Jing Hui

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Jing Hui (敬暉) (died 706), courtesy name Zhongye (仲瞱), formally Prince Sumin of Pingyang (平陽肅愍王), was an official of the Chinese dynasty Tang Dynasty and Wu Zetian's Zhou Dynasty, serving as chancellor during the reign of Emperor Zhongzong. He was a key figure in the coup that overthrew Wu Zetian and restored Emperor Zhongzong in 705, but was later exiled due to false accusations instigated by Wu Zetian's nephew Wu Sansi and killed in exile in a cruel manner.

Courtesy name name bestowed in adulthood in East Asian cultures

A courtesy name, also known as a style name, is a name bestowed upon one at adulthood in addition to one's given name. This practice is a tradition in the Sinosphere, including China, Japan, Korea, and Vietnam.

History of China account of past events in the Chinese civilisation

The earliest known written records of the history of China date from as early as 1250 BC, from the Shang dynasty, during the king Wu Ding's reign, who was recorded as the twenty-first Shang king by the written records of Shang dynasty unearthed. Ancient historical texts such as the Records of the Grand Historian and the Bamboo Annals describe a Xia dynasty before the Shang, but no writing is known from the period, and Shang writings do not indicate the existence of the Xia. The Shang ruled in the Yellow River valley, which is commonly held to be the cradle of Chinese civilization. However, Neolithic civilizations originated at various cultural centers along both the Yellow River and Yangtze River. These Yellow River and Yangtze civilizations arose millennia before the Shang. With thousands of years of continuous history, China is one of the world's oldest civilizations, and is regarded as one of the cradles of civilization.

Wu Zetian founding empress of the Zhou Dynasty

Wu Zetian, alternatively named Wu Zhao, Wu Hou, during the later Tang dynasty as Tian Hou, in English as Empress Consort Wu or by the deprecated term "Empress Wu", was a Chinese sovereign who ruled unofficially as empress consort and empress dowager and officially as empress regnant (皇帝) during the brief Zhou dynasty, which interrupted the Tang dynasty. Wu was the sole officially recognized empress regnant of China in more than two millennia.

Contents

Background

It is not known when Jing Hui was born, but it is known that his family was from Jiang Prefecture (絳州, part of modern Yuncheng, Shanxi). He had several ancestors who served as officials for Tang Dynasty and its predecessor Sui Dynasty as well as the earlier dynasty Northern Qi, and it is known that his father Jing Shansong (敬山松) served as a county magistrate during Tang. [1] All that is known about the early part of Jing Hui's career is that he passed the imperial examination when he was young.

Shanxi Province

Shanxi is a province of the People's Republic of China, located in the North China region. Its one-character abbreviation is "晋", after the state of Jin that existed here during the Spring and Autumn period.

Northern Qi former country

The Northern Qi was one of the Northern dynasties of Chinese history and ruled northern China from 550 to 577. The dynasty was founded by Emperor Wenxuan, and it was ended following attacks from Northern Zhou.

Imperial examination system used in appointing officials in dynastic China

Chinese imperial examinations were a civil service examination system in Imperial China to select candidates for the state bureaucracy. Although there were imperial exams as early as the Han dynasty, the system became widely utilized as the major path to office only in the mid-Tang dynasty, and remained so until its abolition in 1905. Since the exams were based on knowledge of the classics and literary style, not technical expertise, successful candidates were generalists who shared a common language and culture, one shared even by those who failed. This common culture helped to unify the empire and the ideal of achievement by merit gave legitimacy to imperial rule, while leaving clear problems resulting from a systemic lack of technical and practical expertise.

