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About hartofseeker

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  1. Me mentioning the actual censorate records was a fun easter egg to bring up-- but thanks for re-emphasizing my point : in actual censorate records, the language QH's char used was applied to a different situation (the legal/systematic reformation pushed by Wang Anshi), by the same factions who argued over how to title Emperor YingZhong's birth father. I'm too lazy to translate the exact lines borrowed (people have posted them on weibo) but the lines are interesting because they illustrate the interests/role this odd-duck office that censorates played in the Chinese imperial system. The office itself does not give you any special insight to political maneuverings-- that's a matter of the official's wisdom in deciphering tricky rhetoric. QH is young, and as mentioned, too straightforward to completely recognize manipulators-- but the other integral nature to someone in this post is an unshakable moral compass despite political pressures (which QH did here, except he was too green to see that it was completely a set up. So... give him more experience with seeing the the crazy plots that people pull, he could very well become a great censorate). So let's go back to how this all went down in the first place. Minister Han brings up in Court Session 1 the topic that Emperor had kind of put off-- how to title his birth father. In that discussion, QH made the judgment call on the opposite stance based on very legitimate reasoning (which even MingLan said had stronger legitimacy than what the Emperor and Minister Han had proposed, though GTY replied that fighting for the title was Emperor's means of nudging Empress Dowager off court; i.e. getting the title was the means not the end). Here QH does that censorate job of reminding Emperor that his argument lacked legitimacy. Then (from QH's perspective), Minister Han suddenly presents a decree at Court Session 2 claiming that ED agreed to Emperor's illegitimate request, on a day that ED inexplicably was NOT in court. Requests by QH and other officials for clarification at this strange/questionable turn of events were ignored (which made it even more shady). Emperor ignored it because somehow his minister dropped what Emperor had wanted into his lap: ED has now relinquished regency (no longer attending court) and gave his birth father the requested title. Then ED calls QH to attendance and spins this story that she was forced by Minister Han to sign the decree (not written by her) under influence of alcohol. This is a highly possible strike 2 against Minister Han's integrity after the imperial seal incident. QH did the limited investigation he could do (check imperial cook records) and concludes that Minister Han did indeed trick ED-- which if true was totally immoral and he's obligated to call it out at court. Court Session 3, ED's acting, Minister Han/State Uncle Shen/Emperor's response by trying to hush-hush ED out of court only served to cement QH/conservative faction's suspicions. If QH was more savvy, he would have offered a middle-ground that (1) perhaps more time is needed to investigate the claims/find more evidence to make his suspicions legitimate at court, or (2) wait till ED feels better to revisit issue so the decree can be legitimized through her explicit approval. The correctness of the "means" is almost more important than the "end" when arguing about legitimacy-- so his censorate role obligates him to raise these issues. Alas, he was too young... and jumped the gun out of frustration at what he saw as a lawless court (trick people into signing stuff, coerce/scare them into keep silent at the unfairness, blatantly trying to sweep all of this under the rug, etc.) trying to implement what he saw as an illegitimate/immoral action (giving birth father Royal Father title and shafting/denying the adopted father what was due to him... I guess they couldn't give both dads the same titles or resources wouldn't allow such a thing i.e. temple construction etc). Again this is my guess at how QH was exposed to the series of events and hence I think it's reasonable that he behaved the way he did + he did his job. ED played a really good move that literally made the entire court fall for; she used QH's ministerial duties and character (willingness to fight to the end for what is just) to the "T"-- it's hard to fault him if his duties were exactly the tools that ED used in her scheme.... She hijacked a moral issue to use it for her political maneuverings
  2. There's a lot of discussion about QH's statements at court over the posthumous title issue... but I feel like I need to hop in and defend the poor dude. Things agreed upon: - QH is a very... straightforward person, not the type to scheme/manipulate and therefore less likely to follow/recognize the moves of a professional manipulator =P So it's hard-pressed for him to catch on to Empress Dowager's complex scheme-- gimme a break, even old and court-savvy Minister Han got played. To QH's credit, he went out of his way to review the imperial cook/dining records to "fact" check the Empress Dowagers claims before he made his proposition on court. But of course ED was already familiar with the rules of the game and completely played the system. Objectively, it is almost IMPOSSIBLE for QH to think otherwise that ED got cheated out of the decree (especially given Minister Han's previous track record of actually tricking ED into losing the imperial seal). NO ONE who tried would have been able to find concrete evidence to prove ED's statements false, and that's why Minister Han/State Uncle Shen realized that they fell into her trap and were rhetorically screwed. Please also understand QH's ministerial role: 諫議大夫 (i.e. head of Dept of Censors and Remonstrance).The role's JOB DESCRIPTION is to provide moral guidance by calling out on any crooked behavior at the court, with legitimacy to call out even the Emperor himself. Basically it's a job where if you do it well/like you're supposed to, you're fated to be public enemy. That's why he told the servant to relay to his mom: our government does not kill 言官 (censors: the class of office that he's in, who are obligated to speak up on moral issues), so don't worry too much for my safety. All I can say was that ED set the whole court up really badly.... and QH maintained his integrity/did his job like he was supposed to, including asking the emperor to fire him as a final appeal-- on grounds of FAILING his job at convincing the emperor to recognize the error and for failing to protect him from the influence of "immoral ministers". Unfortunate and infuriating for the well-intended "good guys" (including poor QH), but not out of line/senseless/personal (spite against GTY). And probably should give the poor guy some credit-- that's a job that you constantly have to stick your neck out (risk offending a tyrant and get your head chopped off), and QH had the balls to keep his neck out all the way. This arc is actually an adaptation of a famous historical occurrence during the Song Dynasty under Emperor YingZhong-- and it was after this incident that the Dept of Censors and Remonstrance was intentionally weakened as part of the movement to centralize imperial power. In fact, the majority of QH's lines during the ultimatum were taken from court records of discussions between the "conservatives" and "reformists" around this time (though the scope of their arguments focused on huge legal reforms being pushed by Wang Anshi).
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