The Sui dynasty was a short-lived imperial dynasty of China of pivotal significance. The Sui unified the Northern and Southern dynasties and reinstalled the rule of ethnic Chinese in the entirety of China proper, along with sinicization of former nomadic ethnic minorities within its territory, it was succeeded by the Tang dynasty, which inherited its foundation. Founded by Emperor Wen of Sui, the Sui dynasty capital was Chang'an and Luoyang. Emperors Wen and Yang undertook various centralized reforms, most notably the equal-field system, intended to reduce economic inequality and improve agricultural productivity, they spread and encouraged Buddhism throughout the empire. By the middle of the dynasty, the newly unified empire entered a golden age of prosperity with vast agricultural surplus that supported rapid population growth. A lasting legacy of the Sui dynasty was the Grand Canal. With the eastern capital Luoyang at the center of the network, it linked the west-lying capital Chang'an to the economic and agricultural centers of the east towards Hangzhou, to the northern border near modern Beijing.
While the pressing initial motives were for shipment of grains to the capital, for transporting troops and military logistics, the reliable inland shipment links would facilitate domestic trades, flow of people and cultural exchange for centuries. Along with the extension of the Great Wall, the construction of the eastern capital city of Luoyang, these mega projects, led by an efficient centralized bureaucracy, would amass millions of conscripted workers from the large population base, at heavy cost of human lives. After a series of costly and disastrous military campaigns against Goguryeo, one of the Three Kingdoms of Korea, ended in defeat by 614, the dynasty disintegrated under a series of popular revolts culminating in the assassination of Emperor Yang by his ministers in 618; the dynasty, which lasted only thirty-seven years, was undermined by ambitious wars and construction projects, which overstretched its resources. Under Emperor Yang, heavy taxation and compulsory labor duties would induce widespread revolts and brief civil war following the fall of the dynasty.
The dynasty is compared to the earlier Qin dynasty for unifying China after prolonged division. Wide-ranging reforms and construction projects were undertaken to consolidate the newly unified state, with long-lasting influences beyond their short dynastic reigns. Towards the late Northern and Southern dynasties, the Northern Zhou conquered the Northern Qi in 577 and reunified northern China, The century trend of gradual conquest of the southern dynasties of the Han Chinese by the northern dynasties, which were ruled by ethnic minority Xianbei, would become inevitable. By this time, the founder of the Sui dynasty, Yang Jian, an ethnic Han Chinese, became the regent to the Northern Zhou court, his daughter was the Empress Dowager, her stepson, Emperor Jing of Northern Zhou, was a child. After crushing an army in the eastern provinces, Yang Jian usurped the throne to become Emperor Wen of Sui. While the Duke of Sui when serving at the Zhou court, where the character "Sui 隨" means "to follow" and implies loyalty, Emperor Wen created the unique character "Sui", morphed from the character of his former title, as the name of his newly founded dynasty.
In a bloody purge, he had fifty-nine princes of the Zhou royal family eliminated, yet became known as the "Cultured Emperor". Emperor Wen reclaimed his Han surname of Yang. Having won the support of Confucian scholars who held power in previous Han dynasties, Emperor Wen initiated a series of reforms aimed at strengthening his empire for the wars that would reunify China. In his campaign for southern conquest, Emperor Wen assembled thousands of boats to confront the naval forces of the Chen dynasty on the Yangtze River; the largest of these ships were tall, having five layered decks and the capacity for 800 non-crew personnel. They were outfitted with six 50-foot-long booms that were used to swing and damage enemy ships, or to pin them down so that Sui marine troops could use act-and-board techniques. Besides employing Xianbei and other Chinese ethnic groups for the fight against Chen, Emperor Wen employed the service of people from southeastern Sichuan, which Sui had conquered. In 588, the Sui had amassed 518,000 troops along the northern bank of the Yangtze River, stretching from Sichuan to the East China Sea.
The Chen dynasty could not withstand such an assault. By 589, Sui troops entered the last emperor of Chen surrendered; the city was razed to the ground, while Sui troops escorted Chen nobles back north, where the northern aristocrats became fascinated with everything the south had to provide culturally and intellectually. Although Emperor Wen was famous for bankrupting the state treasury with warfare and construction projects, he made many improvements to infrastructure during his early reign, he established granaries as sources of food and as a means to regulate market prices from the taxation of crops, much like the earlier Han dynasty. The large agricultural surplus supported rapid growth of population to a historical peak, only surpassed at the zenith of the Tang Dynasty more than a century later; the state capital of Chang'an, while situated in the militarily secure heartland of Guanzhong, was remote from the economic centers to the east and south of the empire. Emperor Wen in
The Tang dynasty or the Tang Empire was an imperial dynasty of China spanning the 7th to 10th centuries. It was followed by the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period. Historians regard the Tang as a high point in Chinese civilization, a golden age of cosmopolitan culture. Tang territory, acquired through the military campaigns of its early rulers, rivaled that of the Han dynasty; the Tang capital at Chang'an was the most populous city in the world in its day. The Lǐ family founded the dynasty, seizing power during the collapse of the Sui Empire; the dynasty was interrupted when Empress Wu Zetian seized the throne, proclaiming the Second Zhou dynasty and becoming the only Chinese empress regnant. In two censuses of the 7th and 8th centuries, the Tang records estimated the population by number of registered households at about 50 million people, yet when the central government was breaking down and unable to compile an accurate census of the population in the 9th century, it is estimated that the population had grown by to about 80 million people.
