7 Greatest Emperors of Ancient China

Written by Sally Guo Updated Jun. 10, 2021

1. Liu Bang - Emperor Gaozu of Han

Liu Pang (256 BC - 195 BC) was born in Zhongyang, Fengyi, Pei County (present-day Feng County, Jiangsu province).  Ji was his courtesy name, and some people believed that Liu Ji was the original name of Liu Bang. Liu Bang was granted the title of "King of Han" by Xiang Yu (Hegemon-King of Western Chu), so he named his dynasty “Han”.  The capital city of Han is Chang’an. Historians called this period “Western Han Dynasty” to make a difference with another “Han” (capital city: Luoyang) founded by Liu Xiu (6 BC – 57 BC).

From “Rascal” to Hero

The young Liu Bang was outspoken and of great forbearance and tolerance, but he disliked reading and showed no interest in farming, hence his father often chided him as a "little rascal". When Liu Bang grew older, he was appointed as a patrol officer, earning himself a little reputation in his hometown. Liu Bang was an ambitious man. One day, Liu Bang was put in charge of escorting some convicts to Xianyang, and on his way, he encountered Qin Shi Huang (the first emperor of a unified China in 221 BC). Liu Bang was shocked by the prestige of the emperor and said: “This is what a true hero should be like!”

Insurrection of Pei

In 209 BC, Chen Sheng and Wu Guang rose up in rebellion against the Qin Dynasty and assumed the title “King of Great Chu.” At that time, the magistrate of Pei County considered rebelling as well to maintain his reign. However, people in Pei County were not content with the magistrate and killed him, welcoming Liu Bang into the city. Liu Bang was then addressed as "Duke of Pei” by his followers and put as the leader of the insurrection. Liu bang was at the age of 48 that year.

Establishment of the Han Dynasty and the Moving of Capital

In 202 BC, Liu Bang became Emperor of China and named his dynasty "Han". He built his capital city in Luoyang. Liu Bang commented on the reason why he was successful as bellow:

The most important reason is that I know how to use people. As to being able to set out a strategy in a tent but determining success or failure in the events a thousand miles away, I am not as good as Zhang Liang; As to guarding the home base, comforting the people, and supplying the army so that it lacked neither food nor supplies, I am not as good as Xiao He; As to leading untrained large forces but always being successful whether battling or sieging, I am not as good as Han Xin. These three people are heroes among men, but I know how to use them, so I was able to conquer the lands under the heaven. Xiang Yu only had one great adviser, Fan Zeng, but was unable to use him properly, and so was defeated by me.

Liu Bang’s comment was right. The result of the war was always determined by people.

A soldier named Lou Jing came to meet Liu Bang from Shandong, saying Liu bang’s kingdom was different from that of the Zhou Dynasty (1045 BC - 256 BC) and he should make his capital in the center of Guanzhong Plain rather than Luoyang, in which way the whole kingdom would become more peaceful and stable. Lou Jing’s suggestion was opposed by many people. However, Zhang Liang the Prime Minister appreciated Lou Jing’s idea saying: Land of thousands of miles and rich in harvest can be found here in Guanzhong Plain as if this place belongs to the nation of heaven. Besides, it is easy to defense and attacks the enemies.” Therefore, Liu Bang moved his capital to Chang’an.

2. Liu Che - Emperor Wu of Han

Liu Che (156 BC - 87 BC Courtesy name: Tong) was the seventh emperor of the Han Dynasty of China, ruling from 141 BC to 87 BC. He was the great politician, strategist, poet, and hero of the Han nation in the history of China. Liu Che was the tenth child of Emperor Jing and was born to one of Emperor Jing's Empress Wang Zhi. He was born in 157 BC in Chang’an and died in 87 BC at the age of 70. When Liu Che was 4 years old, he became the Prince of Jiaodong, and was made crown prince at the age of 7.When Emperor Jing died in 141 BC, Crown Prince Che succeeded to the throne as Emperor Wu at age 16. Emperor Wu had ruled for 54 years (141BC – 87BC), creating the most glorious period of the “Western Han Dynasty”. There were some era names in this period: Jian yuan, Yuan guang, Yuan shuo, Yuan Shou, Yuan ding, Yuan Feng, Tai chu, Tian Han, Tai shi, Zheng he, and Hou yuan. Emperor Wu was buried in Maoling mound after his death.

