Empress Dowager Cixi, of the Manchu Yehe Nara clan, was a Chinese empress dowager and regent who effectively controlled the Chinese government in the late Qing dynasty for 47 years, from 1861 until her death in 1908. The exact place where she ruled is in the Eastern Chamber of Warmth in the Forbidden City. There are two thrones with a yellow sheet between them. The child emperor would sit on the throne in front, while Cixi would occupy the one behind the sheet as was protocol since she was a woman.
Historical, Cultural facts & Religion
Cixi, Wade-Giles romanization Tz’u-Hsi, also called Xitaihou or Xiaoqin Xianhuanghou, byname Empress Dowager, (born November 29, 1835, Beijing, China—died November 15, 1908, Beijing), consort of the Xianfeng emperor (reigned 1850–61), mother of the Tongzhi emperor (reigned 1861–75), adoptive mother of the Guangxu. Cixi was one of the most powerful women in the history of China, active from the 1860s into the 1900s. As a mother or adoptive mother of two Chinese emperors, she acted as regent before they were of age and continued to wield considerable influence over China after they formally assumed power.
Brief City History
Cixi, Wade-Giles romanization Tz’u-Hsi, also called Xitaihou or Xiaoqin Xianhuanghou, byname Empress Dowager, (born November 29, 1835, Beijing, China—died November 15, 1908, Beijing), consort of the Xianfeng emperor (reigned 1850–61), mother of the Tongzhi emperor (reigned 1861–75), adoptive mother of the Guangxu emperor (reigned 1875–1908), and a towering presence over the Chinese empire for almost half a century. By maintaining authority over the Manchu imperial house (Qing dynasty, 1644–1911/12), she became one of the most powerful women in the history of China. Cixi was one of the Xianfeng emperor’s low-ranking concubines, but in 1856 she bore his only son. On Xianfeng’s death, the six-year-old boy became the Tongzhi emperor, and state business was put in the hands of a regency council of eight elder officials. A few months later, after Cixi and Xianfeng’s former senior consort, Ci’an, orchestrated a coup with Gong Qinwang (Prince Gong), the former emperor’s brother, the regency was transferred to Cixi and Ci’an. Gong became the prince counselor.
Under this triumvirate rule, the government entered a temporary period of revitalization. The great Taiping Rebellion (1850–64), which had devastated South China, was quelled, as was the Nian Rebellion (1853–68) in the northern provinces. Schools were created for the study of foreign languages, a modern customs service was instituted, Western-style arsenals were constructed, and the first Chinese foreign service office was installed. Internally, an effort was made to end governmental corruption and to recruit men of talent.
Although the regency was terminated in 1873 after the Tongzhi emperor attained maturity, Cixi’s involvement in state affairs continued. Soon after Tongzhi’s death in 1875, Cixi arranged to adopt her three-year-old nephew, Zaitian, and have him named the new heir; he became the Guangxu emperor. The two empress dowagers continued to act as regents, but, after Ci’an’s sudden death in 1881, Cixi became the sole holder of the office. Three years later she dismissed Prince Gong. In 1889, as the young Guangxu emperor formally assumed power, Cixi nominally relinquished control over the government to retire to the magnificent summer palace she had rebuilt northwest of Beijing. However, in 1898, a few years after the shocking defeat of the Chinese forces in the Sino-Japanese War (1894–95), the Guangxu 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. (See Hundred Days of Reform.) Conservative officials, who again used the military to institute a coup, collected around Cixi. The new reforms were reversed, 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 Beijing were surrounded. However, a coalition of foreign troops soon captured the capital, and Cixi was forced to flee the city and accept humiliating peace terms. Returning to Beijing in 1902, she finally began to implement many of the innovations that had been reversed in 1898, although the Guangxu emperor no longer participated in the government. Upon her death in 1908, death rites were observed for a year, after which she was laid to rest in the Eastern Qing tombs northwest of Beijing.
The day before Cixi died, Guangxu’s death was announced. Since then it was generally believed that the emperor had been poisoned, but that fact was not substantiated until 2008 when a report was issued by Chinese researchers and police officials confirming that the emperor had been deliberately poisoned with arsenic. Although the report did not address who may have ordered his death—and there never has been any hard evidence of culpability—suspicion long has pointed toward the Empress Dowager.
Language (s) Written & Spoken
Standard Chinese, known in China as Putonghua, based on the Mandarin dialect of Beijing, is the official national spoken language for the mainland and serves as a lingua franca within the Mandarin-speaking regions (and, to a lesser extent, across the other regions of mainland China).
Important Types of Commerce in Cixi
Major industries include mining and ore processing; iron and steel; aluminum; coal; machinery; armaments; textiles and apparel; petroleum; cement; chemical; fertilizers; food processing; automobiles and other transportation equipment including rail cars and locomotives, ships, and aircraft.
Language Services US and others will provide working with Cixi
The rising Chinese economy requires impeccable interpreting and translation language services. Companies, NGOs, political organizations and international firms must seek Chinese interpreters and translators. While Mandarin Chinese is considered the star of Chinese business languages, odds are any dealings with Chinese business professionals require the use of both Cantonese and Taiwanese as well. A language services firm must be able to accommodate all three dialects or there is no guarantee your message will be accurately conveyed. A language solutions team, be they are interpreters and/or professional translators – should have a sound working knowledge of both forms (written and spoken) so they have the flexibility and knowledge to work in all major forms of Chinese.
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