Liu Bin (Southern Han)

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Líu Hóngdù (劉弘度) / Líu Bīn (劉玢)
Emperor of Southern Han
Emperor of Southern Han
Reign June 10, 942-April 15, 943 [1] [2]
Predecessor Liu Yan (Emperor Gaozu)
Successor Liu Sheng (Emperor Zhongzong)
Born 920 [3]
Probably Guangzhou
Died April 15, 943
Full name
Líu Hóngdù (劉弘度) / Líu Bīn (劉玢)
Era name and dates
Guāngtiān (光天): June 10, 942-April 16, 943 [1] [2]
Posthumous name
Emperor Shāng (殤皇帝, "short-lived")
Father Liu Yan
Mother Consort Zhao

Liu Bin (劉玢) (920 [3] April 15, 943 [1] [2] ), né Liu Hongdu (劉弘度), may be nicknamed Shou (壽), [4] formally Emperor Shang of (Southern) Han ((南)漢殤帝), was the second emperor of the Chinese Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period state Southern Han. He reigned only briefly, from 942 to 943, from the time of the death of his father Liu Yan (Emperor Gaozu) to the time he was assassinated in a coup headed by his brother Liu Hongxi (later known as Liu Sheng, Emperor Zhongzong).

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 mentioned as the twenty-first Shang king by the same. 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.

Southern Han former country

Southern Han, originally Great Yue, was one of the ten kingdoms that existed during the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period. It was located on China's southern coast, controlling modern Guangdong and Guangxi. The kingdom greatly expanded its capital Xingwang Fu (Chinese: 興王府; pinyin: Xìngwángfǔ,. It attempted but failed to annex the Tang province of Annam.

Liu Yan, né Liu Yan (劉巖), also known as Liu Zhi (劉陟) and briefly as Liu Gong (劉龔), formally Tianhuang Dadi (天皇大帝) with the temple name Gaozu (高祖), was the first emperor of the Chinese Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period state Southern Han.



Liu Hongdu was born in 920, as the third son of Liu Yan, who was then already the emperor of Southern Han (as Emperor Gaozu)— and therefore, was likely born at Southern Han's capital Xingwang (興王, in modern Guangzhou, Guangdong). His mother was Liu Yan's concubine Consort Zhao, who would later receive the title of Zhaoyi (昭儀). [3] (The biographies for her and for Liu Hongdu in the Spring and Autumn Annals of the Ten Kingdoms conflictingly state that she was favored by Liu Yan [4] and that she was not favored by Liu Yan. [3] )

Guangzhou Prefecture-level and Sub-provincial city in Guangdong, Peoples Republic of China

Guangzhou, also known as Canton, is the capital and most populous city of the province of Guangdong in southern China. On the Pearl River about 120 km (75 mi) north-northwest of Hong Kong and 145 km (90 mi) north of Macau, Guangzhou has a history of over 2,200 years and was a major terminus of the maritime Silk Road, and continues to serve as a major port and transportation hub, as well as one of China's three largest cities.

Guangdong Most populous province of the Peoples Republic of China

Guangdong is a province in South China, on the South China Sea coast. Guangdong surpassed Henan and Shandong to become the most populous province in China in January 2005, registering 79.1 million permanent residents and 31 million migrants who lived in the province for at least six months of the year; the total population was 104,303,132 in the 2010 census, accounting for 7.79 percent of Mainland China's population. This also makes it the most populous first-level administrative subdivision of any country outside of South Asia, as its population is surpassed only by those of the Pakistani province of Punjab and the Indian states of Bihar, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh. The provincial capital Guangzhou and economic hub Shenzhen are among the most populous and important cities in China. The population increase since the census has been modest, the province registering 108,500,000 people in 2015.

Consort Dowager Zhao was the mother of Liu Bin, the second emperor of the Chinese Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period state Southern Han. She was a concubine to Liu Bin's father, the founding emperor Liu Yan.

The first historical reference to Liu Hongdu was in 932, when Liu Yan created his sons imperial princes—with Liu Hongdu receiving the title of Prince of Bin, which was shortly later changed to Prince of Qin. As his older brothers Liu Yaoshu (劉耀樞) and Liu Guitu (劉龜圖)—both of whom also received princely titles in 932 and therefore were likely still alive then [5] —died early, Liu Hongdu became the expectant heir as the oldest surviving son of Liu Yan. [3] By 934, Liu Hongdu was the commander of the imperial guard corps, when Liu Yan had him recruiting 1,000 guard soldiers to be loyal to him. Liu Hongdu ended up recruiting many young hoodlums and became close to them. The chancellor Yang Dongqian found this inappropriate and tried to persuade Liu Yan to stop this, but Liu Yan paid no heed to Yang's words, leading to Yang's requesting retirement. (As Yang, in his words to Liu Yan, referred to Liu Hongdu as the heir to the state, it was likely that by this point Liu Yaoshu and Liu Guitu were deceased.) [6]

Yang Dongqian (楊洞潛), courtesy name Zhaoxuan (昭玄), was an official of the Chinese Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period state Southern Han, serving as a chancellor.

