Sunday, January 20, 2013

Thinking About the Past

Everyone is here because of someone in the near or distant past who risked starting over for you and for me. In this time of uncertainty and world tensions, it is important to remember this lesson of love and faith, for peace—starting in our own families and spreading like a light to our communities, nation, and all the Earth.   
     Each of us has stories to tell—to share with each other and the next generations. It is in remembering and sharing our stories that we learn from the past and improve ourselves and our world, for now and for the future. I hope that my story inspires you to think about your own ancestors who traveled from afar to begin a new life for themselves and their future family. My own search for my family roots ended up much bigger than myself. So I started my blog with Searching For My Hakka Roots, then followed it with The Salt Merchant's Granddaughter.
     About twenty years ago, I started writing about my thoughts and memories as a keepsake for my children. But it never finished ... until my oldest son went to college. In his first year college, my son Jonathan took a class on the history of modern East Asia. It covered mostly China, Japan, and Korea. When we talked, I was very embarrassed not to know much Chinese history. I heard the names before, but I really had no clue where, what, or when.
    Some names were familiar to me; even some poems that I had remembered, because I had a hard time memorizing them for tests in school. I did not understand and I did not even try to understand. My old Chinese teacher Zhou (周) used to be so absorbed into the poems. He was a very nice, skinny, old man with only a little hair left on his head. I still remember his face in class. His head was swaying and his eyes were closed while he recited the poems. He did not notice that we were making faces and laughing at him. He forced us to memorize the poems and I hated it. He has long since gone to heaven. Reading the same poems with a better understanding of Chinese history plus my own adult experience together now brings me to tears, as if I finally understand what my teacher was trying to teach us. Those pieces of history were imprinted in my brain but scattered all over the place; now, I felt that I needed to put them where they belonged.
     One meaning of China is a fine white or translucent porcelain (瓷器), dating from the Shang Dynasty (1600–1046 BC). Porcelain trade expanded to all over Asia, Africa and Europe by the Silk Road during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). Europe tried to copy Chinese porcelain in the16th-century in Florence with little success. German finally succeeded in 1708 but it was closely guarded as a trade secret. In 1712, the Chinese manufacturing secrets were revealed throughout Europe by the French Jesuit Francois Xavier d'Entrecolles and soon published in the Lettres édifiantes et curieuses de Chine par des missionnaires jésuites.
     China was non-Chinese who gave the name to China and no Chinese accepted this name.  China translated from Chinese is still Zhong Ge (中國), the Chinese way, the Middle Kingdom. China also considers itself Zhong Hua (中华), the combination of Zhong Ge (中國) and Hua Xia (华夏), the central plains along the Yellow River.
     Mt Everest was named after Sir George Everest who was the first surveyor of India in 1830. The Chinese call it Qomolangma, which means “mother goddess of the Earth" in Tibetan since beginning of time. The seven states before the first Emperor Qin should really mean seven countries (國) in Chinese. The Emperor is above all the kings in old China.
     China was like a big furnace that had been burning for over 5000 years; it took whatever and whoever, and melted them all together into its identity today. Although many had tried to conquer China, all had failed. China instead absorbed them and made itself bigger. 
     Looking into Chinese history, I went into detail about the dynasties that interested me. My mom’s surname was Shangguan 上官 (later shortened to Guan 官). I found that Han Yu (韩愈) was from my father’s hometown. By looking into my family surnames in history, I learned much about Chinese history and myself. Chinese history was essentially family history. I suddenly saw China in a whole new light.

Xia Dynasty 夏朝 (2100-1600 B.C.): ruled by Xia family Si (姒).
     My grandmother’s family name was Xia (夏), which means summer. It ranks as the 55th most popular family name in China. This family started the first Dynasty in Chinese history - the Xia Dynasty. Seventeen rulers from this dynasty ruled China for 400 years, spanning fourteen generations. It was the first family name that was directly related to a dynasty. Its leader Chong Boxi assisted Yu Shun in combating a flood. After Boxi’s death, his son, Yu, took over the assignment. During the 13th year of fighting the flood, he passed by his house three times, but did not stop by to visit. Due to his achievement, Yu Shun gave Xia Yu his throne before he died. Then, Xia Yu made Yangcheng his capital, before moving to Yangyao (Yu Zhou in Henan 河南).
     Xia Jie (夏桀1728–1675 BCE) was the 17th and last ruler. He was a corrupt tyrant who brought down the dynasty started by Xia Yu the Great. He was a known alcoholic, and lived a lavish and reckless lifestyle. According to Han Ying's (韓嬰) book Han Shi Wai Zhuan (韓詩外傳), Jie’s concubine Mei Xi (妹喜) loved drinking and she wanted a lake filled with wine. So Xia Jie ordered over 3000 naked men to drink the lake dry while she and Jie both sailed in Alcohol Lake drinking and enjoying music. Terribly, they laughed whenever they saw a man had drowned; eventually all drowned. Mei Xi loved the sound of tearing silk apart by hand; Jie ordered loads and loads of silk and asked his people to tear them to make her happy. Chancellor Guan Long-feng (關龍逢/关龙逢) criticized him. As a result, Jie yelled and killed Guan. He told his people that he was the sun above the sky that would never fall. His people could not criticize him so they sang to the sun asking the sun to fall down, since they would rather be killed by the sun than suffer under Jie’s rule. The Shang army fought Jie's forces and defeated the Xia army, and started the next Dynasty, the Shang Dynasty in 1783 B.C. The conquered people of Xia made Xia their surname.
Proposed location of the Xia dynasty
A decorated scientist has ignited a passionate debate with claims that the founders of Chinese civilization were not Chinese: "...historian Sima Qian’s description of the topography of the Xia empire — traditionally regarded as China’s founding dynasty, dating from 2070 to 1600 B.C. “Northwards the stream is divided and becomes the nine rivers,” wrote Sima Qian in his first century historiography, the Records of the Grand Historian.
“Reunited, it forms the opposing river and flows into the sea.”
In other words, “the stream” in question wasn’t China’s famed Yellow River, which flows from west to east. “There is only one major river in the world which flows northwards. Which one is it?” the professor asked. “The Nile,” someone replied.
Sun then showed a map of the famed Egyptian river and its delta — with nine of its distributaries flowing into the Mediterranean. This author, a researcher at the same institute, watched as audience members broke into smiles and murmurs, intrigued that these ancient Chinese texts seemed to better agree with the geography of Egypt than that of China.

"Shang_Dynasty 商朝 (1700-1046 B.C.) ruled by Zi (子)
      The Sanxingdui (三星堆) Culture, an unknown Bronze Age culture, was discovered in 1987 in Guanghan County in my hometown Chengdu, Sichuan. The buried city had walls and was built on the banks of the Yazi River. The birds, dragons, snakes, and tigers were most of the animal findings at Sanxingdui. This culture is similar to the early kingdom of Shu during the period of the Shang Dynasty. They had a different method of bronze-making from the Shang.
Sanxingdui bronze heads with gold foil masks

     The Jinsha (成都金沙遗址) was a continuation of the Sanxingdui Culture, discovered in 2001. Scientific research showed it was the capital of King Yufu, founder of the Shu Kingdom. The gold mask and a bronze statue of a person standing were similar to the bronze masks and large bronze statues at the Sanxingdui Ruins. The site had more stone statues of animals than people. A rare stone statue is a man in a kneeling position with holes in his ears and a pigtail, his two hands tied together behind his back with a rope. He had a stern expression indicating that he might have been a slave or war prisoner. Compared to other relics unearthed at the same period, it was the site with the largest number of ancient elephant tusks and gold and jade artifacts. The gold foil “sunbird” consisted of four birds flying around a whirlpool-like sun against a red background. The four firebirds flew around a spinning flaming fireball. The flying birds were on the outer rim and the spinning sun in the center. Shu people worshipped the sunbird and the Sun god. The kingdom had a strong central theocracy, and traded bronze and ivory with its neighbors. The new findings connect to the earlier findings of the Ba Culture near Chongqing along the Yangtze River. The Ba people might have been the earliest who passed into the Chu on the lower part of Yangtze River. The Ba people already had a salt industry and traded with the Chu State. The Chu eventually took over the Ba, absorbing Ba culture, eventually becoming the largest State. The new findings unsettled the traditional theory that the Yellow River was the sole "cradle of Chinese civilization." 
Revisiting the Southern Silk Road
Part 1 Border of the ancient kingdom of Shu
Part 2 The megalithic tombs China has four Stonehenge sites.
Part 3The lost kingdom of Dian
Part 4 South of the rainbow 
Part 5 Roud to the West
The Mystery of Ba People 

Part 1- Sword
Part 2- Dancing
Part 3- White Tiger  

Part 4- Salt
Part 5- Bell
Part 6-Boat
That is why Sichuan also called "Ba" "Shu". Saving the Culture Relics of the Tree Georges

Remnants of advanced, stratified societies dating back to the Shang period have been found in the Yellow River Valley.

Zhou_Dynasty 周朝 (1046-256 B.C.) ruled by Ji (姬姓)
     Zhou was the longest dynasty in Chinese history, ruling China for 791 years. The use of iron was introduced into China during this time. Written script evolved from the ancient stage to the beginnings of the modern stage. It was the Chinese medieval time, when Zhou ruled from walled cities rather than castles. The Zhou legitimized the "Mandate of Heaven" and the notion that the ruler (the "son of heaven") governed by divine right. His dethronement, however, would prove that he had lost the mandate. It laid foundations for the beginning of native Chinese philosophy, Confucianism, Taoism, and ancient Chinese laws.
        Li (禮/礼) was an understanding of manners as an expression of the social hierarchy, ethics, and regulation concerning material life; the corresponding social practices became idealized within Confucian ideology. It was the heart of the Chinese imperial ideology. While the system was initially a respected body of concrete regulations, the fragmentation caused by the Western Zhou period led the ritual to drift towards moralization and formalization in regard to:
  • The five orders of Chinese nobility.
  • Ancestral temples (size, legitimate number of pavilions)
  • Ceremonial regulations (number of ritual vessels, musical instruments, people in the dancing troupe).

    Spring_and_Autumn_period (春秋時代 770 to 476 B.C.)
         Han (韓) descended from the Zhou kings. In China’s first dynasty, Xia, Yu the Great tunnelled into the nearby Mt. Longmen (Dragon Gate Mountain) to alleviate frequent flooding in the area. The area was thus called Dragon Gate (龍門). During the Western Zhou Dynasty, the area was bestowed on the Han Marquis. During the Spring and Autumn Period, the area was under the State of Jin and became known as Han yuan (韩原) or Land of the Hans.
    Beneath the yellow earth episode 1 Heritage from Spring and Autumn Period Part 1
    Beneath the yellow earth episode 1 Heritage from Spring and Autumn Period Part 2

         Han Jue (韩厥) fifth politician and general in the Han family. He commanded the Jin's (晋国) left wing successfully against Chu.[7] In 573 BC, Han Jue became Jin's zhengqing (正卿),[8] the highest post in Ancient China. He was credited to save the last son of Zhao family (The Orphan of Zhao 趙氏孤兒).
    A page of Prémare's translation in French

    Warring_States_period (战国时代 476-221 B.C.)

    Map of 7 Warring States, China, 245 to 235 BCE
     The above picture of the character-symbol, my father's Han (韓), shows the origin of the Chinese word "Han". It shows the Sun in the center with six crosses. The top shows a wild boar; Han ancestors trained the wild boar to become today's pig. Under the pig is a well with a locked cover and people guarding the water on four sides.  The King controlled the water in the State (國) of Han, the smallest of the seven States.
    Picture of the character-symbol Xiong (熊), meaning Bear. The Xiong family respected the bear and they were kings of Chu, the biggest of the seven States (國). My mother side Shangguan (上官) was given the land in today's Henan (河南滑县东南) by his father, the King Huai of the Chu state (楚怀王) whose last name was Xiong (熊) . Zi Lan (子蘭) was the younger son so he could not take the family name Xiong, instead he took his official name "Shangguan" as his family name.
         This is a tripod cauldron or Ding from the late Shang Dynasty.  Only the Son of Heaven (天子) was entitled to have nine Dings. The use of the nine Dings to offer ritual sacrifices to the ancestors from heaven and earth was a major ceremonial occasion. It symbolizes the highest national political power.  King Zhuang of Chu (楚庄王) inquired the "weight of the Dings" (问鼎中原) with his army camped outside of the Zhou Capital. He was rebuffed by the Zhou minister Wang sunman (王孫滿). Wang told him that according to the Rites of Zhou (周礼), he should not ask for the weight of the Ding.  He could have taken over the Zhou, but withdrew his army went back to Chu.  Later on King Wu of Qin (秦武王) lost his life trying to carry the Ding.
         In 299 BC, King Zhuang of Chu (楚庄王)'s son King Huai was held hostage by his own sister Miyue (羋月) married the King of Qin, the Queen Dowager Xuan (宣太后), who was the regent for her young son King Zhao of Qin. She was supported by her brothers Wei Ran and Mi Rong (羋戎), as well as two other sons Prince Yun (公子悝) and Prince Shi (公子市), all together known as the "Four Nobles" (四貴). 
         Miyue from Chu played a key role weakening six other states including her home country Chu, the strongest at the time. The Western frontier of Yiqu (義渠) had always been trouble for Qin. So she married the king of Yiqu and had two sons with him.  At the same time, with the help of Yiqu, her son the King was aggressively weakening rival warring states in the east and south. But when the Yiqu king's two sons were getting older, they wanted a piece of the pie as well. In 272 BC, Miyue, the Queen Dowager Xuan lured the Yiqu King to Ganquan Place and killed him and their two sons, annexing his entire territory into the newly established commanderies of Longxi and Beidi (北地). The Xirong threat was removed for good.  Miyue was heart broken that he had to bill them for the goodness of Qin; she buried them together with a great amount of treasures. She also built her own tomb site in front of this mountain, she named Li Mountain (骊山), Li (骊) means black horse which was the King Yiqu's Chinese name. This site became Qin's royal tomb site (骊山园). Recent archaeologists excavated a site with 21 mystic circle pits,  a total area of ​​2230 square meters, believed to be hers. Also, recently published findings have put the origin of China’s famous Terracotta Warriors into question, the true owner is also Miyue. The Legend of Miyue ,the first two episodes (81 total) of a new Chinese drama attracted a record 700 million hits in just 24 hours.  Some Idioms meant to make fun of the Chu people still exist today.  

    How a Chinese Manuscript Written 2,300 Years Ago Ended Up in Washington – The New York Times
    The Chu Silk Manuscript is from the Warring States period, around 475 to 221 B.C., a crucial era when lasting Chinese traditions like Confucianism and Taoism took shape.CreditCollection of the Arthur M. Sackler Foundation, New York, photograph courtesy of the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC

    买椟还珠 which means a Chu person who was selling pearls in a wooden box, but he made this box so beautiful that the buyer from Zhen (郑) bought the box, but returned the pearls. 
    刻舟求剑 which means a Chu person who lost his sword while crossing a river. He made a mark on the boat.  When the boat landed on the other side, he jumped into the water from the mark looking his lost sword.
    画蛇添足which means a noble Chu person drew a snake with his feet. But today's finding proves he was right (Four-legged snake fossil stuns scientists).
    Song of Chu with the Xun(塤獨奏 ─ 楚歌) 

    Instrumental Ensemble - Music of the Chu State 楚商 

    My mother’s ancestor Zi Lan (子蘭)
    My mother’s ancestor Zi Lan (子蘭) was given an offical title Shangguan Da Fu (上官大夫) in charge of the land in today's Henan (河南滑县东南) by his father, the King Huai of the Chu state (楚怀王) whose last name was Xiong (熊) . Zi Lan (子蘭) showed up on the last episode of Chu's 800 years 楚国八百年》. . He was his beloved younger son. 
    魅力纪录 楚国八百年 第八集 涅槃
    The earliest Shangguan on the bronze in Warring States (476-221 B.C.) 
    from National Palace Museum 故宫博物院
         Shangguan Zi Lan (上官子兰) along with his mother Zhen Xiu (郑袖) who was the King’s favorite concubine and Shangguan Da Fu Zhan Sung (上官大夫靳尚), convinced the king not to take Qu Yuan’s (屈原) advice because they disagreed with him. Like Zi Lan, Qu Yuan's last name was Xiong (熊) as well. He lost the king's favor and was exiled from the country, but was called back when the monarch's anger died down.  Zi Lan went ahead to have direct talks with the State of Qin (秦).  Zi Lan agreed with Qin’s request for his father to pay a visit to Qin resulting in the king becoming a hostage and eventually dying there (Xianyang 西咸阳).  The king’s body was sent back to Chu. Qu Yuan wrote  "Return Soul"(招魂) in memory of the king. Chu and Qin dissolved all diplomatic ties.  Then, Zi Lan was helping the new king, his older brother, rule against Qin.  Six years later, Qin took over my father’s State of Han (韓) and sent a letter to King Chu warning him that his country would be taken over soon.  Again, Qu Yuan blamed Zi Lan for the loss of his father, and he was expelled again. Qu Yuan met a fisherman who was quite satisfied with his life. Qu Yuan thought that the king was not doing his job, his people only cared about themselves, and his life was meaningless; as a result, he drowned himself in the river. Many fishermen tried to rescue him, but his body was never found. Fishermen worried that fish would eat his body. To prevent this from happening, they threw food into the river to feed the fish.  They tried to scare fish away by splashing the water with their paddles and beating drums on the long narrow boats.  Today’s Duanwu Festival (端午节/端午節), which is commonly known in English as the Dragon Boat Festival or Double Fifth (fifth day of the fifth month), is celebrated in memory of him.
        After Qin took over Chu, unlike the other family of Xiong (熊), Shangguan moved to Longxi (陇西), Tien Sui (天水一带) in Gansu, northwest China, since Zi Lan’s (子兰) wife was the princess of Qin. Tianshui (“heavenly water”) in Gansu, the Birthplace of Chinese Civilization, was the heartland of the Qin, and Shangguan quickly became a big family there. Tien Sui became the root for all Shangguan. The phrase 望出天水, 源自子兰。 means look up at the heavenly water, Shangguan from Zi Lan.
    See today's Tian Shui Part one Tian Shui Part two.  More Tien Sui video.
         When I was reciting Qu Yuan’s poems as a school girl, I never knew our Shangguan Zi Lan contributed to his death.  All of the Chinese knew him and felt sorry for him, except for our Shangguan family.  As a poet, our family respected him; he was not respected as a ruler.  He could only dream about his country Chu, not really able to win. Sima Qian went overboard about Qu Yuan to express his own feeling towards the ruling power since he was also severely punished and exiled.  The King of Chu and his sons, including Zi Lan, fought hard to keep their country, especially after Zi Lan’s father died under Qin.  Still China was ready to unite and no one could stop it, not my father’s Han or my mother’s Chu.
    The oldest Book (total about 804 bamboo strip): "The Great One Generates Water",  from the teacher's tomb, unearthed in 1993.  He taught royal princes Zi Lan’s (子兰) and his older brother King Qingxiang of Chu (楚頃襄王).
         Han Fei (韩非) was a member of the ruling family of the State of Han.  Han Fei's philosophy, called Legalism, centered on the ruler. The king of Han did not use him, yet his book went to the hand of Qin.  Qin loved the book so much; he asked who wrote this book since this was how he wanted to rule his country.  His adviser Li told him it was Han Fei, his next door neighbor.  He sent Li to get Han Fei.  After Han Fei came, he told Qin he would help him rule under one small condition,  he could  not to take over his country first.  Li was very much jealous of Han Fei, so he told Qin that Han Fei could not be trusted. Li put Han Fei in jail and offered him poison.  Qin was shocked after he learned Han Fei was dead, but did not do anything. He went ahead and took over the Han first.  Han Fei’s legal system was used by Qin’s government and was the cornerstone for China’s legal systems.  It strongly influenced every dynasty afterwards, and the Confucian’s ideal without laws was never realized.
         Han Peng (韩凭) committed suicide after the king took his beautiful wife away from him.  The story goes that is wife wore a very fragile and old dress while attending the king’s ceremony on a high stage.  She jumped down.  The king and his people tried to grab her dress.  Her dress broke into pieces and each piece became a beautiful butterfly that flew away.  The Chinese phase 韩妻裙化蝶 means the dress of Peng’s wife turned into butterflies.  This was the origin of the ending of the Chinese classic “Butterfly Lover” story.  The lover’s spirits emerged from the grave and turned into a pair of beautiful butterflies.  Han Peng’s wife had wished she could be buried with her dead husband, which made the king mad.  He buried her apart from her husband on the opposite side so they could only see each other.  Later a tree grew on each tomb and the roots and branches of these two trees entangled and grew together.  The locals called these “sim-twin” trees 连理树.  The phase 相思树 means the two trees are thinking about each other.  On these two trees lived two birds, male and female, that sang everyday so people called the birds 鸳鸯鸟 symbolizing togetherness and love.

    Qin_Dynasty 秦朝 (221-206 B.C.), ruled by Ying (). Qin Shi Huang (秦始皇) eventually took over all kings and  declared himself the first Emperor, becoming the first sovereign ruler of a united China. Qin united China, but only ruled China for 12 years. He was the first Emperor.  Qin used Han Fei’s rule of law.  He controlled all of his territories without mercy.  He built the Great Wall of China. His underground Terra Cotta Army in my father's hometown Xi'an (西安), built to protect him after death, was not discovered until 1974.  Newly discovered Mi month tomb suggested that the Terra Cotta Army site was closer to the great grandmother of Emperor Qin, it was protecting the Empress Dowager Xuan (宣太后). “The hairstyle, the ancient Chinese characters found on some unearthed warriors and other evidence indicate the owner of the warriors was Empress Dowager Xuan,” Chen said.
          People in China said (楚虽三户,亡秦必楚) if only three families were left in the State of Chu, they would destroy Qin. It was Xiang(项羽) from the Chu State who destroyed the Qin and took his own country back. Han Sheng (韩生), who was Xiang's advisor, asked Xiang stayed in Qin's fertile land, but Xiang missing his homeland Chu refused. Han said "沐猴而冠"which means a monkey wears a hat still a monkey. Xiang killed Han Sheng for the insult but the idiom stays today.
     A closer look at Qinshihuang's tomb Part 1
     A closer look at Qinshihuang's tomb Part 2