Emperor Wu had invented “era names” and he was also the first Chinese emperor to use them. After he had become the ruler, Emperor Wu carried on his father‘s policy of encouraging productivity, further weakening the power of feudal lords. Emperor Wu carried out the “tui en ling” policy proposed by Zhu Fuyan to legally limit the land owned by lords. Meanwhile, Cishi was created to monitor every region. As for the army and economy, Emperor Wu strengthened the centralization of power, creating national monopolies for salt, iron, and wine. The production of coins in vassal states was forbidden, which made the power of the economy centralized. Emperor Wu took Dong Zhongshu’s suggestion to proscribe all non-Confucian schools of thought and espouse Confucianism as the orthodox state ideology, which made the way for Confucianism to the orthodox ideology of feudal society. However, Legalist thoughts had never lost their position in this period. While promoting Confucianism, Emperor Wu also used Legalist rules and punishments to maintain the authority and power of royalty. Sinologists believed that it was a system with Legalist as the substantial and Confucianism for an assistant. The government publicized Confucianism among ordinary people to show that the emperor was merciful, while the officials were repressed by cruel punishments. Publicizing Confucianism did not mean the abandonment of laws. It was still the final way of judgment in the time of Emperor Wu. The officials Ji An and Zhu Fuyan set good examples for this.

The Spring Festival began in the first month of the Tai chu calendar. Emperor Wu established month 1 as the beginning of the year. During the time of Emperor Wu, Wei Qing and Huo Qubing attacked Xingnu fiercely several times, making “no kingdom of Xiongnu in the south of the desert”. Zhang Qian, the ambassador of the Han dynasty went westwards and explored the “Silk Road”. The western world had then become the center of cavitations. Emperor Wu was appreciated as “King of hundred kings.”

Historical Contributions

Emperor Wu had created several “No.1”s in the history of Chinese development:

1. The Publicizing of Confucianism

Emperor Wu took Dong Zhongshu’s advice to espouse Confucianism, which made Confucianism the mainstream culture of Chinese tradition for more than 2000 years, being appreciated by rulers of later times. However, one thing should be clear. Emperor Wu did not restrain other schools of thought from developing. While greatly promoting the development of Confucianism, Emperor Wu combined Legalist thoughts with it. For example, Xiahou Shichang studied both Confucianism and “Yin-yang and Wuxing”.  Gonsun Hong the prime minister adopted Confucianism and Legalist thoughts. Zhufu Yan first worked as a political strategist; Ji An, Sima Tan, and Sima Qian believed the theories of Huang.

2. The Founding of Era Names

Emperor Wu was the first emperor to use era names in the history of China. He made 113 BC the 4th year of Yuan ding and changed previous eras to Jian yuan, Yuan Guang, Yuan Shuo, and Yuan Shou (6 years per era).

3. Way to the West

Techniques such as ironing, shaft sinking, and the making of silk and lacquer work spread to the western world from China, while cucumbers, carrots, purples, Ferghana horses, walnuts, and excellent western horses came to China. This was of historical importance.

4. The Expansion of Territory

Northwest: Wei Qing and Huo Qubing fought with the army of Xiongnu, and took back Hetao and Hexi Corridor (the most important passage from North China to Xinjiang and Central Asia for traders and the military). The travel of Zhang Qian and Princess Xi Jun and Princess Jie You’s marriage to Wusun kings made the western part related closely with China for the first time in history. This was just the beginning as this part became one part of China later on. 

Southwest: The ambassadors and armies made the border areas of southwest one part of China’s territory for the first time in the history of China.

North: The military acts of Huo Qubing insured stability in the northern part, which made the capital peaceful.

Therefore, Emperor Wu gained the reputation as high as Qin Shi Huang, is regarded as “Emperor Wu of the Han and the First August Emperor 0f Qin”

3. Li Shimin - Emperor Taizong of Tang

Li Shimin (1.23th 599AC - 7.10th 649AC) was the second emperor of the Tang Dynasty. “Shimin” was a shortened form of the phrase “save the earth and pacify the people” (jishi anmin). The title Taizong was given after his death. Li Shimin was regarded as a great strategist in his early life. He was also good at literature and calligraphy, and some of his works were handed down for generations. Li Shimin killed his brothers Li Jiancheng and Li Yuanji in the incident at Xuanwu Gate to become the crown prince, soon after which Emperor Gaozu gave him the throne. After he had become the emperor, Li Shimin paid great attention to the advice of his officials and worked hard to rule the kingdom with science and arts, which made him the most famous politician and brilliant emperor in the history of China. Emperor Taizong’s “reign of Zhen guan (era name)” was a glorious time in the history of China. He defeated the rebel forces in the regions all over the country. While adopting valuable suggestions from the chancellors, Emperor Taizong also practiced thrift to improve people’s living standards and the development of productivity. The peaceful society made the way for the coming of the glorious period of Kai yuan and pushed traditional agriculture in China to a new peak.

