Emperor Qinzong of Song -- Fatuous Monarch in A Shameful Catastrophe
Forcing to Wear the Crown In the Middle of A Big War
When Crown Prince Zhao Huan was 25 years old, a powerful nomadic regime named Jin invaded Song, by sending two aggressive and strong troops southward, marching to the Song’s capital city.
Huan’s father, the Emperor Zhao Ji, got scared and then abdicated the throne to him.
Zhao Huan, also respected as Emperor Qinzong of Song, firstly abolished his father’s incapable artistic ministers, and nominated some real talented ones.
Many people suggested that he should move the government to a safer city; Zhao Huan was weak and tried to leave the capital for several times as well.
Victory Under Excellent Command of Marshal Li Gang
But a very brave and intelligent minister named Li Gang successfully persuaded Emperor Zhao Huan to stay and fight.
In addition, most soldiers of the royal army had strong willings to fight, since this is the city where their families were living in; none of them wanted to abandon their home without dignity.
So Emperor Zhao Huan nominated Li Gang as the chief commander of the Song’s army, to protect the capital city.
Li Gang, a civil minister who achieved an excellent score in the Imperial Examination, a great literator who had many masterpieces, now picked up the sword, and started to take the responsibility to protect his weak emperor and his country.
It turned out that Li Gang was a great general as well; he led the royal army had several battles with Jin’s aggressive troop, and had won for several times.
Song’s soldiers and civilians were all highly inspired.
The Weak, Timid Fighter - Emperor Qinzong of Song
The Kingdom Jin couldn’t win as they expected, so they started to send people to search for peace. Emperor Qinzong of Song, Zhao Huan, was super happy and immediately agreed.
Li Gang also agreed to negotiate, because Song Empire now only had the royal army in the capital, while other reinforcements were still on their way; he needed time to wait for those troops to arrive in the capital and fight with Jin.
Li Gang strongly suggested Emperor Zhao Huan to send him to negotiate with the nomadic commander, but Huan disagreed, under the reason of the army needed Li Gang to manage.
Then Emperor Qinzong of Song sent a timid officer who brought back a series of unfair treaties, despite Li Gang strongly disagreed with it.
General Li Gang just wanted to buy them some time, through negotiation, so he was intensely against the greedy pacts which included ceding of large territories, paying Kingdom Jin a great deal of money that Song Empire couldn’t afford, and sending a prince as the hostage.
Emperor Qinzong of Song, however, wanted to stop the war as soon as possible, so he agreed with everything in this treaty and dismissed Li Gang; then he immediately started to collect money from civilians.
In the meantime, one of Zhao Huan’s younger brothers, a prince named Zhao Gou, volunteered to be the hostage and set off right away.
Signing of Stupid, Injustice Treaty After Winning
But all the soldiers and civilians strongly disagreed with the dismissal of Li Gang, and held some demonstrations to show their anger, Emperor Qinzong of Song then had to empower Li Gang again.
Soon, Song's reinforcements arrived, together with Li Gang’s excellent commands, Song had a bright opportunity to win.
However, Zhao Huan, the Emperor Qinzong of Song, still didn’t want to fight; so he gave the Kingdom Jin three important big cities of Song, large amount of money, and his younger brother as the hostage, and nicely asked the Jin’s army to leave.
Then he relocated Li Gang to work in very far cities, because Li Gang always opposed to him, and displeased those dove ministers who wanted peace instead of dignity.
During this period, the former emperor Zhao Ji already escaped to another city; he came back until the Jin’s army left.
Bigger Invasions and Counterstrick in Desperation
Pursuing peace was a good choice, but in the history of China, there was always a line.
Stable and wealthy life all require a precondition, which was the dignity, and a government that could protect their people.
Sometimes, a treaty means stable life and an opportunity to progress, but it also may bring further threatening, lack of vigilance, as well as the revealing of the weakness.
The same year that they signed the unfair treaty, Jin’s army initiated another war toward Song again, right after they heard that excellent commander Li Gang had been demoted to far away.
Jin’s army soon marched to the Song’s capital and besieged this city again.
Emperor Qinzong of Song tried his best to encourage his soldiers and shared his own food with them. But without a good commander, enough food and clothes, many soldiers even couldn’t hold their weapons in the cold winter.
After a series of intense, difficult battles, the air of desperation filled the city.
Signing Another Unfair Pact and Collecting Money for Enemy
Then Jin required the former emperor Zhao Ji to be the negotiator, but Ji was too afraid and refused to do that.
So Zhao Huan, the Emperor Qinzong of Song, went to Jin’s commander’s tent himself, trying to make another treaty.
Jin made this emperor kneeled on the ground, humiliated him, and had him signed another greedy pact, then sent him back to collect money.
