Ch'ien-lung (chyĕnˈ-lōngˈ) [key], 1711–99, reign title of the fourth emperor (1735–96) of the Ch'ing dynasty, whose given name was Hung-li. Under his vigorous military policy, China attained its maximum territorial expanse; Xinjiang in the west was conquered, and Myanmar and Annam in the south were forced to recognize Chinese suzerainty. He restricted Western merchants to Guangzhou (Canton) in 1759, and he rejected British overtures for expanded trade and diplomatic ties in 1793. Ch'ien-lung was a patron of scholarship and the arts; some of China's finest porcelain and cloisonné were produced for his collections, and vast anthologies were edited, partly to censor seditious references to the Manchus. Despite the surface splendor of cultural achievement and imperial expansion, his reign in later years was characterized by growing official corruption, loss of military efficiency, and fiscal imbalance.
See S. A. Hedin, Jehol: City of the Emperors (1932); L. C. Goodrich, The Literary Inquisition of Ch'ien Lung (1935); E. H. Pritchard, The Crucial Years of Early Anglo-Chinese Relations, 1750–1800 (1936); H. L. Kahn, Monarchy in the Emperor's Eyes (1971).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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