Chen Yixing

Last updated

Chen Yixing (陳夷行) (died 844 [1] ), courtesy name Zhoudao (周道), was an official of the Chinese dynasty Tang Dynasty, serving twice as a chancellor during the reigns of Emperor Wenzong and Emperor Wuzong. He was viewed as a Li Faction leader in the Niu-Li Factional Struggles.

Contents

Background and early career

It is not known when Chen Yixing was born. It was said that his family had its origins south of the Yangtze River, but had, for generations, lived in Yingchuan (潁川). [2] Neither his grandfather Chen Zhong (陳忠) nor his father Chen Yong (陳邕) was listed with any offices in the table of the chancellors' family trees in the New Book of Tang , suggesting that neither had an official title. He had at least three younger brothers, Chen Xuanxi (陳玄錫), Chen Yize (陳夷則), and Chen Yishi (陳夷實). [3]

In 812, during the reign of Emperor Xianzong, Chen passed the imperial examinations in the Jinshi class. Thereafter, he served on the staffs of several regional governors. As of the end of Baoli era (825-827) of Emperor Xianzong's grandson Emperor Jingzong, Chen was serving as an imperial censor with the title of Shiyushi (侍御史), and serving at the eastern capital Luoyang, when he was made Yubu Yuanwailang (虞部員外郎), a low-level official at the ministry of public works (工部, Gongbu). He continued to serve at Luoyang. [4]

During Emperor Wenzong's reign

Before chancellorship

In 829, during the reign of Emperor Jingzong's brother Emperor Wenzong, Chen Yixing was recalled to the capital Chang'an to serve as an imperial chronicler (起居郎, Qijulang), and he also served as an editor in imperial history, participating in the compilation of the chronicles of Emperor Xianzong's reign. After those chronicles of Emperor Xianzong's reigns were presented to Emperor Wenzong in 830, Chen was made Sifeng Yuanwailang (司封員外郎), a low-level official at the ministry of civil service affairs (吏部, Libu). In 831, he was promoted to be Libu Langzhong (吏部郎中), a supervisory official at the ministry of civil service affairs. Later in the same year, he was also made an imperial scholar (翰林學士, Hanlin Xueshi). In 834, he was also made a tutor to the Crown Prince Li Yong and ordered to attend to and lecture Li Yong on the Confucian classics once every five days. He was further given the office of Jianyi Daifu (諫議大夫), an advisory official, and put in charge of drafting edicts. In 835, he was made the deputy minister of worship (太常少卿, Taichang Shaoqing), and continued to serve in his capacities as imperial scholar, tutor to Li Yong, and drafter of edicts. [4]

During and after chancellorship

In 837, when Chen Yixing was also serving as the deputy minister of public works (工部侍郎, Gongbu Shilang), he was made a chancellor de facto with the designation Tong Zhongshu Menxia Pingzhangshi (同中書門下平章事), serving alongside Li Shi and Zheng Tan. [5] As of 838, by which time Li Shi had resigned and Yang Sifu and Li Jue had been made chancellors as well, it was said that Chen was honest in his opinions and therefore despised Yang for what he viewed as Yang's grab on power, and they often argued when discussing policy matters. Chen thus offered to resign, but Emperor Wenzong declined his resignation. [6] After this incident, he continued to frequently, in veiled terms, accuse Yang of stealing imperial authority while discussing issues. [4] (Modern historians such as Bo Yang viewed these arguments as factional in nature, and considered Chen and Zheng to be among the leaders of the Li Faction in the Niu-Li Factional Struggles (named after Li Deyu), while viewing Yang and Li Jue to be among the leaders of the Niu Faction (named after Niu Sengru). [7] In particular, later in 838, when Yang advocated for the former chancellor Li Zongmin, also considered a Niu Faction leader, who had been exiled, promoted and moved closer to the capital, Chen opposed vehemently, and it was said that from this point on, all policy arguments were complicated by partisan issues, making it difficult for Emperor Wenzong to rule on them. [6]