During Wu Zetian's reign

In 698—during the reign of Wu Zetian, the wife of Emperor Gaozong, who had declared herself "emperor" of a new Zhou Dynasty, interrupting Tang—Jing Hui was made the prefect of Wei Prefecture (衛州, roughly modern Xinxiang, Henan). When he arrived at Wei Prefecture, it was in the aftermaths of a major Eastern Tujue incursion earlier in the year, and the local officials were all busy conscripting labor to build the city walls, despite the fact that it was also harvest season. Jing stated to his subordinates: "Even a city that is fortified with gold and water cannot be defended without food. Why abandon the harvest to build the defenses?" He released the laborers from their duty and allowed them to return to their field, and the people were very thankful.

Emperor Gaozong of Tang emperor of the Tang Dynasty

Emperor Gaozong of Tang, personal name Li Zhi, was the third emperor of the Tang dynasty in China, ruling from 649 to 683. Emperor Gaozong was the son of Emperor Taizong and Empress Zhangsun.

Xinxiang Prefecture-level city in Henan, Peoples Republic of China

Xinxiang is a prefecture-level city in northern Henan province, China.

Henan Province

Henan is a province of the People's Republic of China, located in the central part of the country. Henan is often referred to as Zhongyuan or Zhongzhou (中州) which literally means "central plain land" or "midland", although the name is also applied to the entirety of China proper. Henan is the birthplace of Chinese civilization with over 3,000 years of recorded history, and remained China's cultural, economical, and political center until approximately 1,000 years ago.

Jing later successively served as deputy minister of defense (夏官侍郎, Xiaguan Shilang) and prefect of Tai Prefecture (泰州, roughly modern Taizhou, Jiangsu). In 701, he was recalled to the capital Luoyang to serve as the secretary general of the capital prefecture Luo Prefecture. Later in the year, when she took up residence for a period at the western capital Chang'an, Jing served as the deputy official in charge of Luoyang, and was known for his talent and honesty. When Wu Zetian heard of this, she sent him an edict thanking him and awarding him with silk. In 702, when Wu Zetian briefly commissioned her nephew Wu Sansi to command an army, apparently intending to attack Eastern Tujue, she made Jing Wu Sansi's deputy, but eventually, the army was not launched. In 703, [2] Jing was made Zhongtai You Cheng (中臺右丞), one of the secretaries general of the executive bureau of government (中臺, Zhongtai), and given the honorific title Yinqing Guanglu Daifu (銀青光祿大夫).

Taizhou, Jiangsu Prefecture-level city in Jiangsu, Peoples Republic of China

Taizhou is a prefecture-level city in central Jiangsu province in eastern China. Situated on the north bank of the Yangtze River, it borders Nantong to the east, Yancheng to the north and Yangzhou to the west.

Luoyang Prefecture-level city in Henan, Peoples Republic of China

Luoyang is a city located in the confluence area of Luo River and Yellow River in the west of Henan province. Governed as a prefecture-level city, it borders the provincial capital of Zhengzhou to the east, Pingdingshan to the southeast, Nanyang to the south, Sanmenxia to the west, Jiyuan to the north, and Jiaozuo to the northeast. As of the final 2010 census, Luoyang had a population of 6,549,941 inhabitants with 1,857,003 people living in the built-up area made of the city's five urban districts, all of which except the Jili District are not urbanized yet.

Changan ancient city of China

Chang'an was an ancient capital of more than ten dynasties in Chinese history, today known as Xi'an. Chang'an means "Perpetual Peace" in Classical Chinese since it was a capital that was repeatedly used by new Chinese rulers. During the short-lived Xin dynasty, the city was renamed "Constant Peace" ; the old name was later restored. By the time of the Ming dynasty, a new walled city named Xi'an, meaning "Western Peace", was built at the Sui and Tang dynasty city's site, which has remained its name to the present day.

