In Liang Qichao‘s 戊戌政變記 (pdf) pretty much at the beginning of the second chapter (pp. 129 and 130 of the linked pdf) mention is made of the Emperor trying to promote several able people of his own and thereby incurring ill feeling of Cixi. Then a figure named An Weileng emerges who writes forthrightly to the Emperor and suggests, since regency was given to His Majesty, that the Dowager abstain from interfering with His matters and (so to speak) „pulling his sleeve“. Thereupon an edict is cited, ostensibly penned by the Emperor, which - if I understand correctly - claims to heed the suggestion of the Dowager. Therein An is accused of fabricating tales to estrange Their Majesties from each other and exiled to Zhangjiakou as a warning to others.
Liang presents the Edict and than says:
實西后翦除皇上羽翼第一事也/ roughly: (This) constitutes the first clipping of His Majesties wings by the Western Palace Dowager.
But now I am unsure whether 翦除羽翼 means „clipping wings“ as used f.e. in the Greek tradition (limiting, oppressing) or whether 羽翼 means “supporter” as in “ 羽翼漸成”. Should I translate „clipping wings“ or „removing supporters“? Or is it inherently ambiguous?