Ok, everyone, please take a look of the photo 1. This old photo was taken in 1901, the position shot is just this square in front of us. My question, what were these people doing here?
Through this photo, we can clearly confirm that is an army, but they are not the Chinese army, they didn't come here to be inspected by the Chinese Emperor. Actually, they came here to attack this city. they are a coalition army group composed of Britain, France, Germany, Italy, America, Japan, Russia and Austria. At this time, the palace was already an empty city. What is the reason for this happening?
In 1901, the Empress Dowager Cixi, the highest ruler of the Qing Empire, placed Emperor Guangxu, who supported the reform under house arrest, The behavior has been opposed and criticized by Western countries, the Empress Dowager Cixi was outraged and deliberately allowed a piece of armed farmer group to enter Beijing and surrounded the embassy area of Western countries, then fierce fighting broke out. Known as the Gengzi Incident in history. Afterwards, a coalition force formed by eight western countries landed at Tianjin Port and attacked Beijing. In August, the coalition forces captured the Beijing city. The Chinese army was defeated, and Empress Dowager Cixi took Emperor Guangxu with her run away in a hurry. After the coalition forces entered Beijing, they burned and killed everywhere, causing great disaster to this city. This photo shows coalition soldiers surrounding the Forbidden City and conducting a victory parade. After the military parade, the highest officers from various armies entered the Forbidden City from here.
Ok, everyone, please take a look of the photo 2. This old photo was taken in 1933, the position shot is just right over here. My question, what were these people doing here?
We can see that they were transporting something, but these are not ordinary items, they are precious cultural relics from the Forbidden City, and they were about to be transported to Nanjing, China. Why were they sent to Nanjing? Because in 1932, Japan had already captured the Shanhaiguan Great Wall. Preparing to launch an all-out war against China, to prevent these precious cultural relics from being robbed by the Japanese army, the Republic of China government decided to transport a large number of cultural relics from the Forbidden City southward. Later, most of these cultural relics never returned back to the Forbidden City. With the end of the war between the Kuomintang and the Communist Party in 1949, these cultural relics were brought to Taiwan by Chiang Kai-shek, they are now displayed in the National Palace Museum in Taipei.
Ok, everyone, please take a look of the photo 3, This old photo was taken in 1918, the position shot is just the square in front of us. My question, what were these people doing here?
The people in the photo were all Chinese soldiers. The picture is showing a grand military parade was being held here. The First World War ended in 1918, and China became a victorious country as they fought in the camp of the Triple Entente. to celebrate victory, A grand military parade was held here by the Republic of China government. But disappointingly, at the Paris Peace Conference the following year, the Chinese did not take back Shandong region, which had been occupied by Germany for many years. Shandong was transferred to Japan by Britain and France. The news spread back to Beijing, arousing the anger of the Chinese people, which later led to the May Fourth Movement, and the Communist Party officially entered the stage of history.
This photo are showing the a grand surrender ceremony, in 1945, with the unconditional surrender of Japan, the Second World War was over. The Chinese people experienced eight years of anti-Japanese fighting and won the war. On October 10, 1945, a grand surrender ceremony was held in front of the Hall of Supreme Harmony in the Forbidden City. The commander of the Japanese occupation forces in North China signed a letter of surrender to the China government and allied forces here. After that, all Japanese troops were disarmed. On this day, 100,000 people in Beijing poured into the Forbidden City to witness this exciting moment. In the photo, we can see a crowded people. Walking in the middle of the road are the commander of the Japanese North China Occupation Force and his subordinate officers.
In 1901, the Eight-Power Allied Forces occupied Beijing. Empress Dowager Cixi and Emperor Guangxu run away to Xi'an. Allied soldiers looted in various royal places in Beijing, including the Summer Palace. But what is incredible is that the Forbidden City was not looted. Of course, this is not because of the benevolence of the coalition forces. At that time, the coalition forces had a fierce quarrel about who could enter the Forbidden City, Major General Fukushima, Japan's top commander, pointed out that Japan and the United States paid the highest price in the battle to capture the Forbidden City. Therefore, the Forbidden City can only be guarded by the American and Japanese, and troops from other countries are prohibited from entering. After intense bargaining, the countries finally agreed to this plan. When the Japanese and the American occupied the Forbidden City alone, they did not plunder it, allowing the Forbidden City to escape this robbery. This photo are showing the U.S. 6th Infantry Regiment was patrolling.
Everyone guessed right! the young man in the photo was Pu Yi, the last emperor of China. This was the photo when he ascended the throne for the second time, He was only 3 years old when he ascended the throne for the first time. Two years later his Qing empire collapsed and he announced his abdication. In 1917, Zhang Xun, who was once a general of the Qing Empire, launched a coup in Beijing with the intention of restoring the Qing Empire. Puyi was 12 years old at that time. With ZhangXun’s escort, he ascended the throne for the second time and announced the restoration of the ruling of the Qing empire. However, this restoration only lasted for 12 days. When Zhang Xun was defeated by the Republic of China army and Puyi was forced to step down for the second time.
