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Videos about China's Resistance War:
The Battle of Shanghai & Nanking;
Bombing of Chungking;
The Burma Road
Videos about China's Resistance War: China's Dunkirk Retreat (in English); 42 Video Series (in Chinese)
THE SOUTH-NORTH DYNASTIES
Continuing the section on The Sixteen Nations would be the time period called by the South-North Dynasties. Most historians classified it as the Southern-Northern Dynasties to emphasize that both the northern and southern dynasties were part of one whole China. The division between the two time periods will be the demise of the Eastern Jinn Dynasty (AD 317-420) and the usurpation by Eastern Jinn General Liu Yu.
The Hunnic-Xianbei rebellion against the Western Jinn Chinese led to the turmoil in northern China called 'The Sixteen Nations' or 'Five Nomadic Groups Ravaging China'. The rebellion was the result of internal turmoil among the Jinn Chinese princes. The late Jinn China period was known as the 'Turmoil of the Eight Sima Kings' because the eight Jinn princes were named Sima, carrying the last character 'ma' (meaning 'horse'). When the Sima princes almost finished off each other, a border general at today's Beijing, Wang Jun, colluded with the Xianbei in the attempt of fighting the Jinn Court. Liu Yuan, a Hun hostage at the Jinn Court, was released for organizing the anti-Xianbei forces among the Southern Huns. Soon after that, Liu Yuan proclaimed the founding of the Hunnic Han Dynasty (AD 304-329), and went on to route the two Jinn capitals of Luoyang and Xi'an, respectively. A Jiehu barbarian under the Hunnic Han (alternativel named Zhao) Dynasty would set up the Posterior Zhao Dynasty. Ran Min, an adopted son of Shi Le, would kill all Jiehu and set up a Wei Dynasty, alternatively called the Ran Wei dynasty. Some Chinese general on the Silk Road would set up Anterior Liang (AD 317-376). A Xianbei by the name of Murong Jun would rebel against Ran Min's Ran Wei, caught Ran Min, and set up Anterior Yan (AD 337-370). Murong Jun's brother, Murong Chui, would defeat the northern expedition led by Eastern Jinn China's Heng Wen, but Murong Chui was not trusted by the nephew emperor. Hence, Murong Chui fled to Fu Jian's Di (1) nomads. Fu Jian, whose ancestor served under Jiehu's Posterior Zhao, would defeat Anterior Yan and set up Anterior Qin (AD 351-394). After the fall of Di's Anterior Qin, Xianbei re-established Posterior Yan (AD 384-409) and Qiangs would set up Posterior Qin (AD 384-417). Among the Western Xianbei, Qifu would set up Western Qin (AD 385-431), and Tufa would set up Southern Liang (AD 397-414). Numerous statlets, like Posterior Liang, Northern Liang, Southern Yan, Western Liang, Hunnic Xia and Northern Yan would follow.
Eastern Jinn Dynasty's army, under general Liu Yu, would renew northern expeditions and finally destroyed the Posterior Qin Dynasty of the Qiangs (AD 384-417) in Xi'an and Posterior Yan Dynasty of Xianbei (AD 384-409) south of the Yellow River area. Before this campaign, the Southern Chinese had staged quite a few northern campaigns. Zu Di, organizing the refugees and civilians with minimal Eastern Jinn Court support, would cross the Yangtze to mount a campaign against the barbarians in northern China. General Heng Wen would continue the campaigns to the north. Heng Wen met Wang Meng who later served Anterior Qin ruler (Fu Jian). Heng Wen stopped short of finishing off the barbarians while contemplating on a return to southern China for usurping the Jinn court. Similarly, Liu Yu, who had organized the strong fighting force called by the 'bei-fu jun', namely, the army troops consisting of the descendants of the Chinese from the northern Chinese prefectures, had at one time taken over the old capital city of Chang'an but then left for southern China for sake of usurping the Jinn court.
