About the Aisin-Gioro Family
Aisin-Gioro is the last name of a Chinese noble family and the imperial clan of Manchu emperors of the Qing dynasty. The House of Aisin-Gioro ruled China from 1644 until the Xinhai Revolution of 1912 which established a republican government in its place. The word aisin means gold in the Manchu language, and "gioro" is the name of a place in present-day Yilan, Heilongjiang Province China.
The Aisin-Gioro family created and led the Manchu Eight Banners in conquering the Ming dynasty of China. After moving into the Forbidden City in Beijing, they established a political system that successfully integrated Chinese intellectuals into the administration of the empire. They unified the official language as Mandarin, but by an emperor’s decree, writing must be in both Mandarin and Manchu. They learned Mandarin, studied traditional Han Chinese culture andreligions, and respected Confucianism but do not allow marry to Han Chinese by the law. They used Han Chinese ways to rule over China for the next three hundred years. The Manchu people did not use generation names before moving into China, and prior to the Emperor Shunzi era, children of the royal family were given only Manchu language names. After that point their names included a Han Chinese name and a generation code.
The leader of the Yellow Banner was the emperor and the Banners of other colours were led by princes. The family was organized into groups living in "Manchu cities" in Beijing and most provincial capitals. These were separate areas in which to live and had social rankings higher than Han Chinese.
After the foundation of the Republic of China, the Aisin-Gioro families started to change their last name to "Jin" in Mandarin, or to use the family generation code as their last name.
Also the People's Republic of China banned Aisin-Gioro families from using their traditional last name in family identifiers and had to change their name to a single Mandarin name. As an example, the last emperor Puyi Aisin-Gioro used his generation code for his last name in the family ID, whereas one of his brothers,Puren, used Jin.
During the Cultural Revolution, most Aisin-Gioro families did not survive the Red Guards and they became a focal point of the struggle. If someone found out their family history or their last name was hiddenin a Han last name, they were immediately the subject of raids on their homes. Children were tortured in school and insulted on the street and adults were sentto be re-educated in prison or to do forced labor on farms.
Today, China is changing, and the Han Chinese now a have greater understanding of the role of the Aisin-Gioro family in Chinese history. If there never had been aQing Dynasty with control over China, there would today be no Tibet, no Inner Mongolia, Xinjiang Province (Uighurs), Taiwan, Shouthwest Yunnan and no Northeast Manchuria inside the territory of China.
Since the fall of the Qing dynasty it has been difficult for the Aisin-Gioro family to survive. Many have taking up artistic pursuits and see these as a secret message to their future generations. Today the family has more than 100 famous artists throughout the world, and many of their art works are sought after by Chinese collectors.