My Fair Princess
My Fair Princess known as Return of the Pearl Princess or Princess Returning Pearl, is a 1998–1999 television costume drama jointly produced by Yi Ren Communications Co. in Taiwan and Hunan Broadcasting System in Mainland China. Season 1 was filmed in 1997, Season 2 in 1998–1999. Both seasons were filmed in Beijing and the Bashang Plateau on the mainland, first shown on China Television in Taiwan. Written by creator Chiung Yao, the story is set in 18th-century Qing dynasty during the Qianlong Emperor's reign, it follows tomboyish and innocent Xiaoyanzi an orphaned and semiliterate vagrant in Beijing who, after befriending the emperor's illegitimate daughter Xia Ziwei, becomes a princess by accident. Although some characters, the plot premise, certain sections of the story are based on historical events and figures, considerable artistic license was employed. Made with a small budget with a cast of unknown actors, it became massive international hit in East Asia and Southeast Asia, the drama is considered the most commercially successful Chinese-language series in history.
Hunan Broadcasting System, after achieving ratings as high as 65% of audience shares, permanently became China's second largest network. Meanwhile, little-known cast members were made household names and huge teen idols over night, like the actress trio of Zhao Wei, Ruby Lin and Fan Bingbing, who are still among the biggest stars in Chinese entertainment more than 15 years later. After a successful writing career which saw many of her works adapted into films and television, Taiwanese romance novelist Chiung Yao and her husband Ping Hsin-tao established Yi Ren Communications Co. in 1985 to produce television dramas. In 1987, Taiwan's government allowed visits to Mainland China for the first time since the end of the Chinese Civil War in 1949. In her first trip in 1988, Chiung Yao became friends with Ouyang Changlin a reporter working for Hunan Broadcasting System, who encouraged her to start producing dramas in Mainland China due to more diverse landscape and cheaper labor cost. In 1989, Chiung Yao began filming for the first time in Mainland China in Changsha, assisted by HBS and Beijing Television.
Most actors and production crew came from Taiwan, while the Chinese stations produced chiefly cheap labor in exchange for broadcasting rights in the mainland. Being the first Taiwanese television production assisted by Mainland stations, the drama Wan-chun ran into many problems with Taiwan's government. However, as years go by, restrictions in Taiwan became less and Chiung Yao began to use more and more Mainland actors and crew members in her productions, such as director Li Ping; the sophistication and quality of China's television production improved in the 1990s during the Chinese economic reform, while the market began to surpass Taiwan's as the economy became more market-oriented. By 1992, HBS was no longer just a collaborator in Chiung Yao's productions but a financial partner and a co-producer. In 1995, Ouyang became the station head of HBS; as Chiung Yao had an agreement with Taiwan's China Television to produce 2 dramas for CTV for 1998, Ouyang and Chiung Yao decided to produce them together.
The first drama, Tears in Heaven, featured a more established cast of Jiang Qinqin, Vincent Chiao, Athena Chu, Chen Chao-jung and Deng Jie and was anticipated to be more successful, drawing considerable resources from the companies. The second drama of the year was thus left with a limited budget. In 1997, during a tour of Beijing, Chiung Yao passed Gongzhufen, she was told of the story behind the place: according to popular legends, the Qianlong Emperor had adopted a daughter from the commoners population. Nothing else was known about her. From this legend, Chiung Yao decided to write My Fair Princess as the second drama series. In the mid-1990s, Taiwanese agent Lee Ching-ping was in Beijing scouting for prospective local actors when a referrer sent her a tape of the obscure 1995 Chinese drama Adventures of Sisters in Beijing; the recommended actress left little impression, but a supporting actress "with big eyes" caught Lee's attention. Lee located that actress, Zhao Wei, who in 1997 was a 21-year-old freshman in the Performing Institute of Beijing Film Academy.
Chiung Yao was impressed by Zhao's acting and decided to cast her in the major role of Xia Ziwei, after reaching an agreement with her school. Taiwanese actress Lee Ting-yi was chosen to portray the titular character Xiaoyanzi. However, about a week before filming was to begin, the producers learned that she could not participate due to schedule conflicts with a film of hers. Since there was little time left, the company wanted to know whether Zhao provided with the script and asked to memorize Ziwei's lines, would be willing to portray Xiaoyanzi instead; as Lee Ching-ping remembered in 2007: I quite nervously called her and tried to soften my words, I was thinking, how do I make her receptive and not hurt her?... Once finished, she screamed. I thought she was upset, so I asked her, "what's wrong?" She said, " ecstatic!" As soon as she started reading the script, she fell in love with that character. But she had been afraid to mention it embarrassed as well, she was still a student. Other reshuffling was in order.
