Yu Qian Temple

    Recently, Wuhan pneumonia caused Hangzhou city to be closed. This reminded me of my trip to Hangzhou five or six years ago. That was I spared time to visit the West Lake when I am out of duty. There were only a few hours at the time, I chose going to Ancestral Hall of Yu Qian and Yue Fei Memorial Temple to visit and ponder on the past. It’s because these two men are great heroes in my mind.

        I moved from the center of Hangzhou city to West Lake, so the order of arrival of the attractions was first to the Ancestral Hall of Yu Qian on the south bank of the West Lake and then to the Yue Fei Memorial Temple on the west bank. I asked the driver of the local taxi to take me to the Ancestral Hall of Yu Qian. To my surprise, he didn’t know this scenic spot. I had to tell him the approximate location on the southwestern shore of the West Lake, and based on the map and local road signs, we finally found the location of the Ancestral Hall of Yu Qian. There were very few tourists. On the one hand, it may be non-holiday; on the other hand, it may be there are very few people know Yu Qian. The total number of tourists I saw was only two or three. Although I feel sad for such a hero being neglected, but I think that this atmosphere is really in line with his style. The following briefs Yu Qian's life:

        Yu Qian (1398-1457), courtesy name was Tingyi, pseudonym was Jieann, posthumous name was Zhong Su. He was born in Qiantang County, Hangzhou Prefecture, Zhejiang province, Ming Dynasty (now Hangzhou City, Zhejiang Province).  

He was a Imperial Scholars, but he likes read military books.

        In the 14th year of the Ming Dynasty, Yu Qian served as the vice minister of the war (Vice Minister of Defense). Mongolia (Oirat) Esen led the army to invade the Ming Dynasty. The Eunuch Wang Zhen instigated the Emperor Ming Ying to lead the army personally resist the Oirat offensive. At that time, Yu Qian stayed at Beijing due to the minister of war (Minister of Defense) accompanying the Royal driving. It seemed that the Emperor Ming Ying took the lead of the army, but in fact the Eunuch Wang Zhen was the real commander. Wang Zhen did not understand the military at all, and his commands were inadequate caused the Ming army was defeated again and again. Wang Zhen saw that matters are in a bad way so he ordered to retreat. When the troop arrived at Tumubao, Wang Zhen ordered to camp in situ because more than one thousand heavy trucks of Wang Zhen’s had not yet arrived. This caused the Ming Army were Chase and to be wiped out by enemy. It is known as the Tumubao Crisis.

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        After the Tumubao Crisis, the Emperor Ming Ying was captured, more than 50 members of the court were killed, and more than 20 thousand troops were wiped out. The Oirat army could drive straight in Beijing without any resistance. The Ming people hearts were floating, and were leaderless. There were two urgent problems leaving behind:

        The first, war or surrender (escape)?

        The second, who will continue to lead the Ming Empire?

        In order to solve the first problem, Zhu Qiyu (the younger brother of Emperor Ming Ying), the emperor's deputy, held a meeting. At that time, many of the officials advocated moving to south of China (escape). The representative was Hanlin Assistant Lecturer Xu Cheng. His claim was that Beijing would be fallen. If the capital does not move, it is likely the country will be perished. If it moves, the Ming dynasty can continue to survive and confront with Oirat in the south. Historically speaking, when the capital moved, it always caused lots of civilians and soldiers dead. High-ranking official could survive in the south and continue to enjoy prosperity and riches. The representative advocate defense is Yu Qian, who angrily roared, "Those who advocate moving south should be executed! The capital is the fundamental of country. Once moving, everything is gone! Don't you remember the Song dynasty moving south history?" Ministry of Personnel and Secretary of the Grand Secretariat supported Yu Qian. In the end, they decided to stay and defend Beijing. But Yu Qian had already offended the southward movement group.

