Who is Shanghai Devil
During Shanghai Devil’s adventures, our heroes will cross paths with several historical characters:
Kuang Su (1871-1908)
Having ascended the imperial throne when he was only four, Kuang Su was under the tutelage of his aunt Suxi, mother of the former Emperor, Tung Chih, who died at 14. Kuang Su began to effectively rule in 1889. He reformed the state administration, the schools and the army following a European model, launching a modernization project not preconceivedly averse to the foreign powers and their commercial representatives in China. His efforts aren’t destined to succeed. Suxi will prevail again – she’ll have Kuang Su declared insane and she’ll depose him, helding him captive.
Chosen as a concubine by Emperor Xianfeng (1831-1861) she rapidly climbs the ranks of the court until, as the widow of the Emperor himself, she inherits his power although as a regent for her young son, Tung Chih, a weak boy destined to an untimely death. Suxi uses an iron fist to strenghten her power and in 1875 she puts her nephew Kuang Su on the throne, sure as she is to be able to easily manipulate him.
When the new Emperor is in the condition to assume the full exertion of power, Suxi – deeply adverse to his reforming inclination – has him arrested and begins again to rule by herself. Scarcely popular and considered as the cause of the end of the Qing dynasty, Suxi, has very rarely been portraited in Chinese contemporary movies, although she had an important historical role and a dark allure to herself. In 1975 she was the center of the historical film "The Empress Dowager" with Lisa Lu, produced in Hong Kong by the Shaw Brothers, while in more recent years, in 2003, the 24th episode of the Chinese TV series "Zhou Xiang Gonghe" ("Towards the Republic", an historical drama in 59 episodes) portraits Suxi in a more benevolent light, at least on the human level.
Sir Claude Maxwell McDonald (1852-1915)
An English diplomat. He took the position of British Minister in China in 1896. During the siege of the foreign Legation quarter in Peking he had a preminent role over the other international diplomats, as a strategic coordinator. He inspired the character of the British ambassador Sir Arthur Robinson, played by David Niven, in the movie "55 days to Peking" by Nicholas Ray (1963).