Fun Facts about Chinese Culture and History

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Xiao Yan -- Connivance Could Bring an Outstanding King A Tragic Ending 

A Talented Noble, A Brave General and An Excellent King

 

Xiao Yan (464 -- 549) was born into a noble family, very handsome and talented. His achievements with regard to literature, poetry, music, painting, calligraphy and chess were all extraordinary in the history of China.

 

He had assisted two ministers to initiate coups to get the throne, then served in the army and made contributions to his new kings.

 

After the first king whom he assisted departed, and the second king was forced to commit suicide, Xiao Yan then claimed himself the new king and changed the country’s name to Liang. 

 

As Emperor Wudi of Liang, Xiao Yan was diligent, thrifty, modest and open minded; he published many good policies which guaranteed his people to live in peace and prosperity.

 

He established two imperial mail boxes, which allowed every citizen in his kingdom to write to him; a great deal of suggestions and complains were sent to the king during that time.

 

In an era full of wars and chaos, King Xiao Yan brought his people peace and stable lives for nearly half a century. 

Buddhism King Xiao Yan and His Unprincipled Forgivenesses

However, the most important flaw of King Xiao Yan was his extreme forgiveness to people nearby.

 

Connivance is probably not a good thing even for normal people like parents or managers, let alone for a king with huge amount of power. 

 

In Xiao Yan's later late years, he strongly believed in Buddhism, which made him even more modest and kinder.

Xiao Yan’s brother escaped from the army and caused a huge loss for the troop, but instead of any punishment, he received a huge promotion.

 

This brother and a princess tried to murder Xiao Yan and got caught twice; still, they received absolute forgiveness again and again. 

 

Xiao’s adopted son betrayed his country and ran to a neighboring kingdom, but later was kicked out and returned back, but still, he didn’t get any blame or punishment.

 

When these kinds of things happened, King Xiao Yan always cried and blamed himself, trying to find out his own mistakes. h

 

He always believed that people could be changed and be moved by love. 

How the Great King Was Starved to Death

 

Therefore, when a conquered general initiated an uprising, King Xiao Yan sent his adopted son, the one who had betrayed and rebelled him, to be the general to quell this uprising.

 

Not surprisingly, this adopted son sold Xiao Yan out again, and took him as prisoner. Xiao’s birth sons were captured soon as well. 

 

The talented king Xiao Yan, who built up a prosperous kingdom and accomplished outstanding artistic achievements, but was imprisoned and starved to death at the age of 84. 

 

If Xiao Yan were a normal civilian, he might have been considered a super smart and kind person, who was able to forgive anyone and anything.

 

But he was a king with great success and huge power. 

 

Hence, his connivance and unconditional forgiveness destroyed himself and his own kingdom. 

 

However, his hundreds of excellent articles, over 80 poems, music and calligraphy works that he left to the world, still are showing us how intelligent this sad king used to be.