Thursday, January 27, 2005

Captain's Log Supplemental: You Char Kway

In a follow up to Otterman's post on the deadly origins of You Char Kway.

Captain's Log Supplemental: You Char Kway

Recently historians in China has been looking at Yue Fei and Qin Quai (the chinese Judas!) a bit differently. altho the vitriol heaped on Qin Quai has not been alleviated, some of the blame has been shifted to the Sung Emperor (Zhao Kou), deservedly...

The Sung dynasty's ass had been mightily kicked by the northern nomadic Jin dynasty or Jurchens (ancestors of the Manchus who eventually kicked out the han chinese Ming dynasty later on). Two Sung emperors (the father and brother of Zhao Kou) had been abducted and the sung capital Kai Feng occupied. the surviving Sung nobility and officials managed to regroup and fled southwards to establish the Southern Sung dynasty. effectively half of China were occupied by barbarian invaders.

Yue Fei was one of the few effective Sung generals left. He led a northern expedition to reclaim the lost Sung territory. But he was too good, when he was within sight of the old capital Kai Feng, Yue was ordered to pull back. so near but yet so far.

the new Emperor was none to happy at the prospect of his father and brother being invited back. He could jolly well be kicked out of the throne. too bad, half the country stayed lost. thus, the trumped up charge of "Mo Xu You", i.e., you might have not committed treason but you could have...

both Yue Fei and his son was executed. the bronze statues of Qin and his wife were changed six times over the centuries . apparently, they could not sustain the battering and spitting over time. I think Qin was the fall guy (although he was the one who supplied the idea!). the emperor should be tied up and fried as well. but in official histories, nobody will point a finger at the emperor. confucian respect for authority and all that crap...

In recent years, there was a debate amongst Chinese historians, whether Yue should be classified as a "national hero". the argument was that both the han chinese and Jin/manchu are officially recognised ethnic groups within China. Manchus are considered an ethnic minority. In the interest of maintaining a harmonius multi-ethnic society, some historians argued that Yue should be "downgraded" to "ethnic hero". the debate still rages on. (I think it's an academic ivory tower idea anyways!)

Magnificent calligraphy by Yue Fei: Return my country!


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