Why are Hong Chengchou and Qin Hui treated so differently today, with one having a kneeling statue and the other a memorial hall?

The Complex Legacy of Hong Chengchou

Speaking of Hong Chengchou, if his deeds were split between two people, not only would each deserve a memorial hall, but they would also be worthy of inclusion in the Taimiao Temple. However, the awkward truth is that he was just one person. His actions directly contradicted the traditional feudal morals of loyalty to one master and a widow’s faithfulness to her deceased husband, which is why he is criticized today. Those who try to rehabilitate his reputation find it difficult, as being branded a traitor is an overwhelming stigma.

As a Ming Dynasty official, Hong Chengchou: As the Governor-General of the Three Borders, he decisively defeated the peasant army, almost completely annihilating their main force and playing a crucial role in the Ming Dynasty’s resurgence. As the Governor-General of Ji Liao, after Yuan Chonghuan, he was the only commander capable of directly engaging the Qing army.

In the Qing Dynasty, as a Grand Secretary and Governor-General, Hong oversaw a territory nearly half the size of China. During the early brutal rule of the Qing, he almost single-handedly established half of the dynasty’s administrative system and orchestrated military campaigns to eliminate all anti-Qing forces. Despite surrendering late as a civilian official, he astonishingly won substantial support from numerous military leaders of the Han Eight Banners, serving the Qing Dynasty with utmost dedication and loyalty.

If these were the accomplishments of two individuals, the first would be celebrated as a master of suppressing peasant uprisings and a famed anti-Qing general – akin to a Ming Dynasty version of Guo Ziyi and Li Guangbi. The second would be lauded as a founding hero, similar to a Qing Dynasty version of Jiang Ziya. But these are not the deeds of two people; they are the actions of one who served two dynasties because he surrendered mid-way.

Thus, the current assessment of Hong Chengchou is clear: even if one admires his capabilities and understands his ambitions, it is difficult to glorify him. Even the Qing Dynasty hesitated to honor Hong Chengchou according to his achievements.

After all, which feudal dynasty would want their Guo Ziyi to turn into a Jiang Ziya who rebels against them?

Regarding Qin Hui, to put it bluntly, if he had even a fraction of Hong Chengchou’s positive achievements, his name would not have become one of the dirtiest insults in the Chinese language.

The Dual Dimensions of Heroism in Chinese Tradition

In traditional Chinese thought, both the worship of sages and the admiration of the strong exist. The evaluation of a “hero” encompasses two dimensions: capability and achievements, along with personal character and morality.

Just like Guo Ziyi and Zhuge Liang, whose character and achievements were both exceptional, their evaluations are extremely high.

However, if one excels in either aspect, their historical assessment usually isn’t too low. For instance, Shi Kefa, despite his limited capabilities, is recognized as a great hero for his unyielding stance and martyrdom. Zhu Yuanzhang, despite being a corrupt and incompetent official, is also revered for his dramatic and sacrificial end for the country. On the other hand, characters like Lü Bu, despite his moral shortcomings, inconsistency, and penchant for plundering, is admired for his military prowess. Even Cao Cao, who could be described as a mass murderer, is revered by many for his unification of the North.

Hong Chengchou belongs to this latter category.

As for Qin Hui, both his character and achievements are questionable. Apart from being labeled a traitor, he has no other distinctions. To put it bluntly, if Qin Hui had genuinely been an undercover agent for the Jurchens, aiding them in the destruction of the Southern Song Dynasty, his historical evaluation might have been slightly better.

Hong Chengchou was at least loyal to the Ming dynasty when he served it, and loyal to the Qing dynasty when he served it. He was merely a subordinate minister, not a traitor or a corrupt official.

Qin Hui cannot be compared to Hong Chengchou.

Choices and Legacies

I can’t believe someone would even utter these words during the Southern Song Dynasty.