Reign of Zhen guan

In the second year of Zhen guan(628 AC), the population of China decreased sharply because of the war at the end of the Sui Dynasty, leaving only 2,900,000 households. During the reign of Emperor Taizong, the society became peaceful and the economy enjoyed stable development. The number of households reached 3,800,000 after 23 years in the 3rd year of Yong hui (652 AC). This period was called the “reign of Zhen guan”.

In 630, Emperor Taizong sent his general Li Jing against Eastern Tujue (proto Turks) to destroy Eastern Tujue’s dominant power in East Asia. Li Jing’s army won the war and Emperor Taizong subsequently took the title of Tian Kehan (“Heavenly Khan”). During his reign, Emperor Taizong promoted the mansion army system, tax modulates system, equal cropland system, and Imperial Examination System.

In 641, Princess Wen Cheng was sent to Tufan to marry Songsan Gampo. Emperor Taizong wrote Di Fan (standard of an emperor) in his late years to educate Li Zhi the crown prince. In this book, Emperor Taizong summed up his political experience, and he also made a comment on his whole life.

In 649 (23rd year of Zhen guan), Emperor Taizong became seriously ill and died at his summer palace Cuiwei Palace on Zhongnan Mountain. The emperor was buried in Zhao Mausoleum (now Shanxi) with the posthumous name “Emperor Wen Wu Dasheng Daguang Xiao”.


According to historical books, Emperor Taizong was strong and powerful when he was young. This could be seen from one of the weapons he always took with him – a 2-meter bow.

Before one battle, Emperor Taizong took only one cavalryman to do the detecting work with him. They went past a highland and fell asleep on the grass. The enemies found them and wanted to kill Emperor Taizong. Suddenly, a snake appeared chasing a mouse and woke the cavalryman up by running into his face. The cavalryman found there were enemies around them. They ran to their horses. Emperor Taizong used his bow and shot with unfailing accuracy. In the end, they both escaped.

Before he became the emperor, Emperor Taizong was titled “Grand General of Heavenly Strategies” (Tiance Shangjiang). After being enthroned, Emperor Taizong went to his hunting ground and a group of wild hogs ran out. Emperor Taizong killed 4 of them by arrows, but still, one strong hog ran to him. Tang Jian the Minister of Personnel hurried off the horse to fight with it. Emperor Taizong killed the hog with a sword and laughed at Tang Jian: “Why doesn’t the Ambassador of Heavenly Strategies (what Tang Jian used to be) kill the enemy? Are you being afraid?” Tang Jian answered: “Emperor Gaozu of Han Dynasty got the kingdom on his horse, but he did not rule his kingdom on the horse. Your Majesty has taken the kingdom by your wisdom and power. How can you show your prestige to a wild beast?” Emperor Taizong appreciated it and stopped hunting.

Emperor Taizong had served as the prime minister before being enthroned. After he had become the emperor, nobody dared to take the position. Thus, two officials were set to work on this position, one chief leader and one assistant.


Emperor Taizong loved calligraphy, and he was good at li shu (an ancient style of calligraphy current in the Han Dynasty). Emperor Taizong liked the famous calligraphy work Lantingji Xu (the most famous work of calligraphy by Wang Xizhi, whose calligraphy characters changed a lot. In this book, the character zhi (之) appears 20 times, but no two looks the same). According to legend, Emperor Taizong’s chancellor saw his emperor was gloomy one day. The reason was that the emperor wanted the famous Lantingji Xu. Thus, the chancellor got the calligraphy work back to his king. As a matter of fact, Wang Xizhi did not want his works to become one of the collections of the emperors. However, things turned out against his will. Langtingji Xu had eventually buried in the tomb with Emperor Taizong.

4. Zhao Kuangyin - Emperor Taizu of Song

Zhao Kuangyin (Emperor Taizu of Song) was the founder of the Song Dynasty of China.

