Album: By Country | By Date China | July 2001 < Prev Image | The Summer Palace | Next Image >
Travelogue: By Country | By Date China | July 2001  


In 1898, a few years after the shocking defeat of the Chinese forces in the Sino-Japanese War (1894-95), the young Kuang-hsü emperor, under the influence of a group of reformers, put through a number of radical proposals designed to renovate and modernize the Chinese government and to eliminate corruption. But conservative officials collected around Cixi, who used the military to institute a coup. The new reforms were reversed, the Emperor was confined to his palace, and Cixi resumed the regency. Most historians believe that China's last chance for peaceful change thus ended. The following year Cixi began to back those officials who were encouraging the anti-foreign Boxer rebels. In 1900 the Boxer Rebellion reached its peak; some 100 foreigners were killed, and the foreign legations in Peking were surrounded. But a coalition of foreign troops soon captured the capital, and Cixi was forced to flee the city and accept the humiliating peace terms. Returning to Peking in 1902, she finally began to implement many of the innovations she had reversed in 1898, although the Kuang-hsü emperor was not allowed to participate in the government. The day before Cixi died, Kuang-hsü's death was announced, presumably from poison, in accordance with her deathbed command..

© Monica & Mark Hughes 2000-02