What kind of person was Qin Hui? No one forced him to sacrifice himself for the Great Song Dynasty. After returning to the Southern Song, he could have preserved his wealth and life, retired from politics, and lived a peaceful life. But what did he do? He continued to engage in these despicable actions that earned the hatred of the entire nation.

Now, let’s talk about Hong Chengchou’s situation. He only had two choices before him: either sacrifice himself for Chongzhen, who was not worth it, or surrender to Huang Taiji. Choosing life over heroism was just the thinking of an ordinary commoner.

To speak bluntly, without Hong Chengchou, the downfall of the Ming Dynasty would have been a normal historical process, just a matter of sooner or later. But without Qin Hui, the history of the Southern Song might have been completely rewritten.

Qin Hui has become a national hero of the Southern Song Dynasty who reclaimed lost territory and eliminated warlords in the eyes of some people on Zhihu.

Hong Chengchou has far fewer fans on the internet compared to Qin Hui…

Qin Hui played a significant role in shielding Emperor Gaozong to some extent, out of respect for the elder.

Business Analogies:

Hong Chengtao can be likened to a Vice President of a company’s business division who single-handedly captured a substantial market share for the company. However, the rest of the company’s management was ineffective, engaging in internal power struggles with little achievement. Eventually, the company exhausted its marketing budget.

They could only watch as their product, which they had cultivated for years, was pushed out of the market. Feeling disheartened, a headhunter offered a poaching offer from a rival company. In this new role, Hong Chengtao would oversee a larger market area and report directly to the CEO, with a more competitive salary package.

At this point, anyone wishing to continue in the industry knew what choice to make.

Qin Hui, on the other hand, is akin to serving as a CFO at a company. He also reported directly to the CEO. When the company faced trouble and its core business was nearly on the brink, a competitor made an acquisition offer, proposing to buy the company while allowing the management to remain in place.

However, the offered price was too low, leaving the CEO in a dilemma, as it was a company he had founded. But at this time, within the company, there was a highly capable anchor who started an experimental live-streaming and product promotion segment, successfully tapping into a new market.

Now, the CEO was even more torn, unsure whether to take a gamble on the new business or sell the company while it still had some market value.

For the CFO, working for any employer was just a job, and he had seen through that the current boss wasn’t well-suited for entrepreneurship. He figured it was better to find a new employer, convincing the CEO to avoid pursuing the new business and just sell the company.

From an employee’s perspective, both choices aligned with their human nature.

But from a business storytelling angle, people favored the former for their demonstrated competence. After all, Hong Chengtao proved his business prowess at both companies and even switched when they had exhausted their budgets and were pushed out of the market.

The latter, on the other hand, resembled a businessman sitting in a boardroom, playing with business exchanges while puffing on cigars. It was simply because of his position that he could use others as bargaining chips and extinguish the last remaining possibilities of the original company, paving the way for himself.

In any company, people prefer doers over opportunists.

Also, consider this: How can one find what they genuinely love and excel at, and use it to plan their life? In the procurement process, after negotiations with Zhang San have concluded, and suddenly Li Si offers a better price or quality, how can you gracefully decline Zhang San? If you have organized a gathering for your colleagues and superiors, and towards the end, another colleague unexpectedly brings out two bottles of Maotai, what should you do?

Contrasting the Fates of Hong Chengchao and Qin Hui

Hong Chengchao and Qin Hui both had destinies marked by collaboration with foreign powers, but Hong Chengchao resembles a passive traitor akin to Yue Fei, who chose death over surrender to the Jin dynasty, while Qin Hui actively betrayed his own people.

Hong Chengchao, hailing from Nan’an, Fujian, was a renowned military leader during the late Ming Dynasty.

He was known for his strategic prowess during his time in the Ming Dynasty, achieving numerous victories against bandits and resisting the Jurchens (predecessors of the Qing Dynasty). However, he suffered defeat in the Battle of Song-Jin against the Later Jin (predecessor to the Qing Dynasty).