After Zhao Huan came back, he immediately started to ask his officers to collect, or rob, money, treasures, horses and large numbers of women from civilians; even his queen’s family was forced to donate a lot.
Then he missed General Li Gang, who was now working in a city far away; so he had to wait for Li Gang and his reinforcements army.
Under this circumstance, Song’s soldiers and civilians were still fighting bravely, despite of their countless sacrifices.
Trusting to Theurgy and Huge Lossing of Fine Soldiers
When Song and Jin’s army were still in a tie after series intense battles, a soldier of Song, named Guo Jing, came into the public’s eyes.
He claimed himself a man with magical power, who could cast spells and make warriors unbreakable.
Many ministers were quite suspicious and strongly disagree, but Zhao Huan’s father, the former emperor Zhao Ji, trusted this witch and tried his best to persuade Zhao Huan and other ministers to believe.
In the end, Guo Jing, the so called magical witch, was nominated as the general.
He cast some “spells” on around 7000 of the Song’s soldiers, and asked the rest of the Song’s warriors to step back. Then, Guo led his “magical” warriors to attack Jin.
Undoubtedly, these armless warriors were slaughtered cruelly by Jin’s well trained army. Guo escaped and then got killed in another city, but this stupid battle caused Song Empire huge losses of brave soldiers.
Turning the Prosperous Capital City to A Living Hell
At that time, many loyal generals and armies were still hurrying to the capital; but the commander of Jin asked Emperor Zhao Huan to come and negotiate again, saying that if he didn’t come, they would rush into the city and rob things by themselves.
Then Emperor Zhao Huan went there for the second time.
This time, however, Jin did not let him go; Jin used him as a hostage to ask for more money.
Civilians inside the capital were robbed again, plus the cold weather, starvation and plague, large numbers of people died.
After seeing Song couldn’t give them any more money, Jin’s army rushed into the capital, captured the entire royal family and lots of ministers, destroyed a great deal of treasures, and burnt down countless houses.
Then they enslaved over 100, 000 of Song people and left northward.
Reestablishment of A Smaller Empire Song
After hearing Jin had the emperors as hostage, the Song’s army was constrained and had to change the strategy.
Zhao Gou, the prince who volunteered as the hostage before, was the only royal member who were not in the capital when that disaster happened.
So he had the opportunity to escape to a safe place and organize all of the Song’s armies. He used these resources established another government in the southern China, also named Song, but with much smaller territory, which was basically half size of their former realm.
But Emperor Qinzong of Song and his father and their entire family, together with large numbers of Song’s people, were humiliated and dragged northward to the nomadic regime.
Emperor Zhao Huan's queen committed suicide, because she couldn’t stand the humiliation; lots of loyal and honorable ministers ended up with suicide as well.
Those princesses and maids, either died in the marching, or were humiliated and then enslaved in different places.
But Zhao Huan, the former Emperor Qinzong of Song, was a tolerant person with high adaptivity, who passed away in his 50's out of sickness, after decades of captive life and countless humiliations.
An Incapable Emperor Who Buried His Own Empire
If a monarch failed after bravely combats, that was still honorable.
However, Emperors Zhao Ji and Zhao Huan of the Song Dynasty, when their country was invaded, when their people were suffering that much but still loved the Empire Song, when there were large numbers of supporting armies on their way, when all of their generals and soldiers, even civilians, were extremely loyal and had strong wills to fight and sacrifice, they gave up so easily, after a series of stupid decisions.
This shameful, destructive incident that took away so many lives was caused by two emperors’ horrible commands, under suggestions of some incapable ministers.
It wasn’t because Song’s people were not loyal, or their warriors were not brave.
Emperor Qinzong of Song expelled General Li Gang and other ministers who supported to fight and had the ability to defend the kingdom, while nominated a bunch of dove officers who only wanted to end the war, or who had “magical power”.
Then he went to Jin’s place twice and sent himself as the hostage without careful consideration, which made the Jin’s army easily brought such a catastrophe to his people.
His flourishing empire ended in his own hands, not because of powerful eunuch groups, manipulative clans, disloyal warlords, unsatisfied uprising armies, natural disaster or poverty, it was only because of the ruling class’ weakness and fatuousness.
This shameful incident, together with previous treaties signed with nomadic regimes, made the Song Dynasty had been long criticized in the history of China.
Zhao Huan, the Emperor Qinzong of Song, together with his artistic father Zhao Ji, has long been criticized for their stupidness and timidness. They cannot protect their women and children as husbands and fathers, and couldn’t defend their people as emperors.
Maybe they were true worshippers of the peace, but they didn’t realize that peace always come with a prerequisite.
People need to search for peace through their own dignity and courage, by being capable to protect their own family and country. However, never try to find peace from enemy’s kindness or mercy, which barely exists.
You Might Also Like: