china edition


Summer Palace - Hall of Jade Ripples

The Hall of Jade Ripples was first used by Emperor Qianlong to attend to state affairs. It was also where Emperor Guangxu of the late Qing dynasty was kept under house arrest. This hall is a hallmark of the Reform Movement of 1898. Emperor Guangxu was Empress Dowager Cixi's nephew. After Emperor Tongzhi died, Empress Dowager Cixi made her nephew, who was at that time 4 years old a successor in order to continue her wielding of power behind the scenes.

When Emperor Guangxu was 19 years old, Empress Dowager Cixi relinquished power to him but continued to exert considerable influence. In 1898, the Reform Movement took place with the aim of sustaining the core principles of the Qing Dynasty while reforming outdated laws. The movement lasted for 103 days until it was suppressed by Empress Dowager Cixi. The emperor's 6 earnest reformists were beheaded and Emperor Guangxu was placed under house arrest which lasted for 10 years. All the back doors were sealed and a brick wall was put up behind the wooden partition on each side of the 2 annexes of the courtyard. Emperor Guangxu was closely watched by eunuchs. The wall remains intact for tourists to see.