After his capture, he initially refused to surrender, rejecting temptations including gold, antiques, and beautiful women. He even attempted to starve himself to death. However, under the persuasion of Dorgon and Huang Taiji, he was ultimately moved when Huang Taiji took off his sable fur coat and draped it over him, leading him to tearfully kneel and surrender.

Later, in order to consolidate the Qing Dynasty’s rule, he recommended adopting many of the administrative systems and rituals from the Ming Dynasty and advocated for the promotion of Confucianism within the Manchu ruling elite. Hong Chengchao became the first Han Chinese Grand Secretary in the Qing Dynasty and, during Dorgon’s southern campaign, advocated for the eradication of banditry to stabilize the nation and society.

In contrast, Qin Hui, a native of Jiangning, served as a prime minister during the Southern Song Dynasty.

Following the Jingkang Incident, he was taken captive by the Jin Dynasty along with Emperor Huizong and Emperor Qinzong of the Song Dynasty. After returning to the Southern Song Dynasty, he held influential positions, monopolizing power for nineteen years. He was widely resented by the populace due to his advocacy for compromise and peace with the Jin Dynasty and his role in the execution of the anti-Jin military leader Yue Fei.

In “Imperial Politics of the Past,” it is suggested that Emperor Gaozong of the Song Dynasty was the first to entertain the idea of Yue Fei’s execution, fearing Yue Fei’s military strength and potential threat to the imperial authority. Qin Hui, on the other hand, is viewed as the Jin Dynasty’s proxy within the Northern Song Dynasty, conspiring to frame Yue Fei and, with the backing of the Jin Dynasty, harboring ambitions to seize control of the Song Dynasty.

Comparing the two, a stark contrast emerges:

Hong Chengchao’s surrender was preceded by introspection and inner turmoil. According to “Misinterpretations of Chinese History” and historical records, Qin Hui’s actions are interpreted as active betrayal and conniving for personal ambition.

This divergence in the circumstances of their surrender and betrayal determined their vastly different moral evaluations in the eyes of posterity.

Even after surrender, Hong Chengchao made positive contributions to the stability of the new regime, advocating for the adoption of Ming Dynasty systems and embracing traditional Han culture. Such recommendations greatly aided in the governance of the Qing Dynasty.

In contrast, Qin Hui’s actions directly led to the demise of a national hero, leaving an indelible negative impact on the nation’s historical memory.

Hong Chengchao: Hero Turned Controversial Figure

Hong Chengchao was not a complete antagonist like Qin Hui. Instead, prior to surrendering to the Qing Dynasty, he was a hero who had vigorously fought against the tide. Even after his surrender, he played a pivotal role in pacifying Jiangnan and leading military campaigns in the southwest.

His life can be described as one marked by unremitting dedication to two successive dynasties, the Ming and the Qing.

He quelled banditry, allowing the Ming Dynasty to endure for a while longer, and then assisted the Qing Dynasty in sweeping aside the Ming, ultimately establishing their rule in Beijing and unifying China.

It can be argued that without Hong Chengchao, there might not have been a Qing Dynasty. He can be considered the “first contributor” to the Qing Dynasty and became the first Han Chinese Grand Secretary in the Qing Dynasty.

In the fifteenth year of the Chongzhen reign, Hong Chengchao was captured by the Qing forces during the Battle of Songshan. Initially, he went on a hunger strike and refused to surrender.

Later, the Qing Ministry of Personnel’s Minister, Fan Wencheng, personally came to persuade him, and Huang Taiji showed him great care and concern. Ultimately, Hong Chengchao, unable to resist the Qing’s enticements, knelt down and submitted himself before Huang Taiji.

Meanwhile, Emperor Chongzhen believed that Hong Chengchao had heroically sacrificed himself for the country and was deeply saddened. He personally presided over a memorial service.

However, as the memorial service was about to conclude, news arrived from the front:

Hong Chengchao was still alive and had surrendered to the Qing. Emperor Chongzhen was left embarrassed and wished to see Hong Chengchao subjected to a thousand cuts.

