I am reading this book by June Chang. It is on the Popular bookstore popular reads list.
When I am younger and China was not the in country - every book, tv series, movies condemned Cixi. Showing her as vicious and using unscrupulous method to ascend to power. And how she rules with an iron fist. How she and the real empress via for power. How she weakens China and lost HK, Shanghai and later Taiwan, etc. How the Summer Palace was burnt due to her failure to deal with the Western powers.
But in this book after China has became the hot stuff. Cixi is now the intelligent consort whom is opened to Westernisation. She uses wit to quash the 8 regents swiftly, whom have been the ones ill advising the previous emperor Daoguang. The summer palace was burnt due to Daoguang's doing and hatre of the western powers. HK, Taiwan and Shanghai was lost due to Daoguang's failure to deal with the Western powers. Cixi and the empress work hand in hand to administer the country after Daoguang's death. Cixi is not vicious but firm and listened to opinions of her officials.
Why has Cixi suddenly became a different person? Are people being judged according to changes in time and fortune of the country?
Which version of Cixi is more creditable?