Yongzheng Dynasty

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Yongzheng Dynasty
Yongzheng Dynasty.jpg
DVD cover art
Chinese 雍正王朝
Mandarin Yōngzhèng Wángcháo
GenreHistorical drama
Based onYongzheng Da Di
by Eryue He
Screenplay byLiu Heping
Directed by Hu Mei
Presented byYang Weiguang
Liu Wenwu
Cui Zengfu
Starring Tang Guoqiang
Jiao Huang
Xu Min
Wang Huichun
Wang Hui
Du Yulu
Jiang Guangyu
Du Zhiguo
Opening themeDe Minxin Zhe De Tianxia (得民心者得天下) performed by Liu Huan
Composer(s)Xu Peidong
Country of originChina
Original language(s)Mandarin
No. of episodes44
Executive producer(s)Zhao Huayong
Zheng Jiaming
Producer(s)Liu Wenwu
Feng Ji
Su Bin
Luo Hao
Production location(s)China
CinematographyChi Xiaoning
Zhang Yuefu
Editor(s)Liu Miaomiao
Wu Zhaolong
Running time45 minutes per episode
Production company(s)
  • CCTV
  • Changsha TV
  • Beijing Tongdao Culture Development
Original network CCTV
First shown in1999
Followed by Qianlong Dynasty (2002)
Related shows Li Wei the Magistrate (2001)
Li Wei the Magistrate II (2004)

Yongzheng Dynasty is a 1999 Chinese historical television series starring Tang Guoqiang and Jiao Huang. The series, spanning 44 episodes, occupied the CCTV-1 prime time slot; after its premiere, there have been many re-runs of the show on television networks in mainland China, Taiwan and Hong Kong. The series was adapted from Eryue He's historical novels, which are loosely based on historical events in the reigns of the Kangxi and Yongzheng Emperors in the Qing dynasty (1644–1911). The series was followed by a 2001 prequel, Kangxi Dynasty , and a 2002 sequel, Qianlong Dynasty , both of which were also based on Eryue He's novels.


Yongzheng Dynasty was one of the most watched television series in mainland China in the 1990s and remains one of the "classics" among Chinese historical television dramas. It is among the highest rated CCTV-1 prime time historical dramas in history. [1] The series roughly covers Chinese history from 1705, some 15 years prior to the Yongzheng Emperor's accession to the throne, to the emperor's death in 1735. About one third of the content is devoted to the struggle among the Kangxi Emperor's sons for the succession to their father's throne.

Yongzheng Dynasty received critical acclaim. The major themes covered in the series include loyalty and betrayal, fratricide, political corruption, and the centralisation of power.


Towards the end of the reign of the Kangxi Emperor (r. 1661–1722) in the Qing dynasty, the emperor's talented and ambitious sons vie for the coveted throne. Palace intrigue is rife as complex networks of loyalty emerge in the battle for succession. Eventually, the Fourth Prince, Yinzhen, emerges victorious; he becomes known as the Yongzheng Emperor. Many people are surprised as to why the Kangxi Emperor chose Yinzhen over his other likely heirs: Second Prince Yinreng, who has been Crown Prince for almost 40 years; Third Prince Yinzhi, who excels in literary arts; Eighth Prince Yinsi, who has a reputation for being virtuous; 14th Prince Yinti, the warrior-prince favoured by his father.

Yinzhen, who is nicknamed "Stern Prince", was not seen as a strong candidate by the imperial court to succeed his father. Previously, he had incited victims of natural disasters in Jiangnan to create a disturbance; to help these victims, he prepared a "Feast at Hong Gate" to extort more than two million silver taels from rich merchants and provincial officials; in pursuing imperial treasury debts, he forced a senior official to commit suicide and caused nobles to sell their assets on the streets; he watched his brothers compete with each other until they were exhausted before he joined the fray; he used Nian Gengyao to cause Yinreng to lose his position as Crown Prince in a corruption scandal, however, superficially, he maintained good relations with Yinreng. In the ensuing struggle after Yinreng is removed for a second time as Crown Prince, the Kangxi Emperor scolds Yinsi for vying for the throne, and orders Yinxiang to be imprisoned. The Kangxi Emperor then appoints Yinti as border pacification general-in-chief.

As the ailing Kangxi Emperor lays on his deathbed, he assembles seven of his sons to his deathbed, including Yinsi and Yinzhen. Prior to their father's death, Yinzhen releases Yinxiang from captivity and sends him to take control of Fengtai Commandery on the outskirts of Beijing. The Kangxi Emperor speaks to Yinzhen in private, telling him he intends to pass on the throne to him, then dies. Longkodo reads the Kangxi Emperor's final edict and declares Yinzhen the new Emperor.

The Yongzheng Emperor's rule was seen as authoritarian and vigorous, but efficient. Upon ascending the throne, he made Yinsi and Yinxiang his top advisors. His first priority was to pursue debts owed to the state treasury by officials. He meted out harsh punishments to officials found guilty of corruption and bribery. He also used the confiscated assets and properties from corrupt officials to finance disaster relief efforts and his military campaigns in northwestern China. He grows distant to some of his most trusted advisers, including Nian Gengyao and Longkodo. Both Nian and Longkodo eventually fall out of the emperor's favour. The emperor's 13th brother Yinxiang dies while his eighth brother Yinsi and ninth brother Yintang are expelled from the imperial clan and become commoners.

In 1735, the hardworking Yongzheng Emperor dies suddenly from what appears to be over-exhaustion. He is succeeded by his son, Hongli, who becomes known as the Qianlong Emperor. Before Hongli becomes the emperor, the Yongzheng Emperor forces another of his sons, Hongshi, to commit suicide so as to prevent Hongshi from fighting with Hongli for the throne.