In a short span of time, Hong Chengchao transformed from a anti-Qing hero into a highly conflicted figure. People’s evaluations of him became polarized, with both praise and condemnation.

In the forty-fourth year of the Wanli era, Hong Chengchao passed the Imperial Examination and entered officialdom.

At the age of thirty-seven, when the city of Hancheng in Shaanxi was besieged by peasant rebels and in dire straits, Governor Yang He had no generals to send, so he reluctantly dispatched Hong Chengchao to the rescue.

This young scholar led a makeshift force consisting of servants and household attendants to Hancheng and demonstrated exceptional military leadership. He killed over 500 enemies and successfully lifted the siege of Hancheng.

In the following months, Hong Chengchao achieved numerous victories in battle, and this literary scholar emerged as a prominent figure on the late Ming military stage.

Hong Chengchao possessed extraordinary courage, strategic acumen, and decisiveness, far from being a mere armchair general.

Subsequently, he continued to excel in campaigns against peasant uprisings, even capturing Gao Yingxiang, the leader of the peasant rebels, establishing his dominance in the northwest.

Before surrendering to the Qing, Hong Chengchao’s actions were beyond reproach. He served both as a military commander and a statesman, dedicating himself to the Ming Dynasty.

During the Battle of Songshan in the fifteenth year of the Chongzhen reign, if it weren’t for Emperor Chongzhen’s impatience and insistence on pushing Hong Chengchao to engage in a decisive battle prematurely, Hong Chengchao might not have been trapped in Songshan City.

Finally, after being besieged for six months, isolated and without supplies, Hong Chengchao was defeated and captured.

Hong Chengchao had foreseen the downfall of the Ming Dynasty. However, in the traditional moral values of the time, disloyalty to the emperor was a grave sin, especially for someone like Hong Chengchao, who was a high-ranking minister of the Ming Dynasty but surrendered to the Qing.

Despite the Ming Dynasty’s decadence, those who betrayed it without sharing its fate earned notoriety.

However, if we step away from the emperor’s perspective and view the situation from the standpoint of the common people, which dynasty, Ming or Qing, offered a better choice?

By that time, Emperor Chongzhen had imposed exorbitant taxes, leaving the common people starving. The Ming subjects had to support an ever-expanding group of interests.

The government, meanwhile, cared little for the lives of the common people, imposing oppressive taxes and extorting them ruthlessly. Under Ming rule, the common people simply could not survive.

This situation led to large-scale peasant uprisings.

In comparison, although the Qing nobility also collected taxes, they were a new dynasty with relatively smaller interest groups. Thus, the common people had a better chance at survival under Qing rule.

From the perspective of the common people, Hong Chengchao’s assistance to the Qing was a great service.

In fact, Hong Chengchao did quite a lot of good for the Qing Dynasty and, by extension, for the common people.

In the sixteenth year of the Shunzhi reign, after the Qing forces pacified Yunnan, Hong Chengchao saw the impoverished state of the Yunnan and Guizhou regions. He submitted a memorial requesting funds from the state treasury to aid the impoverished.

This effort helped stabilize social order and stimulate production in the Yunnan and Guizhou regions after the turmoil of war.

Compared to those Ming Dynasty officials who were corrupt despite being loyal to the throne, Hong Chengchao’s actions were clearly more beneficial to the common people.

Of course, to this day, Hong Chengchao remains a controversial historical figure.

Everyone has their own perspective, and whether Hong Chengchao is a national “criminal” or a historical “hero” depends on individual viewpoints.

Hong Chengchao: A Loyalty Shifting from Ming to Qing

Hong Chengchao was once a loyal minister of the Ming Dynasty, but after surrendering to the Qing Dynasty, he served the Qing. He is a prominent figure in “Biographies of Treacherous Ministers of the Ming Dynasty” and is worthy of having a memorial hall established in his honor.

