Fun Facts about Chinese Culture and History

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Liu Xiu -- Revenge Emperor on Back of Cow and His Love Triangle

A Royal Living in Poverty 

Liu Xiu (5 B. C. -- 57) belonged to the royal family of the Han Dynasty in the history of China, the Liu clan.


But after several generations of cutting the power of the non-emperor branches, his father was only a leader of a small town and passed away at a young age. 


Xiu and his siblings were raised up by their uncle, he then worked as a farmer for a living.


Later he went to the capital city and studied at the school that Emperor Wang Mang established; after graduation, he went back to his hometown. 

At that time, Liu Xiu’s dream was to become an official of his town and marry to a beautiful girl named Yin Lihua, the girl that he met and fell in love when he was a teenager. 


Compelled to Join the Rebel Army 

However, a close friend of Liu Xiu’s big brother committed some crimes, which also involved innocent Xiu and made him stayed in prison for a while.


Afterwards, his big brother and some friends started to rebel the Emperor Wang Mang’s dominance; Xiu, whose many close relatives were all rebelling, had to join their army as well.


In Liu Xiu’s first battle, he even didn’t have a horse. So he rode on a cow to fight, and later was known as the emperor on the back of cow.

Xiu fought bravely and soon joined a bigger rebel army together with his big brother.


Soon, Wang Mang sent 400, 000 well trained soldiers to attack them, most of those rebellions wanted to divide their army and escape separately.


Liu Xiu was only a senior officer at that time, but he insisted to fight back. 


The Magical, Undefeated General Liu Xiu

From that time on, Xiu started his magically lucky journey.


When Wang Mang’s troop marched toward Xiu and planned to attack, large numbers of aerolites fell into their campsites at night and took thousands of lives away. Later, on daytime, a huge dark cloud appeared above head of Wang Mang's army, which looked very oppressive.


These unusual phenomena scared and depressed most of Wang Mang’s warriors.

At that time, Xiu led only 20, 000 peasant rebels showed up,  fought bravely, and achieved great success. 


When Wang Mang’s soldiers were trying to escape, out of a sudden, a big rain and scary thunder striked them, and again took away countless lives. 

Now, nearly everyone believed that Liu Xiu had magical power and the support of god. 

This war made Liu Xiu famous; it also perished the main force of Wang Mang, who was assassinated three months after this magical battle. 

Giving Up of Power and the Marrying to the Love of His Life

But this made the king of Xiu’s rebel army felt threatened, so he killed Xiu’s big brother.


Liu Xiu, then, gave up all of his power, and tried his best to stay humble and alive. 


During this seclusion time, Xiu finally married to the love of his life, the girl Yin Lihua whom he fell in love at the first sight several years ago.  


Only a few months after his happy marriage, that king of the rebel army commanded Xiu to go to a province and make their people surrender, on him own.  


Everyone knew this was an impossible mission, a complete conspiracy.


Liu Xiu had to send his beloved wife Yin back to her family, a very rich clan, which was the descendent of Guan Zhong, the famous minister who had assisted Overlord Lv Xiaobai

A Political Marriage in Exchange for Power

Then, Liu Xiu set off to that huge province where was full of different rebel forces.


During this period, Xiu met another landlord with a strong army. In order to make their alliance stable, Xiu married to another woman named Guo, the niece of this landlord.


Liu Xiu had two wives in one year, one was the result of true love, anther was a pure political marriage. 


Guo and the force of her clan did provide Liu Xiu with adequate help. Afterwards, more people came and complied to Xiu; he then expanded steadily and established his own regime there.


Later, he sent people to welcome his beloved first wife Yin back to him.


Liu Xiu left as a commoner, with an empty title, alone; three years later, he came back as a monarch of an empire, but also husband of another woman and father of their children.


Liu Xiu wanted to nominate Yin as his queen, but she refused for not being quite helpful in his career and having no children.


So Guo became the queen of Xiu’s empire, and her first son the crown prince; Yin stayed as an imperial concubine.


Reestablishment of the Unified Han Empire

In the following years, Xiu’s army kept winning.


Because of his “magical” power, as long as he was the commander, his army would win, no matter how difficult those battles used to be.


As expected, Xiu unified the whole of the nation, reestablished a centralized government and claimed himself the Emperor Guangwu of Han.


Since he came from the Liu clan, he inherited Han as the name of his dynasty.

Decades of wars caused large scale destruction nationwide, so the priority of Xiu’s new empire was to recover agriculture and economy.

He freed slaves, lowered taxes, applied a strict registration system of farmland and population, while weakened big landlords’ power.


Another noteworthy policy was that he strictly limited powerful clans and expanded his centralized power, trying to avoid a second Wang Mang.


Then he rewarded those contributive generals with large amount of money and honorable titles, after having retrieved their military power. 


In addition, he regained the respect for Confucianism and educational colleges, and combated with corruption.


Soon, the Huns further divided up and fell into chaos, but Xiu refused to initiate any other wars against them, even that was a very good opportunity at that time.


Under his reign, people lived in stability and peace again. 


Giving Queen's Crown to the Love of His Life


After Xiu’s new dynasty was stable and everything was under control, he and Guo had a big fight, after which he removed the queen's crown from her. 


He sent Guo and her sons to their fief and respected Guo as empress dowager of that state.


This time, finally, he gave the queen’s throne to Yin, the love of his life.


Years later, the current crown prince, son of Guo and Xiu, resigned himself as heir; then the first son of Yin and Xiu was nominated as the new crown prince and ascended to the throne. 

This was a famous love triangle that involved a true love and a political alliance.


Though they all had their discomforts, in the end, they all achieved what they had expected in the beginning, political power, or love and accompany. 


Yin Lihua, the love of Liu Xiu's life, was a beautiful, considerate and thoughtful woman, who constantly loved her husband and carefully raised their children.


After Xiu passed away, she and her sons attained absolute power, they still had a very good relationship with Guo and her sons.


Guo and her sons were all rewarded with a great deal of money and honor; together they made a warm and happy big family.


As for Guo, it was a little bit difficult to define whether she and Xiu were ever in love, or just a pure political alliance, but she still did a good job as a helpful and decent queen. 


A Successful Emperor and A Kind Person

Emperor Liu Xiu had almost a perfect life: as a very handsome and well educated person, he got frequent magical assistance and extraordinary military achievements; after decades of wars, he established a big empire and a happy family, and gained a large numbers of remarkable and loyal officials.


He saved his nation from chaos and endless wars, glorified his family name, revenged his political enemy, and finally rebuilt his ancestors’ empire. 


After he became emperor, he kept his kindness and modesty, and worked diligently.


His favorite hobby was to discuss literatures or Confucianism with intelligent officials in his palace.


Under his dominance, the population quadrupled, the productivity increased and prosperity was brought back.


Liu Xiu departed old and sick, surrounded by his beloved family and loyal ministers, peacefully.


His son and grandson were two excellent emperors as well; their ruling period was a famous, prosperious era in the history of China that civilians live in peace and their kingdom developed and flourished continuously.