    Han_Dynasty 汉朝 (202) ruled by Liu (刘姓)  Xiang Yu (项羽) killed three Han (韓) because he did not want to restore the State of Han.  Zhang Laing who was born in the State of Han left Xiang Yu to Liu Bang (刘邦), after he failed to restore Han.  Then, it was Han Xin (韩信) who tricked Xiang Yu to commit suicide in the end.  In the early part of Han (汉), eighteen States swore allegiance to either Xiang Yu (项羽) or Liu Bang (刘邦).  Both from the State of Chu.   
     *** my last name Han (韓)and Han Dynasty/Han nationality (汉) sounds same but writes differently.
        Han Xin (韩信?-190 B.C.) was very poor while living with his mother; he lost his father when he was very young.  People knew he was from a noble family because he carried his family’s sword.  One day, a local bully challenged him in front of a group of people.  “Han Xin, you wander around with your sword everywhere; either cut off my head or crawl between my legs.”  Han Xin looked him in the eyes for a long time, he did not say a word, then knelt down and crawled between his legs, got up, and walked away from everyone’s laughter.  The phrase “胯下之辱” came from this situation.
    Han Xin (韩信?-190 B.C.)
         When Han Xin’s mother died, he sold everything he had to bury his mother in a very large tomb on a very nice piece of high land.  People laughed at him again — Han Xin was so foolish, now he was homeless with nothing except his sword.  He started to wander and beg for food.  A rich man took him home, thinking Han Xin would be a great man someday.  His wife disagreed.  She disliked and looked down on Han Xin, finding all kinds of excuses not to feed him.  Han Xin became fed up and decided to leave.  One day when he was so hungry since he had not eaten for days, he saw a group of women having lunch while washing clothes by the river.  He begged them to spare some of their food.  All laughed at him except one old lady who shared her lunch with him.  Han Xin was so grateful that he told her one day when he had money he would repay her for her good deed.  The old woman told him that she would not see that day coming since she was so old.  She advised him to find something, anything to work on for a living and not to wander around begging, since he was a grown man already.
        He took her advice, and joined Xiang Yu’s (项羽) army as a guard in front of his door.  After a few years, Xing Yu did not promote him, so he went to Liu Bang.  Again Liu Bang (刘邦) did not notice him, but Liu Bang’s adviser, Xiao He (萧何), did.  When everyone started to leave Liu Bang after he kept losing battles against Xiang Yu, Han Xin decided to leave as well. Xiao He went after Han Xin to stop him from leaving.  Liu Bang thought Xiao He also left, so he became very sad.  Then Xiao He came back with Han Xin. The phrase “萧何月下追韩信” means Xiao He chased Han Xin under the moonlight,” which made many operas and plays.  He told Liu Bang to use Han Xin since Han Xin would be the kind of person for whom one  had to wait on for another thousand years. The phrase “国士无双” means no second one in the world.  He will make one successful.  Liu Bang could not see how great Han Xin was, but he had to go along with him, since he did not want to lose him. He wanted to keep everything quiet, since there were so many other capable older military commanders.  Han Xin wanted the formal ceremony for the first commander or he would walk away.  Liu Bang did not have a choice, so he went along again.  Han Xin gave Liu Bang his plan on how to defeat all the other countries including Xiang Yu. 
         He was very successful on the battlefield, winning impossible battles for Liu Bang. The phrase “背水一战” described how he won a battle facing an army ten times larger and better trained than his  while behind him was a river cutting off his retreat route.  Liu Bang was so happy to have him even share his meals and his clothes with him. The phrase “解衣推食” came from this event. For the last battle against Xiang Yu, Liu Bang asked Han Xin to help him by attacking Xiang Yu from behind.  Han Xin knew that victory was near, so he asked Liu Bang to make him a king in this country after he got rid of Xiang Yu.  Again Liu Bang did not have a choice but promised him he would be a king of the Chu State, but he did not like it a bit; he certainly did not want to have a new king while this king was not yet gone.
         Han Xin did the job so well that poor Xiang Yu and his lover committed suicide out of despair. Han Xin surrounded “十面埋伏” Xiang's forces not just on four sides, but ten sides by cutting off all his supplies. He ordered his army to sing Xiang Yu’s national anthem “四面楚歌.” Xiang Yu’s army was already surrounded without any food or water, but upon hearing their national anthem sung by their enemy, they became heartbroken and started crying. Xiang Yu’s lover committed suicide after the last drink with him since she could not join Xiang Yu fighting her way out, and did not want to be captured by their enemy. The last goodbye called “霸王别姬” in Chinese means “Farewell My Concubine” that has been made into several operas and plays ever since. It is a great classic love story in China.
          Xiang Yu gathered his remaining troops and broke through Han and Liu Bang’s enclosure to reach the Wu River (乌江). His boat was waiting for him. He could have crossed the river to his hometown to rise again since he was only thirty years old and a well-loved, good man in his western Chu “西楚” country.  His reputation was much better than Liu Bang’s, and is still viewed as better today by the  Chinese people.  What he saw on the rock before the crossing changed his mind.  Millions of ants formed a sentence “Xiang Yu’s Death Place.”  He was heartbroken after seeing his lover die and most of his men die. Now god had sent him a message asking him to die there.  He must die there; he could not face his countryman, so he slit his throat with his own sword.  It turned out that Han Xin had used the brush with honey and wrote the sentence on the rock since he knew Xiang Yu would have to cross the river there.
         Han Xin’s master plan helped Liu Bang unite China again. He did not forget his promise to the old lady who shared her lunch with him.He went back looking for her, only to find out that she had died as she predicted.  He reburied her and made her tomb beautiful, even using gold-colored earth to cover her tomb.  He gave a lot of gold to her family and made them rich. The phrase “一饭千金” means a meal worth a thousand gold pieces.  Then, he went to see the bully, a little local officer.  Scared to death, he knelt in front of Han Xin and begged him to spare his life for the sake of his wife, kids, and old mother.  Han Xin did not kill him, but instead promoted him to a higher post.  Just imagine the people’s reaction; they loved him.  Liu Bang on the other hand, did not want to deal with another Xiang Yu.  Now Han Xin was his biggest threat.  First, he took away his power over the army and then demoted him to a small powerless post in a very little place.  He did however promise Han Xin that he would not kill him anywhere there was sky above, earth below, and metal (swords or spears etc.) around.  He said Han Xin was the man standing between the sky and earth “頂天立地,” which means he will never kill him since he fought the whole country for him.  
         This did not stop his wife Empress Lu (呂). With Xiao He’s help, his wife Liu tricked Han Xin into entering the Palace of Everlasting Joy (This is the same Palace where the Shangguan Empress died later from natural causes) while her husband was not around. The fact was after killing of Han Xin, Liu Bang named his favorite young brother as the King of Chu State. He then placed all his own Liu family members into key positions, although none of them had fought and won his country for him.
         She put Han Xin in a bag hanging so it would not touch the ground or see the sky, so she used a bamboo spear and killed him there.  She said she did not break her husband’s promise to him.  There was no sky, he was not touching the earth, and there was no metal that was used to kill him.  Han Xin was the first loyal commander killed in Chinese history.  Then, she went after his family; Xiao He scrambled to save Han Xin’s sons by getting them out. He ordered one of Han Xin’s men to help Han Xin’s offspring leave the city.  Some went as far south as Guangdong. Thousands died trying to protect his family from being killed; the blood formed a river in the city. His sons were hidden in the wheat haystacks. They escaped death; a few changed their surnames to Mei, which means wheat in Chinese, in order to thank the wheat for saving their lives.  The ones who swam across the river and did not drown and changed their surnames to He, which means river.
         Han Xin invented the kite and chess.  He used kites as messengers.  For chess he drew squares on the ground, then put his army and his enemy into different squares on the opposite side to plan his battles.  Later, it became chess. Some famous phrases from his life are still used today, such as “成敗一萧何, 生死两妇人,” which means his success and failure depended upon the same person — Xiao He. In addition, his life and death depended upon two women.
          Han Yi (韩嫣) was an offspring of King Han Wangxin (韩王信) before Qin (秦) took over.  He was Liu Che’s companion for school.  In addition, he was smart, tall, handsome, and a very good hunter. They loved each other.  After Liu Che became emperor, Liu gave him an official title.  They practiced archery, hunted, ate, and slept together.  Han Yi had a pass to go anywhere in his palace.
          One day, a Liu king, senior to the Emperor, came to see him. Liu Che sent Han Yi with his carriage and hundreds of people to greet him. So Han Yi flew by the Liu king and did not even notice he was kneeling on the ground since he thought it was the Emperor Liu Che. He was kneeling on the ground for over half an hour and no one had asked him to get up. After he learned that it was Han Yi, he cried to Liu Che’s mother and complained about how humiliated he was. Liu Che’s mother wanted Han Yi to die and blamed him for seducing his son. Liu Che knelt down in front of his mother and begged for her forgiveness, but it was to no avail. He ended up saying goodbye to his lover and having one last drink with her before Han Yi drank the poison.
        Han Yi had a luxurious life with Liu. When he hunted, he loved to use solid gold as a projectile for his slingshot. Although he was a good hunter, he would lose a dozen gold projectiles each day. Some said he did that on purpose from his kind heart, so the poor could get something too. The locals said, “苦饥寒,逐金丸,” which means, “When hungry, cold, and bitter, chase the gold projectiles.” Every time he released a projectile, a group of kids would run to find the gold.
         Liu Che was very sad after Han Yi died. He brought Han Yi’s younger brother Han So (韩说) inside as his lover,hoping to find him in his little brother.  His son, the Crown Prince, killed Han later.  Lie Che was very upset at his son about this and other issues.  He forced his son, the Crown Prince, to commit suicide and killed every one of his family members except one, who was born in prison, his great-great grandson. The jail keeper smuggled  the baby out of prison and this baby eventually became an Emperor.
        Grand Empress Dowager Shangguan (上官太皇太后) lived between (89-37 B.C.).  
          Huo (霍) was made the primary guardian of the young emperor who was 12 years old, even through Shangguan Jie was higher in rank because Huo’s uncle (霍去病) fought for Liu Che and earned great respect.  His uncle died when he was twenty-three years old after winning impossible battles and greatly expanding China’s western frontier.  There was a power struggle between the two.  In the end, Hou killed Shangguan Jie (上官桀) and his son Shangguan An. Shangguan An’s wife, Hou’s daughter, had a daughter (who became empress at age six), and they also delivered their son Shangguan Xi (熙) after his death.
          Although the Emperor had thousands of beautiful young girls, Hou stopped Emperor Liu from seeing anyone else other than his own granddaughter, Empress Shangguan. He even changed a rule to make all the girls in the Palace had to wear pants without any opening seam. The Emperor never learned how to dress or undress himself without others. Still his granddaughter did not become pregnant, and Emperor Liu died suddenly at age 21. Some said that the two were like brother and sister since they grew up together; others said Emperor Liu had old genes from his 70 year old father and was very weak. Empress Shangguan became Empress Dowager.
          She survived her beloved Emperor Liu Bingyi (born in prison), and died when his son became Emperor at age fifty-two at the Palace of Everlasting Joy. She was buried nearby, but not next to her husband with a five meters wide path between their tombs, her tomb was larger than her husband’s. Clusters of jewelry and pottery were buried beneath beautiful trees and flowers along the path connecting the two of them.

    Grand Empress Dowager Shangguan (上官皇后) fromBaidu
    Map of Han Dynasty
    漢武帝長公主墓地確定 曾被誤認為荊軻墓 (Emperor Liu Che's daughter was on Shangguan Jie (上官桀) side, she committed suicide after the failed coup.  Her tomb was found in Nov. 2014)
    Secrets of the Emperor's Tomb Part 1
    Three Kingdoms 三国 (220–280)
          Han Sou (韩寿) lived near my father’s hometown Nanyoung (南阳). He later became the source of one of the Four Romances in History (风流四事). It became a famous Chinese phrase for a secret romance after him 韩寿偷香, which means “Han Sou stole the precious fragrance and it shows.” Several love stories and plays were based on him, including The West-Wing Romance 《西厢记》 in the Tang Dynasty. Han Sou was a very handsome and well-educated young man. People thought he was so handsome that no one could be matched with him. The phrase “貌比潘安” means Han Sou was far better than Panan (潘安). (Panan was the most handsome man in Chinese history). When he walked on the street, men and women alike would stop to watch him.    
         Later, he went to work for Jia Chog (贾充217-282) who was an important official. Jia Chog had heard about Han Sou, but was not sure if he was smart enough to take the job.  So he interviewed him in person; he was very impressed and hired him on the spot.  He took him everywhere he went.  Not long after, his youngest daughter, Jia Wu (贾午), noticed Han Sou.  She would secretly watch and follow Han Sou.  After a while, she became very ill and could not eat or drink.  Her father was very concerned since the doctor could not find anything wrong with her.  One day, Jia Wu told her maid that if she could help her trick Han Sou into her room, so that if she saw him once, her illness would be cured.  So her maid did as asked.  Jia Wu was indeed better right away.  She was vibrant again like she used to be, which made her father and the whole family very happy.  Then one day, her father Jia Chog and his people noticed the fragrance Han Sou wore.  It alerted Jia Chog immediately; he was the only one who was supposed to know and have the fragrance because it was the Emperor’s gift to him.
         The next thing alerting him was his own daughter.  So he went home and asked his daughter to come to his study room alone.  As he had expected, his daughter was the one who gave Han Sou the fragrant perfume.  She and Han Sou were madly in love.  Her daughter was also carrying Han Sou’s child.  She would die if her father disapproved of their marriage.  The poor father had no choice and hastened the two’s marriage.  They had two sons, Han Jian (韓謐) and Han Wei (韓蔚).

