Yongzheng Emperor


Yongzheng Emperor : biography

13 December 1678 – 8 October 1735


  • Empress Xiaojingxian (孝敬憲皇后; Manchu: Hiyoošungga Ginggun Temgetulehe Hūwanghu; 1681–1731) of the Ulanara clan.
  • Empress Xiaoshengxian (孝聖憲皇后; Manchu: Hiyoošungga Enduringge Temgetulehe Hūwanghu; 1693–1777) of the Niohuru clan, mother of Hongli (the Qianlong Emperor).
  • Imperial Noble Consort Dunsu (敦肅皇貴妃; d. 1725), sister of Nian Gengyao; bore three sons and a daughter, none of whom survived.
  • Imperial Noble Consort Chunque (:zh:純愨皇貴妃; 1689–1784) née Geng, mother of Hongzhou; daughter of Geng Degin (耿德金).
  • Consort Qi (:zh:齊妃; d. 1737) née Li.
  • Consort Qian (謙妃; 1714–1767) née Liu; bore Yongzheng’s youngest son Hongyan. Daughter of Liu Man (劉滿).
  • Consort Ning (寧妃; d. 1734), née Wu, was the daughter of Wu Zhuguo (武柱國). Posthumously granted the title of Consort Ning in 1734.
  • Imperial Concubine Mao (懋嬪 (雍正帝); d. 1730), née Song, bore two daughters. Daughter of Jinzhu (金柱).
  • Noble Lady Guo (郭貴人; d. 1786)
  • Noble Lady Li (李貴人; d. 1760), née Li.
  • Noble Lady An (安貴人; d. 1750)
  • Noble Lady Hai (海貴人; d. 1761)
  • Noble Lady Zhang (張貴人; d. 1735)Draft history of the Qing dynasty ()


  • Honghui (弘暉; 1697–1704), posthumously granted title of Prince Duan of the First Rank (端親王) by the Qianlong Emperor
  • Hongpan (弘昐; 1697–1699)
  • Hongyun (弘昀; 1700–1710)
  • Hongshi (弘時; 1704–1726)
  • Hongli (弘曆; 1711–1799), the Qianlong Emperor
  • Hongzhou (弘晝; 1712–1770), Prince Hegong of the First Rank (和恭親王)
  • Fuyi (福宜; 1720–1721)
  • Fuhui (福惠; 1721–1728), posthumously the title of Prince Huai of the First Rank (懷親王)
  • Fupei (福沛; 1723)
  • Hongyan (弘曕; 1733–1765): Prince Guogong of the Second Rank (果恭郡王)


  • Oldest daughter (1695)
  • Heshuo Princess Huaike (和碩懷恪公主; 1695–1717)
  • Third daughter (1706)
  • Fourth daughter (1715–1717)
  • Foster daughters:
    • Heshuo Princess Shushen (和碩淑慎公主; 1708–1784), sixth daughter of Yunreng.
    • Heshuo Princess Hehui (和碩和惠公主; 1714–1731), fourth daughter of Yunxiang.
    • Heshuo Princess Duanrou (和碩端柔公主; 1714–1754), eldest daughter of Yunlu (允祿).

Disputed succession

In 1712, the Kangxi Emperor removed his second son, Yinreng, as successor to the throne and did not designate an heir in his place. This led to a competition amongst sons of the Emperor for the position of crown prince. The most promising candidates were Yinzhi, Yinzhen, Yinsi, and Yinti (the third, fourth, eighth and fourteenth Imperial Princes respectively). Of the princes, Yinsi had the most support from the mandarins, but was disfavoured by Kangxi himself. Yinzhen had supported Yinreng prior to the latter’s demise, and did not build a large political base until the final years of Kangxi’s reign. When the Emperor died in December 1722, the field of contenders was reduced to three princes after Yinsi pledged his support to the 14th prince, Yinti.Feng, Erkang. A Biography of Yongzheng () China Publishing Group, People’s Publishing House, Beijing: 2004. ISBN 7-01-004192-X

At the time of the Kangxi Emperor’s death, Yinti, as border-pacification general-in-chief (), was at war in the northwest in what is present-day Xinjiang. Some historians believe that this implied Kangxi’s favouring Yinti for succession, and was training the next emperor in military affairs; others maintain that Kangxi intended to keep Yinti a large distance away from the capital to ensure a peaceful succession for Yinzhen. It was Yinzhen who nominated Yinti for the post — not Yinsi, with whom Yinti was closely affiliated.

The official record, which may have been modified by Yongzheng for political purposes, states that on 20 December 1722 the ailing Kangxi Emperor called seven of his sons and the general commandant of the Peking gendarmerie, Longkodo, to his bedside; Longkodo read the will, and declared that Yinzhen succeed the emperor on the throne. Some evidence has suggested that Yinzhen contacted Longkodo months before the will was read in preparation for his succession by military means, although in their official capacities frequent encounters were expected. Legend has it that Yongzheng changed Kangxi’s will by adding strokes and modifying characters. The best-known account says that Yongzheng changed "fourteen" ( → shísì) to "four" ( → yúsì); others say it was "fourteen" to "fourth" ( → dìsì). While widely accepted, there is little supporting evidence—especially considering that the character was not widely used during the Qing Dynasty; on official documents, () is used. Secondly, Qing tradition insists that the will was done in both Manchu and Chinese; Manchu writing, however, is more intricate and (in this case) impossible to modify. Furthermore, princes in the Qing Dynasty are referred to as "the Emperor’s son", in the order which they were born (for example, "the emperor’s fourth son": ). Therefore, there is doubt that Yinzhen changed the will to ascend to the throne.