The Tartar chief Mehe sent an envoy to the capital of China, with a message which aroused the anger of the empress, who at once ordered him to be executed, heedless of the fact that she thus brought the nation to the brink of war. Four years afterwards Hoeiti, the emperor, died, leaving vacant the throne which he had so feebly filled.
It is perhaps not surprising that Hoeiti did not live long after this episode, and then Liuchi ruled in her own name, and without filling up the vacancy on the throne, until the public dissatisfaction warned her that she was going too far. She then adopted a supposititious child as her grandson and governed as regent in his name.
His troubles probably shortened his life, for he died when he was only fifty-three, leaving the crown to his son, Hoeiti, and injunctions to his widow, Liuchi, as to the conduct of the administration.
Whatever may have been the state of the conspiracy, this vigorous method of the queen-mother brought it to a sudden end, and Hoeiti ascended the throne. The young emperor seemingly did not approve of ascending to power over the dead bodies of his opponents. He reproved his mother for her cruel deed, and made a public statement that he had taken no part in the act.
The brief reign of Hoeiti is only remarkable for the rigor and terrible acts of his mother, the Empress Liuchi, who is the first woman mentioned in Chinese history as taking a supreme part in public affairs. Another of Kaotsou's widows aspired to the throne for her son, and the chief direction for herself. Liuchi nipped their plotting in the bud by poisoning both of them.
But there is no mitigation to the story of the empress Liuchi, who, with poison as her weapon, made herself supreme dictator of the great Chinese realm. The death of the great emperor Kaotsou left two aspirants for the throne, the princes Hoeiti, son of Liuchi, and Chow Wang, son of the empress Tsi.
He had performed his part in the consolidation of the Hans; it remained for those who came after him to complete what he left half finished. Under Hoeiti, the Tartar King Meha sent an envoy to the capital, but either the form or the substance of his message enraged the empress-mother, who ordered his execution.