    The three generations Han tombs found in Hubei 2009,  each bricks has Han (韓)

    Northern Wei (386-535) ruled by Xianbei people, the emperors' desire for Han Chinese institutions and advisors grew. Emperor Xiaowen set up a policy of systematic sinicization that was continued by his successors. Xianbei traditions were largely abandoned. The royal family took the sinicization a step further by changing their family name to Yuan. Marriages to Chinese families were encouraged. With this, Buddhist temples started appearing everywhere, displacing Taoism as the state religion. The temples were often created to appear extremely lavish and extravagant on the outside of the temples.
        Han Frong (韓法容)Her tomb was discovered in 2011 in Datong City, China, by a team of archaeologists. Farong was laid to rest wearing fantastic jewelry, which included a necklace of 5,000 beads and "exquisite" earrings. The woman was buried, was the dynasty's capital until 494.
    Her epitaph, found by the tomb entrance, reads simply, "Han Farong, the wife of Magistrate Cui Zhen"

    Southern and Northern Dynasties (AD 420–589) in Chen Dynasty (陈朝 557-589) ruled by Chen family. 
         Han Zigao (韩子高 538-567). He was the "male Empress" ( 男皇后) of emperor Chen Qian (陳蒨).  Empress in Chinese is gender-neutral, it means the person right after the emperor.  Today, a fourteen houndred years later their tomb is discovered in Nanjing. Chen Qian loved Han Zigao whose family was a shoemaker. Han was gorgeous, white with naturally creaming curling hair. Chen Qian was a young general at time, the two felt in love at first sight. Han Zigao was 16-year-old, Chen Qian was 22-year-old.

     Tang_Dynasty (A.D. 618–907) ruled mostly by the Li (李) family, interrupted by the Wu (武) family.
         The dynasty was interrupted briefly by the Second Zhou Dynasty (690-705) when Emperor Wu Zetian (武则天) took the throne and changed the Tang to Zhou, becoming the first and only Chinese female Emperor. The Chinese title for Emperor (皇帝) is gender-neutral, although the rest of the emperors were men. Wu declared herself as Emperor, later forced to back down to Empress before she died. Her son changed Zhou back to Tang again. So the Tang Dynasty family Li was interrupted for 15 years under her family name Zhou. Empress (皇后) in Chinese literally means after the Emperor. Like Empress Cixi in China’s last dynasty Qing, she did not declare herself as emperor. She had the power of the emperor, even though her nephew was the real emperor was sitting upon the emperor’s chair. She could not change the dynasty like Wu. Its capital at Chang'an (present-day Xi'an) was similar to today’s New York City, a high point in Chinese civilization, the golden age of Chinese culture. Its territory expanded greater than during the Han Dynasty. Tang also had a strong cultural influence over neighboring countries such as those in Korea, Japan, and Vietnam.  Han Chinese building architecture, the clothings and their writing systems still present today.
         Han Yuan (韩瑗 606–659) was chancellor during the reign of Emperor Gaozong (Li Zhi). His family was from the city of Sui's (succeeded by Tang's) capital Chang'an.
         His grandfather Han Shao(韩紹) served as deputy minister under the Sui Dynasty, and his father Han Zhongliang (韩仲良) served as deputy minister of justice under Emperor Gaozu. He was later promoted under Emperor Gaozu's son, Emperor Taizong (Li Siming), to be minister of justice and was appointed as the Duke of Yingchuan, a title that Han Yuan later inherited as the chancellor. In 654, Han Yuan was given the title Yinqing Guanglu Dafu (銀青光祿大夫). In 655, he became Shizhong (侍中) -- the head of the examination bureau and a post considered as a chancellor. In addition, he was also a guardian of Emperor Gaozong's son and Crown Prince Li Zhong.
       Wu was Li Zhi’s father’s concubine before, because of her beauty and intelligence. His father permitted her as a secretary. Wu had insight and knowledge of state affairs. Wu attracted the attention of Prince Li Zhi. In 649, Li Zhi’s father died and Wu was sent to Ganye Temple to become a nun. After Li Zhi ascended the throne, he called her back to the palace and gave her the title Zhao Yi (a type of Tang concubine). She killed her baby daughter and framed Empress Wang who did not have her own children, for the murder. So Wu made Li Zhi depose Empress Wang, and Wu took the Empress’ place herself.
       Han Yuan (韩瑗) did not like Wu Zetian, somehow, he knew she could take over Li. He submitted a petition to Emperor Gaozong (Li Zhi), opposing the removal of his first wife Empress Wang and replacing her with his favorite concubine Consort Wu (later known as Wu Zetian 武则天) as the new Empress. Han was strongly against the Emperor’s choice of Wu and even cried bitterly during one meeting with Emperor Li Zhi, causing the emperor to remove him from the post, sending him into exile.
        The first thing the new Empress Wu did was killing former Empress Wang. The next thing she did was submit a petition praising and rewarding Han Yuan for his loyalty to Emperor Li. Empress Wu made Han Yuan aware that she knew his opposition of her but promoted him anyway, keeping him under close watch and hoping he would change his mind about her. Han Yuan had resigned twice, yet, Han was twice rejected by Emperor Gaozong.
         In 659, Empress Wu accused Han of being part of a treasonous plot. He died before Wu’s execution order came. Many years later, after Wu died, her son Emperor Zhongzong (Li Xian) cleared Han Yuan’s name and restored Han's titles according to Wu’s will. She knew Han Yuan was a loyal officer and wanted to correct her mistake so she could rest in peace.
         Shangguan Yi (上官仪 608-664) was a chancellor of Emperor Gaozong. His father Shangguan Hong was killed by General Chen Leng.  Shangguan Yi was still young at the time and he escaped death by going into hiding. He became a Buddhist monk and spent much time studying the sutras and Confucian classics. He was known for his poetry, particularly a style featuring five characters per line; his poetry was well loved, his style was often imitated and known as the Shangguan Style. 
     Shangguan Yi
         Li Zhi, the Emperor Gaozong, made Shangguan Yi the deputy director of the archival bureau first. In 662, he promoted Shangguan to be his chancellor. Earlier, Han Yuan (韩瑗 606–659) was a chancellor before Shangguan Yi. Wu Zetian loved the young and handsome Shangguan Yi, when she was still trying to get attention from old Li Siming (Li Zhi’s father). She realized they did not have any future because Shangguan was a very proud traditional man, handsome, arrogant because of his talent, and an object of much jealousy.     By 664, Emperor Li Zhi was deeply fearful and resentful of his powerful second wife Empress Wu.  She interfered with his decisions or completely took over.  He had Shangguan Yi draft an edict deposing her, but Empress Wu’s cry made him change his mind and he told her it was Shangguan Yi’s idea; the truth was that he was either having a headache or too busy in love with his all other women. For a long time now, his wife Empress Wu was the one working as active emperor.  Around the New Year in 665, Shangguan Yi and his son Shangguan Tingzhi (庭芝) were forced to commit suicide.  Wu accused them of being part of a treasonous plot. Again just like Shangguan An back in the Han Dynasty, Shangguan Yi’s granddaughter Shangguan Wan'er (上官婉儿) and her mother Lady Zheng (a powerful chancellor’s daughter) were spared.  They became maids in the inner imperial palace. Younger son Shangguan Tingzhong’s (庭璋) three sons were also spared because he married one of Emperor Li’s daughters; instead they were kicked out.  Lady Zheng did not tell her what had happened to her grandfather and father; it was better for her to survive in the palace. Everyone in the palace did not treat them as maids; Shangguan Wan’er was well protected.  As Shangguan Wan'er grew older, she learned to read and write from her mother.  She showed talent for poetry at an early age; she was allowed into the royal library so she read extensively on rules, laws, and civil service. After Empress Wu stumbled upon poems written by the thirteen-year-old Shangguan Wan'er in the Crown Prince's study, Empress Wu summoned Shangguan Wan'er and asked her to compose an essay based on a given theme right on the spot.  Shangguan Wan'er performed so great and the Empress was so impressed that she appointed the thirteen-year-old Wan'er as her personal secretary. 
    Shangguan Waner 上官婉儿(664-710) from Shangguan Clan Book
          In 690, after her husband Emperor Li died, Empress Wu took the title of "Emperor" herself at age 67, abolishing Li family’s Tang Dynasty and establishing her own family name Zhou as the second Zhou Dynasty (696-697). Shangguan Wan'er’s (上官婉儿) position to Wu Zetian was like her grandfather to Emperor Li, a Chancellor or Prime Minister, yet without that actual title.  She was in charge of drafting imperial edicts.  She was the most important adviser for Wu Zetian at the most personal level.  Together, they were facing a world dominated by men. 
         Shangguan Wan'er was in love with Wu’s oldest son, the Crown Prince (章怀太子) Li Xian (李贤), and all his younger brothers were jealous. Shangguan Wan'er was smart and had stunning beauty above everyone around her.  She held great power from her grandfather and father inside of the Palace, and even she did not even know it.  It was like a current under the calm surface.  It said that whoever held onto Shangguan Wan'er would be the winner in the palace. She became the most important bridge between the Wu and the Li families after Wu took over. 
         Wu Zetian (武则天) was jealous at her own son and her worst nightmare would be the two against her. First, Wu cleared Shangguan Yi and Shangguan Tingzi’s names and blamed everything on her dead husband.  Wu restored all the honors.  Then, she asked Shangguan Wan'er to draft an edict deposing her of Crown Prince and sent him far away. Shangguan Wan'er was heart broken, but she did not have any choice, and only hoped the Crown Prince was strong enough to stay low outside until the right time, so he could return. Her heart turned cold after learning that the Crown Prince had committed suicide soon after.  The Crown Prince left a poem about picking squash from the vine to his mother.  It haunted her for the rest of her life. This poem became a warning for later emperors.
         Before his departure, the Crown Prince told Shangguan Wan’er that Wu Zetian killed her father and her grandfather; Wu Zetain (武则天), had been in control before his father died for most of the time.  He warned her to be careful when he was not around.  Wan’er went back to her mother crying, asking why she did not tell her.  Her mother said it was for the best since they both wanted to live.  She wanted her daughter not to hate Wu Zetain and not to take revenge.  Lady Zhen told the daughter she had dreamed about a scale and balances when she was pregnant with her; she thought it had to be a boy who would hold up the scale and balances for the country one day as a good judge.  She had abandoned her dream after she got Wan’er, since she was a girl.  But now Lady Zhen told her daughter that her dream was still true for Wan’er.  Wan’er was the weight balancing the Li and Wu families; she was the only one who could stop the two from killing each other.  Wan’er was  the only one who could  make them work together for the greater good of China.
         Wu Zetian was Wan’er’s idol since she was a little girl.  She had  great respect for her. She was so excited when Wu picked her and she swore that she would do her best to help her.  She shared the same values and vision with Wu Zetian; she was willing to give up revenge for her father and grandfather even though she could easily kill Wu Zetian.  In addition, Wu Zetian’s way impressed her that a woman could rule a country as a man usually did. She devoted all her life to working for Wu Zetian after the Crown Prince died. 
         Wan’er became the only and most powerful female chancellor in Chinese history; she had as much power as five male chancellors. From 698 when Wu was 74 years old, she gave almost all power to Wan’er over state affairs.  The Chinese description of Wan’er was (处理百司奏表, 参决政务, 内掌诏命, 群臣奏议及天下事皆与之, 权势日隆), which means she was dealing with reports from all department, making decisions, and her powers increased everyday.
         She had many love affairs, including a long relationship with Wu Zetian’s nephew and affairs with four handsome and talented young brothers outside of the palace. On one occasion, she was caught in bed with Wu Zetian’s lover, Zhang.  Wu Zetian was so mad that she threw a sharp hairpin at her which left a scar on her forehead. Wu Zetian could have killed her, but she knew she loved her and she could not stay in power without her. Shangguan Wan'er drew a flower to cover her scar and the flower became a fashionable makeup–design for girls in the palace. 
         Wu Zetain’s grandson Li Longgi (李隆基) had a secret crush on Shangguan Wan'er when he was still a boy. One day, he saw Shangguan Wan'er and Wu Sansi fooling around.  It broke his heart, he later became jealous and angry.  He swore to himself that he would kill both. Shangguan Wan'er did not forget that look in his eyes for the rest of her life.  She knew he would cause her death one day when he was in power.  She only wished he could understand her, as a single woman in a high place trying to be successful in a man’s world.
         Wu Zetian not only consulted with Shangguan Wan'er on the most official and important state affairs, but also consulted her about her personal affairs.  She was her strength, especially after she turned 80.  Wu Zetian faced the same problem as all the other emperors — her successor. She truly wanted the Wu and Li families to get along. She forced them together by arranging marriages between the families.  That did not work; they just hated each other.  Wu Zetain was so frustrated; at one point, she even considered making Shangguan Wan'er  her successor; both realized that would not work since her name was neither Li nor Wu.  She regretted that her Crown Prince Li Xian (李贤) committed suicide since he would have been the best choice at that time and Shangguan Wan'er would be the empress. Shangguan Wan'er performed an emperor’s job from time to time when Wu was not doing well in her old age.  Shangguan Wan'er pushed Wu to return power back to the Li family as she saw no other choice. 
          Wu Zetian started Wu Ju Ren (武举人) which lasted 1000 years after her. The two women created a very important foundation for the future Li Longgi as one of the greatest emperors in Chinese history.  They raised the whole country up on every front. They also made a lot of changes to raise women up higher. Tang women were granted the same rights and opportunities for education as men. The Complete Poetry of the Tang contains over 50,000 poems written by more than 2,000 poets. There were hundreds of famous female poets, including Shangguan Wan'er. Shangguan style provided much inspiration for Li Bai (李白), the most famous of all ancient Chinese poets. Unlike Li Bai, Shangguan Wan'er hid well.  No one could sense her own true feelings from her poetry. It might have been the way she was brought up, the palace she lived in, the kind of work she did, and the men around her.
         In the Tang Dynasty, writing poetry was not merely the privileged pursuit of noble women, but was also practiced by those of common origins. A woman could divorce her husband and remarry. The mourning days after the death of the mother were changed to match the death of father. 
         Wu Zetian ruled China 15 years after she declared herself as Emperor. In reality, she ruled China for 50 years while her husband was either too busy having affairs with women or sick in bed.  In order to keep everything under control, she killed her own children, her sister, her niece, and so many others just like every other male emperor. Somehow, people looked at her differently.  Even so, she buried a gold prayer sheet (rectangular, long 36.2 cm wide and 8 cm thick, less than 0.1 cm and weighing 228.5 grams) under large rocks in the mountains in Henan when she was 77 years old, ten years after she declared herself as emperor.  It was an offering to God for forgiveness.  A local farmer found the Gold Plate in 1982.
         The male emperor had thousands of girls in different palaces and courtyards for himself.  Wu had four lovers in 15 years when she was an emperor at age 67.  She had to make all kinds of excuses from changing their names or creating a title so they could come into the palace through the back door.  One of her lovers tried the front door once and was  beaten up badly. Another lost Wu’s favor by burning down the greatest temple Wu had built for him, but Wu did not kill him.  One by one, her enemies killed all Wu’s young lovers. Wu was forced to give up the title of Emperor and her Zhou Dynasty. She was forced back to her original title, the Empress and Li family's Tang Dynasty.
    Polo was the favorite game for Wu and Shangguan Wan'er, it was introduced to China during this time from Persia. 

