Peace Prevails When The Virtuous Govern, Chaos Follows When The Unethical Rule (1 of 2)
Peace Prevails When The Virtuous Govern, Chaos Follows When The Unethical Rule (1 of 2)
Two events, "Kaiyuan Prosperous Era" and "An Shi Rebellion," during the era of Emperor Tang Xuanzong (685 – 762 AD) are memorable historical events, because they are prime examples of "peace prevails when the virtuous govern, and chaos follows when the unethical rule."
Tang Xuanzong, who was named Li Longji at birth, had great ideas and lofty aspirations when he was young. He was elected crown prince after he put an end to Empress Wei's attempt to assume power. As soon as he took the throne, he eliminated the despotic and domineering Princess Taiping and her followers. He reversed the sentencing of people who were wrongly accused. Furthermore, he changed his reign title to "Kaiyuan," which meant to start a new era, to show his determination to achieve great accomplishments and revive the glory of the Tang dynasty.
At the time, the royal court was riddled with chaos and corruption. Therefore, Tang Xuanzong wanted to employ virtuous and talented people, especially for the prime minister position. It is said that he had "an eye for recognizing virtuous prime ministers." Many famous prime ministers, such as Yao Chong, Song Jin, Zhang Jiuling, and Han Xiu, were personally selected by Emperor Xuanzong.
Yao Chong was very decisive. Because he made ten very valuable suggestions, he was highly regarded by Emperor Xuanzong and became the prime minister. The ten suggestions included encouraging advice by officials, rewarding righteous officials and firm punishment for those who exploited their positions of power. Tang Xuanzong effectively implemented all of Yao Chong's suggestions.
After Yao Chong, Song Jin was made prime minister. He also placed great importance on selecting the right talent. Although he held great power, he never abused the law for personal reasons. On the contrary, his requirements for his relatives were more strict than for other people. One time, his distant uncle was a candidate for a position in the Ministry of Personnel. The uncle mentioned to the chief proctor about his relationship with Song Jin, and hoped that the chief proctor would favor him. When Song Jin heard about this incident, he instructed the official not to hire his uncle.
Tang Xuanzong not only recognized virtuous talents, but also respected them. Yao Chong and Song Jin were both devoted public servants. Similar to how his predecessors treated famous officials in the early Tang Dynasty such as Fang Xualing and Duhui, every time Tang Xuanzong called Yao Chong and Song Jin, he rose up to receive them. And when they left, he walked to the door to see them off. One can see how respectful Tang Xuanzong was to virtuous officials.
Zhang Jiuling was called the "commoners’ prime minister." He was selected by Tang Xuanzong because of his outstanding personal character and talent. Once Zhang Jiuling became the prime minister, like Tang Xuanzong, he placed great importance on a person's character rather than his background. He continuously advocated for fair selection of talent based on personal character. When Tang Xuanzong made mistakes, Zhang Jiuling immediately pointed them out and corrected him. Zhang Jiuling did not conceal the truth because Tang Xuanzong appreciated his talent and treated him well.
During the early period of his reign, Emperor Tang Xuanzong recognized talents, treated them well, and was very respectful of the wise. Therefore, he was surrounded by many competent and wise officials. At the time, the government administration was uncorrupted and just, society was stable, and the country was very prosperous. The Tang Dynasty entered its most flourishing period and was thus called "Kaiyuan Prosperous Era." History books noted that the "Kaiyuan Era" was a time where "Prosperity and abundance existed in across the country and rice prices were cheap. There were stores on every street that offered food and wine." It was an era when "courier stations kept donkeys, so that one could travel long distances and need not depend on foot soldiers (to carry the messages)." The poet, Du Fu, wrote in his poem, "Yi Xi" (or "Remembering the Past"): "Remembering the prosperous days of the Kaiyuan Era, even a small town had ten thousand households. The rice was plump, and the corn was white. Private and public granaries had ample stocks."
In the latter part of his reign, Tang Xuanzong became arrogant, liked hearing flattery, and sought a comfortable life. He favored and entrusted disloyal and cunning officials such as Li Linfu and Yang Guozhong. This finally led to the "An Shi Rebellion (755 – 763 AD)," thus ending the magnificent and prosperous era.
Li Linfu was very good at guessing Tang Xuanzong's thoughts. One time, Tang Xuanzong wanted to go back to Chang'an from Luoyang. However, Prime Minister Zhang Jiuling and others were against the idea, citing the Emperor would interrupt people's work along the road and affect their harvesting as the autumn harvest was not over. After Zhang Jiuling left, Li Linfu said to Tang Xuanzong: "Your Majesty, Chang'an is your East Palace and Luoyang is your West Palace. Your majesty should be able to come and go as you please, and not wait until the harvest is over. If we interrupt people's autumn harvest, then we just waive their taxes." Tang Xuanzong was quite happy after hearing that and traveled as planned. He trusted Li Linfu more and more. Li Linfu schemed and brought false charges against Zhang Jiuling and others. Eventually, Tang Xuanzong dismissed all the prime ministers who were honest and upright, and named Li Linfu prime minister.

得贤则安 失贤则乱 ()
    来源: 看中国 责编: Kitt

    上一篇: Neither Arrogant nor Boastful – the Great General Xu Da

    下一篇: 中共用数千亿巨资 买三个「仇人」的故事