May 24, 2019

Demise of China’s Last Imperial Brother

By Duke Michael of Mecklenburg & Baron Henri Estramant.


Half-brother of China’s last emperor, Puyi, passed away on 10 April 2015 at the age of 97. The late Prince Puren took the commoner name Jin Youzhi in republican China. He was the son of The Prince Chun and his secondary consort Lady Denggiya whereas The Xuantong Emperor (Puyi) was the eldest son by his primary wife, The Princess Consort Chun, Youlan. 

HIH Prince Puren

His Imperial Highness Prince Puren

After Puyi’s own death back in 1967, Prince Puren became the unofficial figurehead of the Clan Aisin-Gioro (Qing Dynasty) which ruled China from 1644 to 1912, and de jure again briefly in 1917. Nevertheless he never made any imperial claims. Most members now use the surname “Jin” meaning “gold” in Chinese just as “Aisin” signifies the same in the Manchu language. The Qing Dynasty is of Manchu ethnicity. 

Puren used to be a member of the 7th, 8th and 9th Beijing Committee of Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) as well as a researcher at Beijing’s Culture and History Research Institution. In 1947, with the support of his father, the former Prince Chun (commoner name Jin Zaifeng), Prince Puren established Jingye Primary School in Beijing.

After he donated all his fortune to the country in 1957, he became a teacher at Xibanqiao Elementary School and Changqiao Primary School in Beijing until he retired in 1968. 

Prince Puren is survived by three sons, and two daughters. His eldest son Prince Yuzhang (Ing. Jin Yuzhang) becomes the Head of the Clan Aisin-Gioro. 

The concept of “kowtow diplomacy” is a legacy of Imperial China. Although the term is now mostly derogatory for a country being too servile to a foreign power, in Imperial China kowtowing was the utmost form sign of respect for The Emperor, Son of Heaven, and thus “ruler of everything under heaven”. China’s “Mandate from Heaven” has its equivalent in the European dei gratia for the continent’s sovereigns. 



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