    Tang Dynasty mural in the tomb painting Chinese courtiers on horseback playing a game of polo, 706 AD
           Shangguan Wan’er and Wu agreed that Wu should leave her tombstone blank and let history be her judge. Wu's Tomb on the eastern side of the Phoenix Gate is 6.3 meters high, and weights 98.9 tons. Her tombstone is carved with figures of dragons. On the top are carved eight intersecting oysters. The stone contains no words. Her husband Li Zhi’s tombstone on the western side of the Phoenix Gate is 6.3 meters high, and weights 61.6 tons. The inscription was composed by Wu and the characters were coated with gold filings, and today, the remains of gold on some characters can be seen. The two peaks in the south, face each other, east to west. The towers on the eastern and western sides of the inner city are flanked with 61 stone statues including Chinese minorities and foreign envoys in positions of prayer. To this day, her actual burial site has not been located since the two mountains are so large.
    Wu Zetain's (武则天) Blank Tombstone:武则天墓之谜:40万大军挖不动的千年古墓
    Wu Zetain's Tomb
         Shangguan Wan'er helped the Li family restore their power. The exiled brother, Li Xian (李顯), sounded the same with the oldest son Li Xian (李贤) but weak, came back to be the Emperor Zhongzong. The first thing he did was to marry Shangguan Wan'er to fulfill his childhood dream. The Shangguan Empress back in Han Dynasty was a Jieyu (婕妤) before she became the Empress. Li Xian gave Wan’er a title as Jieyu (婕妤), a third level official title.  He had wished Shangguan Wan'er to be his Empress, but he could not bring his first wife and teenage daughter over to his side. He named her as Zhaorong (昭容), the second level official title, just below Empress, and gave her charge of drafting edicts and other imperial orders. Shangguan Wan'er remained in the court to assist Emperor Zhongzong Li Xian in governing the country. 
         Emperor Li Xian also restored Shangguan’s family name.  He awarded Shangguan Yi as the grandfather of the Chu State and promoted the rest of the Shangguan family.  He even built the Shangguan Palace outside of his own Palace, so Shangguan Wan’er could come and go as she wished. Although she was an emperor’s woman, Shangguan Wan’er had many lovers, She gave away her long time lover Wu Sansi (武三思), Wu Zetian’s nephew, to Empress Wei to get her trust.  Four Cui brothers (崔湜, 崔莅, 崔液, 崔涤) were in her own Shangguan Palace for her entertainment.  As an emperor, if Li Xian wanted to see her, he had to exit his own Palace to visit her palace.  Only Shangguan Wan’er’s got away with this in Chinese history. Also because of all this, she made a lot of enemies.
         It shocked Wan'er when the Li Emperor suddenly dropped dead one day, and it was likely the first wife, the Empress Wei and their daughter who killed him. Empress Wei and her daughter wanted to be the next rulers.  Shangguan Wan'er knew it would soon be all over.  She did not believe there was going to be a second Wu Zetain.  She tried her best to resolve the mess without a war.  Still, Emperor Li’s first wife Empress Wei and their daughter were killed. Wan’er was killed too at 46 by Wu’s grandson Li Longgi, but his father Li Dan (李旦) was very sad upon Wan’er’s death.
         Li Longgi had to kill Shangguan Wan’er; Wan’er had been helping Wu Zeitan and Wu killed his mother. The sight of her and Wu Sansi (killed in last rebellion by crown prince Li Chongjun) still made him angry.  He was also aware of his own father’s love to Wan’er and he knew he was just a soldier for his own father.  His father would be the next Emperor. He was sure his father would marry Shangguan Wan’er and make her his Empress.  Shangguan Wan’er would help his father just like she helped his uncle and his grandmother.  His father was not strong, but with Shangguan Wan’er’s and his aunt’s help, his father would be powerless and the worst part of it, his father would actually accept that happily.  He did not have patience to wait, since Wan’er was only in her forties.  He had to kill Shangguan Wan’er first, then his aunt, then force his helpless father to retire so he could become the next Emperor. Everything happened just like he planned. 
         Li Dan (李旦) was the next Emperor for about a year; the first thing he did was clear Shangguan Wan’er’s name.  He restored Consort Shangguan's title as Zhaorong, and gave her the posthumous name of Huiwen (惠文) (meaning "civil and benevolent"). She was called Female Prime Minister (巾帼宰相). Since she served Emperor Wu and Li, she was also called beauty in two dynasties (两朝专美), similar to Shangguan Empress in the Han Dynasty as if history repeated itself almost exactly the same way.  Only Wan’er learned Empress Shangguan’s lesson; she used her talents to their fullest extent.  She left her full name in the Chinese history; most empresses only left their surname.  No historical record on where she was buried, archaeologists discovered her 1,300-year-old tomb 2013.
         A year later, Li Longgi (李隆基) became the next Emperor and his father retired.  He was very sad after he had learned that Shangguan Wan'er had devoted all her life to balance the power struggle between his two families. Looking through what she had left behind, he regretted what he had done.  Her poems moved him so much as if he finally understood Wan’er.  He ordered a compilation of Shangguan Wan'er’s works into 25 volumes (唐昭容上官氏文集).  He was the only emperor who helped a woman he killed by publishing her books.  Some still exist today.  My favorite is The Moaning (complaining) of the Colorful Book (彩书怨)
         The above poem means that she was near Dongting Lake with lush of green, thinking about her far away lover. Fragrant dew has turned cold, the moonlight falls on the lonely silk screen. A thought of playing southern melodies of music instead of writing many love letters. Books are colorful, yet have lost their meaning.  Unbearable, the long separation. A better translation by Su Zhecong:
    When first leaves fall on Lake Dongting,
    I long for you, thousands of miles away.
    In heavy dew my scented quilt feels cold,
    At moonset, brocade screen deserted.
    I would play a Southland melody
    And crave to seal a letter to Jibei.
    The letter has no other message but
    This misery in living long apart.
         Li Longgi (李隆基) also learned a lesson from her grandmother.  He made sure there would not be another Wu Zetian.  He also returned a favor for his great-grandfather. His great grandfather lost one of his wives (Wu Zetian) to his son; this great-grandson stole a wife (Young Guifei 杨贵妃) from his own son. Both women were from my hometown Sichuan; both made their men lose power in the end.
         Reading today's news, Sept 10th, 2013, I found this best gift for my birthday. Archaeologists may have actually found Shangguan Wan’ers tomb in my father's home province Shaanxi. The Shangguan family waited 1303 years for this since no one knew what happened to her. The tomb is near the new airport (西安咸阳). According to the unearthed epitaph, Shangguan Wan'er was buried in August 710. the tomb is very close to Wu Zetian's mother and her granddaughter's tomb.  The area was the burial ground for Royals since the Han Dynasty. The archaeological survey found a multi-slope ramp leading to a single-chamber tomb. The tomb faces South, and is 36.5 meters long, 10.1 meters deep, with five patios, five sky lights, and four holes. Epitaphs placed within the corridor are well preserved, the cover bearing the title "Grand Tang Zhao Rong Shangguan," in Zhiwen regular script, nearly a thousand words, recording Shangguan Zhao Rong's life, age, burial place, and other information. But no remains of coffin and body (Moved by her family for second burial?). The bone found inside turned out to be cow's bone. It might have been destroyed later by Li Longgi (李隆基) after he killed his aunt Princess Taiping (太平公主)since she and Waner's were so close in life.
    Zhaorong  Shangguan  Epitaph
    大唐故婕妤上官氏墓志铭  并序  /
        夫道之妙者,乾坤得之而为形质;气之精者,造化取之而为识用。挻埴陶铸,合散消息,/不可备之于人,备之于人矣,则光前绝后,千载其一。婕妤姓上官,陇西 上邽人也。其先/高阳氏之后。子为楚上官大夫,因生得姓之相继;女为汉昭帝皇后,富贵勋庸之不绝。/曾祖弘,隨〔隋〕藤〔滕〕王府记室参军、襄州总管府 属、华州长史、会稽郡赞持、尚书比部郎中,与/榖城公吐万绪平江南,授通议大夫。学备五车,文穷三变。曳裾入侍,载清长坂之衣冠;/杖剑出征,一扫平江之 氛祲。祖仪,  皇朝晋府参军、东阁祭酒、弘文馆学士、给事中、太/子洗马、中书舍人、秘书少监、银青光禄大夫、行中书侍郎、同中书门下三品,赠中书令、/秦州都督、上柱 国、楚国公、食邑三千户,波涛海运,崖岸山高,为木则揉作良弓,为铁则/砺成利剑。采摭殚于糟粕,一令典籍困穷;错综极于烟霞;载使文章全盛。至于跨蹑簪 /笏,谋猷庙堂,以石投水而高视,以梅和羹而独步,官寮府佐,问望相趋,麟阁龙楼,辉光/递袭,富不期侈,贵不易交。生有令名,  天书满于华屋;没有遗爱,  玺诰及于穷/泉。父庭芝,左千牛、周王府属,人物本源,士流冠冕。  宸极以侍奉为重,道在腹心;王/庭以吐纳为先,事资喉舌。落落万寻之树,方振国风;昂昂千里之驹,始光人望。属楚国/公数奇运否,解印褰裳,近辞  金阙之前,远窜石门之外,并从流迸,同以忧卒。赠黄/门侍郎、天水郡开国公、食邑三千户。访以荒陬,无复藤城之榇;藏之秘府,空余竹简之/书。婕妤懿淑天 资,贤明神助。诗书为苑囿,捃拾得其菁华;翰墨为机杼,组织成其锦绣。/年十三为才人,该通备于龙蛇,应卒逾于星火。  先皇拨乱返正,除旧布新,救人疾/苦,绍天明命。神龙元年,册为昭容。以韦氏侮弄国权,摇动  皇极。贼臣递构,欲立爱/女为储;爱女潜谋,欲以贼臣为党。昭容泣血极谏,扣心竭诚,乞降  纶言,将除蔓草。/先帝自存宽厚,为掩瑕疵,昭容觉事不行,计无所出。上之,请擿伏而理,言且莫从;中之,/请辞位而退,  制未之许;次之,请落发而出,卒为挫衂;下之,请饮鸩而死,几至颠坠。/先帝惜其才用,慜以坚贞,广求入腠之医,纔救悬丝之命,屡移朏魄,始就痊平。表请 退/为婕妤,再三方许。暨  宫车晏驾,土宇衔哀。政出后宫,思屠害黎庶;事连外戚,欲倾/覆  宗社。皇太子冲规参圣,上智伐谋,既先天不违,亦后天斯应,拯  皇基/于倾覆,安  帝道于艰虞。昭容居危以安,处险而泰。且陪  清禁,委运于乾坤之/间;遽冒铦锋,亡身于仓卒之际。时春秋四十七。  皇鉴昭临,  圣慈轸悼,爰造  /制命,礼葬赠官。太平公主哀伤,赙赠绢五百匹,遣使吊祭,词旨绸缪。以大唐景云元年/八月二十四日,窆于雍州咸阳县茂道乡洪渎原,礼也。龟龙八卦,与红 颜而并销;金石/五声,随白骨而俱葬。其词曰:  /