General Liu Yu of Jinn Dynasty first attacked the Xianbei in today's Jiangsu-Shandong provinces, and then attacked the Qiangic nomads in today's Luoyang-Xi'an areas. However, General Liu was eager to return to today's Nanking to usurp the Jinn Dynasty. His army in the Luoyang-Xi'an areas were defeated by the Hunnic Xia. The Hunnic Xia, however, would soon be replaced by the Tuobas who had steadily built up their power base in today's Shanxi-Hebei areas. The Hunnic Xia had once requested aid from another Hunnic people, the Ruruans in the Altai Mountains, but the Tuobas had been able to defeat them both. Tuoba would set up their Tuoba Wei or Northern Wei Dynasty, lasting through AD 386-534, till it split into Eastern Wei (AD 534-550) and Western Wei (AD 535-557). Eastern Wei and Western Wei would be usurped by two generals of Xianbei origin, respectively, who set up Northern Qi (AD 550-577) and Northern Zhou (AD 557-581). The three Tuoba Wei dynasties, plus Northern Qi and Northern Zhou, would be called Northern Dynasties (AD 386-581).
In AD 420, General Liu Yu (who claimed Han heritage) usurped the power by proclaimg the Southern Soong Dyasty (AD 420-479) in place of Eastern Jinn Dynasty. In southern China, the so-called South Dynasties (AD 420-589) would include three more Han Chinese dynasties, namely Southern Qi (AD 479-502), Southern Liang (AD 502-557), and Southern Chen (AD 557-589). The last one, Chen, would be swallowed by the Sui Dynasty (AD 581-618) which had replaced the nomadic dynasties in Northern China.
Buddhism Taking Root In China
Tuoba Northern Wei Dynasty
In Jan of AD 386, Tuoba Gui, namely, Tuoba Wei Emperor Daowudi, declared the founding of Dai Dynasty. Three months later, he renamed it to Wei Dynasty. Tuoba Wei defeated the Northern Liang Dynasty in AD 439 and reunited northern China. The Tuoba people, who claimed descent from the ancient Chinese overlord Huangdi, saying that they had not joined the Huns and Xianbei in pillaging China in the last few thousands of years because they remembered that they were the descendants of the Yellow Overlord. Northern Wei moved its capital southward to Loyang in A.D. 493 and the Tuobas changed their family name to the Chinese name of "Yuan" [i.e., meaning the very origin].
Tuoba Wei Emperor Xiaomingdi (510-528), a second son of Emperor Xuanwudi, was born by a woman who was a daughter of court minister Hu Guozhen and who came to be known as Empress Hu-tai-hou (or posthumously called Ling-tai-hou after Gao Huan was to exterminate Erzhu Rong three years later). Dowager-empress Hu-tai-hou, unlike the other women who dreaded about bearing a prince to incur the penalty of death at the time the prince was to ascend to the throne, survived the throne substitution, and further took over the regent role. Hu-tai-hou had adultery with multiple royals and court ministers. At one time, Hu-tai-hou was put under arrest by Yuan Yi, a son of King Jiangyang-wang who was a brother-in-law. Hu-tai-hou sought the son-emperor's help to get Yuan Yi eliminated. The son-emperor, i.e., Tuoba Wei Emperor Xiaomingdi, after growing up, became discontented with the doawger-empress' intervention in the court politics. Emperor Xiaomingdi called on General Erzhu Rong to come to the nation's capital. When Gao Huan, a general under Erzhu Rong, arrived at Shangdang, the emperor ordered the troops to halt the march. Before Erzhu Rong's army was to arrive, the emperor died mysteriously. Dowager-empress Hu-tai-hou first made Xiaomingdi's daughter into a new ruler, and then switched to Yuan Zhao, a three-year-old son of King Lintao-wang (Yuan Baohui).
