- March 23, 1872 – Decree by Norton I that a suspension bridge be built as soon as convenient between Oakland Point and Goat Island, and then on to San Francisco.
- September 21, 1872 – Norton I ordered a survey to determine if a bridge or tunnel would be the best possible means to connect Oakland and San Francisco. He also ordered the arrest of the Board of Supervisors for ignoring his decrees.
Chinese emperors used to seem so old and far away to me. I knew about them from watching movies and these depictions did not leave much good impression on me. In terms of dictatorship, they were the worst of all leaders. They killed anyone, anytime, anywhere, and owned everything. Even a few seemingly righteous emperors turned bad after they had become corrupted by power. When they fell from power, Chinese emperors always brought down the whole country along with them, then blamed it all on their lovers (mostly women) around them. Kangxi (康熙) and Qianlong (乾隆) were the two strongest emperors for a little over 120 years. My Guan ancestors finally did accept the Qing Emperors, at least in the sense that they were working with them, not against them.
|The Imperial Ancestral Hall|
|The only Real face of Wu Zetian (武则天 625-705) in her hometown Sichuan and the only female emperor in China. She started Wu Ju Ren (武举人)|
|Wu Ju Ren Competition, the highest martial 武举人選拔圖|
|Photo of Empress Cixi (慈禧1835-1908) did not declare herself Emperor and she ended Wu Ju Ren (武举人)|
- Modernizing the old exam system
- Elimination of positions that provided a salary for no work
- Creation of a modern education system (added math and science instead of focusing on Confucian texts only)
- Changing the government from an absolute monarchy to constitutional monarchy with democracy.
- Applying principles of capitalism.
- Modernizing the military (learning from Western powers).
- Industrializing China.
Empress Cixi tried her best to keep the Chinese traditions and whatever she inherited from her ancestors. It was a great shame to her, as well as to all Chinese, that the Old Summer Palace was gone. She attempted to build a new Summer Palace, even if it meant taking the money from modernization of the navy (30 million taels of silver). She built a stone pavilion shaped like a boat at the Summer Palace -- the only boat that did not sink. For her construction was always better than destruction.
From the movies, I have always known that the Emperor killed three generations and ninth cousins if one family member was in trouble. Both sides of my surname’s ancestors ran for their lives throughout Chinese history and were killed for no good reason. I never knew the Emperor actually wrote this set of Imperial Edicts (皇帝制曰) by himself on a scroll of silk to award and promote each of our ancestors for three generations. Three ranks higher than the one good son they brought up, one for his father and mother, one for grandfather and grandmothers, and one for great-grandfather and great-grandmother. I would never believe it if it had not been for the black and white words printed with my ancestor’s name in his three imperial edicts (圣旨). I could picture when the Imperial Edicts were presented in front of them while they knelt on the ground “奉天承运，皇帝制曰.” This means that with heaven above, these are the Emperor’s Imperial Edicts. I did not understand it word for word, something about three ranks higher was clear. I was impressed.
After looking into the history, I found out that the Guangxu Emperor (光緒) was only 10 years old when he gave my family promotions. Therefore, they were from the Empress Dowager Cixi with the Guangxu Emperor (光緒)’s name. I am not sure what was on her mind when she decided to award my Guan family ancestors.
Close to the end of the Qing Dynasty, the Qing Empire had already fallen apart. The Guangxu Emperor died without an heir. Puyi (溥仪), who was only three years old, but had close ties to Empress Dowager Cixi, became the last Emperor of China. Puyi was expelled from the Forbidden City in 1924 by warlord Feng Yuxiang (冯玉祥). Sun Yat-sen (孫中山) then became the Founding Father of the Republic of China. Today, there is a question of where Sun Yat-sen was born, in China or Hawaii? He went to the same school that Barack Obama later attended. Legally, Sun Yat-sen was an American, but China and all the Chinese around the world accepted him as Chinese.