         Her epitaph reviewed the new information which was not in any history book, when Wan'er was 13 years old, she became a concubine of  Emperor Li Zhi (李治), Wu Zetian (武则天) was the empress. She was given the title of cairen (才人), the fifth rank in Tang's nine-rank system for imperial officials, nobles, and consorts. At age 42, Wan'er became imperial consort Li Xian (李顯) who was Wu Zeitian's son, she was given the title Zhaorong (昭容), the second rank right below the empress. Like Wu Zeitian, Wan'er married to father and son emperors. Since Wu Zeitian declared herself as emperor too, Wan'er served three emperors before she died at age 47 at Li Longji's coup. The posthumous name of Huiwen (惠文) was only awarded to few empress or princess, but Wan'er got it, experts think it was from the efforts of Princess Taiping (太平公主)and her brother Lǐ Dàn (李旦).

    经典传奇]20140616 上官婉儿墓里的秘密 

         Han Xiu (韩休 672-739) was a chancellor during the reign of Emperor Xuanzong.  His ancestry can be traced to the royal house of the State of Han, a line of officials during the Han Dynasty, Jin Dynasty (265-420), Northern Wei, Northern Qi, Northern Zhou, Sui Dynasty, and Tang Dynasty.  He had nine sons, all whom served the Tang government, two including their own sons died in the An Lushan Rebellion.

         Han Yu (韩愈768-824) was a poet. He was the first among the Eight Great Masters of the Tang and Song Dynasties. Song Dynasty poet Su Shi praised Han Yu’s poem, which raised standards after eight dynasties of literary weakness.  
    HanYu (韓愈)
         Han Yu was born in Nanyang, Henan 河南 to a literary family (my father’s family history started there as well). His father died when he was two, and his father’s older brother, Han Hui, raised him. His family moved to Changan in 774, but was exiled to southern China in 777 because of its association with a disgraced minister Yuan Zai. After four attempts, Han Yu passed the imperial exam (jin shi). A few years later, he was the military governor of Bianzhou, then the military governor of Xuzhou.  He gained his first central government position in 802; his request for reduction of taxes during a famine was well-remembered by the local people.
         Han Yu was a strong believer of Taoism (the native religion of China).  He wrote his celebrated “Memorial on Bone-relics of the Buddha.” This protest against Buddhist influence on the country was uncompromising and disrespectful, and nearly personally insulting to the Emperor.  Han Yu was dismissed and exiled to Chaozhou, Fujian.  While there, he helped the local people get rid of bullies, released slaves, started schools, and killed most crocodiles (so many caused problems) in the river, and organized locals to build dams to stop flooding.  This river was named after him.  Today it still called Han Jiang, its upper stream was the Ting River, the Mother River of the Hakka from where my mother’s family came.  Although most were Buddhist, they loved and respected what he had contributed to the local area during his short stay.  The locals built a statue to remember him.  After a number of their distinguished government posts, he died at the age of fifty-six in Changan in 781.  There is a memorial Dou Temple in his name on the top of Qinling Mountain at 3500 meters elevation.  My father had visited it.  His hometown has a memorial as well.
         His nephew Han Xiang Zi (韓湘子) was one of eight “immortals” (son of an angel) or one of eight Xiang Zi in Chinese history.  Han Xiang Zi lost his parents when he was a child.  Han Yu took care of him; he was not a good boy and did not want to go to school.  He loved gambling, women, and was drunk all the time.  When he was 20, Han Yu wanted him to return to his roots for a visit, hoping he would finally grow up.  He was supposed to go back to his hometown, but he never went back to Changan. On the way home, he met and followed two monks; he lived in the temple for the next 20 years. 
         When he came back to visit his uncle Han Yu, Han Yu was overjoyed.  He gathered a lot of friends to welcome him home, but they had a problem when they ran out of wine.  Han Xian Ze asked them for an empty wine jar and somehow the jar filled up with wine right in front of everyone’s eyes.  He also made flowers bloom in January in freezing weather.  He also predicted what would happen to his uncle Han Yu, when and where it would happen.  He asked his uncle to join him back at the temple.  His uncle refused and everything happened just like his nephew told him.
     Han Xiang Zi (韓湘子)
    Han Guochang's (国昌) family tombs still protected today as a National Cultural Heritage Site

     From Chang'an to Xi'an
    Part 1- Architecture of prosperous Tang
    Part 2- Dance of prosperous Tang
    Part 3- Painting of prosperous Tang
    Part 4- Rhapsodies and poems of Prosperous Tang
    Part 5- Calligraphy of Prosperous Tang
    Map of Tang Dynasty

    Song ruled by Zhao (赵姓), Liao, Jin, and Western Xia Dynasties (A.D. 960–1234) 
         Shanguguan Zhen (上官正) (his Pseudonym name was Chong Qing (常青); he was in charge of the Jianmen(剑门都监) in the Northern Song Dynasty between (993-996).  Sichuan merchants Wang Xiao Bo(王小波) and Li Suen (李顺) raised over 200,000 people to fight against the Song government’s heavy taxes. Shangguan Zhen brought his Song army and crushed the uprising, killing more than 30,000 and arresting and executing Wang and Li.
         Han Dezong (韩德让 941-1011)’s grandfather Han Zhigou (韩知古) was captured by the Liao (Khitan People) and later became an official working for the Liao. His father Han Quci (韩匡嗣) was the king under the Liao Dynasty (秦王). When Han Dezong was young, he was engaged to Xiao Zuo (萧绰 953-1009), a Khitan. But Xiao Zuo married the Jingzong Emperor and became the Empress. Han Dezong married to Li. Jingzong died in 982 returning from a hunting trip. His son Emperor Shengzong was only 12 at the time. Therefore, Han Dezong was back in the Empress's life. She had her people kill Han's wife, Li, with poison. Then, she had Han move into her palace and marry her, gave him a Khitan name. She even had her son the Jinzong Emperor call Han Dezong father.  Han was a great military commander; he helped her and the young Emperor stabilized the Liao.  He helped her rule the country over 27 years before turning the power over to her son. Under their rule, most slaves were liberated; it was the golden age of the Liao Dynasty.  ( 韩昌) (神秘山寨).
     探索发现 《探索发现》 20130822 契丹王朝-(四)韩氏家族
         Han Xizai's (韩熙载902-970). "Night Revels of Han Xizai 韩熙载夜宴图" by Gu Hongzhong (顾闳中937–975). The painting is housed in the Palace Museum in Beijing. Gu was sent to spy on Han Xizai's private life by emperor Li Yu. Li Yu wanted to know why Han refused his offer to make him the chancellor. Han Xizai was also always late or missing early-morning meetings with the emperor. It was Han Xizai's (韩熙载) way of protesting emperor Li's government partying every night.

    First half section of the Night Revels of Han Xizai, 12th century remake, view from right to left
    Second half section of the Night Revels of Han Xizai, 12th century remake

         Shangguan Ning (上官凝 1042) was a good official who did not take any bribes; his son Shangguan Juen (上官均, 紫金光禄大夫) and grandsons 上官恢, 上官涣然 and 上官涣酉 worked for the Song government.
         Han Shizhong (韓世忠1089–1151) was a general, famous for fighting against the Jurchens.  He led four attacks and the last one was at the doorstep of the Jurchen capital.  The Song Emperor ordered him to stop or he would kill him and his fellow soldiers’ families.  Han threw his helmet and sword on the ground and attacked the Emperor for not following through in kicking the Jurchens out of China.  His best friend Yue Fei (岳飞) was killed.  He quit his job and returned home. Year after year, he went to visit Yue Fei’s tomb with wine regardless of rain or snow till he died.  Yuan Tan said that Han Shizhong himself could defeat 10,000 men. His inventions included various modified bows, chain-link armor, a horse jumping obstacle, and the archery target.  His wife, Liang Hongyu was also well known to have an exceptional military mind and she was the commander during several battles too.
    The "Four Generals of Zhongxing" painted by Liu Songnian during the Southern Song Dynasty. Han Shizong is the fifth person from the left. Yue Fei is the second person from the left.
    Yuan_Dynasty ruled by Khan (奇渥温姓) (A.D. 1271–1368)   
         People in Sichuan fought the Mongols for over 10 years. In August 1259, Mengke Khan died on Mount Diaoyushan of Hezhou in Sichuan after failing to take over a Song castle.The Mongols called off the campaign, which delayed Southern Song from being taking over. Later in 1279, the Mongols avenged the shame of Mengke Khan's possible bombardment death by killing 1.4 million residents of Chengdu city. This was the first devastation of Sichuan. When Mongols barely took over southwest after Sichuan, Ming army already came after them.  Many Mongols trapped in the mountains with Ming army deadlocks ever since. Today's hot pot is everywhere in Sichuan, but hot pot originated from the Mongols. There are still descendants of the Mongols and Ming army living. They kept their traditions.
    Han Shantong (韓山童) led the White Lotus Society, north of the Yellow River which became the center of anti-Mongol sentiment.  In 1351, the society plotted an armed rebellion, but the plan was disclosed and Han Shantong was arrested and executed by the Yuan government.  Han's son, Han Lin'er (韓林兒) succeeded his father and established the Red Turban Army.  Other Han (汉)rebels south of the Yangzi River revolted under the name of the Southern Red Turbans. One of the more significant Red Turban leaders was Zhu Yuanzhang(朱元璋).  At first, he supported Han Liner to stabilize his northern frontier. Then, he defeated his rivals Chen Youliang, Zhang Shicheng, and Fang Guozhen, one by one, although he accepted Han Lin’er as the emperor.  In 1336, he sent his men to sabotage Han Lin’er’s boat drowning Han Lin’er in the Yangzi River. This killed the only chance for our Han to become Emperor. Calling for a racial revolution to overthrow the Mongols and restore the Han Chinese, Zhu gained popular support.  In 1368, Zhu Yuanzhang proclaimed himself emperor in Yintian. China was unified again under the Han (汉) Chinese. *** my last name Han (韓)and Han nationality (汉) sounds same but writes differently.
    Descent of Genghis Khan

    Kublai Khan and Marco Polo 
    Archbishop John of Cilician Armenia, in a painting from 1287. His dress displays a Chinese dragon, an indication of the thriving exchanges with the Mongols during the period.

    Ming_Dynasty ruled by Zhu (朱姓) 明朝 (1368–1644)
    Han Bin (韩斌1429-1500)
    In 1467, Han Bin (韩斌) bulit the Hushan Great Wall (虎山長城), the most easterly known part of the Great Wall of China.
         Han Jinger (韩金儿) was Li Zicheng (李自成)’s first wife.  Li could not pay back his debts after he lost his job as a government postman, so he was put on public display in an iron cage under the steaming sun without water or food. Since Li had been a well-loved postman, the locals gave him food and water and even managed to set him free at night, so he was able to kill the lender.  He went home and found his wife having an affair with a rich neighbor.  The rich neighbor had his eyes set on his beautiful Han Jinger for a long time, but never got a chance to get close to her until that day.  He was so enraged that he killed his wife.  Then, he ran away and joined Gao’s Rebel Army, and succeeded as the "Dashing King" after Gao died. In April 1644.  Li's rebels sacked the Ming capital of Beijing, and the Chongzhen Emperor hanged himself. Li proclaimed himself as the Emperor of Shun Dynasty and took Wu Sangui’s favorite concubine Chen Yuanyuan (陈圆圆). He even killed his parents. Wu Sangui decided to open the Shanhai Guan (山海关) of the Great Wall, and joined the Manchu invaders in destroying the Li and Ming Dynasties. Some blamed the two women, Han Jiner and Chen Yuanyuan, for the fall of the Ming Dynasty, like many other dynasties destroyed by women too. Of course, these were just excuses made by the men who were actually responsible.    
         Shangguan Boeta (上官伯达1403-1424) was famous painter in Ming Dynasty from Saowu, Fujian.  His paintings are world-renowned, such as “thousand birds look up to the phoenix” (百鸟朝凤图). A lot of his paintings, however, were burned with the temple (金陵大报恩寺) in Nanjing.