In A.D. 528, Northern Wei Emperor Xiaomingdi died. Er-zhu Rong, a barbarian chieftain who derived his name from the Erzhu-chuan (Zhujiachuan) River in today's Shenchi-Baode area, supported a son (Yuan Ziyou) of late Tuoba Wei Emperor Xiaozhuangdi's into the new emperor. Er-zhu Rong was in charge of the military forces in the six prefectures of Bing, Si, Fen, Guang, Heng and Yun or today's Shanxi Province. Using the advice of Fei Mu, Erzhu Rong came to the capital city of Luoyang and ordered to throw dowager-empress Hu-tai-hou and the young emperor into the Yellow River. Then Erzhu Rong ordered the Tuoba royals, and the court ministers and generals to go to He-jin (Mengjin, Henan) for the sacrificial service. Altogether, Heba Yue, a forerunner general under Erzhu Rong, kill over 1300 court officials and generals. WEI SHU claimed that over two thought royals and the court ministers were killed. The victims were mostly sinicized Tuoba Xianbei royals and the ethnic-Chinese ministers. For his atrocity, Erzhu Rong returned to Jinyang (Taiyuan, Shanxi) after putting the emperor on the seat and arranging his generals to be in charge of the court matter. In A.D. 530, Tuoba Wei Emperor Xiaozhuangdi induced Erzhu Rong to come to the court, and had him killed. Erzhu Zhao, a nephew of Erzhu Rong, Erzhu Zhao made King Changguang-wang Yuan Ye, a son of King Fufeng-wang, into the new emperor. Erzhu Zhao, together with the Erzhu Shilong brothers [who were cousins to Erzhu Rong], launched rebellion at Jinyang, marched to Luoyang, and avenged his uncle by killing the emperor. The rebels ransacked the palace and the capital city. Months later, in February of A.D. 531, the rebels forced King Changguang-wang Yuan Ye into abdication, and selected King Guangling-wang Yuan Gong as Tuoba Wei Emperor Jiemin-di. One year later, Gao Huan deposed the emperor and selected Yuan Xiu, a grandson of Tuoba Wei Emperor Xiaowendi (Yuan Hong), as Emperor Xiaowudi. In 534, Tuoba Wei Emperor Xiaowudi broke off from Gao Huan. Gao Huan led an army to Luoyang from Jinyang. Emperor Xiaowudi, with a small entourage, fled to Chang'an for seeking help with Yuwen Tai, a fiancee of his sister's. Later in the year, Gao Huan selected eleven-year-old Yuan Shanjian as the new emperor (Eastern Tuoba Wei Emperor Xiaojingdi) and relocated the capital city to Ye to found the Eastern Wei dynasty.
Tuoba Western Wei Dynasty
Dugu Xin at one time single-handedly escorted Tuoba Emperor Xiaowudi on a trip of fleeing to Yuwen Tai's camp for seeking asylum. Xiaowudi re-established the Wei dynasty, which came to be known as Western Wei that had four emperors and lasted 22 years.
Emperor Xiaowudi was not happy with Yuwen Tai's killing his favourite concubine. Later in the year, Yuwen Tai killed Emperor Xiaowudi, and selected Yuan Baoju as the new emperor. In AD 535, Yuan Baoju, i.e., Western Tuoba Wei Emperor Wendi, declared the Datong Era. Son Yuan Qin, i.e., Emperor Feidi, succeeded the throne in AD 551. In AD 554, Yuan Qin was deposed by Yuwen Tai over the emperor's scheme, and two months later, killed by Yuwen Tai. Brother Yuan Kuo succeeded as Emperor Gongdi. In AD 557, Yuan Kuo abidcated to Yuwen Jue, the 3rd son of Yuwen Tai.
In the domain of the Northern Wei dynasty, there were the remnants of the Hunnic elements who were called by Ji-hu, near today's Yenan city. In A.D. 538, Yang Shao was appointed the post as 'jun shou" for Fucheng (Fuxian/Yenan, Shenxi).
