The Re-discovery of the "Imperial Claimant" Case at Wuchang, 1900
|關鍵字:||光緒帝;己亥建儲;武昌「假光緒案」;作為公共空間的新式報刊;政治傳聞;秘密會社;Emperor Guangxu (of Qing China);the declaration of Guangxu’s successor (on Jan.24, 1900);the “Imperial Claimant” case at Wuchang;news media (as a “budding public space”);political rumors;secret societies||公開日期:||2011||摘要:||戊戌變法失敗之後，光緒帝的人身安全及地位隨即陷入危機，廢立傳聞不斷；己亥年底清廷宣布建儲（為同治帝立嗣）普遍被認為是廢黜光緒帝的預備動作，引發國內外強烈反對。當清廷加緊緝拿維新人士，結合義和團排外，將中國陷入危急存亡關頭，國內外維新、革命各派也正在積極策劃武裝勤王行動，企圖救出光緒帝並落實維新改革。隨著清廷的所作所為使自身威信陷於破產，庚子年（特別是義和團事件）也成為近代中國政治文化的重要轉捩點。本研究試圖透過重新發掘己亥、庚子之交，清廷立儲之際發生於湖北武昌的一起神秘人物自稱光緒帝出亡事件，從這次事件的來龍去脈，國內外多家報刊對此事的論述，以及部分維新人士對此事的評斷入手，探索晚清政治文化在戊戌至庚子之間的「將變未變之際」究竟如何運行；立場各異的新式報刊對相關時事的詮釋與論戰，維新人士對此事的定義，新式報刊媒體作為「萌芽中的公共空間」帶動討論，並進一步型塑事件重要性的力量，以至於作為訊息的傳聞本身直接傳達的社會預期心理，則是本研究聚焦之所在。本研究也嘗試討論對於事件的不同觀察角度在日後所衍生的多種敘事版本，以及會黨在事件及政局轉變中可能扮演的角色。
After the coup d’etat of 1898 ended the “One Hundred Day Reform”, the situation and personal safety of Emperor Guangxu (1871-1908, r. 1875-1908) of Qing China became critical, with rumors about deposition of the Emperor widely spread; when the Qing regime declared a successor to the throne (as an adopted heir for the late Emperor Tongzhi) at the end of the 25th year of Guangxu period (Jan. 24, 1900), it was generally regarded as the first step of the deposition, and strong opposition at home and abroad arose. While the Qing regime hardened their persecution of the reform-minded intellectuals at home, and started using the Boxers in Northern China to fight against foreign powers, jeopardizing China’s very existence, many reformist and revolutionary activists also started to cooperate for a united uprising to “rescue the emperor” (qin wang, 勤王) and carry on the modern reform. With the Qing regime gradually destroying her prestige and integrity with her own action, the year 1900 (especially the Boxer Uprising) became a watershed of modern Chinese political culture. Through the re-discovery of a mysterious “Imperial Claimant” case at Wuchang, Hubei Province from the winter of 1899 to the spring of 1900 (a mysterious man claimed himself as the Emperor fleeing in disguise), this research tries to locate the course of this case, analyze the varied discourse about it by several newspapers and magazines at home and abroad (along with the judgement by some reformist intellectuals), and focus them into several larger contexts: the political standings of and debates between these newspapers and magazines, the long-standing rumors about the safety of the Emperor and their long roots in the Late Qing power structure, the power of news media as a “budding public space” to stimulate discussion and debate, even determine the meaning and importance of an event by interpretation; and the power of rumors as message to reflect certain kinds of social anxiety and anticipation. Several later versions of interpretation about this event stemmed from different analytical angles, and the role played by secret societies in this case and during the turbulant period between 1898 and 1900, also need to be analyzed. With these explorations, this research hopes to reach a fuller and more multi-layered grasp and understanding to the operation of Late Qing political culture in this turbulent period, on “the eve of transformation”.
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