QING DYNASTY POLITICS 4
The final two decades of Qianlong’s’ reign, were marked by extravagance, poor
management, and corruption. Qianlong had identified a young officer and wanted to make him
the most powerful officer in the empire named Heshen (Hongxing & Zhang, 2002). Despite
marrying the emperors’ favorite daughter and being assigned considerable responsibilities,
Heshen was hungry for power and wealth. This prompted the empire to be corrupt and full of
nepotism leading to permanent effects on the success of the empire (Elliot, 2007). However,
Heshen did not succeed Qianlong as the emperor since the rightful heir was Jiaqing. The new
emperor waited until Qianlong to die so that Heshen could be held accountable for his actions.
After the death of the emperor, Heshen was relieved of his duties; his property was recovered
and asked to commit suicide due to his crimes.
Having reigned for 60 years, Qianlong finally stepped down. This was a tribute to
Kiangxi, his grandfather who had ruled for 61 years. Despite having a young successor called
Heshen, the emperor was succeeded by Jiaqing his 15th son who was known as Yongyan. The
new emperor was crowned during the Chinese New Year celebrations where he was upheld in
the palace until the death of the old emperor (Chang, 2007). All this time until his death,
Qianlong held unto the power as the absolute leader of the Qing dynasty until his death 4 years
later. He is therefore recorded as the longest serving emperor of the Qing Dynasty. After his
death, he was buried in a tomb as Yuling, north-east of Beijing.
Political factors for the rise of Qing dynasty during Qianlong reign
The Emperor and the Mandate of Heaven
The Qing structure of government was based on a strong centralized government led by
an emperor. The emperor was assisted by his relatives who made up the ruling family and