In 839, there was a major argument that led to the removals of Chen and Zheng. Emperor Wenzong had praised the talents of the acting director of finances, Du Cong. Yang and Li Jue thereafter recommended Du to be the ministry of census. Chen responded, "Such orders should come from the Emperor. In the past, those who lost stately sovereignty did so by losing their authorities to their subjects." Li Jue responded, "Your Imperial Majesty had told me previously that an Emperor should select chancellors, not suspect them." In a subsequent discussion, Chen again emphasized that the Emperor should not yield authority to his subjects. Li Jue, offended, responded, "Chen Yixing is obviously suspecting that there are chancellors who are stealing power from Your Imperial Majesty. I have often requested retirement, and I would be fortunate to be given a post as an imperial prince's teacher." Zheng then stated, "Your Imperial Majesty ruled well in the first and second years of the Kaicheng era [(i.e., 836 and 837)], while less so in the third and fourth years of Kaicheng [(i.e., 838 and 839)]." Yang responded, "In the first and second years, Zheng Tan and Chen Yixing were in power. In the third and fourth years, your subject and Li Jue joined them. Of course, the crime is mine." He then stated, "I do not dare to again enter the Office of the Chancellors!" He withdrew from Emperor Wenzong's presence. Emperor Wenzong subsequently sent a eunuch to comfort him, and Zheng partially apologized, stating, "Your subject is foolish. I did not intend to point at Yang Sifu, but Yang Sifu's reaction shows that he has no tolerance for me." Yang responded, "Zheng Tan stated that the governance is deteriorating year by year. This does not only incriminate your subject, but also speaks ill of your holy virtues." Yang then submitted multiple offers to resign. Soon thereafter, Zheng and Chen were stripped of their chancellor posts. Chen, instead, was made the deputy minister of civil service affairs (吏部侍郎, Libu Shilang). [6] Later in the year, he was sent out of the capital to serve as the prefect of Hua Prefecture (華州, in modern Weinan, Shaanxi). [4]

During Emperor Wuzong's reign

In 841, by which time Emperor Wenzong's brother Emperor Wuzong was emperor and Li Deyu was the leading chancellor, Chen Yixing was recalled from Hua Prefecture, apparently first to serve as chief imperial censor (御史大夫, Yushi Daifu), and then again chancellor, as well Menxia Shilang (門下侍郎), the deputy head of the examination bureau of government (門下省, Menxia Sheng). [2] [6]

Later that year, there was an incident in which Emperor Wuzong, believing that Yang Sifu and Li Jue, whom he had stripped of chancellor posts and sent out of Chang'an because he believed that they did not support him as emperor, became further incensed by the powerful eunuch Qiu Shiliang against Yang and Li Jue, as well as two eunuchs trusted by Emperor Wenzong — Liu Hongyi (劉弘逸) and Xue Jileng (薛季稜) — that he ordered Liu and Xue to commit suicide, and further sent eunuchs with orders to force Yang and Li Jue to commit suicide as well. After Du Cong pointed out to Li Deyu that it was unwise to let Emperor Wuzong to be accustomed to kill officials, Li Deyu, Chen, and fellow chancellors Cui Gong and Cui Dan interceded. As a result, Yang and Li Jue were spared of their lives, but further demoted. [6]

Chen was himself soon involved in a policy argument against Li Deyu, as Tang's long-time ally and vassal Huigu had recently been defeated by Xiajiasi, and Huigu remnants were approaching Tang borders. One major group of Huigu remnants, led by the noble Wamosi, approached the Tang city of Tiande (天德, in modern Bayan Nur, Inner Mongolia) and sought food aid, offering to submit to Tang. The defender of Tiande, Tian Mou (田牟), suggested that Wamosi's offer be rejected and that Tang forces attack him, along with allied Tuyuhun, Shatuo, and Dangxiang tribes. Li Deyu opined differently, believing that Wamosi's offer should be accepted and that food should be supplied to the Huigu remnants. Chen opposed Li Deyu, arguing that in effect, it would be aiding the enemy. Emperor Wuzong eventually agreed with Li Deyu. [6]

In 842, after Wamosi had made a trip to Chang'an to pay homage to Emperor Wuzong, Chen was relieved of his chancellor post and made Zuo Pushe (左僕射), one of the heads of the executive bureau (尚書省, Shangshu Sheng). [6] In 843, Chen was sent out of the capital to serve as the military governor ( Jiedushi ) of Hezhong Circuit (河中, headquartered in modern Yuncheng, Shanxi), as well as the mayor of its capital Hezhong Municipality. He was also given the honorary title of acting Sikong (司空, one of the Three Excellencies) and Tong Zhongshu Menxia Pingzhangshi. [4] Troops under him subsequently participated in the campaign against the warlord Liu Zhen, which Li Deyu was overseeing. [8] He died in 844 and was given posthumous honors. [1] [4]