In spring 705, with Wu Zetian being ill, Jing entered into a plot with a number of officials and generals, including Zhang Jianzhi, Cui Xuanwei, Huan Yanfan, and Yuan Shuji, to kill her lovers Zhang Yizhi and Zhang Changzong. With agreement from Li Xian the Crown Prince (Wu Zetian's son), they acted on February 20, [3] killing Zhang Yizhi and Zhang Changzong, and then surrounding Wu Zetian. While they allowed her to retain the title of "emperor," they had her put under house arrest at the secondary palace Shangyang Palace (上陽宮) and forced her to yield the throne to Li Xian, who was formerly emperor, and he was restored to the throne (as Emperor Zhongzong). Two days later, Emperor Zhongzong was formally restored.

Zhang Jianzhi (張柬之) (625-706), courtesy name Mengjiang (孟將), formally Prince Wenzhen of Hanyang (漢陽文貞王), was an official of the Chinese dynasty Tang Dynasty and Wu Zetian's Zhou Dynasty, serving as chancellor during the reigns of Wu Zetian and her son Emperor Zhongzong. He was a key figure in the coup that overthrew Wu Zetian and restored Emperor Zhongzong in 705, but was later exiled due to false accusations instigated by Wu Zetian's nephew Wu Sansi and died in exile.

Cui Xuanwei, né Cui Ye (崔曄), formally Prince Wenxian of Boling (博陵文獻王), was an official of the Chinese dynasty Tang Dynasty and Wu Zetian's Zhou Dynasty, serving as a chancellor during the reigns of Wu Zetian and her son Emperor Zhongzong. He was a key figure in the coup that overthrew Wu Zetian and restored Emperor Zhongzong in 705, but was later exiled due to false accusations instigated by Wu Zetian's nephew Wu Sansi and died in exile.

Huan Yanfan (桓彥範) (653–706), courtesy name Shize (士則), formally Prince Zhonglie of Fuyang (扶陽忠烈王), briefly known during the reign of Emperor Zhongzong of Tang as Wei Yanfan (韋彥範), was an official of the Chinese dynasty Tang Dynasty and Wu Zetian's Zhou Dynasty, serving as chancellor during the reign of Emperor Zhongzong. He was a key figure in the coup that overthrew Wu Zetian and restored Emperor Zhongzong in 705, but was later exiled due to false accusations instigated by Wu Zetian's nephew Wu Sansi and killed in exile in a cruel manner.

During Emperor Zhongzong's second reign

Jing Hui, along with Zhang Jianzhi, Cui Xuanwei, Huan Yanfan, and Yuan Shuji, were recognized as leaders in Emperor Zhongzong's restoration, and they were put into key positions and created dukes, with Jing becoming Nayan (納言) -- the head of the examination bureau of government (鸞臺, Luantai), and carrying the title of Duke of Pingyang, soon to be further promoted to be Duke of Qi. He and the other coup leaders instituted a regime of restoring Tang institutions and deprecating Zhou ones. (One of the coup participants, Xue Jichang (薛季昶), had advocated to Zhang Jianzhi and Jing the killing of Wu Sansi in the aftermaths of the killing of Zhang Yizhi and Zhang Changzong, but neither Zhang Jianzhi nor Jing paid Xue's suggestion much heed until it was too late; in fact, Jing argued hard against the killing of the Wus, even though another subordinate, Liu Youqiu, also advocated for the Wus' death and unsuccessfully tried to convince Jing and Huan.) After realizing that Wu Sansi's power was on the rise, Jing tried to persuade Emperor Zhongzong to reduce the power of the Wu clan on the whole, but was unable to get Emperor Zhongzong to listen, and it was said that the popular sentiment at the time much blamed Jing for the rise of Wu Sansi. It was said that Jing often caressed his seat and sighed, and at times squeezed his hand so tightly into a fist that his fingernails broke the skin of his hand, causing it to bleed. Apprehensive of Wu Sansi, he asked the official Cui Shi to keep an eye on Wu Sansi, but when Cui realized that Emperor Zhongzong trusted Wu Sansi and distrusted the coup leaders, instead revealed all of the coup leaders' plans to Wu Sansi to allow Wu Sansi to anticipate them.

