Meaning of HSIEN-FENG in English

born July 17, 1831, China died Aug. 22, 1861, Jehol, Jehol province [now Ch'eng-te, Hopeh], China Pinyin Xianfeng (reign name, or nien-hao), personal name (hsing-ming) I-chu, temple name (miao-hao) Wen-tsung, posthumous name (shih) Hsien-ti seventh emperor of the Ch'ing dynasty of China. During his reign (185061) China was beset internally by the Taiping Rebellion (185064) and externally by conflicts with the encroaching European powers. By the time Hsien-feng assumed the throne in 1850, the Ch'ing dynasty's empire was on the verge of disintegration. Only a few months after he became emperor, the Taiping Rebellion broke out in Kwangsi and Kwangtung provinces in South China. The Manchu troops that the emperor sent to suppress the rebellion proved so ineffective that the rebels were able to move northward to the Yangtze River basin, take the city of Nanking in 1853, and mount an unsuccessful expedition to capture Peking (185455). In coping with the rebellion, Hsien-feng had to acknowledge the decline of the Manchus' fighting abilities and came to increasingly rely on volunteer militias raised in the provinces by Tseng Kuo-fan and other able Chinese leaders. At the same time, the Nien Rebellion (185268) kept sections of North China in disarray while the government was preoccupied with the rebels in the south. Another major threat arose from Great Britain, France, and the other Western powers, who were pressuring China to extend the trade privileges it had granted them by the Treaty of Nanking (1842). Hsien-feng refused direct negotiations with the European envoys, and in response British and French forces occupied Canton in 1857 and forced China to conclude the Treaties of Tientsin with them in 1858. Hsien-feng refused to ratify the treaties, however, and in response Anglo-French forces began to advance on Peking, the Chinese capital. Hsien-feng refused to believe that the European allies could take his capital but was forced to flee the city in humiliation when they reached it in October. The emperor stayed in the city of Jehol while his ministers signed the Peking Convention, which signified China's acceptance of the 1858 treaties. Ashamed of his flight, Hsieng-feng refused to return to his capital after the Europeans had evacuated it, and he died soon afterward.

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