Notes and references

  1. 1 2 Old Book of Tang , vol. 18, part 1.
  2. 1 2 New Book of Tang , vol. 181.
  3. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-06-13. Retrieved 2010-05-03.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) New Book of Tang, vol. 71 Archived June 20, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Old Book of Tang , vol. 173.
  5. Zizhi Tongjian , vol. 245.
  6. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Zizhi Tongjian, vol. 246.
  7. E.g., Bo Yang Edition of the Zizhi Tongjian, vol. 59 [839].
  8. Zizhi Tongjian, vol. 247.

Related Research Articles

Emperor Wuzong of Tang emperor of the Tang Dynasty

Emperor Wuzong of Tang, né Li Chan, later changed to Li Yan just before his death, was an emperor of the Tang Dynasty of China, reigning from 840 to 846. Emperor Wuzong is mainly known in modern times for the religious persecution that occurred during his reign. In addition, he was known for his successful reactions against incursions by remnants of the Huigu Khanate and the rebellion by Liu Zhen, as well as his deep trust in the chancellor Li Deyu.

Emperor Wenzong of Tang emperor of the Tang Dynasty

Emperor Wenzong of Tang (809–840), personal name Li Ang, né Li Han (李涵), was an emperor of the Tang dynasty of China. He reigned from 827 to 840. Emperor Wenzong was the second son of Emperor Muzong and younger brother of Emperor Jingzong. A rare occurrence in Chinese history, Emperor Wenzong, along with his elder brother Emperor Jingzong and younger brother Emperor Wuzong, reigned in succession.

Wang Ya, courtesy name Guangjin (廣津), formally Duke of Dai (代公), was an official of the Chinese Tang dynasty, serving as a chancellor during the reigns of Emperor Xianzong and Emperor Xianzong's grandson Emperor Wenzong. During Emperor Wenzong's reign, he became involved in a major power struggle between imperial officials and eunuchs known as the Ganlu Incident, and he was killed by the eunuchs along with three other chancellors, Li Xun, Jia Su, and Shu Yuanyu.

Niu Sengru (牛僧孺), courtesy name Si'an (思黯), formally Duke Wenzhen of Qizhang (奇章文貞公), was an official of the Chinese dynasty Tang Dynasty, serving as a chancellor during the reigns of Emperor Muzong and his sons Emperor Jingzong and Emperor Wenzong. He was commonly regarded as the leader of one of the two court factions at the time — the faction later known as the Niu Faction — during the Niu-Li Factional Struggles.

The Niu–Li factional strife was an ongoing contention at the court of the mid-to late Tang dynasty. It is largely viewed to have started during the reign of Emperor Muzong, circa 821, but having its seeds in the events of his father Emperor Xianzong—between two court factions later to be referred to by Chinese historians as the Niu Faction (牛黨), named after Niu Sengru, which was largely viewed as a faction of officials from humble origins and who passed the imperial examinations to get into government; and the Li Faction (李黨), named after Li Deyu, which was largely viewed as a faction of officials from aristocratic origins. The two factions struggled for decades at court, during the reigns of Emperor Muzong and his sons Emperor Jingzong, Emperor Wenzong, and Emperor Wuzong. The struggles are viewed as having ended at the start of the reign of Emperor Wuzong's successor and Emperor Muzong's younger brother Emperor Xuānzong, in 846. His clear dislike for Li Deyu, and systematic demotion of related officials, led to the complete defeat of the Li Faction.

Qiu Shiliang (仇士良), courtesy name Kuangmei (匡美), formally the Duke of Chu (楚公), was an eunuch official of the Chinese dynasty Tang Dynasty, becoming particularly powerful after the Ganlu Incident — an event in which Emperor Wenzong tried, but failed, to seize power back from powerful eunuchs by slaughtering them.

Li Zongmin (李宗閔), courtesy name Sunzhi (損之), was an official of the Chinese dynasty Tang Dynasty, serving twice as chancellor during the reign of Emperor Wenzong. He was considered one of the leading figures of the Niu-Li Factional Struggles — factional struggles between two factions at the Tang court that lasted decades — as a leader of the so-called Niu Faction, named after his colleague Niu Sengru.

