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Li Shimin 李世民 (599-649)|
Emperor Taizong of Tang China
Under his reign, the famous rule of Zhenguan (貞觀之治) took place (his era name was Zhenguan). It was the peak of the Tang Dynasty. Conquered once mighty Eastern Turkic Khanate and allowed Tang to become the major power in the region.
For the thousands of years prior to the downfall of the last emperor of the Qing Dynasty in 1911, the rulers of slave and feudal societies in China had exercised absolute autocracy, wherein a single person had supreme power over the law and the nation. This supreme figure was thus arbiter of the course of the historic development, and therefore the fate of the country, as well as the wellbeing of its population. For thousands of years, ruthless and tyrannical rulers inflicted misery and disaster upon the Chinese nation, and one who was competent and humane was both longed for and cherished by the ordinary people as an embodiment of their hope for the future.
Li Shimin, a preeminent emperor in Chinese history, was born in 598. His father and grandfather had both been high-ranking officials during the Sui Dynasty (581-618). Li's childhood was during a period of turmoil. In 605, when Li was 7, Yang Guang, the second emperor of the Sui Dynasty, ascended the throne. This emperor soon became notorious for his debauched lifestyle and cruelty. He squandered the state treasury on lavish imperial buildings, and forced countless people into corvee labor, all of which eventually led to a peasant uprising in 611.
This uprising signaled rebellion and mutiny throughout China. Li Shimin consequently grew up amidst political turbulence and clique intrigue. In 615, at the age of 17, he urged his father, Li Yuan, then a military commander stationed in Taiyuan, to go with the flow of this historic climax and rise against the Sui emperor. Three years later, Li Yuan became the first emperor of the Tang Dynasty.
Stability and solidarity were the top priorities of this new dynasty, and Li Shimin was obviously endowed with both military and political ingenuity. In the course of helping his father stabilize the nation Li Shimin established a strong military force, as well as a large think-tank of expertise in different fields. In 626, at the age of 28, he succeeded his father as emperor.
Li changed the title of his reign to Zhenguan and retained the throne for 23 years. He brought about a new era that laid foundations for the great prosperity, development and progress with which the Tang Dynasty became associated in later years. The period of his rule, known as the "Zhenguan Governance," is acknowledged as a milestone in Chinese history. This reign has rich connotations, being regarded by historians and politicians alike as the model for successful government, while to ordinary people it is synonymous with a happy life.
Emperor Taizong of Tang:
[ Last edited by changabula at 2007-2-7 07:45 PM ]