Wu Youning

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Wu Youning (武攸寧), formally the Duke of Jiang (江公), was an imperial prince during the reign of Wu Zetian and served as chancellor both during her regency over her son Emperor Ruizong of Tang and her own reign.

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.

A regent is a person appointed to govern a state because the monarch is a minor, is absent or is incapacitated. The rule of a regent or regents is called a regency. A regent or regency council may be formed ad hoc or in accordance with a constitutional rule. "Regent" is sometimes a formal title. If the regent is holding his position due to his position in the line of succession, the compound term prince regent is often used; if the regent of a minor is his mother, she is often referred to as "queen regent".

Emperor Ruizong of Tang emperor of the Tang Dynasty

Emperor Ruizong of Tang, personal name Li Dan, also known at times during his life as Li Xulun, Li Lun, Wu Lun, and Wu Dan, was the fifth and ninth emperor of Tang Dynasty. He was the eighth son of Emperor Gaozong and the fourth son of Emperor Gaozong's second wife Empress Wu.

It is not known when Wu Youning was born. Wu Youning's grandfather Wu Shirang (武士讓) was an older brother to Wu Zetian's father Wu Shihuo. As of spring 690, when Wu Zetian was empress dowager and regent over Emperor Ruizong, Wu Youning was serving as Fengge Shilang (鳳閣侍郎), the deputy head of the legislative bureau of government (鳳閣, Fengge), when she made him Nayan (納言) -- the head of the examination bureau (鸞臺, Luantai) and a post considered one for a chancellor. Later that year, when she had Emperor Ruizong yield the throne to her and took the throne herself as "emperor" of a new Zhou Dynasty, interrupting Tang Dynasty, she created a large number of her Wu clan relatives imperial princes, and Wu Youning was created the Prince of Jianchang.

Empress dowager is the English language translation of the title given to the mother or widow of a Chinese, Japanese, Korean or Vietnamese emperor.

In fall 691, Wu Youning was removed from his post as Nayan, and was made a commanding general of the imperial guards. One month later, however, he was again made Nayan. In fall 692, as a part of a major reorganization of her government, Wu Zetian made him the minister of public works (冬官尚書, Dongguan Shangshu), no longer a chancellor. It was said that when Wu Youning and his cousin Wu Sansi were in power, they established offices to confiscate rich individuals' properties, and that some 17 or 18 individuals had their properties confiscated by them. Wu Youning stored what he gained in large storages, which were destroyed in a large fire.

Wu Sansi, posthumously Prince Xuan of Liang (梁宣王), was an official of the Chinese dynasty Tang Dynasty and his aunt Wu Zetian's Zhou Dynasty, becoming an imperial prince and chancellor during the reign of Wu Zetian and subsequently, while only briefly chancellor during the second reign of Wu Zetian's son and his cousin Emperor Zhongzong, becoming very powerful due to both the trust Emperor Zhongzong had in him and his affair with Emperor Zhongzong's powerful wife Empress Wei. He was killed in a rebellion by Emperor Zhongzong's son the crown prince Li Chongjun in 707.

In 705, Wu Zetian was overthrown in a coup led by the officials Zhang Jianzhi, Cui Xuanwei, Jing Hui, Huan Yanfan, and Yuan Shuji. Her son Li Xian the Crown Prince (Emperor Ruizong's older brother), who had previously reigned as emperor, was restored to the throne (as Emperor Zhongzong). Jing proposed that the Wu imperial princes' titles be removed, but Emperor Zhongzong declined to do so, instead demoting their titles slightly, and Wu Youning's title was reduced to Duke of Jiang. He died early in the Shenlong era (705-707), while serving as the prefect of Qi Prefecture (岐州, roughly modern Baoji, Shaanxi).

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.

Jing Hui (敬暉), 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.

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References

The Old Book of Tang, or simply the Book of Tang, is the first classic historical work about the Tang dynasty, comprising 200 chapters, and is one of the Twenty-Four Histories. Originally compiled during the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period, it was superseded by the New Book of Tang which was compiled in the Song dynasty, but later regained acceptance.

The New Book of Tang, generally translated as "New History of the Tang", or "New Tang History", is a work of official history covering the Tang dynasty in ten volumes and 225 chapters. The work was compiled by a team of scholars of the Song dynasty, led by Ouyang Xiu and Song Qi.

<i>Zizhi Tongjian</i> A chronicle Chinese history by Northern-Song historian Sima Guang

The Zizhi Tongjian is a pioneering reference work in Chinese historiography, published in 1084 in the form of a chronicle. In 1065 AD, Emperor Yingzong of Song ordered the great historian Sima Guang to lead with other scholars such as his chief assistants Liu Shu, Liu Ban and Fan Zuyu, the compilation of a universal history of China. The task took 19 years to be completed, and, in 1084 AD, it was presented to his successor Emperor Shenzong of Song. The Zizhi Tongjian records Chinese history from 403 BC to 959 AD, covering 16 dynasties and spanning across almost 1,400 years, and contains 294 volumes (巻) and about 3 million Chinese characters.