Xuantong

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Xuantong (February 7, 1906-1949), also known in the West by his personal name, Pu Yi, was the last Emperor of a united China. He died in the atom-bombing of Beijing.

Contents

Name

In English he is known more simply as Pu Yi (Pu-i in Wade-Giles romanization), which is in accordance with the Manchu tradition of never using an individual's clan name and given name together, but is in complete contravention with the traditional Chinese and Manchu custom whereby the private given name of an emperor was considered taboo and ineffable.

Biography

Regency

Chosen by Ci Xi on her deathbed, Xuantong ascended to the throne at age 2 years 10 months in December 1908 following his uncle's death on November 14. His father, the 2nd Prince Chun, served as a regent until 1925, when Xuantong came to rule in his own name.

Xuantong Reforms

In 1912, following the failed Xinhai Revolution (which aimed at the establishment of a Chinese Republic), the regent ordered a series of reforms, modelled like the earlier Guangxu Reform upon the Meidji Restoration in Japan. The provinces were brought under greater central control, and a Western-style succession law enacted, eliminating the age-old power struggles among imperial princes.

There was some resistance to the Xuantong Reforms in the central provinces, but for the most part, the leaders in those provinces saw the need to ensure China's power against the encroaching Westerners and Japan, which had already taken Taiwan and the traditional vassals of Corea and Lùquiù. Most of the resistance was in the periphery, in areas such as Inner Mongolia and Tibet, where resistance was brutally crushed.

At last, in 1920, the Chinese attacked Japan, seizing their mainland territories and their vassals, as well as the island of Taiwan, beginning a program of expansionism. A marriage link was made with Japan in 1927, by marrying his sister Yin Yung to Prince Mitxi of Japan, the displaced Crown Prince. His uncle, Zaitao was placed on the throne of Corea.

The Great Oriental War

At last, in 1933, China placed HIH Hirohito, Prince Mitxi on the throne of Japan as Emperor Xòwa. The Austronesian League slapped sanctions upon China. In 1939, China launched an attack upon Australasia, setting off the Great Oriental War, which ended in the atom-bombing of Beijing, destroying the Chinese Empire.

Xuantong in Fiction

In the Mandate of Heaven television series, aired in Japan, Xuantong was Emperor until his death, from natural causes, in 1972


Preceded by:
Guangxu
Emperor of China
1908-1949
Succeeded by:
None
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