Emperor Xuan of Han Liu Xun -- Monarch From Prison and the Commoners' World

Liu Xun (91 B. C. -- 49 B. C.), another name was Liu Bingyi, also respected as Emperor Xuan of Han, was a great monarch in the Han Dynasty, who was raised in a prison and came from the civilian's world.

An Honorable Prince Growing Up In A Prison

After Emperor Wudi Liu Che and Queen Wei Zifu’s son, also a crown prince was set up and committed suicide, all of his family members were hunted and then cruelly assassinated, except for a baby.


This baby boy Liu Xun, the crown prince’s grandson, was hidden by a maid and secretly sent out of the royal palace; he successfully survived the slaughter to his family and was sent to a prison in the end. 


The person in charge of that prison sympathized with the crown prince and Wei Zifu and strongly believed that they were innocent, so he asked two nice women in the prison to help to raise Liu Xun, gave them a clean and big cell, and kept this secret carefully.


Years later, a fortune-teller told Emperor Wudi that he could see a potential emperor from that prison, so all the prisoners there should be sentenced to death.


Then the person in charge told the world Liu Xun’s real identity.


After Emperor Wudi realized that he had a great-grandson, he released everyone in that prison.


Liu Xun now was almost five years old and finally accepted by his great grandfather; however, Emperor Wudi passed away before he could make up to his poor great-grandson.


Then Liu Xun’s grandfather’s younger brother ascended to the throne. 

A Forgotten Royal Living In the Civilian's World

Though Liu Xun now had been accepted by the royal family, he was still a kid; moreover, powerful people who were close to his grandfather or his powerful uncle Wei Qing were all sentenced to death in some frame-up slaughters.


So he was settled in a place where people selected and purchased stuff for the royal palace, where he was poorly provided and without proper education. 


Fortunately, the person in charge of the prison liked Xun, and the head of the purchasing place had served Xun's grandfather before; those two sometimes would buy nice food for Xun, even supported him to learn to read and write. 


Liu Xun successfully survived and grew up in the civilian world, where he never had the chance to get in touch with other royal members or powerful politicians, despite his royal origin.


But he was smart, magnanimous, and optimistic; he also made many friends from different backgrounds and occupations.


During that time, he also met his true love Xu Pingjun and married her. They loved each other very much and had a poor but happy life together. 


Selected As A Puppet Emperor by A Powerful Minister

Soon, the current emperor passed away and left no sons.


Huo Guang, half brother of great general Huo Qubing, the most powerful regent nominated by Emperor Wudi, then supported Xun’s other uncle to become the next emperor.

This person, one of Emperor Wudi’s grandsons, turned out to be an extremely ridiculous emperor in the history of China, who got abrogated by Regent Huo Guang 27 days after the enthronement.

Then Huo Guang and other ministers realized that Liu Xun was also a qualified heir of the throne, and might easier to be manipulated. 


So they supported the 17 years old Liu Xun as the next emperor. 


However, except for the noble identity and a good reputation among the civilians, Liu Xun, now Emperor Xuan of Han, had few political resources among the ruling class.


As an orphan raised in prison by two female prisoners, later by different civilians, the current Emperor Xuan of Han had never been taught about how to be a monarch of such a big empire.


During the first few years, Huo Guang obtained real power and was in charge of almost everything; many important political positions were occupied by his followers or relatives.


Emperor Xuan of Han Liu Xun felt threatened, but always stayed humble and polite, and acted like he trusted Huo Guang completely. 

Great Love between Emperor Xuan of Han and His Queen 


Liu Xun only insisted on one thing, despite strong disagreements from Huo Guang, the empress dowager and other powerful ministers, which is to nominate Xu Pingjun as his Queen.


At that time, Huo Guang had a daughter who was also a relative of the empress dowager; most of those in the ruling class wanted his daughter to be the queen.

But Liu Xun insisted to have Pingjun, the girl who fell in love with and married to him when he was poor, as his honorable queen, and their son as the crown prince.


Their love story was highly appreciated and praised since then. 


But the Huo Guang's wife desperately wanted her daughter to be the queen; so she asked a doctor to poison Pingjun when she was giving birth to her second child, secretly.


Pingjun soon passed away when she was only 19 years old, but Liu Xun didn’t know the real reason yet.


The Huo Guang's daughter, then, successfully became Emperor Xuan of Han’s second queen but never had a baby.


Liu Xun still stayed humble and well behaved, while he secretly built up a group of his followers. 


Counterattack and Seizing of Power

Then Emperor Xuan of Han started to take over the power slowly, but steadily. 


Huo Guang's followers were gradually expelled from important positions, step by step.


After Emperor Xuan of Han retrieved control over his empire difficultly, but successfully, he found out that his beloved first queen was murdered.


Immediately, he abolished and grounded his second queen.


Then Huo Guang’s clan planned to rebel, but was defeated; soon Liu Xun sentenced everyone of this clan to death.


Till now, he finally took over all the power and revenged for his beloved woman. 

Excellent Governance of the Emperor Xuan of Han

Emperor Xuan of Han Liu Xun's closeness to civilians and strong personality from his early experiences made him an excellent sovereign in the history of China.


He reformed the political administration and established a system to assess officers’ work. Many talented people were selected and promoted while corrupted and unqualified ones got abolished or punished.


The whole political environment became efficient and clean under his ruling period, which brought social stability and prosperity. 


Moreover, Emperor Xuan of Han commanded his 160,000 fine soldiers successfully defeated the revenging Huns; then he established the first government agency in Xinjiang, which largely expanded his empire's territory, and officially included this huge area into the Empire Han.


He also adjusted inappropriate economic policies, lowered taxes, and assigned farmland to poverty people; the price of food went down to the lowest in the entire Han Dynasty. 

Departure and His Incapable Heir

Emperor Xuan of Han passed away in his palace because of sickness and gave the throne to him and Xu Pingjun’s only son.


Liu Xun was not very satisfied with this crown prince Liu Shi, who was too nice and weak. Deep in heart, Liu Xun knew that this son was not a perfect monarch of his prosperous empire; probably this boy even would discombobulate their kingdom.


But Liu Shi was Xu Pingjun’s only son, based on Liu Xun’s great love for Pingjun, and the way she passed away, Liu Xun still gave the throne to Liu Shi. But he also carefully selected and assigned three very talented ministers to assist the new emperor. 


Emperor Xuan of Han Liu Xun built his mausoleum in where he and Xu Pingjun used to hang out when they were still commoners, next to her grave. He loved his wife/queen in his entire life, no matter how honorable and powerful he was. 

The purpose of the first half of Liu Xun's life, as a child who was raised in prison, was trying to stay alive; he was poverty and carefree, also was accompanied by real friends and his true love.


These experiences also gave him a brave and strong heart, as well as the best understanding of civilians’ lives and the real world. 


In the second half of his life, starting as a puppet teenager emperor, he was surrounded by conspiracies and conflicting over the power; at the same time, he also had to deal with nomadic harassments and political issues within his government.


In the end, he became the Emperor Xuan of Han, one of the most successful emperors in the history of China, who further glorified and enlarged his empire and brought his people better lives.


No one knows which lifestyle he enjoyed more, but he achieved great successes either way. 

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