Yep, Qianlong was definitely xenophobic! I remember reading some history text that Qianlong absolutely DEMANDED a British ambassador to perform the official "kow-tow" if they wanted to seek an official audience with him to negotiate any trade deals. Of course, the British ambassador had a big fit and refused cuz he didn't "kow-tow" to his own monarch. Qianlong then kicked his entire envoy out of China for his insolence. So the importance of Benjamin's character in this new HGZZ really annoys the heck out of me and he sticks out like a soar thumb despite the genuine kindness of his character. All three famous Qing emperors kept a really watchful eyes of foreigners living in China. When I see Benji run free around the Forbidden City, doing his Western salute thing, and his close interactions with XYZ even in the middle of night make the story really less believable for me. For goodness sake, Qiong Yao, XYZ is a royal Qing princess and this is the 18th century not modern times! what happened to basic gender etiquette?! If it was YQ visiting and closely interacting with XYZ in the palace, at least that would be more believable since they are under the protection of the fake "sibling" title.
P.S. I don't have many complaints against the cast, just the how the characters are written and how the plot is progressing. Actually, I'm growing quite fond of the new cast and feel bad they are being attacked ferociously online for this remake. Benji has the potential to be a great character, but instead QY's over obsession with this character ruined him. Now he's the target of frustration for a lot of YongYan lovers.