THE EMPIRE IS OF MORE IMPORTANCE
Jin Quan. CHN 2002. Serial
Production: Zhejiang Great Wall Production and Haining Government
Based on: folktales and unofficial historical records of the Qing Empire (rather than historical research as was wrongly alleged)
Emperor Kangxi is getting on his years but has still to name his successor after deposing the previous crown prince. All the other princes are coveting the throne. Among them the fourth prince Yinzheng, the eighth the fourteenth prince have the best chances. Yinzheng, being more far-sighted, understands that to determine his heir Kangxi does not only take the capabilities of his sons into account but also those of his grandsons. As Yinzheng's fourth newborn child turns out to be a girl, he swaps it with Minister Chen Yuan Long's son realising that his other sons fail to impress Kangxi. The wise, old Minister Chen, who was told to keep the switch a secret, retires to his hometown, Haining.
The swapped son is named Hongli. A few years later he impresses Kangxi greatly with his intelligence, bravery and kindness. Kangxi dotes on Hongli and often talks to him about the art of ruling a country, about putting the affairs of the nation above everything else. Hongli tends to challenge Kangxi words whenever he does not agree with him, like why can't a ruler be a gentleman, be pure and upright as a lotus.
So when Kangxi lies on his deathbed, he appoints Yinzheng as the next king and orders him to make Hongli the crown prince on his ascension. Yinzheng subsequently succeeds the throne as Emperor Yongzheng. He governs the nation with utmost diligence and an iron-hand.
While Hongli is bright, Yongzheng feels guilty about handing over the Manchurian empire in the future to someone who is of Han origin. He prays to his ancestors that he would send Hongli to on an inspection tour to the Southern Region and orders a bunch of assassins to kill him. He says to his ancestors that should Hongli come back unscathed, it's the will of Heaven that he should be the next ruler. So Hongli journeys fourth to the Southern Region with his trusted bodyguard, Zhao Hui. Hongli, who has been hearing rumours surrounding his birth, takes this opportunity to visit his natural parents in Haining to find out the truth. However, Chen Yuan Long cleverly evades his questions and advises him to concentrate of the welfare of the nation. When Madam Chen sees him, her heart aches and would have acknowledged him had Chen Yuan Long not stopped her...
The Two Big Mysteries of Qing Dynasty
Reported by Feng Feng,
Shooting of the thirty episode series, The Empire is of More Importance, a joint production by Zhejiang Great Wall Production and Haining Government, has begun in 4th October in Haining.
There are two mysteries left behind by the legacy of The Qing Dynasty: One is Yongzheng's sudden departure from life, while the other relates to the birth of Emperor Qianlong. Several fables surrounding the two mysteries have been circulating among the people for hundreds of years. One fable says that Yongzheng was murdered by Lu Si-Niang. Yongzheng's tomb has never been opened, and people have been wondering if his body that lies inside the coffin was attached with a gold head, in order to verify if Lu Si-Niang had indeed sought vengeance on him.
According to Field History of Qing Dynasty, Qianglong was the son of Chen Yuan-Long of Haining. Emperor Kangxi chose the heir to his throne based not just on his son's capability to govern the Manchurian Empire, but also whether his grandson was of no lesser calibre, to ensure the Manchurians' everlasting reign over the country. Yongzheng's own son was a weakling and he surreptitiously arranged for his daughter to be swapped for Chen Yuan-Long's son, who became apple of Kangxi's eye. Thus, Yongzheng got to succeed the throne, and his "son", Hongli, subsequently became Emperor Qianlong. Later, when Qianlong went to southern part of the country four times, he stayed in Chen's house in Haining, leaving behind his calligraphy and also frequently also issued imperial decree making Haining a tax-free state.
The Empire is of More Importance is based on fables and historical records about these two mysteries, with its characters being modelled in some fashion after them. It carries a deeply sorrowful theme about putting the welfare of the country above anything else. It talks about the young Qianlong and a tragic goddess - Yongzheng's daughter, Yu-Niang, who was an abandoned princess. Through the tragic love story between Qianlong and Yu-Niang, it shows the goodness and evil of people's heart, the struggle between love and hatred, and the inability to control one's destiny even as the king and the princess, especially when Chen Yuan-Long eventually had to poison his own son, Cheng Bang-Guo, and wrote, with tears of blood, The Empire is of More Importance.
This drama serial features a strong cast that includes Wu Jing, Xu Huai-Shan, Wei Zong-Wan, Fan Bing-Bing and Liu Guan-Xiong and a top-notch director, Jing Quan. The producer, Zhao Rui-Yong, told the press that, while it draws references from folk legends, it's far from being a fictitious show. Rather it blends the real historical facts with fables centring upon the mysteries. He hopes to make it as good as the classic, Imperial Court of Yongzheng.(Source: wu-jing.bravepages.com