Zhao Kuangyin’s father Zhao Hongyin was a very brave man and he was good at riding and archery. He had contributed during the war in the late Tang dynasty, which gained him the flavor of Emperor Zhuangzong of Tang. Zhao Hongyin worked as the commander of capital - protecting army in the Later Han period. Then, Guo Wei (Emperor Taizu of Later Zhou) defeated Han and founded the Later Zhou Dynasty. Zhao Hongyin began to work for Guo Wei and Chai Rong (Emperor Shizong of Later Zhou), serving the post of commander of the first army of cavalrymen, military officials to lead the forbidden army. Zhao Kuangyin was the second son of Zhao Hongiyn. He was even better at riding and archery than his father.

When Guo Wei the Assistant Military Commissioner of later Han was recruiting soldiers, Zhao Kuangyin got a position under his command. Then, Guo Wei founded the Later Zhou dynasty. Because of his contribution to the war, Zhao Kuangyin was promoted to Chief of the Palace commander, leading the forbidden army with his father. Zhao Kuangyin was made into a commander of the cavalry units, the highest commander of the forbidden army by Emperor Shizong before he died. After Emperor Gongdi had taken the throne, he changed Zhao Kuangyin’s position to the military governor of Guidejun (present in Henan province).

In the second year, when Zhao Kuangyin was leading his army northwards to battle with North Han, his followers supported him to be the emperor. Guidejun was one part of the ancient Song Kingdom, it was also Song province. Thus, Zhao Kuangyin took “Song” as his name of the country, and founded Song Dynasty, with Kaifeng as the capital. That was the beginning of the 300 years history of the ruling of the Zhao family. Zhao Kuangyin became Emperor Taizong of Song. After being enthroned, Zhao Kuangyin made the strategies of uniting the whole country from easy to hard, from south to north. The feudal state was torn apart into rival principalities at the end of the Tang Dynasty. Zhao Kuangyin worked hard to solve this problem by strengthening the centralization of power, which was a good reference for the uniting of later feudal countries.

5. Genghis Khan - Founder of Mongol Empire (Emperor Taizu of Yuan)

Genghis Khan’s original name was Temujin. He was a Mongolian and got the posthumous name “Taizu” in Yuan Dynasty. “Genghis” meant “ocean” in the Mongolian language, and people regarded Genghis Khan as great as the ocean. Genghis Khan was born in 1162 AC and died in 1227 AC. In 1206 AC, Genghis Khan managed to unite all the Mongolian tribes under his rule and got the title “Khan of Mongol Empire”.  During his reign, Genghis Khan conquered a large area from nearly the whole of East Asia in the east to the Black Sea in the west. His kingdom was one of the famous empires which covered Europe and Asia in the history of the world. Washington Post named Genghis Khan as “the most important man of the last millennium” on Dec.31st, 1995. The standard of this title is “the person who had made the world smaller and closer in the second millennium of the history of human civilization.” Genghis Khan and his descends started a series of wars westwards, and founded the large Mongol Empire, linking eastern and western parts of the world. No one's earned the title more.

Genghis Khan was a famous military commander. He was born in a noble Mongolian family. His father Yesukhei was poisoned by Tatars in about 1170. For the next several years, Yesukhei’s wife Hoelun, and her children lived in poverty. The childhood experiences made Genghis Khan brave and iron-willed.

Genghis Khan was an excellent example in the history of the development of the Chinese nation. The conquering wars led by him and his descendants broke the obstacle between the eastern and western world, greatly promoting the communication between cultures of the east and west, in which way pushed the development of human civilization. In the east, Genghis Khan and his descends ended the separated situation in China since Tang Dynasty, and eventually set the basic map for present China. He united all Mongolian tribes, which was positive in history. Genghis Khan’s attacking Jin and defeating Xia made the way for the founding of the Yuan Dynasty. Genghis Khan was a genius in the military. He united the armies far away to attack the enemies nearby and paid attention not to set too many enemies. As in the battle, he attached high importance to detecting, surrounding the enemies separately, attacking from far away, luring the enemies, killing enemies when moving, and so on. He was praised as “a wise man that is like the god in battle.” On another hand, Genghis Khan’s wars were cruel. He killed lots of common people and destroyed cities and lands. What’s more, the main feudal countries in the 13th century were facing a serious crisis of society, which provide a good opportunity for Genghis khan to carry out the military expansion.

