Fun Facts about Chinese Culture and History

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Jia Qing Emperor Yong Yan -- Monarch of Middle of the Road in the History of China

Talented, Polite Prince Yong Yan

When Yong Yan was little, he was a well educated and diligent kid, but obtained little attention from his father Emperor Hong Li.


Until Yong Yan was a teenager, his two older brothers who were highly appreciated by his father all passed away, he started to be considered and educated as the heir of the Qing Empire.


Yong Yan was a polite, knowledgeable, and righteous person; he got the throne from his father when he was 36 years old, but achieved actual power until his father passed away three years later. 

The Diligent and Frugal Jia Qing Emperor 

Yong Yan (1760 - 1820), also respected as Qing Ren Zong or Jia Qing Emperor, soon realized that his father left to him an empire with a big fancy outfit, but an empty and corrupted inside.


Sometimes, repairing a rotted empire was as difficult as building a new one. 


Unlike his father, Yong Yan, now the Jia Qing Emperor, was a diligent, frugal and caring monarch. He finally stopped Literary Inquisitions and released many officials who were captured under his father’s reign, because of their sayings.


He worked hard from the day he ascended to the throne, to the day he left the world, and barely held any luxury events or tours.


Also, there were many documents that recorded his carings about his officials and civilians, especially the elders.

Insistent Fighting with Corruption 


Jia Qing Emperor was another monarch in the history of China who fought against corruption during his entire ruling period.


As soon as his father passed away, Jia Qing Emperor eliminated the biggest corrupt, also his father’s favorite and trusted, prime minister, who illegally obtained property that equalled about 15 years of Qing Empire’s revenue.


In the following decades, Jia Qing Emperor diligently dealt with embezzlement, like a fire extinguisher; however, his kind personality and his father’s administration system already set some unbeatable obstacles.


Consequently, he had never fundamentally solved corruption as his grandfather Emperor Ying Zhen did before, though he already did a much better job than his luxurious father. 


Various, Rediculous Rebellions

Jia Qing Emperor also spent a large amount of time and money dealing with endless uprisings and society-oriented rebellions.


In his father’s late years, many types of rebellions showed up frequently; the situation has gotten even worse since the first year of his ruling.


Just like corrupted and incapable officials, new rebel armies kept arising while old ones were defeated. 


The most unbelievable rebel was initiated by a religion-oriented organization.


One day, Jia Qing Emperor was outside of Beijing, holding a hunting ceremony. Then around only 200 people, supported by some eunuch believers, rushed into the Forbidden City and almost occupied this big royal palace.


The current crown prince Min Ning fought bravely and led his soldiers defeated the invaders. Soon, this organization, also defined as a “cult”, was cruelly perished. 


Then Jia Qing Emperor published an article of self criticize, claiming he was responsible for those chaos and unprecedented ridiculous incidents in the history of China.


In a stable dynasty, having the royal palace being invaded by 200 civilians was quite shocking; this was a farce that had never happened in the previous Chinese dynasties.


Another slapstick was an unemployed civilian freely walked into the Forbidden City and tried to assassinate Jia Qing Emperor all by himself. Hundreds of imperial guards just stood there, until his brother in law and three brave guards captured this assassin. 


Sudden, Uncanny Death of Jia Qing Emperor Yong Yan

Jia Qing Emperor's sudden death was another mystery, which was happened when he was living in another palace outside of Beijing. There were many freaky versions, including sickness, struck by lightning, or attacked by a mysterious fireball.  

Jia Qing Emperor was an ambitious, hard working, and caring emperor who was stuck in a frame, or even a cage, that his father and the system set for him.


He wanted to make his empire better, but afraid of jumping out of the middle-of-the-road.


Besides having stopped the Literary Inquisitions and fought against corruption, he followed most of his father’s systems and politics.


When one couldn’t think out of the frame, then probably he couldn’t achieve more than this cage. 


Therefore, Jia Qing Emperor didn’t make any obvious improvements to his empire, though he had diligently implemented many repair works.


The Qing Empire kept rotting inside, while the fancy outside kept fading away.