Friday, October 14, 2011

The Last Emperor - Pui Yi (愛新覺羅溥仪)

Pui Yi(愛新覺羅溥仪, b 1906-d 1967)

Puyi (溥仪/溥儀) (7 February 1906 – 17 October 1967), of the Aisin Gioro(愛新覺羅) clan, was the last Emperor of China. He ruled China in two periods between 1908 and 1917, firstly as the Xuantong Emperor (宣統皇帝) when he was only 2 years 10 months , ruled from 2 December 1908 – 12 February 1912 (3 years, 72 days), and nominally as a non-ruling puppet emperor for twelve days in 1917. He was the twelfth and final member of the Manchu Qing Dynasty to rule over China. Between 1 March 1934 – 15 August 1945(11 years, 167 days) , he was the Kangde Emperor (康德皇帝) of Manchukuo. He is widely known as The Last Emperor (末代皇帝). Puyi lost his imperial title in 1924.

1908 The Child Emperor

Emperor at the age of 2, a child emperor...

Puyi's father, the 2nd Prince Chun(醇親王)or Zaifeng(愛新覺羅載沣, 1883-1951), served as a regent from 2 December 1908 until 6 December 1911 when Empress Dowager Longyu(隆裕皇后) or Empress Xiao Ding Jing (孝定景皇后) took over in the face of the Xinhai Revolution from 6 December 1911 – 12 February 1912.

1911 Xinhai Revolution and the end of Qing Dynasty -the last emperor

1911 – The Xinhai Revolution ended the Qing Dynasty. Pui Yi was the last emperor(1908-1912). Empress Dowager Longyu signed the "Act of Abdication of the Emperor of the Great Qing" (《清帝退位詔書》) on 12 February 1912, following the Xinhai Revolution, under a deal brokered by Yuan Shikai (the great general of the army Beiyang) with the imperial court in Beijing (formerly Peking) and the republicans in southern China. Signed with the new Republic of China, Puyi was to retain his imperial title and be treated by the government of the Republic with the protocol attached to a foreign monarch. He and the imperial court were allowed to remain in the northern half of the Forbidden City (the Private Apartments) as well as in the Summer Palace. A hefty annual subsidy of 4 million silver dollars was granted by the Republic to the imperial household, although it was never fully paid and was abolished after just a few years.

1917 Manchu Restoration or Emperor Restoration Incident

The second time as Emperor,constitutional mornach for 12 days at the age of 10 years old kid....

1917- In 1917, the warlord general Zhang Xun (張勛), popular called pigtail general(辫帅) of Pigtail Army(辫子军), his soldiers all kept their "queue" or pigtails. Zhang Xun restored Puyi to his throne for twelve days from 1 July 1917 – 12 July 1917(12 days). Zhang ordered his army to keep their queues (long plaits or "pigtails") to display loyalty to the emperor. During those 12 days, one small bomb was dropped over the Forbidden City by a republican plane, causing minor damage. This is considered the first aerial bombardment ever in East Asia. The restoration failed due to extensive opposition across China, and the decisive intervention of another warlord general, Duan Qirui( 段祺瑞,1865-1936)

1924 Farewell to Forbidden City

On 5-11-1924, the last emperor Puyi was expelled from the Forbidden City in Beijing by warlord Feng Yuxiang(冯玉祥/馮玉祥, 1882-1948), the Christian General. Feng imprisoned Zhili-leader and 3rd president Cao Kun(曹錕) of Republic of China

He installed the more liberal Huang Fu(黃郛,1883-1936), evicted the Last Emperor from the Forbidden City, and invited Sun Yat-sen to Beijing to resurrect the Republican government and reunify the country. Sun came to Beijing, despite illness and died there in April 1925.

Puyi spent a few days at the house of his father 2nd Prince Chun, and then temporarily resided in the Japanese embassy for a year and a half. In 1925, he moved to the "Quiet Garden Villa" in the Japanese Concession in Tianjin.

1932 Puppet Emperor of Manchukuo

He was the emperor for 3rd times from 1 March 1934 – 15 August 1945 (11 years, 167 days)

On 1 March 1932, Puyi was installed by the Japanese as the ruler of Manchukuo, considered by most historians as a puppet state of Imperial Japan, under the reign title Datong (大同). In 1934, he was officially crowned the emperor of Manchukuo under the reign title Kangde (康德). he was only 28 years old, the 3rd times as Emperor, but this time not for China, but Manchukuo, where his ancestry come from in North Eastern China.

At the end of World War II, Puyi was captured by the Soviet Red Army on 16 August 1945 while he was in an airplane fleeing to Japan. The Soviet army took him to the Siberian town of Chita. He lived in a sanatorium, but was later taken to Khabarovsk near the Chinese border.

In 1946, he testified at the International Military Tribunal for the Far East in Tokyo, detailing his resentment of how he had been treated by the Japanese.

After Chinese communists took over mainland China, Puyi was repatriated to China in 1949, spent ten years in a Fushun War Criminals Management Centre.

1959 A reformed man - a commoner

Puyi came to Beijing in 1959 with special permission from Chairman Mao Zedong and lived the next six months in an ordinary Beijing residence with his sister before being transferred to a government-sponsored hotel. He subsequently worked as an editor for the literary department of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, where his monthly salary was around 100 Yuan, an office in which he served from 1964 until his death in 1967.

Cultural Revolution 1966 - the end of last emperor of China

Mao began the Cultural Revolution in 1966, and the youth militia known as the Red Guards saw Puyi, who symbolized Imperial China, as an easy target of attack. Puyi was placed under protection by the local public security bureau, although his food rations, salary, and various luxuries, including his sofa and desk, were removed. Puyi became affected physically and emotionally. He died in Beijing of complications arising from kidney cancer and heart disease on 17 October 1967. Puyi's body was cremated. His ashes were first placed at the Babaoshan Revolutionary Cemetery, alongside those of other party and state dignitaries (before the establishment of the People's Republic of China this was the burial ground of Imperial concubines and eunuchs). In 1995, as a part of a commercial arrangement, Puyi's widow transferred his ashes to a new commercial cemetery in return for monetary support. The cemetery is located near the Western Qing Tombs (清西陵), 120 km (75 mi) southwest of Beijing, where four of the nine Qing emperors preceding him are interred, along with three empresses, and 69 princes, princesses, and imperial concubines.

In all his life, Pui Yi had been puppets for others, he was a emperor for the use of either the imperial family or political opportunists or Japanese militarists, never a time he was a real emperor. He has a dream after he grow up, to be a real emperor, 1932 was the year he was waiting for, a realized of his emperor dream. But it was also the dream that started the journey to another destination that few people want, a prison. From emperor to a prisoner, what a drastic change in life, and the psychological pressure on him.

He silenced himself for many years, surrounded only by plants in his garden and books in the library. He started to learn how to become a commoner. But fate was against his wishes, he was still an emperor, the last emperor. In 1966, come the Cultural Revolution, the political fanatic never give him a chance, and took the opportunity to end his self pride, and dug out his sad historical past. The mental and physical abuses was too much for him, now old age of 61 years old, he died in 1967, reported kidney cancer.....or political pressure....

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