    The Purple Gold Palace (紫禁城) was built according to stars. From top looking down, the whole structure spells the Chinese word Guo (國) meaning country. The name was changed to Gu Gong (故宮) which means Former (Old) Palace in Chinese, after the last emperor was out of the Purple Gold Palace. Forbidden City again was given by the non-Chinese.  Old Chinese and the younger ones call the Purple Gold Palace or Gu Gong, and foreigners call it the Forbidden City (Part 1) (Part 2) (Part 3) (Part 4) (Part 5) (Part 6) (Part 7) (Part 8) (Part 9) (Part 10).
    Empire of the Great Ming
    Does this map from 1418 prove historian's controversial claim that the New World was discovered by the CHINESE 70 years before Columbus?

    Qing_Dynasty ruled by Aisin Gioro (爱新觉罗) 清朝 (1644–1911)
    The second of devastation of Sichuan was done by Zhang Xianzhong from Ming and anti-Manchu forces.  A massive resettlement program (many were forced) was initiated around 1670 and lasted more than two centuries. Millions of people from Hubei, Fujian, Jiangxi, Guangdong, Shaanxi and other provinces resettled in Sichuan. 70-80% of the population of Sichuan was reportedly non-native, and as much as 85% a century later. My mother's ancestors from Fujian were among them. They resettled in 1724.
    Heaven brings forth innumerable things to nurture man.
    Man has nothing good with which to recompense Heaven.
    Kill. Kill. Kill. Kill. Kill. Kill. Kill.
         A stele was found by a missionary in 1934 which was thought to be this very one (its reverse side contains an added inscription by a Ming general to commemorate Zhang's numerous victims whose bones he collected and buried in 1646).[25][26] However, while the first two lines are similar, the line with the seven kills is absent in this stele, instead the actual line reads: "The spirits and gods are knowing, so reflect on this and examine yourselves" (鬼神明明,自思自量).[27][25] Many therefore considered the story to be a distortion from the Qing era propaganda.
    Mysterious Hanging Coffins of Southwest China
    Hanging Coffins in Fujian's Wuyi Mountains, Souteast China
    Shangguan Zhou (上官周 1665-1750) (his former name was 世显, his style name was 文佐 and pseudonym (號) was 竹庄) was a famous court painter (Some of Shangguan Zhou's Paintings).  He was born on a farm in Dinzhou, Fujian where my mom’s family came from.  In 1423, Zhong Xian (宗显), Zhong Bao (宗保), Zong So (宗守) moved out of Dinzhou to Chang Ding He Tian, Guan Fang (长汀河田,官坊).  His paintings were stored in the Forbidden City Museum.  He was a good friend of Giuseppe Castiglione (Jesuit) (郎世宁 1688–1766), Italian Jesuit Brother, and missionary and court painter. Giuseppe Castiglione (郎世宁) worked as a painter for the next two Emperors (Yongzheng 雍正 Qianlong 乾隆).  He had close personal relationships with them as well.  After 51 years in China, he died at age 77.  Emperor Qianlong (乾隆) promoted him to 2nd rank “Shi Lang” (侍郎) posthumously through a special decree.  Both Chinese and Latin were on his tombstone denoting him as a member of the Jesuits.  He was in a secure place in Chinese art history and imperial Qing history records (清史稿).  His tomb along with the tombs of many other priests is well-preserved in today’s western part of Beijing. 
    The 1734 map compiled by d'Anville based on the Jesuits' geographic research during the early 1700s
    Map of China in 1759
    Qing Dynasty in 1820, with provinces in yellow, military governorates and protectorates in light yellow, tributary states in orange.
    China – the cake of Kings and Emperors cartoon showing Britain, Germany, Russia, France and Japan dividing China. Empress Cixi was placed on their list of war criminals. See today how a Japanese thinks Opium War and forced Free Trade. Today's War on Drug shoud stop as well.
    Opium War, the untold truth by by Toyotomi Hideyoshi

    Old Summer Palace (Yuan Ming Yuan 圆明园). In 1860, during the Second Opium War, the British and French looted and burned the palace to ruins in 3 days time. The construction began in 1707 and continued over the next 150 years. It is almost five times the size of the Forbidden City and eight times the size of Vatican City.

    The Old Summer Palace was mostly Chinese style, but also Tibetan, Mongolian,and European styles. The designers of the European Garden were the Jesuits Giuseppe Castiglione and Michel Benoist. They were employed by the Qianlong emperor to satisfy his exotic tastes.
    Looting of the Old Summer Palace by the British and French
    Ruins of the European-style palaces today.
    Guan Huiming (官惠民(1906-1937) was born in Qujang (曲江) Shaoguan (韶关), Guangdong province. He was my mother's distant cousin.  He attended Whampoa Military Academy (黄埔军校) 4th class. He was the infantry platoon leader, later promoted as a Deputy Colonel.  He was the Regimental Commander who chased after the Red Army in 1935. 

    Guan Huiming (官惠民1906-1937) died in Shanghai fighting Japanese (上海嘉定清水显阵地壮烈殉国)
    Han Fujue 韩复榘 (1890-1938) was born in Hebei.  His father (韩静源) was Xiu Che (秀才) who was taught privately at home  (私塾) during the Qing Dynasty.  Fujue was bright and fast learner.  He worked at a local government office as a clerk.  Later, he joined the army under Feng Yuxiang (冯玉祥).  Since he was a smart, well-organized, and a brave fighter, Fei promoted him again and again. In 1928, Han was named flying general (飞将军).  The year after, Chiang Kai-shek (蒋介石) gave him a check worth 100,000 plus a mansion in Shanghai hoping to win him over from General Fei, his foe.  Han had his own plan for himself, since he was already in control of Shandong.  The internal fighting was intense, while they also had a great external enemy to fight.  In October 1937, Chiang put Han under Fei to fight the Japanese, so Han was not happy.  A month later, Chiang took away the heavy cannon artillery from him, which made Han angry.  He gave up fighting all together, which resulted in heavy losses. At the generals’ meeting, Han said he accepted the responsibility for losing Shandong; he asked Chiang who was responsible for losing Nanjing.  Chiang said he was not going to talk about Nanjing and executed Han.  He was the first and highest general executed in the Second Sino-Japanese War. Fei Yuxiang (冯玉祥) openly opposed Chiang and died in a fire on board a boat.  Most thought Chiang was responsible for this misdeed.
    Han Zengfeng 韩增丰 (1916-1943), his courtesy name was Guangyu (光宇). After he graduated from Shanxi Academy (山西军官学校), he helped Yan Xishan (阎锡山). His nickname was Han Monzi (韩猛子) and although he died at age 27, his enemy called him Grandpa Han (韩老爷). In the winter of 1941, he led a surprise attack on Japanese airports, blew up enemy's transports, seized more than 10 communication posts, captured more than 30 prisoners of war, and seized a large number of Japanese supplies for the Eighth Army. Peng Dehuaii awarded him. In 1943, Han Zengfeng's troops at Camp County line were surrounded by Japanese. Again he led his army and successfully broke through the encirclement. Japanese commander Lin Fang Taro (林芳太郎中将) from 110th Division called him "God of War", and ordered his body to be wrapped tightly with a white gauze (白纱). He also wrote to the Chinese commander Nie Rongzhen (聂荣臻) expressing his admiration and regret. He ordered a retreat.

        China lost 30 million lives in World War II Japanese invasion. At the exchange rate of 1937, the official property losses suffered by the Chinese were valued at over 100 billion U.S. dollars. The indirect economic losses reached 500 billion dollars, according to data provided by the institute of modern history under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. The atomic bombings of the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki ended the World War II in 1945. I wish the bombing would never have happened -- 90,000 -166,000 in Hiroshima and 60,000-80,000 people in Nagasaki were killed instantly.  The U.S. dropped 157,000 tons of bombs on Japanese cities, according to the U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey. It estimated that 333,000 people were killed. Other estimates are significantly higher. Fifteen million of the 72 million Japanese were left homeless.  In the months following the attack, roughly 100,000 more people died slow, horrendous deaths as a result of radiation poisoning.  There were three atomic bombs originally destined for Japan.
         Over a half of Americans polled still believe that the bombing ofHiroshima and Nagasaki that claimed the lives of about 200,000 peaceful civilians in August 1945 was justified, the Pew Research Center has revealed today 2015.  The war, was the deadliest military conflict in history, that some estimate killed more than 60-70 million of the world population. Industrialization made it possible for many countries to impose worldwide colonialism. Invasions included land invasion, culture invasion, economic invasion, because anything forced upon someone else is a invasion.
    A Manchu Lao She's (老舍) Si Shi Tong Tang 《四世同堂》
    Map of colonial empires throughout the world in 1914

    Map: European colonialism conquered every country in the world but these five

         Han Hongyi (韩鸿翼), who was a descendant of Han Ge Hua (韩国华), was an official (谏议大夫) in the Song Dynasty. He had three sons; one of them, Han Jiaozhun (韩教准), was given to his uncle sometime between 1863 and 1866. His name changed to Charlie Soong (宋) after he moved  to the city of Boston in the United States and he became a missionary and a businessman in US-controlled Shanghai. He was a close friend of Sun_Yat-sen (孫中山).  Charlie Soong had three daughters and three sons. 
    Charlie Soong at Vanderbilt University

