Prince Kung-Chien-Wang (Kung), a Chinese statesman, born in 1835. He is the brother of Hien-fung, emperor of China from 1850 to 1861, and the uncle of Tung-che, the present ruler. On the death of Hien-fung, almost immediately after the close of the war against England and France, the heir to the throne was a child seven years old. In the regency which was at once established, Prince Kung, who had previously occupied a high official position at court, but had not been an active member of the executive government, received a power nominally equal to that of the young emperor's mother and aunt, who were associated with him; but he immediately became recognized as the actual head of affairs, and, though frequently hampered in his action by the opposition of his two companions in power, he continued to be de facto ruler until the emperor attained his majority, Feb. 23, 1873. His policy was throughout this period enlightened and progressive, and whatever advance was made in the political improvement of China and her relations with foreign powers is undoubtedly chiefly due to him; while he consistently opposed all conservative action and the policy of seclusion previously practised.
Many of the more liberal treaty stipulations, the establishment of a college at Peking, and the sending of an embassy to foreign powers in 1868, were largely owing to his efforts. After the accession of the emperor, Prince Kung remained at the head of the foreign office.