Liu Youqiu (劉幽求), formally Duke Wenxian of Xu (徐文獻公), was an official of the Chinese dynasty Tang Dynasty and Wu Zetian's Zhou Dynasty, serving as a chancellor during the reigns of Emperor Ruizong and Emperor Xuanzong.

Cui Shi, courtesy name Chenglan (澄瀾), was a Chinese writer and politician. He served as an official of the Chinese Tang Dynasty and Wu Zetian's Zhou Dynasty, serving as a chancellor during the reigns of Wu Zetian's sons Emperor Zhongzong and Emperor Ruizong and grandsons Emperor Shang and Emperor Xuanzong. In 713, with Emperor Xuanzong locked in a rivalry with his aunt Princess Taiping, Cui chose to side with Princess Taiping, and after Emperor Xuanzong suppressed Princess Taiping's party, Cui was exiled and ordered to commit suicide in exile.

In summer 705, by which time Emperor Zhongzong's trust in Jing and his colleagues had completely been lost, Emperor Zhongzong, following Wu Sansi's recommendation, created the five coup leaders princes—in Jing's case, Prince of Pingyang—but stripped them of chancellor positions. In spring 706, Jing was further sent out of Chang'an, which was now capital again, to serve as the prefect of Hua Prefecture (滑州, roughly modern Anyang, Henan).

Later in spring 706, with all five of the coup leaders already out of the capital, Wu Sansi and Empress Wei made accusations against them, and they were demoted to more remote prefectures—in Jing's case, to be the prefect of Lang Prefecture (朗州, roughly modern Changde, Hunan). Wu Sansi then had his strategist Zheng Yin further accuse the five of them of having participated in the plot of Emperor Zhongzong's son-in-law Wang Tongjiao (王同皎) -- who was executed early in 706 after having been accused of plotting to kill Wu Sansi and deposing Empress Wei. The five were further demoted with the provisions that they would never be allowed to return to the capital Chang'an, with Jing becoming the military advisor to the prefect of Yai Prefecture (崖州, in modern Haikou, Hainan). Wu Sansi then had accusations that Empress Wei was having affairs posted publicly in Luoyang, with the intent of incensing Emperor Zhongzong—and then accused the five coup leaders of being behind this public humiliation. He then had his associates propose that the five be killed. Emperor Zhongzong, citing that the five had been previously awarded iron certificates that guaranteed that they would not be executed in recognition of their contribution, ordered that they be reduced to commoner rank and permanently exiled to the Lingnan region with their families—in Jing's case, to Qiong Prefecture. At the suggestion of Cui Shi, Wu Sansi then sent the censor Zhou Lizhen (周利貞) to the Lingnan region under guise of reviewing the affairs of the region but with instructions to kill the five. When Zhou arrived at Jing's place of exile, he had Jing's flesh cut out piece by piece until Jing died. [4] After Emperor Zhongzong's death in 710 and Emperor Zhongzong's brother Li Dan the Prince of Xiang, himself a former emperor, was restored (as Emperor Ruizong), Jing and his colleagues were posthumously honored. Four of his sons later served as officials. [1]

Notes and references

  1. 1 2 New Book of Tang , vol. 75, part 1.{{|0=2008-02-07 }}
  2. Jing's commission as Zhongtai You Cheng, according to the Old Book of Tang , occurred in 703, but the New Book of Tang indicated that it occurred in 702. Compare Old Book of Tang, vol. 91 "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-02-10. Retrieved 2008-03-14. with New Book of Tang, vol. 120. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-02-26. Retrieved 2008-03-14.
  3. 兩千年中西曆轉換 Archived 2015-03-23 at the Wayback Machine .
  4. However, Cui's biography in the Old Book of Tang indicated that Jing committed suicide upon hearing that Zhou was arriving. See Old Book of Tang, vol. 74. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-10-11. Retrieved 2007-07-13.

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