After considering 15-year-old Fan Bingbing, the company settled on 21-year-old Ruby Lin cas
Yangtze River Delta
The Yangtze River Delta or YRD is a triangle-shaped metropolitan region comprising the Wu Chinese-speaking areas of Shanghai, southern Jiangsu province and northern Zhejiang province. The area lies in the heart of the Jiangnan region, where Yangtze River drains into the East China Sea; the urban build-up in the area has given rise to what may be the largest concentration of adjacent metropolitan areas in the world. It covers an area of 99,600 square kilometres and is home to over 115 million people as of 2013, of which an estimated 83 million is urban. If based on the greater Yangtze River Delta zone, it has over 140 million people in this region. With about 1/10 of China's population and 1/5 of the country's GDP, the YRD is one of the fastest growing and richest regions in East Asia measured by purchasing power parity. Having a fertile soil, the Yangtze River Delta abundantly produces grain, cotton and tea. In 2018, the Yangtze River Delta had a GDP of US$2.2 trillion, about the same size as Italy.
Since the fourth century, when the national capital was moved to Jiankang at the start of the Eastern Jin dynasty, the Yangtze River Delta has been a major cultural and political centre of China. Hangzhou served as the Chinese capital during the Southern Song dynasty, Nanjing was the early capital of the Ming dynasty before the Yongle Emperor moved the capital to Beijing in 1421. Other key cities of the region in pre-modern times include Shaoxing; the ancient Suzhou was the capital of the Wu state, the ancient Shaoxing was the capital of the Yue state. Nanjing first served as a capital in the Three Kingdoms period as the capital of Eastern Wu. In these periods, there were several concomitant states or empires in China and each one had its own capital; the delta is one of the most densely populated regions on earth, includes one of the world's largest cities on its banks — Shanghai, with a density of 2,700 inhabitants per square kilometre. Because of the large population of the delta, factories and other cities upriver, the World Wide Fund for Nature says the Yangtze Delta is the biggest cause of marine pollution in the Pacific Ocean.
Most of the people in this region speak Wu Chinese as their mother tongue, in addition to Mandarin. Wu is mutually unintelligible with other varieties including Mandarin; the area of the Yangtze River Delta incorporates more than twenty developed cities in three provinces. The term can be used to refer to the entire region extending as far north as Lianyungang, Jiangsu and as far south as Wenzhou, Zhejiang; the region includes some of the fastest-growing economies in China in recent years, as of 2004 has occupied over 21% of China's total gross GDP. Since the ninth century, the Yangtze Delta has been the most populous area in China, East Asia, one of the most densely populated areas of the world. During the mid to late period of the Tang dynasty, the region emerged as an economic centre, the Yangtze River Delta became the most important agricultural, handicraft industrial and economic centre for the late Tang dynasty. In the Song dynasty during the Southern Song dynasty, with its capital situated in Lin'an, Lin'an became the biggest city in East Asia with a population more than 1.5 million, the economic status of the Yangtze Delta became more enhanced.
Ningbo became one of the two biggest seaports in East Asia along with Quanzhou. During the mid-late Ming dynasty, the first capitalism bud of the East Asia was born and developed in this area, although it was disrupted by the Manchu invasion and controlled and by the Confucian central government in Beijing, it continued its development throughout the rest of the Qing dynasty. During the Ming and Qing dynasties, the delta became a large economic centre for the country, played the most important role in agriculture and handicraft industry. During the Qianlong era of the Qing dynasty, Shanghai began developing and became the largest port in the Far East. From late 19th century to early 20th century, Shanghai was the biggest commercial centre in the Far East; the Yangtze River Delta became the first industrialized area in China. After the Chinese economic reform program, which began in 1978, Shanghai again became the most important economic centre in mainland China, is emerging to become one of Asia's centres for commerce.
