Qianlong Emperor quotes

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Qianlong Emperor

Birthdate: 25. September 1711
Date of death: 7. February 1799

The Qianlong Emperor was the sixth Emperor of the Qing dynasty, and the fourth Qing emperor to rule over China proper, reigned from 1735 to 1796. Born Hongli, the fourth son of the Yongzheng Emperor, he reigned officially from 11 October 1735 to 8 February 1796. On 8 February, he abdicated in favour of his son, the Jiaqing Emperor—a filial act in order not to reign longer than his grandfather, the illustrious Kangxi Emperor. Despite his retirement, however, he retained ultimate power as the Retired Emperor until his death in 1799; he thus was one of the longest-reigning de facto rulers in the history of the world, and dying at the age of 87, one of the longest-lived. As a capable and cultured ruler inheriting a thriving empire, during his long reign the Qing Empire reached its most splendid and prosperous era, boasting a large population and economy. As a military leader, he led military campaigns expanding the dynastic territory to the largest extent by conquering and sometimes destroying Central Asian kingdoms. This turned around in his late years: the Qing empire began to decline with corruption and wastefulness in his court and a stagnating civil society.

A British valet who accompanied his diplomat master to the Qing court in 1793 described the emperor:

The Emperor is about five feet ten inches in height, and of a slender but elegant form; his complexion is comparatively fair, though his eyes are dark; his nose is rather aquiline, and the whole of his countenance presents a perfect regularity of feature, which, by no means, announce the great age he is said to have attained; his person is attracting, and his deportment accompanied by an affability, which, without lessening the dignity of the prince, evinces the amiable character of the man. His dress consisted of a loose robe of yellow silk, a cap of black velvet with a red ball on the top, and adorned with a peacock's feather, which is the peculiar distinction of mandarins of the first class. He wore silk boots embroidered with gold, and a sash of blue girded his waist.

Quotes Qianlong Emperor

„China should generously pacify those foreigners” (Zhongguo huai rou ning cong hou)“

—  Qianlong Emperor

Qianlong in 1754 . (Qianlong emperor, 1993: 3.296) a translation by Gang Zhao of QIANLONG EMPEROR (1993) Qianlong yuzhi shiwen quanji (The complete collection of Qianlong’s essays and poems). 10 vols. Beijing: Zhongguo renmin daxue chubanshe
Source: Zhao 2006 https://web.archive.org/web/20140325231543/https://webspace.utexas.edu/hl4958/perspectives/Zhao%20-%20reinventing%20china.pdf, p. 9.

„Many people have fled from our China (wo Zhongguo) to your place“

—  Qianlong Emperor

Edict to the Zunghars by Qianlong in 1750 . (Pingding Zhungeer fanglüe, 1990: 910). From Pingding Zhungeer fanglüe [The history of the Qing conquest of the Zunghar] (1990) Beijing: Zhongguo tushuguan tushu fuzhi suowei zhongxin.
Source: Zhao 2006 https://web.archive.org/web/20140325231543/https://webspace.utexas.edu/hl4958/perspectives/Zhao%20-%20reinventing%20china.pdf, p. 9.

„By patronizing the Yellow Church we maintain peace among the Mongols. This being an important task we cannot but protect this (religion). (In doing so) we do not show any bias, nor do we wish to adulate the Tibetan priests as (was done during the) Yuan dynasty.“

—  Qianlong Emperor

Inscription on the Lama Shuo stele in 1792 in the Yonghe Gong temple in Beijing
Source: Lopez 1999 http://books.google.com/books?id=mjUHF7kQfVAC&pg=PA20#v=onepage&q&f=false, p. 20.
Source: Berger 2003 http://books.google.com/books?id=BsyFU9FwCIkC&pg=PA35#v=onepage&q&f=false, p. 35.

„Foreigners appreciate only military power.... Thus, they submit to us wholeheartedly and do not dare to despise China once we display our hunting techniques to them“

—  Qianlong Emperor

Qianlong in 1735 . (Qianlong emperor, 1993: 3.693) a translation by Gang Zhao of QIANLONG EMPEROR (1993) Qianlong yuzhi shiwen quanji (The complete collection of Qianlong’s essays and poems). 10 vols. Beijing: Zhongguo renmin daxue chubanshe.
Source: Zhao 2006 https://web.archive.org/web/20140325231543/https://webspace.utexas.edu/hl4958/perspectives/Zhao%20-%20reinventing%20china.pdf, p. 9.

„China deals with foreigners from afar only by treating them without discrimination“

—  Qianlong Emperor

Qianlong in 1780 . (Da Qing Gaozong Chun- huangdi shilu, 1964: 15018) a translation by Gang Zhao of Da Qing Gaozong Chunhuangdi shilu [The veritable record of the Qianlong emperor] (1964) 30 vols. Taipei: Huawen shuju.
Source: Zhao 2006 https://web.archive.org/web/20140325231543/https://webspace.utexas.edu/hl4958/perspectives/Zhao%20-%20reinventing%20china.pdf, p. 9.

„I am a barbarian monarch, not Chinese.“

—  Qianlong Emperor

(?) 朕乃夷狄之君,非中國之人

A forged quote by anti-Qing Han nationalists posted on internet forums. This cannot be found in any Qing document by Qianlong.
Misattributed
Original: (zh_Hant) 朕乃夷狄之君,非中國之人.

„China trades with your country“

—  Qianlong Emperor

Russian-Qing commercial treaty in 1793 . (He Qiutao, n.d.: 12.2a) a translation by Gang Zhao of HE QIUTAO (n.d.) Shuofang beicheng (On the defense of the northern frontier). N.p.: Boshan shuju.
Source: Zhao 2006 https://web.archive.org/web/20140325231543/https://webspace.utexas.edu/hl4958/perspectives/Zhao%20-%20reinventing%20china.pdf, p. 9.

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