6. Emperor Kangxi

Emperor Kangxi’s name was Aixin-Jueluo Xuanye (May 4th, 1654 – Dec 20th, 1722). He was the emperor of the Qing Dynasty. The name Kangxi came from the era name. Emperor Kangxi was the longest-reigning (on the throne) Chinese emperor.

Kangxi was born on 4 May 1654 to Consort Tong in the Jingren Palace and died on 20 December 1722 at the age of 69. His reign of 61 years (1661 – 1722) made him the longest-reigning (on the throne) emperor in the history of China.

Kangxi was the third son of Emperor Shunzhi, and he succeeded the imperial throne at the age of eight. Kangxi had once got smallpox but he didn’t die. Tang Ruowang told his father that this child was least likely to die in his youth, and so Shunzhi made him the crown prince. Emperor Kangxi held the ceremony to take the reins of the government on 7th July 1667 (the 6th year of Kangxi). He arrested Oboi the regent with the help of his grandmother (Grand Dowager Empress Xiaozhuang) and began to take control of the country himself in the 8th year of Kangxi.

Emperor Kangxi made Qing Empire a splendid kingdom in the East. At that time, there was Peter the Great in Russia and Ludwig XIV in France. Compared with them, Emperor Kangxi was still extraordinary. During his reign, the population, economy, culture, territory, and power in China all reached their peak. The territory of Qing Dynasty was large, from Pacific coastline in the East to Pamir in the West, Zengmu Ansha (James Shoal) in the South, outer Xing’an Mountains in the North, Balkhash Lake in the Northwest and Sakhalin Island in the Northeast, covering an area of 13,000,000 square kilometers.

Historical Contributions

1. During Emperor Kangxi’s reign, he defeated the revolt of the Three Feudatories (1684), forced the Zheng Jing government on Taiwan to submit to Qing rule, defeated the rebel force of the Dzungars (1688 – 1697), and defended the northeastern part of China from Tzarist Russia. The Treaty of Nerchinsk brought over 150 years of peace to the border areas of the northeast.2. War in the Desert and Friendship with Mongolia

2. The Mongolian used to be divided into 3 parts (Southern Mongolia, Western Mongolia, and Northern Mongolia). Southern Mongolia (Inner Mongolia) was completely conquered after the hark work of Nuerhachi and Huangtaiji Emperor. Western Mongolia was also Dzungar Mongolia. Galdan the Dzungar chief led his army southwards to threaten the central kingdom. Emperor Kangxi himself as commander in chief led armies to defeat Galdan. Kangxi Emperor also carried out a series of policies to won Northern Mongolia (Outer Mongolia) over. Emperor Kangxi said: “The emperor of Qing Dynasty built the Great Wall with stones in the past. Now I bestow favor to Kerk Mongolia and let it defend the North for my kingdom. This is more solid than the Great Wall.” The problem of Mongolia had lasted for 2000 years from Qin and Han Dynasty (Xiongnu offense) to Ming Dynasty. Emperor Kangxi had solved the problem. That was a huge contribution.

3. Development of Agriculture and Water Conservancy

After the long-term wars at the end of the Ming Dynasty, agriculture in this country was seriously destroyed. Emperor Kangxi carried out a series of policies to develop agricultural productivity. He made the enclosure of land illegal and went to Jiang Nan (south of Changjiang River) six times to inspect water resources as well as to repair the Yellow River, Huai River, and Yongding River. Emperor Kangxi’s policies to develop agriculture and condition of water resources had got an unprecedented achievement.

4. Building of Gardens and Parks

Emperor Kangxi had built Changchun Garden (the Garden of Prolonged Spring), Chende Summer Vacation Mountain Village, and Mulan Paddock His grandson Emperor Qianlong went on his work to built 3 mountains and 5 gardens (3 mountains: Xiang Mountain, Yuquan Mountain, Wanshou Mountain; 5 gardens: Changchun Garden, Yuanming Garden, Jingming Garden, Jingyi Garden, and Qingyi Garden -- Summer Palace). This pushed the classic art of gardening in China to a new peak. The gardens and parks built in Qing Dynasty were precious treasures of the Chinese nation. Chende Summer Vacation Mountain Village was a royal garden that was twice as large as the Summer Palace in Beijing. It was not only a resort. It was of political importance just like Mulan Paddock. The palaces and temples were built with the style of Mongolia, Tibet, and other minorities. The important function of this was to make the noble of the monitories feel that they are as comfortable as they are at home. The peaceful and wonderful scenery could bring people back to the world 200 years ago.