In modern times, the Yangtze Delta metropolitan region is centred at Shanghai, flanked by the major metropolitan areas of Hangzhou, Suzhou and Nanjing, home to nearly 105 million people. It is the centre of Chinese economic development, surpasses other concentrations of metropolitan areas in China in terms of economic growth and per capita income. In 1982, the Chinese government set up the Shanghai Economic Area. Besides Shanghai, four cities in Jiangsu and five cities in Zhejiang were included. In 1992, a 14-city cooperative joint meeting was launched. Besides the previous 10 cities, the members included Nanjing and Yangzhou in Jiangsu, Zhoushan in Zhejiang. In 1997, the regular joint meeting resulted in the establishment of the Yangtze River Delta Economic Coordination As
Hanyu Pinyin abbreviated to pinyin, is the official romanization system for Standard Chinese in mainland China and to some extent in Taiwan. It is used to teach Standard Mandarin Chinese, written using Chinese characters; the system includes four diacritics denoting tones. Pinyin without tone marks is used to spell Chinese names and words in languages written with the Latin alphabet, in certain computer input methods to enter Chinese characters; the pinyin system was developed in the 1950s by many linguists, including Zhou Youguang, based on earlier forms of romanizations of Chinese. It was published by revised several times; the International Organization for Standardization adopted pinyin as an international standard in 1982, was followed by the United Nations in 1986. The system was adopted as the official standard in Taiwan in 2009, where it is used for international events rather than for educational or computer-input purposes, but "some cities and organizations, notably in the south of Taiwan, did not accept this", so it remains one of several rival romanization systems in use.
The word Hànyǔ means'the spoken language of the Han people', while Pīnyīn means'spelled sounds'. In 1605, the Jesuit missionary Matteo Ricci published Xizi Qiji in Beijing; this was the first book to use the Roman alphabet to write the Chinese language. Twenty years another Jesuit in China, Nicolas Trigault, issued his Xi Ru Ermu Zi at Hangzhou. Neither book had much immediate impact on the way in which Chinese thought about their writing system, the romanizations they described were intended more for Westerners than for the Chinese. One of the earliest Chinese thinkers to relate Western alphabets to Chinese was late Ming to early Qing dynasty scholar-official, Fang Yizhi; the first late Qing reformer to propose that China adopt a system of spelling was Song Shu. A student of the great scholars Yu Yue and Zhang Taiyan, Song had been to Japan and observed the stunning effect of the kana syllabaries and Western learning there; this galvanized him into activity on a number of fronts, one of the most important being reform of the script.
While Song did not himself create a system for spelling Sinitic languages, his discussion proved fertile and led to a proliferation of schemes for phonetic scripts. The Wade–Giles system was produced by Thomas Wade in 1859, further improved by Herbert Giles in the Chinese–English Dictionary of 1892, it was popular and used in English-language publications outside China until 1979. In the early 1930s, Communist Party of China leaders trained in Moscow introduced a phonetic alphabet using Roman letters, developed in the Soviet Oriental Institute of Leningrad and was intended to improve literacy in the Russian Far East; this Sin Wenz or "New Writing" was much more linguistically sophisticated than earlier alphabets, but with the major exception that it did not indicate tones of Chinese. In 1940, several thousand members attended a Border Region Sin Wenz Society convention. Mao Zedong and Zhu De, head of the army, both contributed their calligraphy for the masthead of the Sin Wenz Society's new journal.
Outside the CCP, other prominent supporters included Sun Fo. Over thirty journals soon appeared written in Sin Wenz, plus large numbers of translations, some contemporary Chinese literature, a spectrum of textbooks. In 1940, the movement reached an apex when Mao's Border Region Government declared that the Sin Wenz had the same legal status as traditional characters in government and public documents. Many educators and political leaders looked forward to the day when they would be universally accepted and replace Chinese characters. Opposition arose, because the system was less well adapted to writing regional languages, therefore would require learning Mandarin. Sin Wenz fell into relative disuse during the following years. In 1943, the U. S. military engaged Yale University to develop a romanization of Mandarin Chinese for its pilots flying over China. The resulting system is close to pinyin, but does not use English letters in unfamiliar ways. Medial semivowels are written with y and w, apical vowels with r or z.