In the fourteenth year of the Chongzhen reign, when the Qing forces besieged Jinzhou again, Zu Dashou requested assistance from Emperor Chongzhen. Among the officials of the Ming Dynasty, the first person that came to mind was Hong Chengchao, the Governor-General of Jizhou and Liaodong. At that moment, Hong Chengchao enjoyed the emperor’s trust and was indeed a high-ranking courtier.

Hong Chengchao led a force of thirteen thousand elite troops, including General Yang Guozhu of Xuanfu, General Wang Pu of Datong, General Tang Tong of Miyun, General Bai Guangen of Jizhou, General Cao Bianjiao of Yutian, General Ma Ke of Shanhaiguan, General Wang Tingchen of Qiantunwei, and General Wu Sangui of Ningyuan, to engage in a decisive battle against the Qing forces.

Huang Taiji, a shrewd strategist, bypassed the main Ming forces and attacked the strategically important Tashan, cutting off the Ming army’s supply lines and retreat routes. Hong Chengchao was determined to fight to the death against the Qing, while other generals advocated for a retreat. Generals Wang Pu and Wu Sangui directly fled. The Qing forces ambushed the Ming army on the way, resulting in the death of over fifty thousand Ming soldiers.

This impressive lineup was the best that Ming had to offer at the time, yet they were defeated by the Qing forces. Hong Chengchao led the remaining forces to defend Songshan. After being isolated and without support for six months, Hong Chengchao and others were captured by the Qing forces.

Hong Chengchao did what he could for the Ming Dynasty. As the last Governor-General of Jizhou and Liaodong, he gave his best efforts. Given the circumstances, no other general could have done better.

The fate of the Ming Dynasty was sealed, and loyal ministers like Hong Chengchao were eventually persuaded to surrender to the Qing Dynasty. Ironically, Emperor Chongzhen of the Ming Dynasty, unaware of Hong Chengchao’s situation, held a large-scale memorial ceremony for him. Later, when he learned that Hong Chengchao was alive and well, he deeply regretted it.

During the era of Huang Taiji, Hong Chengchao was respected but closely watched. It wasn’t until the reign of the Shunzhi Emperor that he was truly valued. He proposed many constructive suggestions that contributed to the well-being of the state. Regent Dorgon also highly valued him, and Hong Chengchao played an active role in preventing the massacre of many areas by the Qing forces.

Many of Hong Chengchao’s suggestions had a positive impact on the integration of the Han and Manchu ethnicities. However, after the death of the Shunzhi Emperor, when the young Kangxi Emperor took the throne, Hong Chengchao was marginalized. His later years were filled with hardship, and he passed away in the fourth year of Kangxi’s reign, ending his controversial life. Hong Chengchao was included in “Biographies of Treacherous Ministers” and held a prominent position.

On the other hand, Qin Hui, the infamous treacherous minister, brought calamity to the Southern Song Dynasty and conspired against Yue Fei. Although there is suspicion that he took the blame for Zhao Gou, his jealousy of talent and cruelty to loyal officials cannot be denied. Making him kneel is a small punishment for his crimes. Despite attempts to glorify him today, his actions are fundamentally at odds with mainstream values, making it difficult for modern people to accept.

Because Qin Hui wanted to save face, if he had helped the Jin Dynasty directly to conquer the Song Dynasty like Hong Chengchou did, today he would have been hailed as a model for promoting ethnic integration! With such great contributions, he should have been honored in the ancestral temple!

Similarly, there’s Wang Jingwei. If the resistance against the Japanese had failed back then, he would have been the top hero of the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere. Who would dare to say he was guilty!

This is how the world works, it has been like this for thousands of years…

Because the Qing Dynasty not only escaped retribution but also continuously attempted to whitewash its history, later generations indulged in shameless self-promotion. People from previous dynasties have never enjoyed such favor, and the value of their legacy has skyrocketed. Even today, there are constant comparisons with the Qing Dynasty.