Main cast
Other cast
Note: Some cast members played multiple roles.

Historical accuracy

Other princes


The music for the series was composed by Xu Peidong.

  1. De Minxin Zhe De Tianxia (得民心者得天下; The One Who Wins the Hearts of the People Gains the Empire) performed by Liu Huan
  2. Mutong (牧童; Shepherd Boy) performed by Xu Peidong
  3. Shengong (深宫; Inner Palace)
  4. Qingzhai (情债; Emotional Debt)
  5. Shangchao (上朝; Attending Court)
  6. Chuzheng (出征; Embarking on a Military Campaign)
  7. Qingyuan (情缘; Predestined Romance)
  8. Shijian (事件; Incident)
  9. Shenmi (神秘; Mysterious)
  10. Qingshang (情殇; Dead Romance)
  11. Minsu (民俗; Popular Custom)
  12. Qingyuan (情怨; Emotional Blame)
  13. Xingdong (行动; Action)
  14. Kaixuan (凯旋; Triumphant Return)
  15. Shiguan (史观; Historical Perspective)

Awards and nominations

Related Research Articles

Kangxi Emperor 4th Emperor of the Qing dynasty

The Kangxi Emperor, given name Xuanye, was the fourth Emperor of the Qing dynasty, and the second Qing emperor to rule over China proper.

Yongzheng Emperor Qing Dynasty Emperor

The Yongzheng Emperor, born Yinzhen, was the fifth Emperor of the Qing dynasty, and the third Qing emperor to rule over China proper, reigned from 1722 to 1735. A hard-working ruler, the Yongzheng Emperor's main goal was to create an effective government at minimal expense. Like his father, the Kangxi Emperor, the Yongzheng Emperor used military force to preserve the dynasty's position. His reign was known for being despotic, efficient, and vigorous.

Yunti, Prince Xun Prince Xun of the Second Rank

Yunti, born Yinzhen and also known as Yinti before 1722, formally known as Prince Xun, was a Manchu prince and military general of the Qing dynasty.

Yunreng Crown Prince Yinreng

Yunreng, born Yinreng, was a Manchu prince of the Qing dynasty. He was the second among the Kangxi Emperor's sons to survive into adulthood and was designated as Crown Prince for two terms between 1675 and 1712 before being deposed. He was posthumously honoured as Prince Limi of the First Rank.

Yunsi Prince Lian of the First Rank

Yunsi, born Yinsi, was a Manchu prince of the Qing dynasty in China. The eighth son of the Kangxi Emperor, Yunsi was a pivotal figure in the power struggle over the succession to his father's throne. Yunsi was believed to be favoured by most officials in the imperial court to be the next emperor but ultimately lost the struggle to his fourth brother Yinzhen, who became the Yongzheng Emperor.

Yinxiang, Prince Yi Prince Yi of the First Rank

Yinxiang, formally known as Prince Yi, was a Manchu prince of the Qing dynasty. The thirteenth son of the Kangxi Emperor, Yinxiang was a major ally of his brother Yinzhen during the latter's struggle for the succession of the throne. He was made a qinwang during Yongzheng's reign and became one of his closest advisors. He died eight years into the reign of the Yongzheng Emperor and was memorialized with top honours by the emperor. When he died, his title was granted "iron-cap" status and became perpetually inheritable, one of the only twelve such princes in Qing dynasty history.

Nian Gengyao Chinese general

Nian Gengyao, courtesy name Lianggong, was a Chinese military commander of the Qing dynasty. He was born a member of the Han Chinese Bordered Yellow Banner and had extensive military experience on the western frontier of the Qing Empire. Nian became commander-in-chief of the Qing armies in the northwest; and helped to incorporate the region of what is now Qinghai into the Qing Empire.

Hongshi was a Manchu prince of the Qing dynasty. Born to the ruling Aisin Gioro clan as the third son of the Yongzheng Emperor, he was banished from the imperial clan in 1725, ostensibly for supporting his uncle Yunsi, a political rival of his father. He died in disgrace in 1727 but was later posthumously restored to the imperial clan by his younger brother, the Qianlong Emperor.

Yunzhi, Prince Cheng Prince Cheng of the Second Rank

Yinzhi, also known as Yunzhi, was a Manchu prince of the Qing Dynasty.

Longkodo was an eminent Manchu court official who lived in the Qing dynasty. He was from the Tunggiya clan, which was under the Bordered Yellow Banner. His period of fame lasted from the late Kangxi era to the early Yongzheng era, perhaps most famous for delivering the Kangxi Emperor's disputed will.

Yuntang Beizi

Yuntang, born Yintang, was a Manchu prince of the Qing dynasty. He was the ninth son of the Kangxi Emperor and an ally of his eighth brother Yunsi, who was the main rival to their fourth brother Yinzhen in the power struggle over the succession. In 1722, Yinzhen succeeded their father and became historically known as the Yongzheng Emperor, after which he started purging his former rivals. In 1725, the Yongzheng Emperor stripped Yuntang off his beizi title, banished him from the Aisin Gioro clan, and imprisoned him in Baoding. Yuntang died under mysterious circumstances later. In 1778, the Qianlong Emperor, who succeeded the Yongzheng Emperor, posthumously rehabilitated Yuntang and restored him to the Aisin Gioro clan.

Yinzhi, also known as Yunzhi, formally known as Prince Zhi of the Second Rank between 1698 and 1708, was a Manchu prince of the Qing dynasty.

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