Accent marks are used to indicate tone. Pinyin was created by Chinese linguists, including Zhou Youguang, as part of a Chinese government project in the 1950s. Zhou is called "the father of pinyin," Zhou worked as a banker in New York when he decided to return to China to help rebuild the country after the establishment of the People's Republic of China in 1949, he became an economics professor in Shanghai, in 1955, when China's Ministry of Education created a Committee for the Reform of the Chinese Written Language, Premier Zhou Enlai assigned Zhou Youguang the task of developing a new romanization system, despite the fact that he was not a professional linguist. Hanyu Pinyin was based on several existing systems: Gwoyeu Romatzyh of 1928, Latinxua Sin Wenz of 1931, the diacritic markings from zhuyin. "I'm not the father of pinyin," Zhou said years later. It's a lo
The Summer Palace, is a vast ensemble of lakes and palaces in Beijing. It was an imperial garden in the Qing Dynasty. Dominated by Longevity Hill and Kunming Lake, it covers an expanse of 2.9 square kilometres, three-quarters of, water. Longevity Hill has many buildings positioned in sequence; the front hill is rich with splendid halls and pavilions, while the back hill, in sharp contrast, is quiet with natural beauty. The central Kunming Lake, covering 2.2 square kilometres, was man-made and the excavated soil was used to build Longevity Hill. In December 1998, UNESCO included the Summer Palace on its World Heritage List, it declared the Summer Palace "a masterpiece of Chinese landscape garden design. The natural landscape of hills and open water is combined with artificial features such as pavilions, palaces and bridges to form a harmonious ensemble of outstanding aesthetic value". Notably in recent history, it is the Central Route terminus of the South-North Water Transfer Project having traversed 1,267 km from Danjiangkou Reservoir, making it Beijing’s main water supply.
The origins of the Summer Palace date back to the Jurchen-led Jin dynasty in 1153, when the fourth ruler, Wanyan Liang, moved the Jin capital from Huining Prefecture to Yanjing. He ordered the construction of a palace in the Fragrant Hills and Jade Spring Hill in the northwest of Beijing. Around 1271, after the Yuan dynasty established its capital in Khanbaliq, the engineer Guo Shoujing initiated a waterworks project to direct the water from Shenshan Spring in Baifu Village, Changping into the Western Lake, which would become Kunming Lake. Guo's aim was to create a water reservoir. In 1494, the Hongzhi Emperor of the Ming dynasty had a Yuanjing Temple built for his wet nurse, Lady Luo, in front of Jar Hill, renamed Longevity Hill; the temple fell into disrepair over the years and was abandoned, the area around the hill became lush with vegetation. The Zhengde Emperor, who succeeded the Hongzhi Emperor, built a palace on the banks of the Western Lake and turned the area into an imperial garden.
He renamed Jar Hill, "Golden Hill" and named the lake "Golden Sea". Both the Zhengde Emperor and the Wanli Emperor enjoyed taking boat rides on the lake. During the reign of the Tianqi Emperor, the court eunuch Wei Zhongxian took the imperial garden as his personal property. In the early Qing dynasty, Jar Hill served as the site for horse stables in the imperial palace. Eunuchs who committed offences were sent there to cut grass. In the beginning of the reign of the Qianlong Emperor, many imperial gardens were built in the area around present-day Beijing's Haidian District and accordingly, water consumption increased tremendously. At the time, much of the water stored in the Western Lake came from the freshwater spring on Jade Spring Hill, while a fraction came from the Wanquan River. Any disruption of the water flow from Jade Spring Hill would affect the capital's water transport and water supply systems. Around 1749, the Qianlong Emperor decided to build a palace in the vicinity of Jar Hill and the Western Lake to celebrate the 60th birthday of his mother, Empress Dowager Chongqing.
In the name of improving the capital's waterworks system, he ordered the Western Lake to be expanded further west to create two more lakes, Gaoshui Lake and Yangshui Lake. The three lakes served not only as a reservoir for the imperial gardens, but a source of water for the surrounding agricultural areas; the Qianlong Emperor collectively named the three lakes "Kunming Lake" after the Kunming Pool constructed by Emperor Wu in the Han dynasty for the training of his navy. The earth excavated from the expansion of Kunming Lake was used to enlarge Jar Hill, renamed "Longevity Hill"; the Summer Palace, whose construction was completed in 1764 at a cost of over 4.8 million silver taels, was first named "Qingyiyuan". The design of the Summer Palace was based on a legend in Chinese mythology about three divine mountains in the East Sea, namely Penglai and Yingzhou; the three islands in Kunming Lake – Nanhu Island, Tuancheng Island and Zaojiantang Island – were built to represent the three mountains, while the lake itself was based on a blueprint of the West Lake in Hangzhou.