Ming Dynasty: An Agricultural Civilization

The Ming Dynasty was primarily an agricultural civilization, while the Qing Dynasty marked the end of the dual-track agrarian and nomadic regime. To consolidate power and minimize internal conflicts, particularly among the remaining nomadic aristocracy, both dynasties moved toward industrial civilization due to the political correctness of unification. Even the Qing Dynasty could not be openly criticized.

Currently, the most significant challenge remains the unequal soft colonial order imposed by Western powers. Even criticisms of Manchu rule are constrained.

Of course, Hong Chengchou’s wrongdoing is not on par with Qin Hui. At least Hong Chengchou transformed into a traitor after military defeat, whereas Qin Hui conspired with Jin Wuzhu from the outset.

There won’t be any statues of Hong Chengchou kneeling. It may take several decades before his memorial hall is possibly dismantled.

Qin Hui vs. Hong Chengchou: A Comparison of Historical Figures

The comparison between Qin Hui and Hong Chengchou revolves around their historical actions. Firstly, it’s important to note that due to the modern concept of nation-building (beginning with the Beiyang era’s Five Races under One Union system), and considering that the Qing Dynasty essentially grew from a rebellion by the Ming Dynasty’s Jianshou Wei forces, there isn’t necessarily strong animosity towards individuals who switched allegiances between the Ming and Qing dynasties. Any hostility among the common people can be attributed to the oppressive rule of the Qing Dynasty and its later incompetence. In the eyes of both ancient and contemporary observers, such defections were not considered overly treacherous. Moreover, Hong Chengchou remained loyal to the Ming court during his tenure there, and he even fought against rebel forces alongside the Qing army during his service to the Qing Dynasty, effectively contributing to the establishment of the Qing bureaucratic system after subduing the Ming Dynasty. Overall, aside from any breach of non-compete agreements, his actions can be seen as relatively pragmatic. If we were to liken the Ming-Qing transition to a corporate context, Hong Chengchou could be considered a top-tier executive, far surpassing individuals like Dick Fuld in comparison.

On the other hand, Qin Hui’s issue lies in his incompetence. His contributions to both sides are highly questionable. In the extreme, during the Southern Song Dynasty, he ceased to support Northern expeditions even when advocating for them was merely a formality, and his role in the execution of Yue Fei didn’t significantly benefit the Jin Dynasty. In fact, one could argue that regardless of his position as the prime minister of the Song Dynasty or his role as a collaborator with the Jin Dynasty, he failed on both fronts. Had he followed a more direct path to assist the Jin Dynasty in completely subduing the Southern Song, he might have escaped much of the criticism.

If we were to treat the Song and Jin Dynasties as two corporations, Qin Hui could easily be prosecuted for corporate espionage, bribery, and gross negligence.

Qin Hui vs. Hong Chengchou: A Comparative Analysis

There are two primary reasons for the differing perceptions of Qin Hui and Hong Chengchou:

a) Qin Hui’s portrayal in the novel “The Story of Yue Fei” (《说岳全传》) portrays him negatively, while no such unflattering depiction exists for Hong Chengchou.

b) Their individual life experiences greatly vary: b.1) Qin Hui: During the Northern Song Dynasty, Qin Hui held a relatively minor bureaucratic position. When the Jin Dynasty supported Zhang Bangchang as the emperor, Qin Hui initially refused to endorse or sign any documents. He only accepted a government role after Zhang Bangchang recognized him as a mere administrator, with the true power held by the Song Dynasty’s former Empress Dowager. Qin Hui served as a relatively low-ranking secretary during the Jin Dynasty, which is considered the controversial phase of his career. However, Zhao Gou, the Southern Song Emperor, decided not to pursue his actions. Zhao Gou needed to project a forgiving image to attract former Northern Song bureaucrats and military commanders to join the Southern Song. Therefore, Qin Hui’s past was overlooked. After establishing the Southern Song Dynasty, Zhao Gou welcomed Qin Hui back and appointed him as prime minister on two occasions. Qin Hui was honored as the “Loyal and Devoted” (忠献) due to his significant contribution in reclaiming Henan and Shaanxi for the Southern Song Dynasty through the “Tianjuan Agreement,” as recorded in both Song and Jin historical records.