The figure of this picture was Puyi, the last emperor of China and also the last owner of the Forbidden City. The place we standing now was where Puyi once lived. As the last emperor of China, Puyi had a legendary life. Which was transformed from an imperial emperor to an ordinary Chinese citizen, it’s unique in the world. In 1908, 3-year-old Puyi was selected by Empress Dowager Cixi and ascended the throne to become emperor. Two years later, the democratic revolution broke out in China and the Republic of China government was established. Puyi announced his abdication, ending the 290-year ruling of the Qing Empire. Based on condition of the royal treatment signed with the new government, Puyi was allowed to live in the Forbidden City living quatre. In 1924, he was expelled from the Forbidden City by the Republic army in a coup. At that time, Puyi was 18 years old. was full of hatred in his mind for the treachery to the government. In 1931, Japan had fully occupied Northeast China. In order to achieve long-term legalized rule, Puyi was their best candidate. In 1932, with the assistance of Japan, Puyi secretly came to Northeast China from Tianjin, where he established the Manchukuo State and Puyi became the emperor. But he was just a puppet emperor.
In 1945, Japan was defeated, Puyi was captured by the Soviet army. He served as a witness at the Tokyo Trial to accuse Japanese war criminals. Later, in 1950, Puyi was handed over to China by the Soviet Union. After learning the news, Puyi tried to commit suicide because he thought he would definitely be shot when he returned China. But he was treated well by the Communist Party when he was imprisoned. He stayed in prison for 9 years. Here, his thinking changed significantly. An emperor who once couldn't squeeze out toothpaste or tie shoelaces learned to work and be self-reliant. In 1959, Puyi was pardoned and he returned to Beijing. With the care of the government, he was assigned to work at the Beijing Institute of Botany. Puyi became a gardener. He mentioned in his autobiography that this was the happiest time in his life. During his work, sometimes he would return to the Forbidden City, but like us, he needed to buy a ticket to visit. Puyi once laughed at himself and said, "In this world, I am the only person who needs to buy a ticket to go home." In 1967, Puyi died in Beijing, ending his legendary life.
The figure of this picture was the famous Empress Dowager Cixi of the Qing Empire. Although the Qing Empire had an emperor, she was the actual person with the highest authority. She ruled China for almost 48 years. During this period of her ruling, she was very conservative and carried out a policy of isolation from the country, which led to the decline of the Qing Empire step by step. Three years after her death, China's democratic revolution broke out and the Qing Empire was over. But Empress Dowager Cixi was a very smart and ambitious women. She came from an ordinary family and became an ordinary concubine when she was elected to the Forbidden City at the age of 17. But she seized the opportunity to win the favor of Emperor Xianfeng, and gave birth to a son for the emperor, the only son to this emperor in his life, After the death of Emperor Xianfeng, this 3-year-old son inherited the throne. At this time, Cixi and the emperor's younger brother secretly launched a coup, getting rid of the official group that assisted the ruling, thus making herself the most powerful decision-maker. When major decisions were being made during the conference, the little emperor sat in front seat with a bamboo curtain behind him, and the Empress Dowager Cixi sat in the back to listen to reports and make decisions, which is called "Attending state affair behind the curtain."
When the little emperor grew up, Cixi still held the highest power. In a depressed mood, the young emperor died at the age of 19, before Cixi chose her nephew to become the new emperor. The Emperor Guangxu. Emperor Guangxu was an idealistic emperor. He hoped that China could imitate Japan's Meiji Restoration to carry out reforms. With his support, China initiated political reforms. However, this reform only lasted for more than 100 days. Empress Dowager Cixi once again launched a palace coup, abolished the reforms, and placed Emperor Guangxu in house arrest. This matter has been criticized and protested by Western countries. Cixi then declared war to these Western countries, leading to the invasion of Beijing by the Eight-Power Allied Forces in 1901. In 1908, the 73-year-old Empress Dowager Cixi died in the Forbidden City. Two days before her death, Emperor Guangxu died under house arrest. Many people suspected that he was poisoned by Empress Dowager Cixi. Because Cixi was worried that after her death, Emperor Guangxu would regain power and liquidate herself and his subordinates. Before Cixi died, she appointed her grandson as the new emperor, who was the last emperor Puyi.
Everyone guessed right! the young man in the middle of the photo was the last emperor Puyi. But there was a Westerner next to him. I want to introduce this person to you. He is Puyi's teacher Johnston. Johnston was an Englishman. As Puyi's English teacher, Johnston taught Puyi a lot of Western thought, science and other knowledge. He was a person who could influence Puyi's thinking. It is said that after the end of the Qing Empire, some people tried to persuade Puyi to cut off his whip, but Puyi refused. When Johnston said that the emperor's braids looked like pig tails, Puyi immediately cut them off. Johnston and Puyi had a very deep relationship. After Puyi was expelled from the Forbidden City in 1924, Johnston also returned to the UK. He wrote a famous novel, Twilight in the Forbidden City, which became a best-seller at the time. Johnston was also full of anger towards the Republic of China government. He accused the Republic of China government of being unfaithful. He used the money from selling books to buy an island in Scotland, where he raised the flag of the Qing Empire to express his missing to emperor Puyi and loyalty to the Qing Empire. Johnston died in Scotland in 1838. Johnston had a deep understanding of Chinese culture. He opposed Westerners' plunder of China. He supported China's reforms, but opposed the overthrow of the royal family. From this perspective, Johnston is a Western friend to Chinese during those difficult years.