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COMPASS MAGAZINE > December 2014

New Year's holiday viewing of Qing Palace Theatre drama 'Young Emperor Kangxi and Crafty Regent Aobai'

Young Emperor Kangxi and Crafty Regent Aobai Young Emperor Kangxi and Crafty Regent Aobai
Left: GuoGuang drama 'Young Emperor Kangxi and Crafty Regent Aobai' stars Wen Yu-hang (first from left) and Tang Wen-hua (second from right).

In the early Qing Dynasty, Kangxi ascended the throne when he was eight years old. Emperor Shunzhi decreed in his final testament that four court ministers would be obliged to assist him in the governing of the country. When Kangxi turned fourteen, Regent Aobai arrogated all power and allowed his subordinates to take over land from the commoners by force which caused fear and disruptions among the people. Meanwhile, when Xiung Zi-jian, the nephew of Shidu Minister Xiung Ci-lu, had a dispute with Hu Er-ha, the latter stabbed and killed Xiung's father, and Xiung Zi-jian escaped after he stabbed Hu Er-ha in his left eye.

Emperor Kangxi decided to forbid the random confiscation of land belong to the people, but Aobai opposed it strongly and even punished Sukesaha, another regent, for no apparent reason. Kangxi became despondent. Dowager Empress Xiaozhuang sounded Kangxi out and discovered that Kangxi would not allow himself to indulge in sensuous pleasures. Joyfully, she advised Kangxi to swallow his humiliation and take on a heavy load and so she arranged a royal wedding for him in order to take over the reins of government.

Emperor Kangxi organized "Buku-xi" swordsmen ostensibly for the purpose of entertainment when in effect he was trying to build an effective armed force for himself. Xiung Zi-jian was thus summoned to the court. The emperor also instilled the concept of righteousness in serving a cause to Hu Erha when the latter was called upon to become part of the Buku Guards as a scout by Aobai, and successfully enlisted Hu Er-ha to join his forces.

Aobai conspired to usurp the throne and refused to report to the emperor at court, pleading the excuse of illness. When Kangxi paid a visit to him in his mansion, Aobai asked to be released from his position as regent on account of the illness. Kangxi pretended that he would assign Aobai the honorary position of regent for life and successfully persuaded Aobai to enter the court on the following day. Aobai dropped the knife he had hidden in his sleeve when he knelt down to thank the emperor, but Kangxi reacted calmly by laughing it off.

When Aobai entered the court the following day, Kangxi induced him to go to the side wing on the pretext that the Dowager Empress was seriously ill where he had the swordsmen of Buku Guards arrest Aobai. Kangxi recounted all of the crimes that Aobai had committed and ordered him to be imprisoned for life. The emperor thus took over the reins of the government.

Information about GuoGuang Opera Qing Palace Theatre drama 'Young Emperor Kangxi and Crafty Regent Aobai':
Jan. 3, 2015 (Sat.), 14:30 at Taichung Chung Shan Hall (98, XueShi Rd., North Dist.)
Jan. 10, 2015 (Sat.), 14:30 at Tainan Municipal Arts Center Auditorium (332, ZhongHua East Rd., Sec. 3, Tainan)

www.artsticket.com.tw (02) 3393-9888
GuoGuang Opera Company
(02) 2938-3567, ext. 402~410
Tickets price: NT$300/500/800/1200/1500

Young Emperor Kangxi and Crafty Regent Aobai Young Emperor Kangxi and Crafty Regent Aobai

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