Li Deyu, courtesy name Wenrao (文饒), formally the Duke of Wei (衛公), was an official of the Chinese dynasty Tang Dynasty, serving as a chancellor during the reigns of brothers Emperor Wenzong and Emperor Wuzong and (briefly) their uncle Emperor Xuānzong. He was the leader of the so-called Li Faction in the decades-long Niu-Li Factional Struggles, and was particularly powerful during Emperor Wuzong's reign, dominating the court scene and guiding policies during the campaigns against the crumbling Huigu Khanate and against the warlord Liu Zhen. After Emperor Wuzong's death, Emperor Xuānzong, who had long despised him for his hold on power, had him demoted and banished, where he died in exile.

Li Guyan (李固言), courtesy name Zhongshu (仲樞), was an official of the Chinese dynasty Tang Dynasty, serving two terms as chancellor during the reign of Emperor Wenzong.

Zheng Tan (鄭覃), formally the Duke of Yingyang (滎陽公), was an official of the Chinese dynasty Tang Dynasty, serving as a chancellor during the reign of Emperor Wenzong. He was viewed as a Li Faction leader in the Niu-Li Factional Struggles.

Li Shi (李石), courtesy name Zhongyu (中玉), formally the Count of Longxi (隴西伯), was an official of the Chinese dynasty Tang Dynasty, serving as a chancellor during the reign of Emperor Wenzong. He was credited with stabilizing the political scene in the aftermaths of the Ganlu Incident, a failed attempt by Emperor Wenzong to slaughter the powerful eunuchs.

Yang Sifu (楊嗣復) (783–848), courtesy name Jizhi (繼之), nickname Qingmen (慶門), formally Count Xiaomu of Hongnong (弘農孝穆伯), was an official of the Chinese dynasty Tang Dynasty, serving as a chancellor during the reign of Emperor Wenzong and (briefly) the reign of Emperor Wenzong's brother Emperor Wuzong. He was considered one of the leaders of the Niu Faction in the Niu-Li Factional Struggles.

Li Jue (784?-852?), courtesy name Daijia (待價), formally Duke Zhenmu of Zanhuang (贊皇貞穆公), was an official of the Chinese dynasty Tang Dynasty, serving as a chancellor during the reigns of Emperor Wenzong and (briefly) Emperor Wenzong's brother Emperor Wuzong. He was considered one of the leaders of the Niu Faction in the Niu-Li Factional Struggles.

Cui Dan (崔鄲) was an official of the Chinese dynasty Tang Dynasty, serving as a chancellor during the reigns of Emperor Wenzong and Emperor Wenzong's brother Emperor Wuzong.

Li Shen (李紳), courtesy name Gongchui (公垂), formally Duke Wensu of Zhao (趙文肅公), was an official of the Chinese dynasty Tang Dynasty, serving as a chancellor during the reign of Emperor Wuzong. He was also noted as a poet.

Li Rangyi (李讓夷), courtesy name Daxin (達心), was an official of the Chinese dynasty Tang Dynasty, serving as a chancellor during the reigns of Emperor Wuzong and (briefly) Emperor Wuzong's uncle Emperor Xuānzong.

Du Cong (杜悰) (794?-873?), courtesy name Yongyu (永裕), formally the Duke of Bin (邠公), was an official of the Tang dynasty of China, serving two terms as chancellor during the reigns of Emperor Wuzong and Emperor Wuzong's cousin Emperor Yizong. He was traditionally considered a skilled politician who maintained his high position throughout his lengthy career, but not a capable chancellor.

Li Hui (李回), né Li Chan (李躔), original courtesy name Zhaohui (昭回), later changed to Zhaodu (昭度), formally Duke Wenyi of Longxi (隴西文懿公), was an official of the Chinese dynasty Tang Dynasty, serving as a chancellor during the reign of Emperor Wuzong.

Wei Mo (793–858), courtesy name Shenzhi (申之), was an official of the Chinese dynasty Tang Dynasty, serving as a chancellor during the reign of Emperor Xuānzong.

Zheng Lang, courtesy name Yourong (有融), was an official of the Chinese dynasty Tang Dynasty, serving as a chancellor during the reign of Emperor Xuānzong.