Besides, many architectural features in the palace were built to resemble or imitate various attractions around China. For example: the Phoenix Pier represented Lake Tai; the centrepiece of the Summer Palace was the "Great Temple of Gratitude and Longevity". There was a Long Corridor more than 700 metres long, furnished with artistic decorations; as the palace was not equipped with facilities for long-term staying and daily administration of state affairs, the Qianlong Emperor hardly lived there and only remained there for the day whenever he visited it. As the Qing Empire started declining after the reign of the Daoguang Emperor, the Summer Palace became more neglected and the architectural features on the three islands were ordered to be dismantled because the costs of maintenance we
Qianlong Dynasty is a Chinese television series based on the novel Qianlong Huangdi by Eryue He. The series was preceded by Yongzheng Dynasty in 1997 and Kangxi Dynasty in 2001, both of which were based on Eryue He's novels. Jiao Huang as the Qianlong Emperor Chen Rui as Heshen Zuo Xiaoqing as the Tenth Princess Yong Mei as Qinglian Li Xinmin as Liu Yong Qian Xuege as Zhu Gui Jia Yiping as Yongyan Sha Yi as Fengshen Yinde Su Mao as E'sente Wang Xiaozhu as Pudaozhao Jia Zhaoji as Liu Quan Wang Hui as Yongxin Liang Wei as Yonglian Liu Weiming as Ji Xiaolan Yang Hongtao as Gao Yuncong Xiu Zongdi as Wang Danwang Zeng Jing as Chen Huizu Zheng Yu as Qian Feng Li Yun as Empress Ula Nara Lisa Lu as Empress Dowager Chongqing Zhou Chuan as Hongzhou Yu Liwen as Su Ji Dong Ziwu as Hailancha Nige Mutu as Zhaohui Zhou Zongyin as Huang Kun Zhang Xiaopei / Zhang Lanlan as Huang Xing'er Anatoly Shanin as George Macartney Qianlong Dynasty on Baidu Baike
Empresses in the Palace
Empresses in the Palace, is a 2011 Chinese television series based on the Internet novel of the same name by Liu Lianzi. Directed by Zheng Xiaolong, it stars Sun Li in the title role of Zhen Huan; the series was first aired in China on 17 November 2011. The series centres on the schemes between Emperor Yongzheng’s concubines in the Imperial Palace during the Qing Dynasty; the innocent 17-year-old Zhen Huan is chosen for the Emperor’s harem, after entering the palace finds herself caught in the fierce infighting between the Empress and the concubines. Realising that the palace is a cruel and harsh place, she has to learn to survive on her own, sometimes by unorthodox methods. With her wits and talents, Huan fights her way through and wins the Emperor’s affection becoming the most influential concubine in the imperial palace, she ascends to unparalleled glory and wealth. However, she becomes a woman with few real friends at her side after she is rid of all her enemies. Along the way, she experiences a miscarriage due to mistreatment by Consort Hua, the second most powerful woman in the harem, second only to the Empress in rank.
However though Consort Hua's mistreatment of Huan contributed to her miscarriage, the primary reason for it was because of an ointment that she used to heal a wound. The ointment had ingredients that could induce a miscarriage, given to her by another concubine who Huan thought of as a sister, An Lingrong, the same girl she had once saved. Consort Hua is imprisoned in the Cold Palace, a place for discarded concubines, for her many misdeeds, is given a death sentence and told to commit suicide. Although Consort Hua refuses at first, Huan makes a visit and tells her that the Emperor has never loved her and only favoured her to please her brother, the general Nian Gengyao, she tells her the reason for her infertility was a special incense granted to her by the Emperor. In the end, Consort Hua commits suicide but refuses to do so in a way, decreed; the Empress plots against Huan, arranging things so that she ends up unknowingly wearing the Emperor’s most beloved late Chunyuan Empress's clothes. The Emperor is enraged by this and grounds her to her palace, where she becomes disillusioned with him.