        On the second problem, the opinions of this part of the court tended to be consistent. Although the emperor was alive, in the hands of the enemy, the Ming Empire could not follow the order of the captured emperor. Yu Qian and other ministers urged Zhu Qiyu to take the throne. Zhu Qiyu repeatedly resigned it. Yu Qian said aloud, "The ministers and I are sincerely concerned about the country; it is not a private scheme." Zhu Qiyu reluctantly accepted the proposal, and he was Emperor Ming Jing. Emperor Ming Ying’s throne was taken. This caused Yu Qian’s fatal disaster.

        Resolving the two immediate problems, Yu Qian reorganized Beijing's defense. He moved local reserve forces to Beijing. Yu Qian served as the governor and led all the troops. Soon, Oirat broke through the Zijingguan Pass and approached Beijing.

瓦剌軍進軍圖

▲Oirat attacking route

        At this time, Shi Heng, the chief of the Beijing Military Division, proposed that "keep the Beijing nine gates closed, and troops defend in the castle". But Yu Qian thinks that this move "shows weakness and makes enemy contempt the Ming force." He advocated pulling the army out of the castle and facing the enemy. Spread out 220,000 generals and soldiers in front of Beijing nine gates. He and Shi Heng personally led an army in front of Desheng Gate, and faced the attack of the Esen’s army directly. After the formation of the Ming Army was completed, Yu Qian ordered "close the gates of the cities". And issued a well-known military collateral punishment: "general retreats regardless of army’s dead or alive, execute the general.  Army retreats regardless of the general’s order, the team behind execute the team front." The Ming soldiers including Yu Qian, had no chance to live except to win the war!

北京防衛戰布陣圖

Beijing defense battle alignment

        The result of the battle was the victory of the Ming Army. Successfully avoiding another Jingkang crisis, and destroying the possibility that the Mongolian Iron Ride swept the world again. The Beijing Defence War was a very important battle in Chinese history, because the victory of this battle allowed the Ming Dynasty to continue.

        Almost a year later after Emperor Ming Ying was captured, Minister Wang Zhi and his colleagues suggested sending an emissary to bring Emperor Ming Ying back. However, Zhu Qiyu, who was already a Emperor was very reluctant to let his brother back, and said: "I didn't want to be the emperor, but to be at that time because of your intention." Yu Qian said euphemistically: "Nothing could change the truth that you are the emperor. To bring your brother back is just a moral consideration. In case the enemy lies and doesn’t release him, it gives us a handle. " Emperor Ming Jing changed his attitude and said," Anything you say." So he dispatched Li Shi and Yang Shan successively and finally get Emperor Ming Ying's return. This was also the contribution from Yu Qian.

        In the eight years of Jingtai, while Emperor Ming Jing was seriously ill, Shi Heng, Xu Youzhen (Xu Cheng), Cao Jixiang, and Zhang Ye took the opportunity to launch an armed coup. They broke the Nangong, and urged the seven-year-long house arrest Emperor Ming Ying to regain the throne. He successfully made the restoration. The next day, Yu Qian was arrested and convicted of ”intend to rebel” although there is no obvious evidence.  When confiscating Yu Qian 's property, there was no money, and the only room that was locked tightly was furnished with only two things the emperor had given --python robes and swords.

During the Chenghua years, Emperor Xian righted the wrong.

In the second year of Hongzhi, Emperor Xiao honored Yu Qian as a "Guanglu Dafu, Zhu Guo, and Taifu", with the posthumous name "SuMin", re-buried him at the foothills of Santai, West Lake, Hangzhou.

During the Wanli period, Emperor Sheng renamed the posthumous name "Zhongsu".

于謙祠1

 

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Yu Qian Temple

        However, because the Yuewang Temple was close to closing time and entering the temple needs a ticket. I just took a look outside and felt that it was too commercial. I just gave my regards outside and did not enter.

岳王廟

Yuewang Temple

* Reference
1. Wikipedia
2. 明朝那些事兒, 作者:當年明月

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