    Charlie Soong had three daughters
         The oldest daughter Soong Ai-ling (宋蔼龄) attended Wesleyan College in Macon, Georgia and later married the richest man and finance minister of China, H. H. Kung (孔祥熙). Together, they had two sons and two daughters.  Kung graduated from Yale University around 1901.  Kung’s first wife Han Yumeng (韩玉梅) was his classmate in school (潞河书院). His second wife ended up another Han.
         His second daughter, Soong Ch'ing-ling (宋庆龄), also went to Wesleyan College in Macon, Georgia.  She married Sun Yat-Sen (孫中山), the founding father of the Republic of China. At the time, Sun Yat-Sen was living with his older brother, Sun Mei (孫眉), in Honolulu, where he studied at the ʻIolani School and  learned English, British history, mathematics, science and Christianity. He later attended Oahu College (now Punahou School).  Sun Yat-Sen died before he had any children with Soong Ch’ing-ling.  Soong Ch’ing-ling was considered as the Founding Mother of the Republic of China.  Soong Chi’ing-ling then joined the Communists and stayed in China until she died.  She was not buried with her husband in Nanjing; instead she was buried with her parents in Shanghai along with her maid Li, who served with her for over fifty years.
         His youngest daughter Soong May-ling (宋美齡), who went to Wesleyan College in Macon, Georgia, briefly attended Fairmount College in Monteagle, Tennessee.  She then transferred to Wellesley College a year later to be closer to her older brother, Soong T.V., who was studying at Harvard University at that time.  She married Chiang Zhong Zhen (蔣中正) (his style name was Kai-shek (蔣介石)) who succeeded Sun Yat-Sen.
         Chiang grew up in a salt merchant’s family; he married his first wife Mao (毛福梅) in an arranged marriage when he was very young.  Instead of going to his new bride’s bed on the first night, he ran over to his mother’s room and spent the night with his mother.  Mao gave him a son named Chiang Jin Ge (蔣經國).  Chiang Jin Ge, who married a Russian woman, later succeeded his father.  Although Chiang had three wives before he met Song and he did not have any children with Song.  He claimed that his only wife was Song May-ling in his will in Chongqing to his two sons. He was captured in Xi'an.  As much as he wanted to deny his wife Mao in his personal life, he could not deny their only son.  He was not sure the second son was his, since he and his friend were sharing the same girl (the landlord’s daughter), while he was in Japan.  On the national front, he fought with another Mao (毛泽东) (Communist) with American help, even with the option of dropping nuclear bombs.  He eventually gave up and retreated to Taiwan after refusing to bomb his homeland, since he saw what had happened to Japan from where his younger son came. Two Mao (毛) shared the same grandfather
    福梅(经国生母)的祖先是从清漾村迁去岩头村的,与毛泽东竟是同宗。与毛福梅为同族血亲的浙江大学教授毛昭晰先生2001年曾到清漾寻根问祖。 - See more at:
        Maybe this was because Song Ming-ling’s real family name was Han (韩). Chinag personally wrote “破虏风高” for the Han family Zhu Pu (族谱) in 1941.  The Chairman of the Republic also wrote “忠义家声” along with the heads of many departments who also praised the Han family’s contributions throughout Chinese history. (Photos courtesy from《历代名人在榆墨迹选释》政协陕西省榆林市委员会编纂榆林文史资料第九辑). My father was impressed.  He still respects Chiang although he fought against him.  However, my mother was not impressed; Chiang had everything and still lost. Worst of all, he took whatever was left in China, including a lot from their salt merchants, with him to Taiwan.
         May-ling was the First Lady of the Republic of China in Taiwan. She drew crowds as large as 30,000 people and made the front page of TIME magazine. She appeared in the magazine in 1937 with her husband as "Man and Wife of the Year."  On February 18, 1943, she became the first Chinese national and second woman to address both houses of the United States Congress.
    HD Historic Archival Stock Footage WWII - China's First Lady Addresses U.S. Congress 1943
         His son, Soong T. V.(宋子文), attended Harvard University, received his Ph.D. from Columbia University, served as governor of the Central Bank of China, Minister of Finance, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and President of the Executive Yuan. He financed the "Flying Tigers," the American Voluntary Group that later was incorporated into the United States Air Force. He was head of the Chinese delegation to the United Nations Conference on International Organization in San Francisco, which later became a part of the United Nations.
         His other son, Soong T.L.(宋子良), was General Manager of the China Development Finance Corp. and also a managing Director of the great Manufacturers Bank of China. The Soong (Han) Family ultimately changed the course of Chinese history.
        His youngest son, Soong T.A., graduated from Harvard University in 1928.  He was in charge of China the domestics goods, the Board of Directors of the Guangzhou Bank, General manager of Southwest Transport Company.  He was the only one in the family did not get involved in politics.
         Shangguan Zhibiao (上官志標 1907-1967) was from Shanghung (上杭县), Fujian, the same place from where my ancestors came. He was executive officer and Major (the second commander) in Eight Hundred Heroes (八百壮士), held over two months against numerous waves Japanese attacks and also covered Chinese forces retreating west during the Battle of Shanghai.
         The successful defense was the greatest consolation to the Chinese army and people in the demoralizing aftermath of the Japanese invasion. The warehouse, also known also as the Chinese Mint Godown was a six-story concrete building built jointly by four banks in 1931, it covered an area of 222,800 square-feet.  It was one of the tallest buildings in the area. The warehouse, used as the divisional headquarters of the 88th Division prior to this battle, was stocked with food, medical aid, and ammunition
         Han Deqin (韓德勤 1891-1988) and Shangguan Yunxian (上官云相 1895-1969) were both Nationalist generals who commanded the Nationalist Army. Both played a key role in the New Fourth Army Incident in 1941 (皖南事变), which ended the unity of the Communists and Nationalists against the Japanese. This was the end of real cooperation between the Nationalists and Communists. Han’s army claimed the New Fourth Army attacked them; Shangguan Yunxian (上官云相) ambushed 9000 Communists by surrounding them with 80,000 soldiers of the Nationalist Army. After seven days and nights of fighting, Ye Ting, wanting to save his men, went to Shangguan Yunxiang's headquarters to negotiate terms. Upon arrival, Ye Ting was arrested. The New Fourth Army's political commissioner, Xiang Ying, was killed and only 2,000 people, led by Huang Huoxing and Fu Qiutao, were able to escape.
         Han Xianchu (韩先楚1913–1986) was a general of the Chinese Communist Party. Han participated in many military campaigns and battles such as Battle of Pingxingguan, Liaoshen Campaign, Pingjin Campaign, Hainan Campaign, and the Korean War. In 1955 he was among the first group of military leaders to be awarded the Shang Jiang (Senior General) rank.
    Han Xianchu (韩先楚1913–1986)
          Han Zhijun (韩芝俊 1931-)Executive Committee of the National Women's Federation.  She married Hua Guofeng (华国锋) whose real name is Su Zhu (苏铸).  He changed his name to Hua after he left home in 1937.  All his three children's last name is Su.  Hua was Chairman Mao Zedong's designated successor in 1976.  Hua was the only leader to have simultaneously held the three highest offices of the PRC – leading the Party, State Council, and the Central Military Commission.  Hua ended Cultural Revolution and ousted the Gang of Four from political power.  Although he was replaced by Den Xiaoping two years later.  He was remembered as the turning point figure in modern Chinese political history.  Hua-Guofeng's tomb is the size of 14 soccer field, twice the size of Chairman Mao's mausoleum. 
    Hong Kong was given to the British Empire under Queen Victoria.
    and it was returned to China by Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher one hundred fifty-five years later on July 1, 1997, but not by force.  Lady Thatcher spoke publicly in 2007 of her regret at the "impossible" situation she faced while trying to negotiate the handover of Hong Kong to China. The arrangement will be reviewed in 2047.
         Chinese Premier Li Keqiang extended condolences to British Prime Minister David Cameron on passing of Margaret Thatcher, the Xinhua News Agency reported. "Thatcher was a prominent stateswoman who made great contributions to the development of Sino-British relations, including the peaceful settlement of the Hong Kong issue," said foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei.
         Although he was asked, British Prime Minister David Cameron refused to remove his poppy during his visit to Beijing in 2010. The poppy was considered offensive to the Chinese people because of its association with the Opium War. The remembrance poppy (a Papaver rhoeas) was adopted by military veterans' groups in the Commonwealth; especially the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. I have been giving donations to veterans for their home-made remembrance poppies, not knowing that my fellow Chinese are connecting this poppy with the opium wars.
          Regarding artifacts returns, in the news recently, a Norwegian museum will return 7 out of 21 marble columns taken about 150 years ago from the Old Summer Palace, after Nubo Huang, chairman of Beijing Zhongkun Investment Group, donates 10 million Norwegian kroner ($1.63 million) to the museum.  A Frenchman who owns two bronze animal head sculptures from the Yuanmingyuan (Old Summer Palace) will return the sculptures to China. The two heads were each auctioned for 14 million euros (17.92 million U.S. dollars) in 2009, causing concern internationally and protests in China. The Frenchman, Francois-Henri Pinault, CEO of the PPR Foundation, said the transfer of the sculptures, a rabbit head and rat head respectively, will be completed within the second half of 2013.  Mr. Pinault and his family highlighted their businesses’ “considerable presence in China.” PPR does close to 10% of its business in mainland China. The whereabouts of the four other bronze animal head figure are still unknown; they are the dog, rooster, snake, sheep. The dragon head is reportedly in Taiwan.
    • 2000 - The ox, tiger, and monkey were purchased by the China Poly Group and are now at the Poly Art Museum in Beijing.
    • 2003 - The pig was purchased by Stanley Ho from a New York collector. It was donated and is now at the Poly Art Museum in Beijing.
    • 2007 - The horse was purchased by Stanley Ho from a Taiwanese collector. 
          I never understood why the Chinese and others spent millions trying to buy back those lost artifacts. Putting high value on those artifacts encourages only more destruction, stealing, and robbery; buying those artifacts just encourages people to rob again. Those artifacts were wholesome and “alive” in their original habitat with people. They were born, struggled, and grew old there with the people as part of a natural process. They were priceless. Then, they were murdered, dismantled into parts, and sold to whoever offered the highest price. Museums can become places of the dead, without any living culture in them, instead as storage of evidence of crimes of the past. If you truly want to learn about another culture, go the real place, live with the real people as part of the natural process.
    Government gross debt as % of GDP, data by IMF (2012)
         China holds little more than Social Security.ABC's 'Kill everyone in China': Outrage over comment during Jimmy Kimmel skit showed the culture of always blames someone else passing on. "Undying Chinese" did not make it anywhere except YouTube:
    Santa's Workshop - Inside China's Slave Labour Toy Factories 
        Who own the most Treasuries? China? Social Security, by a long shot. US itself for sure, here's the detailed breakdown:
    • Social Security (Social Security Trust Fund and Federal Disability Insurance Trust Fund) - $2.764 trillion
    • Office of Personnel Management (Federal Employees Retirement, Life Insurance, Hospital Insurance Trust Funds, Postal Service Retiree Contributions) - $826.8 billion
    • Military Retirement Fund - $419.5 billion.
    • Uniformed Services Retiree Health Care Fund - $189 billion.
    • Dept. of Health and Human Services (Federal Hospital Insurance Trust Fund, Federal Supplementary Medical Insurance Trust Fund) - $260 billion
    • Department of Energy - $54.8 billion.
    • Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation - $33 billion
    • Department of Labor (Unemployment Trust Fund) - $30 billion
    • Department of the Treasury (Exchange Stabilization Fund) - $26 billion
    • Other Programs and Funds - $260 billion. (Source: Treasury Bulletin, Monthly Treasury Statement, Table 6. Schedule D-Investments of Federal Government Accounts in Federal Securities, August 30, 2013)
    Wealth Inequality in America
    Global Wealth Inequality - What you never knew you never knew 
    Chinese Studies: Video Lectures with Harvard Faculty: Modern China presents a dual image: a society transforming itself through economic development and social revolution; and the world’s largest and oldest bureaucratic state, coping with longstanding problems of economic and political management.
        Both images bear the indelible imprint of China’s historical experience, of its patterns of philosophy and religion, and of its social and political thought.
         In this free Chinese studies online course, these themes are discussed to understand China in the modern world and as a great world civilization that developed along lines different from those of the Mediterranean.
         It is important to remember our past so we could shape our future. Since the Industrial Revolution, capitalism and greed have taken over the world. After Two World Wars, we are entering a new era of sustainability. I was also surprised to find out that my son's "World History" textbook in school did not include one page about China, and barely half a page on Japan and Asia as a whole. I fear for my children's future. Life really only needs fresh air, fresh water, and simple, fresh food; how much is too much? and what we are here for and where are we going as a human race?  Silent Spring everywhere?

    A Story of A Poem: “What Do You Really Want from Us?”

    Washington Post published a poem named “What Do You Really Want from Us?” in January 2011. According to Washington Post, the poem was written by Duo-liang Lin, a retired professor of SUNY-Buffalo.

    What Do You Really Want from Us?
    Duo-liang Lin
      When we were the sick man of Asia, we were called the yellow peril.
      When we are billed to be the next superpower, we are called the threat.
      When we closed our doors, you smuggled drugs to open markets.
      When we embrace free trade, you blame us for taking away your jobs.
      When we were falling apart, you marched in your troops and wanted your fair share.
      When we tried to put the broken pieces back together again,
      free Tibet you screamed, It was an invasion!
      When tried communism, you hated us for being communist.
      When we embrace capitalism, you hate us for being capitalist.
      When we have a billion people, you said we were destroying the planet.
      When we tried limiting our numbers, you said we abused human rights.
      When we were poor, you thought we were dogs.
      When we loan you cash, you blame us for your national debts.
      When we build our industries, you call us polluters.
      When we sell you goods, you blame us for global warming.
      When we buy oil, you call it exploitation and genocide.
      When you go to war for oil, you call it liberation.
      When we were lost in chaos and rampage, you demanded rules of law.
      When we uphold law and order against violence, you call it violating human rights.
      When we were silent, you said you wanted us to have free speech.
      When we are silent no more, you say we are brainwashed-xenophobes.
      “Why do you hate us so much﹖”we asked.
      “No,” you answered, “we don’t hate you.”
      We don’t hate you either, but, do you understand us?
      “Of course we do, ”you said, “We have AFP, CNN and BBC’s ……”
      What do you really want from us?
      Think hard first, then answer, Because you only get so many chances.
      Enough is enough, enough hypocrisy for this one world.
      We want one world, one dream, and peace on earth.  This big blue earth is big enough for all of us.

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