At this time, she is pregnant, only days after she gives birth to a daughter she is transferred over to a nunnery where she becomes a nun. While there she falls in love with the Emperor's brother, Yunli. However, she comes back to the Forbidden Palace when she mistakenly believes that the Emperor's brother is dead and want to find out the truth of his death. In the palace, she gives birth to twins, fathered by Yunli, but she convinces all that they are the Emperor's, she adopts the fourth prince, looked down upon, as his mother was a lowly palace maid. She regains the love of the Emperor, she erodes the power of the Empress and kills An Lingrong who caused the death of Shen Meizhuang, her best friend in the imperial palace. The Empress confesses her crime and admits that she was the one who killed the late Chunyuan Empress and caused several miscarriages. However, the Empress, granted amnesty by the late Empress Dowager, is not killed but discarded. Towards the end, the Emperor suspects that Huan and Yunli, the seventeenth prince, of having an affair.
He orders her to kill him to prove that she has no feelings towards him. Yunli sacrifices himself for her, although she does not intentionally kill him, he dies. Following this incident, the Emperor makes Huan the leader of the Imperial Harem, a post that carries supreme authority in the inner palace; however the Emperor grows suspicious regarding the paternity of his children with Huan. In order to save her children, she and a concubine named Ye Lanyi plot against the Emperor, manage to kill him; as the senior most widow, she plays a crucial role in the succession and installs her adopted son, the fourth prince, upon the Dragon Throne instead of her own biological son as she does not want him to be burdened by the role of emperor. And the Empress died. In the end, Huan becomes the lonely Empress Dowager; the series had sweeping popularity in mainland China, that Sina termed it as "a whole town tunes in to watch when it airs on TV". It has been praised for being one of the best historical dramas broadcast in mainland China in recent years.
Critics attribute the success of the series to its delicately designed plot, fancy costumes reflecting a certain period of old China, an addictive storyline. Director Zheng said that the series is not a "simple ancient or idol love story", but a righteous historic values that reflects the cruelty of feudal society. In Japan, after just one week, the series amassed more than 39 million Japanese viewers. A Fuji TV employee revealed that after the first episode aired, the number of hits for their website multiplied five-fold, that they received many phone calls inquiring about the drama. Since the series airs at 5 p.m. on weekday evenings, it is popular among housewives and students. Taka Tsukazaki, the CEO of Asia Republic Entertainment said it best when he called the series an “an immortal masterpiece that will still give rise to discussion after five or ten years.”Through the series, the audience can learn much about ancient Chinese poetry, court etiquette, herbal medicine. The show features intensely sophisticated dialogue that has sparked trending quotes among its followers on the internet.
One particular popular phrase is "Jiàn rén jìu shì jiāo qíng (賤人就是矯
Western Qing tombs
The Western Qing tombs are located some 140 km southwest of Beijing in Yi County, Hebei Province. They constitute a necropolis that incorporates four royal mausoleums where seventy-eight royal members are buried; these include four emperors of the Qing dynasty and their empresses, imperial concubines and princesses, as well as other royal servants. Construction of the Western Qing tombs was initiated by the Yongzheng Emperor who broke with tradition and refused to be buried in the Eastern Qing tombs; some have speculated, though not proven, that as Yongzheng had illegally usurped the throne by eliminating his brothers, his motive to relocate his tomb to the Western Qing tombs was that he did not wish to be buried alongside his father the Kangxi Emperor. On his son, the Qianlong Emperor, decided that he should be buried in the Eastern Qing tombs and dictated that thereafter burials should alternate between the eastern and western sites, although this was not followed consistently; the first tomb, the Tai Ling, was completed in two years after the end of the Yongzheng reign.
The last imperial interment was in 1913. The four tombs in Western Qing Tombs are: Tailing for the Yongzheng Emperor Changling for the Jiaqing Emperor Muling for the Daoguang Emperor Chongling for the Guangxu Emperor The last emperor, Puyi, is buried in a public cemetery behind the Guangxu Emperor's tomb. While not part of the Western Qing Tombs, including Puyi would bring the number of emperors at the Western Tombs to five, the same number as those buried at the Eastern Tombs. Although the Western Qing tombs are a popular attraction they are not as well known as the Ming Dynasty Tombs. Eastern Qing tombs Imperial Tombs of the Ming and Qing Dynasties