Tuoba Eastern Wei Dynasty
Eastern Tuoba Wei Emperor Xiaojingdi, after the death of Gao Huan, attempted to assert his power. Gao Cheng, a son of Gao Huan, often bullied the emperor. The emperor's ministers attempted to dig a tunnel to smuggle out the emperor. Gao Cheng ordered to have the ministers killed, and put the emperor under the house arrest after the two drank through the night. In 540, Gao Cheng was killed by a kitchen chef called Lan Jing who was a Southern Liang Dynasty General Lan Qin. Before the assassination, Gao Cheng said he dreamt about the cook using a knife to kill him. Gao Cheng repeatedly refused to release Lan Jing, nor accepting the prisoner swap request. In AD 550, Gao Yang, a brother of Gao Cheng, usurped the Eastern Wei Dynasty throne to become [Northern] Qi Emperor Wenxuan-di. In AD 552, Gao Yang killed the last Tuoba Wei emperor and his three sons.
In October of AD 422, the Tuoba army began the campaign against the Liu Soong dynasty by taking advantage of Liu Yu's death. Tuoba General Xi-jin attacked Huatai but failed to sack it. Tuoba Si then personally led the relief army against Huatai. Wang Jingdu, 'tai shou' (magistrate) for the Dong-jun Commandary, abandoned Huatai. In December, Tuoba General Shu-sun Jian was ordered to attack the Qingzhou and Yanzhou prefectures to the east, namely, the land that was previously under the Southern Yan dynasty --that was taken over by Liu Yu's northern expedition. In Jizhou, Sima Yuanzhi and Sima Xiuzhi, i.e., the former Jinn royal house mebers, staged a rebellion and defected to the Tuoba. Tuoba took over the Qingzhou and Yanzhou territory while Liu Soong 'ci shi' Xu Yan abandoned Yanzhou in face of the Tuoba army's attack. Tuoba General Xi-jin then led the troops back to the west for attacking the Hulaoguan Pass.
At the Hulaoguan Pass, Liu Soong General Mao Dezu, who was 'ci shi' (satrap) for the Si-zhou prefecture, resisted the invasion. Mao Dezu formerly was a subordinate under Wang Zhen'e. Tuoba Si sent the relief army to Hulaoguan from Yecheng. However, the Tuoba still failed to sack the fort. Mao Dezu, who was an acquaitance of Tuoba General Gongsun Biao, played a dissension trick in writing letters to Gongsun Biao but intentionally made the letters seem to be corrected and altered, with some characters erased. The Tuoba emperor, who failed to discern the dissension, ordered to have Gongsun Biao killed --after Tuob Wei official ('tai-shi ling') Wang Liang, who was at odds with Gongsun Biao, encouraged the Tuoba emperor to take action against Gongsun Biao. This was the former military trick played by Cao Cao to sow dissension between Ma Chao and Haan Sui during the Three Kingdom time period.
Mao Dezu, who ordered to dig six tunnels as deep as seven Chines 'zhang' (i.e., yards), dispatched the commando teams out of the city to attack the Tuoba army from behind the lines. Fan Daoji, 'can jiang' or the deputy lieutenant general, led the 400-men tunnel commando raids.
From Huatai, Tuoba General Shusun Jian led the relief army to Huatai which was under siege for over 200 days then. Mao Dezu ordered to construct three layers of internal walls at Hulao. The Tuoba Wei army broke two layers. The Liu Soong army in the outlaying areas, such as Tan Daoji at Hulu, Liu Cui at Xiangcheng and Shen Shu at Gaoqiao, dared not come to the aid of Hulao, even after Liu Soong Emperor Wendi repeatedly ordered so.
