During 1898 enlightened Qing Dynasty statesman tried to introduce Western technology and modernize China while keeping the Qing dynasty intact. Ignoring conservatives in his court, the 27-year-old Emperor Guangxu launched a reform movement called Hundred Day Reform in 1898 in which he set about abolishing institutions that had held back China's progress.
from the Reform Period, for a fourth civil ranking official, the applique golden orange bird looking at the sun amongst stylised cloud bands, mauve and blue bats on a black satin ground, lined with typical mid blue silk, 9 in or 23 cm square
As part of his modernization campaign he hoped to establish railways and ports, improve factories, translate Western books, educate the masses and get rid of bigoted conservatism and impractical customs. At the end of the 19th century, most of the railways, mines and transport in China had been built for foreigners for their own use. The reforms failed when the Empress Dowager Cixi staged a palace coup and Emperor Guangxu was imprisoned in the Hall of Impregnating Vitality on an artificial island in the Forbidden City, where he studied English and international affairs but never again wielded any power. The coup took place on September 21, 1898 and was carried out by Manchu generals and members of the Manchurian elite. Once installed as the leader of China, the Empress Dowager cancelled all the reforms except those involving the military.
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