There are so many things that textbooks don’t say

It is important to understand history by looking at the whole picture, not just one angle and get hysterical with anger.

For example, in The Japanese Qing War, the Qing Dynasty was defeated and sent Chancellor Li Hongzhang to negotiate peace with the famous Japanese Minister Ito Hirobumi at Maguan, agreeing to cede Korea and Taiwan. During the negotiations, not only Ito aggressive, Li Hongzhang also by the Japanese patriotic youth shot head-on, a face is blood, the Japanese government first aid, for the first Time with the German import of X-ray machine for Li Hongzhang examination of injuries.

Li Hongzhang make good use of the bitter trick, out of the hospital, face bandaged back to the negotiating table, so that foreign journalists take pictures. As a result, Ito Hirobumi was sympathetic and reduced his claim to 300 million taels of silver to 200 million.

Three years later, when Kang Youwei launched the Hundred Days Reform, the Guangxu Emperor invited Ito Hirobumi to the Forbidden City after inviting Henry, the German king’s brother, to Beijing, and humbly asked Ito for advice on the success of the Meiji Restoration.

The dialogue was recorded in the archives of both sides. Guangxu said: “Our country and your country are on the same continent, and we are very close to each other. Now that we are also going to change the law, your Excellency may inform the Minister of the Premier’s Office of the order of the change in detail.”

Ito Hirobumi, the recorder of the Qing chamber, replied, “By the order of the great emperor, if I receive a question from the king’s minister, I will tell you everything that is beneficial to your country, to the best of my knowledge.” The record of Ito’s attaché is more detailed, and there is a description of the scene: “(At this time The Emperor whispered with Prince Qing to move time) emperor: your country and our country on the same continent, closer to each other. I hope that when you meet with the Minister of the General Administration, you will tell me the order and method of reform. Ito replied: “I respectfully comply with the order. If I am asked by the Minister of State on another day, I will tell you what I know.” The meaning is: Japan is willing to help you, I hope this is not a diplomatic gesture, please appoint a minister of affairs, and I will tell you the substantive method when I establish the channel after I return to China.

This interaction, let today’s Hong Kong students read, will find it strange: Ito Hirobumi is clearly an imperialist leader who has invaded China and humiliated the Qing Dynasty, ceding land and taking money, why did the Guangxu Emperor so lowly to invite people to be teachers of the change of law?

Guangxu did have plans to hire Ito Hirobumi as a consultant. Ito Hirobumi also planned to go to Qing after his retirement. The records of the Qing court are not complete because Guangxu of course also said a lot of complimentary words to Ito Hirobumi. The clerical officials who recorded it felt that it was too humiliating. It was only the day after this meeting that the coup took place, and the Western Empress Dowager and Guangxu officially turned against each other, and Guangxu was completely taken from power. Liang Qichao fled to the Japanese consulate. Ito Hirobumi personally ordered a protective rescue and transfer to Japan for refuge.

The other side of history records, was Guangxu a magnificent British lord with a big heart? Or the matter is red in the face? Or is this a side of the truth that you have to pretend not to know today, and learn never to blush?