Fun Facts about Chinese Culture and History

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Emperor Liu Zhi and Liu Hong -- Pioneers of Selling Political Positions For Money in History of China

Emperor Liu Zhi (132 -- 167) and Liu Hong (157 -- 189) shared very similar fate.

 

They both came from side branches of the royal family of the Han Dynasty, and were chosen and supported as emperors when they were teenagers, by powerful clans of the empress dowagers.

 

After they grew older, they allied eunuchs to perish the former empress dowager and their powerful clans, but ended up giving eunuch group more and more power, since they couldn’t control and manage those eunuchs well.

 

Consequently, decent ministers felt insulted and tried to fight with the eunuch group, but all failed. 

The Han Dynasty, under those two emperors’ dominances, declined dramatically. 

They both were luxury and ridiculous people; eunuchs were entitled to run the government, while they were spending most of their time with large numbers of beautiful women.

 

Emperor Liu Zhi had around 5000 imperial concubines in his royal palace, but had no sons; Emperor Liu Hong built thousands of fancy houses to have fun with his beautiful women.

 

In addition, well educated civil ministers were not trusted, most of whom even didn't have a chance to be involved politically. 

 

Moreover, Zhi and Hong both sold official positions for money and used many excuses to collect treasure; not surprisingly, everything they obtained were used for their own expenses.

 

Their weaknesses in political severely endangered the empire and made civilians live in poverty and chaos.

 

During Emperor Liu Hong’s last years, some destructive uprisings came about and some counties were already falling into rebellions’ control.