Tz'u Hsi

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Related to Tz'u Hsi: Cixi

Tz'u Hsi,


Tsu Hsi,


Tse Hsi,



(all: tso͝o shē), 1834–1908, dowager empress of China (1861–1908) and regent (1861–73, 1874–89, 1898–1908). Her failure to realize the gravity of the foreign threat to China kept her from wholeheartedly supporting modernization, thus driving reformers into opposition to the Ch'ingCh'ing
or Manchu
, the last of the Imperial dynasties of China. Background

The Ch'ing dynasty was established by the Manchus, who invaded China and captured Beijing in 1644, and lasted until 1911.
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 dynasty. Taken to the Forbidden City in 1852, she was a consort of Emperor Hsien Feng (d. 1861) and bore his successor, T'ung Chih. On her child's death (1875) she named her infant nephew Kuang-hsuKuang-hsu
or Kwang-hsü
, 1871–1908, emperor of China (1875–1908). Although he was not in the direct line of succession, he was appointed to the throne by his aunt, the dowager empress and regent, Tz'u Hsi. He began his rule in 1889.
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 to the throne, although he was not in the direct line of succession. In 1898 she resumed the regency after Kuang-hsu attempted to institute political reforms against her wishes, and thereafter she ruled directly. She resisted foreign encroachment by encouraging the unsuccessful Boxer UprisingBoxer Uprising,
1898–1900, antiforeign movement in China, culminating in a desperate uprising against Westerners and Western influence.

By the end of the 19th cent. the Western powers and Japan had established wide interests in China.
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 (1898–1900). In her last years Tz'u Hsi abandoned her conservatism to some extent and consented to several modernizing measures; schools were established, the traditional civil service examinations were discontinued, the army was reorganized by Yüan Shih-kaiYüan Shih-kai
, 1859–1916, president of China (1912–16). From 1885 to 1894 he was the Chinese resident in Korea, then under Chinese suzerainty. He supported the dowager empress, Tz'u Hsi, against the reform movement (1898) of Emperor Kuang Hsü, and she
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, railroad building was encouraged, and opium cultivation was suppressed. Her last official act was the appointment of Pu Yi, a remote claimant, as emperor.


See biographies by Princess Der Ling (1929), C. Haldane (1965), M. Warner (1972), and J. Chang (2013).

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