, 150ff, ISBN 0295984309, see [1], accessed 18 April 2015.
  6. ^ Jocelyn M. N. Marinescu (2008). Defending Christianity in China: The Jesuit Defense of Christianity in the "Lettres Edifiantes Et Curieuses" & "Ruijianlu" in Relation to the Yongzheng Proscription of 1724. ProQuest. p. 240. ISBN 978-0-549-59712-4. Retrieved 4 March 2013. 
  7. ^ Zhao 2006, p. 11.
  8. ^ Zhao 2006, p. 7.
  9. ^ Zhao 2006, pp. 8-9.
  10. ^ Zhao 2006, p. 12.
  11. ^ Zhao 2006, p. 9.
  12. ^ Mark C. Elliott (2001). The Manchu Way: The Eight Banners and Ethnic Identity in Late Imperial China. Stanford University Press. p. 240. ISBN 0-8047-4684-2. In his indictment of Sunu and other Manchu nobles who had converted to Christianity, the Yongzheng emperor reminded the rest of the Manchu elite that each people had its own way of honoring Heaven and that it was incumbent upon Manchus to observe Manchu practice in this regard: 
  13. ^ Mark C. Elliott (2001). The Manchu Way: The Eight Banners and Ethnic Identity in Late Imperial China. Stanford University Press. p. 241. ISBN 0-8047-4684-2. The Lord of Heaven is Heaven itself. . . . In the empire we have a temple for honoring Heaven and sacrificing to Him. We Manchus have Tiao Tchin. The first day of every year we burn incense and paper to honor Heaven. We Manchus have our own particular rites for honoring Heaven; the Mongols, Chinese, Russians, and Europeans also have their own particular rites for honoring Heaven. I have never said that he [Urcen, a son of Sunu] could not honor heaven but that everyone has his way of doing it. As a Manchu, Urcen should do it like us. 
  14. ^ http://www1.chinaculture.org/library/2008-02/09/content_22919.htm
  15. ^ Draft history of the Qing dynasty (Chinese: 清史稿 卷二百十四.列傳一.后妃傳)

Further reading[edit]

Beatrice S. Bartlett. Monarchs and Ministers: The Grand Council in Mid-Ch'ing China, 1723-1820. (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1991). ISBN 0520065913.

External links[edit]

Yongzheng Emperor
Born: 13 December 1678 Died: 8 October 1735
Regnal titles
Preceded by
The Kangxi Emperor
Emperor of China
1722–1735
Succeeded by
The Qianlong Emperor