5. Education and Book Writing

Emperor Kangxi attached high importance to culture and education. He himself organized the compiling of more than 60 kinds of codes and records, about 20,000 volumes of which were important treasures of the spirit of Chinese culture.

Emperor Kangxi was the longest-reigning Chinese emperor in history. He was good at both culture and military, studying both traditional culture and western science. He joined the battle himself to defeat Galdan and managed to rule the whole country peacefully. He was an excellent strategist who commanded in Beijing to win the war towards revolt of the Three Feudatories and Tzarist Russia and took back Taiwan. What’s more, Emperor Kangxi was splendid in politics. He held the convention of Dolon instead of wars, linking the tribes of the Mongolian world. He signed the treaty which insured the peace of the land near the Heilong River. Besides, Emperor Kangxi attached high priority to education, including his children. He initiated the period known as the “Prosperous Era of Kangxi and Qianlong” which lasted for more than 100 years.

7. Hong Li - Gaozong of Qing Dynasty (Emperor Qianlong)

Gaozong of Qing Dynasty(1711~1799)was the fourth Qing emperor to rule over China proper. The full name of Gaozong was Aixin-Jueluo Hongli (Man Nation). He was the fourth son of the Yongzheng Emperor. Hong Li became Prince Bao in 1733 (the 11th year of Yongzheng), and the 4th Manchu Emperor of China in August 1735. He took the Calender Name of Qianlong. Qianglong reigned for 60 years and gave his throne to his fifteenth child (Jiang Qing). Despite his retirement, however, he retained ultimate power until his death (1799), making Qianlong the longest reigning (64 years) Emperor in Chinese history.

During his reign, Emperor Qianlong sent armies to unite the kingdom many times, ensuring the stability and development of a muli-nation country. In the early years of Emperor Qianlong’s reign, the Miao people in Guizhou rose up in rebellion, while the Northwest needed armies. The two armies sent to the Northwest were defeated. The Dzungar states were stable and it was difficult to destroy them immediately. Thus, Emperor Qianlong decided to negotiate peace with Dzungar and use most of his force to subdue the rebellion of Miao. Zhang Guangsi, the general who made his name for strategy was sent to do the work. Soon, the rebellion force was defeated.    In about 1753 (the 18th year of Qianlong), the conflicts began in Dzungar states. The three chiefs of Dorbod led 6,000 people to get incorporated into Qing Dynasty. One year later, Amursana took more than 10,000 people to incorporate. Emperor Qianlong went to Chende from Beijing himself in the winter that year to receive them. After inquiring about the situation in Dzungar states, Emperor Qianlong thought it was time to solve the problem of Dzungar forces. He prevailed over all dissenting views and decided to send his armies to Ili in the spring of next year with the help of Bo Heng and some of his trusted chancellors. In May 1755, two Qing armies reached Ili. The chief of Dzungar was defeated and arrested by Huo Jisi, soon after which Amursana rose up to rebel because of his ambition to rule over Olot. Emperor Qianlong sent his armies to defeat the rebels and the separatist force inside Dzungar was subdued. From 1757 – 1759, Emperor Qianlong promoted Zhao Hui to the general to subdue the rebel force of the Hezhou brothers in the south. Then, the General of Ili was set to lead all the armies in Xinjiang with the building of military offices.

Counselors were set in Taerbahatai and Charm Kashgar (present Xinjiang) to manage the affairs in the south and north of Tianshan Mountain under the command of the general.  There were also chancellors in the cities in the South. Soldiers were sent to Manzhou, Xibo, Olot, and Luyin in the North to station and open up the land. People also move there. Province and county governments were built. The separated lands in Ming Dynasty were now closely controlled by the central government of the Qing Dynasty.

