Friday, October 24, 2008

Ci Xi - A Dangerous Woman in 2008?


OK – a spoiler. The Dragon Empress Ci Xi died on Nov. 15, 1908 so her centenary is approaching. She died one day after the emperor. The closeness of their deaths occasioned rumors of foul play, but whether he died a natural death or was murdered has never been determined. Personally I reckon she done him in. Whatever you think there’s no limiting her importance to modern Chinese history.

But what’s interesting is that here we are approaching Ci Xi’s centenary and there are no new biographies. We have a bunch of bios of Deng Xiaoping slated for next year (yawn!) and a bunch of histories of the Communist Party (I’ve read one draft and its OK but probably the others will be boring given the authors).

Why no bios of Xi Ci? – has the great Communist Party rewriting of history managed to eradicate her so completely. Tonight I tried to access the Wikipedia page about Ci Xi from Shanghai (please don’t take this as in any way an endorsement of Wikipedia) and it’s blocked in China as far as I can work out.

Paranoia? Maybe, or maybe my Internet connection was crap (let’s be kind) – can she still really be considered so dangerous?

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