b.2) Hong Chengchou: Hong Chengchou had a distinguished military career serving the Ming Dynasty. Later, he was forced into a battlefield confrontation with the Later Jin (Qing Dynasty) and surrendered after suffering defeat. Subsequently, Hong Chengchou contributed to the Later Jin (Qing Dynasty), helping to eliminate remnants of Li Zicheng’s rebellion and the Ming Dynasty loyalists with the surname Zhu.

Overall, some argue that Hong Chengchou’s actions were more reprehensible. Qin Hui’s negative portrayal largely stems from fiction, while Hong Chengchou’s actions during wartime are seen as treacherous. However, it’s worth noting that during the Southern Song era, labeling someone as a “traitor for all ages” was a common practice among people of both Northern and Southern Song Dynasties. Even prominent figures like Sima Guang and Wang Anshi had engaged in mutual accusations of treachery.

Lü Hejian’s writings include two pieces titled “Ten Deceptive Actions of Wang Anshi, as Advocated by Heaven” (上神宗论王安石奸诈十事), where he harshly criticized Wang Anshi as a “great deceiver appearing loyal and a great hypocrite appearing trustworthy.” These writings were presented to Emperor Shen Zong.

In the “History of Song,” Volume 336, Biography 95, it is mentioned: “Although the people at that time slandered Sima Guang as a ‘traitor for all ages,’ they now say the same about him.”

In the biography of Cai Jing in the “History of Song,” it is recorded: “During the Yuanfu era (1086–1094), when many officials were exiled or executed, Cai Jing compiled a list of 309 officials, including Sima Guang, accusing them of heresy. All the officials listed were punished, and their descendants were not allowed to hold office in the capital and nearby regions.”

Even a prominent figure like Yue Fei faced criticism during the late Southern Song period:

In “The Compilation of the Alliance Meetings in Three Dynasties” (三朝北盟会编/卷193), Zhou Nanzhong, a commoner from Jizhou, wrote, “Liu Guangshi wrongly gained the honor of the Imperial Repository, Zhang Jun arrogantly engaged in great wickedness, and Yue Fei, Wu Jie, and Han Shizhong, among others, wrapped themselves in armor and provisions while remaining vacillating in their loyalties.”

In the “Epitaph for Han Shizhong,” it is stated, “Although our monarch was valiant and capable of controlling his subordinates, elevating them to the highest ranks and bestowing great honors upon them, this did not prevent Yue Fei, Fan Qiong, and others from arrogantly engaging in wickedness. Therefore, they were sentenced to death.”

Towards the end of the Southern Song Dynasty, Ma Duanlin remarked, “Figures like Zhang, Han, Liu, and Yue achieved distinction mainly in pacifying internal strife and stabilizing the southeast region. However, when confronted with the Jurchens (later the Jin and Qing Dynasties), they either failed or retreated. Even if they achieved minor victories, they couldn’t amend their past mistakes.”

During the Qing Dynasty, even Hong Chengchou was not highly regarded and was classified as a subordinate. Later, instead of a kneeling statue, a memorial hall was erected. This, along with the fact that monks can celebrate “the XXth anniversary of the entry of the Qing army into the Pass,” all falls under the adverse effects of national unity policies. People dare not criticize or condemn the Qing Dynasty anymore, so even the traitors were given a certain status.

After all, even the suppression of the Tongzhi Hui Rebellion turned into a Hui Muslim uprising, and the chaos caused by the Five Ethnic Groups in the South became the migration of minority ethnic groups to the south.

