Zaiyi (26 August 1856 – 24 November 1922) was a Manchu prince and statesman of the late qing dynasty. His title was Prince Duan (or Prince Tuan in Wades-Giles), or more formally Prince Duan of the Second Rank (端郡王). He is best known as one of the leaders of the Boxer Rebellion.

Zaiyi was born of the Manchu Aisin Gioro clan as the second son of Yicong. His family was under the Bordered White Banner of the Eight Banners. He was adopted by Yizhi (奕誌), Prince Rui of the Second Rank, because the latter had no heir. In 1861 Zaiyi inherited Yizhi's princely title but the title was renamed to "Prince Duan of the Second Rank" (端郡王).

An advisor and close ally of Empress Dowager Cixi, whose niece he married, Zaiyi was an opponent of the Hundred Days Reform. After the reformist movement was crushed, Zaiyi had his son Pujun (溥儁) designated as heir to the Tongzhi Emperor, and thus heir presumptive to Tongzhi's successor, the Guangxu Emperor

A leading conservative and strongly anti-foreign politician, Zaiyi was one of the main supporters of the Righteous Harmony Society (or "Boxers") during the Boxer Rebellion, and arranged a meeting between Empress Dowager Cixi and Boxer leader Cao Futian. In 1899, Zaiyi set up his own armed forces, known as the Tiger and Divine Corps. His forces were among the several modernized Manchu banner forces. During the crisis in June 1900, he was appointed as head of the Zongli Yamen. He commanded the Boxers who besieged the Beitang cathedral. He was also appointed as General in command of the Beijing Field Force. Zaiyi's younger brother Zailan (載瀾) was also one of the leaders of the Boxer Rebellion.

After the failure of the uprising, and as the Qing imperial court turned against the Boxers, Zaiyi fell from favour. A decree named him as co-conspirator behind the Boxer Rebellion, and he was, along with his family, exiled for life in Xinjiang

However, Zaiyi's banishment did not take him to Xinjiang (called Turkestan by a consular officer). Instead, he moved to Alashan, west of Ningxia , and lived in the residence of the local Mongol prince. He then moved to Ningxia during the Xinhai Revolution when the muslims took control of Ningxia , and finally, moved to Xinjiang with Sheng Yun

After the fall of the qing dynasty and the establishment of the Republic of China in 1911, when Zaiyi returned from exile, he found out that he was regarded as a national hero. His aggressive anti-foreign stance led him to be treated as an honourable guest among the elite, and the Republican government cooperated with him, allowing him to visit Beijing . He also retained his anti-foreign stance. When a military officer threw a party for him in western style and with western utensils (such as forks), he refused to eat. He also became angry when his grandchildren approved of the trains they were riding in, which he hated since they were made by foreigners.

Foreigners were furious at Zaiyi's arrival in Beijing , and protests arose. Zaiyi then moved back to Ningxia , Gansu , and the government increased his stipend by 50%

Personal information


Miankai (綿愷), Prince Dun of the First Rank, third son of the Jiaqing Emperor.


Yicong, Prince Dun of the First Rank, fifth son of the Daoguang Emperor.

Adoptive grandfather

Mianxin (綿忻), Prince Rui of the First Rank, fourth son of the Jiaqing Emperor.

Adoptive father

Yizhi (奕誌), Prince Rui of the Second Rank.

Last update 31-05-2012

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