In April of AD 423, Tuoba Si came to Chenggao to supervise the campaign. After observing the Chinese army and civilians lining up to fetch water from the Yellow River at the city wall, Tuoba Si ordered the attack from the towers on the ships to stop the people at the city wall from fetching water. Tuoba Si also ordered to dig wells as deep as 40 Chinese yards outside of Hulao to drain the underground water to Hulao. With the blocking of the water supply, the Hulao defenders were in a dire situation. The Tuoba Wei army breached the last layer of the inner citywall defense. Mao Dezu and the Liu Soong army engaged in the lane to lane battles against the Tuoba Wei army. Mao Dezu refused to break out, with a swear to die with the fort. Fan Daoji, with two hundred remnants, broke out of the Hulao fort and returned to southern China. Mao Dezu, who was exhausted in the battles and ordered not to be killed by Tuoba Si, was caught by Tuoba Wei General Dou-dai-tian. Tuoba Si died late in the year, with Tuoba Tuo succeeding. Mao Dezu was to live for six years in Tuoba Wei's captivity.
Southern Qi Dynasty
In AD 479, Tuoba Wei attacked Sizhou and Yuzhou of the Southern Qi dynasty. General Pei Shuye, as 'tun-qi xiao-wei', resisted the Tuoba Wei army.
In AD 505, Southern Qi General Wei2 Rui launched a northern campaign, and took over Xiao-xian-cheng (Hefei, Anhui) from Northern Tuoba Wei. When Tuoba Wei General Yang Lingyin led a relief army of 50,000 southward, Wei2 Rui breached the Fei-shui River to flood the Tuoba army. The next year, Wei2 Rui was responsible for aiding the Zhongli (Fengyang, Anhui) city which was under the siege by the northern army.
Xiao Baojuan, the Southern Qi Dynasty's 6th emperor, succeeded father Xiao Luan's throne in AD 499. Posthumouly titled Dong-hun-hou, i.e., the eastern lascivious marquis, Xiao Baojuan killed numerous ministers and generals, which led to the defection of General Pei Shuye to Tuoba Wei. In AD 500, Cui Huijing was ordered to quell Pei Shuye's rebellion. Upon arrival at Guangling (Yangzhou, Jiangsu), across the Yangtze, Cui Huijing also rebelled against Xiao Baojuan, and supported Xiao Baoxuan, a royal brother at the Jingkou (Zhenjiang, Jiangsu) fort, as the new lord. The Qi emperor ordered Xiao Yi4 to crack down on the rebellion. However, the emperor killed Xiao Yi4 after Xiao Yi4 quelled the Cui Huijing rebellion.
In AD 501, Xiao Yan (Xiao Shuda), a Qi royal house relative, attacked Yingcheng (Zhongxiang/Jingmen, Hubei) to avenge the death of brother Xiao Yi4. After over 200 days' siege, Xiao Yan sacked the city. After that, Xiao Yan attacked Jiankang, the capital city, and selected King Nankang-wang (Xiao Baorong) as Southern Qi Emperor Hedi with the capital city at Jiangling. Meanwhile, Xiao Baojuan was killed by subordinates Wang Zhen'guo and Zhang Ji. In AD 502, Southern Qi Emperor Hedi yielded the throne to Xiao Yan (Xiao Shuda), a Qi royal house relative. Xiao Yan, i.e., Southern Liang Emperor Yuandi, declared the founding of the Southern Liang dynasty.
Southern Liang Dynasty
During Liang Emperor Wudi's 48 years of reign, the Chinese culture was reviatalized, with scholar Shen Yue appointed prime minister. The emperor was also indulged in buddhism after he converted himself to buddhism from Daoism. For four times, the emperor quit the job to become a monk, to be retrieved after paying the monasteries with the royal savings --which enriched the construction of the monatery temples and buildings. Per Shao Bo of the Soong dynasty, Sui Dynasty scholar Wang Tong had made the comment that it was not Confucius' fault that SHI JING and SHANG SHU were so popular that the Qin empire had its demise; it was not Lao-zi and Zhuang-zi's fault that the xu-xuan [virtual and metaphysical] philosophy was so popular that the Jinn Dynasty court had its demise; and it was not Sakya Buddha's fault that Liang Emperor Wudi was so indulged in buddhism that the Southern Liang state had its demise.
