Who Was The Last Emperor Of China – ‘I am Puyi, the last emperor of the Qing Dynasty. I’m staying with relatives and I can’t find my way home.’
These are the words uttered to curious passers-by by a lost little cleaner in the Chinese capital Beijing in 1959. They sound like the words of a madman, but they are not. The cleaner was telling the truth. He was indeed the last emperor of China.
Who Was The Last Emperor Of China
Born in 1906, young Puyi became emperor at the age of two years and ten months by the dying Empress Dowager Cixi. His parents first learned of his ascension to the throne when a procession of court officials and eunuchs arrived at their house to take the child away.
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Calling out to his parents, the young man was placed in a carriage and driven to the vast palace complex of the Forbidden City in the center of Beijing. It would be his home for the next sixteen years.
Living in the Forbidden City was a huge privilege for Puyi. Treated as a living god as he grew up, he was served hand and foot by a huge retinue of servants, including eunuchs who had to carry his pickled genitalia in jars around their necks.
No one dared to say no to the little emperor. His every whim was satisfied. Over time, this caused the boy to develop a cruel streak. He was particularly fond of whipping his eunuchs, among other cruelties, such as shooting them with an air pistol and forcing them to kneel and eat dirt.
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As he matured, Puyi continued to give his love to vicious cruelties, freed from the parental restraints that would otherwise limit a growing child. Even the revolution of 1911 that forced him to abdicate didn’t change much, as the newly formed Republic of China decided to treat the boy like a foreign monarch, allowing him to continue living in the Forbidden City with all his rights. . Their privileges remain in effect.
After a failed attempt to restore the monarchy in 1917, it was decided in 1922 that the sixteen-year-old former emperor would marry. He nonchalantly looked through the photos of the selected teenage girls, choosing one at random because they all looked the same to him. His first choice was rejected and instead he was told that he would marry a girl named Gobulo Wanrong, while his original choice would be his concubine.
The couple married on October 22, 1922. The marriage was not consummated on the first night as expected, giving rise to speculation that Puyi may have had homosexual tendencies. The pair hit it off at first, riding bikes around the Forbidden City, laughing and joking. Unfortunately, the relationship eventually soured, with disastrous consequences for Wanrong.
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Puyi and Wanrong’s time in the Forbidden City came to an abrupt end when warlord General Feng Yuxiang captured Beijing in 1924 and ordered Puyi and his wife to leave the palace. Fearing for his life, Puyi took refuge in the Japanese embassy, then arrived at a Japanese-controlled concession in the city of Tianjin, where a small court was set up for him in a house known as the Garden of Serenity.
Life in the garden of tranquility was extremely boring for the young emperor and his wife. At this time, Wanrong started smoking opium to relieve the boredom of being an empress who was expected only to satisfy her husband’s wishes. Meanwhile, Puyi wanted more in life than being an exile, and this led him to write to the Japanese Minister of War, asking him to restore him to the throne.
It was decided that Puyi would be transferred to the Japanese colony of Manchukuo in northeastern China, where he was crowned emperor in 1934 and installed in the Salt Tax Palace in the city of Changchun. In reality, he was just a puppet ruler who was expected to obey the Japanese emperor. He remained the emperor of the colony until it was conquered by the Soviet Red Army in 1945.
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As the Soviets approached Changchun, Puyi’s court was hurriedly packed up and the emperor, his opium-addicted wife, his concubines and servants left the city by train. However, they had nowhere to go because the Soviets bombed all the surrounding railway stations. Reluctantly the group turned. It was then decided that Puyi and the male members of his court would fly out of Changchun. They fled the city by plane, only to be captured by the Soviets in the city of Shenyang.
The decision to leave the women behind proved disastrous for Puyi’s wife, Wanrong. She and her companions were captured by Chinese guerrillas while trying to escape to Korea in 1946. When the guerrillas found out who Wanrong was, they put her in a cage and portrayed her as a zoo animal. Suffering from opium withdrawal that drove her insane, she was deprived of food and eventually starved to death in a pool of her own urine, vomit and excrement, much to the amusement of her captors and those who came to see her.
Meanwhile, Puyi was taken to Siberia. The Soviets treated him well, even allowing him to travel to Tokyo, where he testified against the Japanese at the International Military Tribunal for the Far East. Upon his return to Russia, he was placed in a detention center while his captors negotiated his surrender with the Chinese authorities.
Puppet Empress’ Unhappy Life
Finally, the Soviets agreed to send him back to China in 1950. Convinced that he would be shot as soon as he returned to China, Puyi was pleasantly surprised to find that he would instead be imprisoned. The communists had no intention of executing the former emperor. Instead, they planned to brainwash him into becoming one of them.
Life in prison was difficult for Puyi. At first he was unable to do simple things like brushing his teeth or tying his shoelaces because these were tasks he had always done. The other prisoners laughed at him and bullied him. In fact, he most likely would have been killed if not for the protection of the prison director, Jin Yuan.
For the next nine years, the former emperor underwent an intensive re-education program. He was forced to face the atrocities committed by the Japanese in his name and was slowly worn down into an ardent believer in the communist system. Delighted with the results of the brainwashing, the Communists put Puyi on leave and he went to live with his sisters in a modest house in the suburbs of Beijing.
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There he got a job as a street sweeper, stopping people on the street to inform them that he was the Emperor of China and ask them how to get home. He eventually got a job as a gardener at the Beijing Botanical Garden. The gardening life suited him very well and, when he wasn’t working, he went to the Forbidden City, where he improvised as a tour guide, pointing out the various objects he had used as a child. Later in his life, the authorities would also invite him to hold press conferences, espousing the benefits of living under the communist system in which he fervently believed. It was quite a change of direction.
Puyi died of kidney cancer in Beijing on October 17, 1967. He was sixty-one years old. He began life as a spoiled boy king whose every whim was in charge of an army servant. He died as a humble gardener. China will never again be ruled by a monarch. Puyi, the twelfth emperor of the Qing dynasty, would be the last. Yuan Shikai (simplified Chinese: 袁世凯; traditional Chinese: 袁世凱; pinyin: Yuán Shìkǎi; 16 September 1859 – 6 June 1916) was a Chinese general and politician who served as the Second Provisional President of the Republic of China and Head of the Beiyang Government from 1912 .until 1916. A major political figure during the late Qing dynasty, he spearheaded a series of major modernization and reform programs and was instrumental in securing the abdication of Emperor Xuantong in 1912, marking the collapse of the monarchy. end of imperial rule in China.
Born into a wealthy family in Han, Yuan began his career in the Huai Army. He was sent to Joseon to lead the Qing garrison in Seoul and was appointed Imperial Resident and Supreme Advisor to the Korean government after thwarting the 1885 palace coup. He was invited to China just before the outbreak of the First Sino-Japanese War, and given command of the first New Army, which paved the way for his rise to power. In 1898, Yuan formed an alliance with Empress Dowager Cixi and helped implement the Hundred Days of the Guangxu Emperor.
Puyi Hi Res Stock Photography And Images
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