Imperial Edict and Ordinance

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In ancient times, "edicts" are all top-to-bottom orders. After the Qin and Han Dynasties, only orders from the Emperor could be called "Edicts". According to The Rules and Systems in Guangxu Era , "Edicts are whenever there are major announcements to the public and the Emperor's subjects." Matters worthy of announcing an Edict for include imperial enthronement, grand amnesty, condolense titles, and other major events. Will Edicts are announced when an Emperor passes away; and Ordinances usually occur as the Wills of a deceasing Empress Dowager. Therefore, the imperial announcements coming from the Emperor are called "Edicts" while the ones coming from the Father of an Emperor, the Great Empress Dowager, and the Empress Dowager are called "Ordinances". Despite the difference in name, both Edicts and Ordinances are imperial announcements to the public. Such imperial announcements are written down and revised by the Grand Secretariat in black ink on yellow paper, sealed with "The Emperor's Seal", and are announced everywhere in China.

Proclamation of the Ascension to the Throne of the Shunzhi Emperor

Item No.
On November 8, 1644, the Shunzhi emperor issued this edict proclaiming his ascension to the throne and the establishment of the Qing dynasty.

Last Testament of the K'ang-hsi Emperor

Item No.
On December 19, 1722 (Year 61 of Kangxi), Emperor Kangxi's Will Edict is promulgated. The Will states: "By the Mandate of Heaven, the Emperor wishes to establish the virtuous and gracious Yong Lord and fourth son of the Emperor, Yinzhen, as the next Emperor. Let this be known around the world." This Will has since become the key evidence in the discussion about whether Emperor Yongzheng rightfully became the Emperor. Some people say that Yongzheng did rightfully become the Emperor since there is a huge difference between the theory of "Establish the Fourteenth son" and the clear text "Yong Lord and fourth son of the Emperor, Yinzhen". However, some people believe that this Will Edict was fabricated by Yongzheng, thus justifying their argument. (Registration Number: 037033)

Last Testament of the Shunzhi Emperor

Item No.
On February 5, 1661 (Year 18 of Shunzhi), Emperor Shunzhi passed away in the Yangxin Palace due to polio and his Will Edict is promulgated. The Will Edict self-deprecates about the Emperor's own lack of obedience to traditions, but still disobeys the traditions and assigns four non-royal bureaucrats as Regent Bureaucrats. Hence, it is conventionally recognized as a product of political conflict at the time rather than Emperor Shunzhi's actual Will. (Registration Number: 087506)