In AD 547, Hou Jing, an Eastern Wei general of the Jie-hu barbarian origin, defected to the Western Wei dynasty with his 13 He-nan (south of the Yellow River) prefectures as a result of rivalry with fellow general Gao Cheng who was a son of Gao Huan's. Not trusted by Yuwen Tai, the emperor of Western Wei Dynasty, Hou Jing sought asylum with defected to the southern dynasty. Xiao Yan conferred Hou Jing the title of King Henan-wang. When the Eastern Wei army attacked Hou Jing, Xiao Yan sent nephew Xiao Yuanming to the relief. However, Xiao Yuanming was captured by the Eastern Wei army. Gao Cheng sowed dissension between the Southern Liang emperor and Hou Jing with the offer of exchange of the prisoner. Hou Jing, to test Xiao Yan's intent, forged a letter about exchanging Xiao Yuanming with Hou Jing. When Xiao Yan approved the swap, Hou Jing was maddened into rebellion.
Using Xiao Zhengde, the emperor's adopted son, as a guide, Hou Jing, with 8000 troops, crossed the Yangtze. In AD 548, Hou Jing's rebel army sacked Jianye, i.e., Southern Liang's capital city, and blockaded the Taicheng palace from October to March of the next year. Initially, Yang Kan defended the palace inner city against the rebels and sent out kites with message for relief. Hou Jing flooded the inner city with the water from the Xuanwu-hu Lake. Hou Jing made Xiao Zhengde into a puppet emperor. By March of AD 549, the emperor's army surrendered. Hou Jing then faked the imperial decree to have the dozens of thousands of the imperial relief army disband. Liang Emperor Wudi, indignant about the rebels' intrusion into the palace buildings, was maddened and starved to death at the age of 86. Hou Jing killed Xiao Zhengde, made Xiao Gang, i.e., Emperor Liang-wu-di's son, into an emperor, then deposed Xiao Gang, and selected Emperor Liang-wu-di's great grandson Xiao Dong as an emperor. In AD 551, Hou Jing declared himself an emperor and launched the Han dynasty.
In AD 552, Xiao Yi, i.e., King Xiang-dong-wang, joined in the military action against the Hou Jing rebellion. Chen Baxian and Wang Sengbian, i.e., two Southern Liang Dynasty generals, sacked Jiankang. Hou Jing, fleeing Jiankang by ship, was killed by a surbordinate. Xiao Yi (i.e., Liang Emperor Yuandi) altogether ordered over 70,000 volumes of books shipped to Jiangling from Jiankang.
In AD 554, the northern army invaded Jiangling. Before the invasion, Liang Emperor Yuandi sent a peace delegation to Western Wei for diffusing the war, with Yu Xin being part of the entourage. The Western Wei army, under the command of Yu Jin, sacked Jiangling, and abducted the Liang court officials and the Jingling residents to the north. Xiao Yi (i.e., Liang Emperor Yuandi), before his death, ordered the collection of books burnt, saying that he had read so many books to no use. Sui Dynasty minister Niu Hong called Xiao Yi's book burning the No. 5 historical cataclysm for China's classics. Later Ming Dynasty scholar Hu Yinglin added the post-South-North-dynasties book destruction incidents to make a total of ten incidents.
Yu Xin was forced to stay on in northern China, and later wrote the prose articles of KU-SHU (dead tree) FU and AI (mourning) JIANG-NAN (southern China) FU. Yu Xin, recalling his twice fleeing the loss of the capital cities (Jiankang and Jiangling, respectively) and calling himself 'er mao' (i.e., carrying the two hair colors of black and white) who first fled Jianye for Jiangling, then became an exile in northern China, who was forbidden from returning south, and expressing his homesickness when meeting with the 'Chu-lao' people, i.e., the old Chu Principality acquaintances, naley, the former Liang Dynasty peer court ministers who were forced to resettle in the north, such as Wang Bao who wrote the poem YAN-GE XING (ode to the trip for the Yan [norther] land) to commemorate the days of partying with Liang Emperor Yuandi.
Southern Chen Dynasty
TO BE CONTINUED !
Written by Ah Xiang
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