Meanwhile, Emperor Qianlong strengthened his control over Tibet. The political situation had been unstable since the beginning of the Qing Dynasty. The tribes of Olot believed in Huang's religion and Tibet was the place where the religious leader of Huang's religion was. Groups in Tibet needed the military support of Olot Mongolia and the conflicts were complicated. Thus, rebellion happened very often. In the 15th year of Qianlong, Gyumey Namgyel started the war of rebellion together with Dzungars, killing Fu Qing and La Budun (chancellors). Emperor Qianlong sent armies to Tibet to subdue the rebellion, after which he made some change to the political power system in Tibet, giving the chancellors there more power. However, the situation remained out of control. In the 53rd year of Qianlong, Gurkhas (present Nepal) invaded Tibet. They came back again 3 years later. Emperor Qianlong appointed Fu Kangan as the general to defeat the enemies in Tibet. The Tibet Regulation made by Imperial Order was issued next year, giving the power of labor, economy, army, and diplomacy to chancellors in Tibet. The important issue made by Dalai Lama and Panchen Lama should be approved by chancellors. Meanwhile, the system of drawing a lot from among three in a "golden urn" to determine the reincarnated soul boy of a deceased Living Buddha was made. Major nobles and Mongolian nobles were not allowed to take part in the activity. The successors of the Living Buddha were also under the monitor of the Qing government. The political situation in Tibet became more stable from then on, and the policies in Tibet from the central government were carried out.

At that time, districts like Yunnan, Guizhou, Guangxi, Sichuan, Hunan, and Hubei were ruled by chieftains. Emperor Qianlong went on his policy of the conversion of native domains into regular administrative units. The policy was also carried on in the southwest districts of Sichuan after two Jinchuan battles.

During Emperor Qianlong’s reign, the neighbors of China such as India, Ceylon (present Sri Lanka), the Philippines, and Indonesia had become colonies. Colonists from the West kept detecting the power of china, while Russia in the north also eyed China with hostility. Emperor Qianlong limited trade and communication with foreigners out of defense. All the trading activities in port cities were banned, living only in Guangzhou. Emperor Qianlong refused the requests of the Macartney Embassy which could offend the sovereign rights of China. He also stuck to the treaty made with Tsars Russia, ending Qiaketu trading to stop the illegal activities. The policies that limited diplomatic activities could protect China when she was powerful. However, it Also made China fall farther behind the whole world.

Emperor Qianlong also paid much attention to the development of culture, producing lots of books with national wealth. In the 38th year of Qianlong, Emperor Qianlong commissioned the Siku quanshu (Imperial Collection of Four). The work took about 10 years, collecting 3457 kinds of books (about 80,000 – 90,000 volumes). It was the largest collection of books in Chinese history and lots of ancient Chinese books were conserved. Lots of movable-type printing books were conserved in Wuying palace. The books were elegant, so they were called “Juzhen” (collected and treasured) versions. Emperor Qianlong also liked arts, calligraphy, and antiques such as inkstand. He asked his chancellors to collect for him and many precious artworks, antiques, and books were conserved in the palace, contributing to the conservation of ancient civilization. However, Emperor Qianlong thought that China was owned by nobles of Man nation, and avoided the records of previous dynasties especially between the Ming Dynasty and Qing Dynasty as taboo. He burnt the books which he believed would ruin his ruling over the country, seriously damaging the culture. Qianlong Emperor also used literary inquisition to silence opposition. Many people were punished for groundless accuse, and the officials often brought false charges against people. Thus, the thoughts of people were suppressed.

All through his life, Emperor Qianlong had a great contribution to military exploit, starting lots of wars. Out of those wars, some were to unite the nation and defense the country from foreign invasion; some were to subdue the rebellion and expand territory. Each had different meanings and results. However, Emperor Qianlong believed all his wars were perfect. He was also fond of traveling and building palaces, using much labor and wealth. The officials took the opportunities to get themselves money, which made people’s burden much heavier. The appointment of Yu Minzhong made the corruption of officials more common. In his later years, Emperor Qianlong put his trust in He Shen and officials became more corrupt. The cases of corruption mushroomed and could not be controlled. Besides, the lands were highly centralized and the population grew fast. Conflicts between different classes got more and more serious. Some secret religions with strong political intentions developed fast among common people. Many rebellions broke out since the rebellion led by Wang Lun in Shandon in the 39th year of Qianlong. In the end, The White Lotus Rebellion broke out and lasted for 9 years.

Emperor Qianlong died in the first month of the 4th year of Jiaqing. He had many literature works all through his life, including Leshantang Cottected Edition Written by Emperor Qianlong, Five Volumes of Poetry Written by Emperor Qianlong, Three Volumes of Prose Written by Emperor Qianlong, Complete Prose, and Poetry of the Qianlong Emperor.

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