Perspectives on Hong Chengchou and Qin Hui

From any perspective, Hong Chengchou was a virtuous person.

  • From the perspective of the rulers of the Qing Dynasty, Hong helped suppress rebellions in the south.
  • From the perspective of the rulers of the Ming Dynasty, Hong played a role in ending the oppressive rule of the Ming Dynasty, benefiting from an early death.
  • From the perspective of the common people of both the Qing and Ming Dynasties, Hong contributed to ending decades of internal and external conflicts. Without Hong, how many times would Li Zicheng and Zhang Xianzhong have attacked Beijing? They might have engaged in internal strife and prolonged warfare for another fifty years.
  • Without Hong, how could the Qing Dynasty have quickly subdued the rebellions led by Sun Kewang and Li Dingguo? Another fifty years of warfare would have been normal.
  • What about the people of the Central Plains? It was the Qing Dynasty, along with Hong, that swiftly put an end to the chaos in the Central Plains, allowing the people to lead a happy and stable life.

As for Qin Hui, he was even more unjustly accused than Yue Fei.

  • The arrest and execution of Yue Fei were entirely orchestrated by Wanyan Guang, and Qin had no involvement in the matter.
  • If Qin had dared to oppose this, he would have been immediately treated as a collaborator with Yue Fei, facing severe consequences, including the execution of his entire family.
  • Many people closely watched Qin’s position, such as Wan Qixie.
  • Qin was merely a scapegoat and an innocent party manipulated by Wanyan Guang.
  • In later generations, many Han officials (not all) refrained from criticizing Wanyan Guang due to reverence, so they vented their frustration on the unlucky Qin.

Wanyan Guang understood all of this, so he took care of Qin during his lifetime, willingly taking the blame for him. Actually, the killing of Yue Fei was something Wanyan Guang felt compelled to do, but that’s a different story, not elaborated upon here.

January 11, 2024

One reason is that Qin Hui’s master, the Jin Dynasty, was not as powerful as Hong Chengchou’s master, the Qing Dynasty. Another reason is that the history of Qin Hui has been too long until today, and the evaluation of Qin Hui has already been solidified over a thousand years of history. If Qin Hui had only a hundred years of history until now, the “Unified History of the Jin Dynasty” (the map of the Southern Song Dynasty according to the submission of the Qing Dynasty to the Khitan is included in the map of the Jin Dynasty) would have already praised Qin Hui, and maybe even the Yue Temple would have to be changed to the Qin Temple. The TV drama “Qin Hui the Great Spy” might even be broadcast on the central television station.

There’s no need for explanations; it boils down to just two sentences: “Future generations work hard, and past generations benefit.” After reading the report about Hong Chengchou’s memorial hall, you’ll realize it’s nothing more than the ancestral shrine of the Hong family, organized by the Hong clan. The shameless ones are truly this clan. The customs of the Qin family clan are much better; they’ve long since distanced themselves from Qin Hui.

A Tribute to Qin Hui

Oh, my beloved groundhog, just as the postgraduate entrance exam duo said,

“Love what you do, do what you love.”

Qin Hui?

What does he have to compare with our revered, unwavering feudal class reactionary fighter, the seasoned leader of the landlord class, the nemesis of peasant uprisings, and the faithful protector of the imperial family, Big Yellow, whom we respect?

Could it be for his outstanding contributions to national integration?

He tui.

Honestly, compared to the latter, Qin Hui seems quite unjust.

After all, who could, like the latter, slaughter peasants so ruthlessly during the Ming Dynasty?

And continue the massacre of peasants and anti-Qing forces during the Qing Dynasty?

Only our revered, unwavering feudal class reactionary fighter, the seasoned leader of the landlord class, the nemesis of peasant uprisings, and the faithful protector of the imperial family.

Never forget their original intentions, whether in the Ming or Qing Dynasty, they steadfastly stood on the opposite side of the people, raising their butcher’s knives high.