Fun Facts about Chinese Culture and History

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Shun Zhi Emperor Fu Lin -- First Official Monarch of the Qing Dynasty with A Mysterious Ending

Fu Lin (1638 -- 1661), also respected as Qing Shi Zu or Shunzhi Emperor, was the first official monarch of the Qing Dynasty in the history of China.

 

His grandfather was the lord who unified the northeast China and started to fight against the Ming Empire; his father changed their regime’s name to Qing, established a government and further expanded their territory. 

Toddler Shunzhi Emperor and His Expanding Empire

 

When Fu Lin was five years old, his father passed away, which caused intense contention over the throne between his uncle and his oldest brother.

 

Forces of these two people were equally powerful and determined, they both refused to compromise. 

 

Therefore, they chose the five-year-old Fu Lin as the next emperor, while those powerful adults obtaining power as regents.

 

Fu Lin’s big brother’s side agreed him ascending to the throne because Fu Lin was also the son of the late lord; Fu’s uncle supported him because Fu’s mother and his uncle had a romantic relationship. 

 

The next year Fu Lin ascended to the throne as the Shun Zhi Emperor, Empire Ming’s last emperor Zhu Youjian committed suicide; then general Wu Sangui allied Shunzhi’s uncle and opened the gate of the Shanhai Pass on the Great Wall, an important military site on Ming Empire's Ling of Defense, for the Qing.

 

Soon, the Qing’s army won that decisive war. They kept marching southward, and occupied Beijing city. Then the Shunzhi Emperor was welcomed to the Forbidden City, when the Qing Empire officially started their reign as a national authority in the history of China.

Overbearing Uncle Regent and His Brutal Governance 

Then, Shunzhi's powerful uncle perished his big brother’s political group and occupied all the power as the regent.

 

Afterwards, his uncle regent perished other political enemies with no mercy, married his mother, and stopped respecting Fu Lin as an honorable emperor. 

 

Under his uncle’s dominance, many large scale inhuman massacres happened in some defeated cities. He also forced every man to shave their head and have the braid hairstyle; millions of civilians sacrificed fighting against this policy.

 

However, the detailed historical documents were hid and buried by Qing’s following rulers. 

 

When Fu Lin was 13 years old, his regent uncle, also his stepfather, passed away.

 

Then Fu Lin, the Shunzhi Emperor, finally gained power, removed all noble titles from his uncle and perished his political group.

 

Soon, Shunzhi Emperor obtained and enlarged the centralized power, set a series of etiquettes and administration systems based on the late Ming Empire’s governance. 

Shunzhi Emperor and His Contradictive Ideology

As a teenager monarch with huge centralized power, Shunzhi Emperor was quite decisive, insightful and smart; however, sometimes he was always in a complicated contradiction.

 

On one side, he respected his nomadic origin and insisted on preserving some of their traditions; people of his nomadic race still had all the privileges.

 

On the other side, he highly adored Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang and Zhu Youjian, the first and last emperors of the Ming Dynasty; he was also a big fan of Han culture and Confucianism.

 

As a prince that was born and grew up in a nomadic regime which highly respected military force, Shunzhi Emperor’s reading, writing, painting and literature skill of Han culture were all quite excellent.

 

Ironically, however, those inhuman slaughters, though implemented by his uncle, happened under Shunzhi Emperor’s ruling period. 

 

Consequently, Shunzhi Emperor tried his best to improve Han officers' power and statues in his government, while still showed obvious bias and preferences to his nomadic ministers.

 

He  allowed his nomadic people to marry with the Han people, went to Ming Dynasty’s emperors’ graves and condoled them, memorized Confucians, while sending his army defeating forces who tried to recover the Ming Empire. 

Positive Consequences of Shunzhi Emperor's Governance 

 

In the end, his contradictory ideology eased up intense conflicting among the Han and the Manchu people in the history of China.

 

Shunzhi Emperor stopped the cruel behavior that killing all the residents of a conquered city, which was widely implemented by his father and uncle  before; he also promoted many amnesty policies to all of other Ming’s troops. 

 

He banned the Movement of Enclosure by Manchu nobles, and encouraged civilians to exploit and cultivate more farmlands.

 

Though there were many objections from Manchu aristocrats who still honored their absolute privilege and slaughter policy; to these nobles who set big obstacles, however, Shunzhi Emperor was always firm and insistent. 

 

After Shunzhi obtained power from his regent uncle, large scale slaughters finally stopped, and everything became stable and started to recover.

 

Undoubtedly, he was a good and intelligent monarch who dealt with many complicated situations well.

 

Shunzhi Emperor's Sad Love Story 

 

However, this young and brilliant Shunzhi Emperor’s love life was very sad. 

 

His mother and regent uncle assigned his first queen when he was 14, an arrogant girl whom Shunzhi disliked.

 

After the regent died, Shunzhi Emperor immediately demoted this queen and called off this political marriage.

 

Soon his mother chose another queen that he disliked; but this time, he couldn’t disobey his mother’s will and abolish the queen. 

 

Later, Shunzhi Emperor met one of his general’s wife, some people say this general was one of his younger brothers. Shunzhi fell in love with this girl and took her away from this general, who committed suicide afterwards.

 

Shunzhi Emperor, then, tried very hard to make this woman named Dong to be his queen, but his mother and other aristocrats strongly disagreed.

 

So Dong became Shunzhi’s favorite and honorable imperial concubine, and they spent some happy times together.

 

Most people believed that they were soul mate, and Dong was indeed the love of his life. 

Soon, Dong gave birth to a baby boy, who was Shunzhi Emperor’s fourth son. But he told the whole world that this was his first beloved child, and gave him many honorable titles, which was against the royal traditions.

 

But this boy passed away only two months later, and Dong died three years later, because of sickness and sadness.

 

Shunzhi Emperor conferred her the posthumous title as his queen.

 

Shunzhi Emperor's Sudden Disappear and Mysterious End

The next year after Dong’s death, Shunzhi Emperor left the world; his seven-year-old son Xuan Ye ascended to the throne.

 

The official documents recorded that Shunzhi Emperor had passed away because of sickness, while there were many gossips and evidences showed that he believed in Buddhism, and practiced it in a temple on Mount Wutai after the love of his life passed away.

 

In the last few years of Shunzhi being the emperor, when he and Dong lost their baby boy, he spent lots of time meeting with monks, and formally respected one of them as his master; he even already shaved his head, and tried to practice Buddhism full time when Dong was sick.

 

After Dong passed away, Shunzhi Emperor left the throne and disappeared from public when he was only 23 years old. 

 

Anyway, this bright emperor left to his heir a relatively stable empire with much less hostile civilians. 

 

As an extremely spoony person, however, he left to the world a sad love story and a mysterious ending.