In 942, Liu Yan fell seriously ill. As he had become concerned by this point that both Liu Hongdu and a younger son, Liu Hongxi the Prince of Jin, were arrogant and inappropriate in behavior, he considered sending them out of the capital Xingwang to defend Yong (邕州, in modern Nanning, Guangxi) and Rong (容州, in modern Yulin, Guangxi) Prefectures respectively, while diverting succession to a younger son, Liu Hongchang the Prince of Yue, whom he considered filially pious, careful, and intelligent. When he consulted the official Xiao Yi (蕭益), however, Xiao argued that passing the throne to a younger son would create disturbances, and so Liu Yan stopped considering that. He soon died, and Liu Hongdu succeeded him as emperor. [1]

Liu Sheng, born Liu Hongxi (劉弘熙), may be nicknamed Jun (雋), formally Emperor Zhongzong of (Southern) Han ( 漢中宗), was the third emperor of the Chinese Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period state Southern Han. He succeeded his brother, Liu Bin, whom he had ordered assassinated to allow himself to take the throne.

Nanning Prefecture-level city in Guangxi, Peoples Republic of China

Nanning is the capital and largest city by population of the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region in southern China. It is known as the "Green City" because of its abundance of lush subtropical foliage. As of 2014 it had a population of 6,913,800 with 4,037,000 in its urban area.

Guangxi Autonomous region

Guangxi ( ; formerly romanised as Kwangsi; Chinese: 广西; Zhuang: Gvangjsih, officially the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, is an autonomous region of the People's Republic of China, located in south China and bordering Vietnam. Formerly a province, Guangxi became an autonomous region in 1958.


After Liu Hongdu took the throne, he changed his name to Liu Bin. Liu Hongxi became the head of his administration. He honored his mother Consort Zhao as consort dowager. [1]

Shortly after Liu Bin took the throne, there was a major agrarian rebellion that rose at Xun Prefecture (循州, in modern Huizhou, Guangdong), under the leadership of the local official Zhang Yuxian, who was said to be appointed by an invisible god who spoke in voices. Zhang's rebellion captured many cities, and when Liu Bin sent his brothers Liu Hongchang and Liu Honggao the Prince of Xun to attack Zhang's army, they were surrounded and nearly captured, only saved due to the efforts of the general Chen Daoxiang (陳道庠). Much of the eastern part of the Southern Han state was captured by Zhang. [1]

Huizhou Prefecture-level city in Guangdong, Peoples Republic of China

Huìzhōu is a city in southeast Guangdong Province, China. It forms part of the Pearl River Delta megalopolis. Huizhou borders the provincial capital of Guangzhou to the west, Shenzhen and Dongguan to the southwest, Shaoguan to the north, Heyuan to the northeast, Shanwei to the east, and Daya Bay of the South China Sea to the south. The city has about 4.6 million inhabitants and is administered as a prefecture-level city.

Zhang Yuxian (張遇賢), with the self-claimed title of "King of the Eight Kingdoms of Middle Heaven" (中天八國王), was an agrarian/religious rebel leader of the Chinese Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period, who first rose against Southern Han and whose forces eventually battled and were defeated by the armies of Southern Han's northern neighbor Southern Tang. After his defeat, his general Li Tai (李台) arrested him and delivered him to the Southern Tang army to be executed.

Liu Honggao (劉弘杲) (923–943), formally the Prince of Xun (循王), was an imperial prince and chancellor of the Chinese Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period state Southern Han. He was falsely accused of treason and killed during the reign of his brother Liu Sheng.

Despite this, it was said that Liu Bin was arrogant and inattentive to the matters of state. Even though he was still within the mourning period for his father Liu Yan, he often drank and played music, and often took prostitutes on night out-of-palace excursions. He also liked watch naked men and women. As those who went against his will were often put to death, few dared to speak to him to correct his behavior, except for Liu Hongchang and the eunuch Wu Huai'en (吳懷恩). It was also said that he was suspicious of his brothers, as well as other members of the clan and the officials, such that before they were to enter the palace to see him, they were first strip-searched before they could enter. Liu Hongxi, who was ambitious and had designs on the throne, decided to encourage his frivolous behavior, and therefore offered much jewelry, decorations, and women to him. As Liu Bin liked arm wrestling, Liu Hongxi also had Chen train a group of five strong men—Liu Sichao (劉思潮), Tan Lingyin (譚令禋), Lin Shaoqiang (林少強), Lin Shaoliang (林少良), and He Changting (何昌廷)—to be arm wrestlers, which Liu Bin was pleased about. [1]

On April 15, 943, [1] [2] Liu Bin held a feast for the imperial princes at Changchun Palace, and there were arm wrestling matches that they watched there. The feast ended when Liu Bin fell extremely drunk. Liu Hongxi had Chen and the arm wrestlers that he trained carry Liu Bin back to his bedchambers, and had him pounded to death there. His attendants were slaughtered. The next morning, initially, the officials and the princes, realizing that something was wrong, did not dare to enter the palace. Eventually, Liu Hongchang led the other brothers in a display of support for Liu Hongxi to take the throne, which Liu Hongxi did. [1]

Notes and references

  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Zizhi Tongjian , vol. 283.
  2. 1 2 3 4 Academia Sinica Chinese-Western Calendar Converter.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 Spring and Autumn Annals of the Ten Kingdoms , vol. 59.
  4. 1 2 Spring and Autumn Annals of the Ten Kingdoms , vol. 61.
  5. Zizhi Tongjian, vol. 278.
  6. Zizhi Tongjian, vol. 279.
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Liu Yan (Emperor Gaozu)
Emperor of Southern Han
Succeeded by
Liu Sheng (Emperor Zhongzong)

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