With its large population base, the dynasty was able to raise professional and conscripted armies of hundreds of thousands of troops to contend with nomadic powers in dominating Inner Asia and the lucrative trade-routes along the Silk Road. Various kingdoms and states paid tribute to the Tang court, while the Tang conquered or subdued several regions which it indirectly controlled through a protectorate system. Besides political hegemony, the Tang exerted a powerful cultural influence over neighboring East Asian states such as those in Japan and Korea; the Tang dynasty was a period of progress and stability in the first half of the dynasty's rule, until the An Lushan Rebellion and the decline of central authority in the half of the dynasty. Like the previous Sui dynasty, the Tang dynasty maintained a civil-service system by recruiting scholar-officials through standardized examinations and recommendations to office; the rise of regional military governors known as jiedushi during the 9th century undermined this civil order.
Chinese culture further matured during the Tang era. Two of China's most famous poets, Li Bai and Du Fu, belonged to this age, as did many famous painters such as Han Gan, Zhang Xuan, Zhou Fang. Scholars of this period compiled a rich variety of historical literature, as well as encyclopedias and geographical works; the adoption of the title Tängri Qaghan by the Tang Emperor Taizong in addition to his title as emperor was eastern Asia's first "simultaneous kingship". Many notable innovations occurred including the development of woodblock printing. Buddhism became a major influence with native Chinese sects gaining prominence. However, in the 840s the Emperor Wuzong of Tang enacted policies to persecute Buddhism, which subsequently declined in influence. Although the dynasty and central government had gone into decline by the 9th century and culture continued to flourish; the weakened central government withdrew from managing the economy, but the country's mercantile affairs stayed intact and commercial trade continued to thrive regardless.
However, agrarian rebellions in the latter half of the 9th century resulted in damaging atrocities such as the Guangzhou massacre of 878–879. The Li family belonged to the northwest military aristocracy prevalent during the Sui dynasty and claimed to be paternally descended from the Daoist founder, Laozi the Han dynasty General Li Guang and Western Liang ruler Li Gao; this family was known as the Longxi Li lineage. The Tang Emperors had Xianbei maternal ancestry, from Emperor Gaozu of Tang's Xianbei mother, Duchess Dugu. Li Yuan was Duke of Tang and governor of Taiyuan, modern Shanxi, during the Sui dynasty's collapse, caused in part by the Sui failure to conquer the northern part of the Korean peninsula during the Goguryeo–Sui War, he had prestige and military experience, was a first cousin of Emperor Yang of Sui. Li Yuan rose in rebellion in 617, along with his son and his militant daughter Princess Pingyang, who raised and commanded her own troops. In winter 617, Li Yuan occupied Chang'an, relegated Emperor Yang to the position of Taishang Huang or retired emperor, acted as regent to the puppet child-emperor, Yang You.
On the news of Emperor Yang's murder by General Yuwen Huaji on June 18, 618, Li Yuan declared himself the emperor of a new dynasty, the Tang. Li Yuan, known as Emperor Gaozu of Tang, ruled until 626, when he was forcefully deposed by his son Li Shimin, the Prince of Qin. Li Shimin had commanded troops since the age of 18, had prowess with bow and arrow and lance and was known for his effective cavalry charges. Fighting a numerically superior army, he defeated Dou Jiande at Luoyang in the Battle of Hulao on May 28, 621. In a violent elimination of royal family due to fear of assassination, Li Shimin ambushed and killed two of his brothers, Li Yuanji and Crown prince Li Jiancheng, in the Xuanwu Gate Incident on July 2, 626. Shortly thereafter, his father abdicated in his favor and Li Shimin ascended the throne, he is conventionally known by his temple name Taizong. Although killing two brothers and deposing his father contradicted the Confucian value of filial piety, Taizong showed himself to be a capable leader who listened to the advice of the wisest members of his council.
In 628, Emperor Taizong held a Buddhist memorial service for the casualties of war, in 629 he ha
Wang Anshi, courtesy name Jiefu, was a Chinese economist, statesman and poet of the Song Dynasty who attempted major and controversial socioeconomic reforms known as the New Policies. These reforms constituted the core concepts of the Song-Dynasty Reformists, in contrast to their rivals, the Conservatives, led by the Chancellor Sima Guang. Wang Anshi's ideas are analyzed in terms of the influence the Rites of Zhou or Legalism had on him, his economic reforms included increase currency circulation, breaking up of private monopolies, early forms of government regulation and social welfare. His military reforms expanded the use of local militias and his government reforms expanded the civil service examination system and attempted to suppress nepotism in government. Although successful for a while, he fell out of favor of the emperor. During the Song Dynasty, the unprecedented development of large estates, whose owners managed to evade paying their share of taxes, resulted in an heavy burden of taxation on commoners.
The drop in state revenues, a succession of budget deficits, widespread inflation prompted the Emperor Shenzong of Song to seek advice from Wang. Wang Anshi came from a family of imperial scholars and was placed fourth in the imperial exam of 1042, he spent the first twenty years of his career in the regional government of the lower Yangtze region. During this period, he gained practical experience in local governance; this experience guided his analysis in formulating solutions to revitalize the ailing Song society. Wang believed that the state has the responsibility to provide for its people the essentials for a decent living standard: "The state should take the entire management of commerce and agriculture into its own hands, with a view to succoring the working classes and preventing them from being ground into the dust by the rich."Wang came to power as 2nd privy councilor in 1069. It was there that he promulgated his reform policy. There were three main components to this policy: 1) state finance and trade, 2) defense and social order, 3) education and improving of governance.
Some of the finance reforms included paying cash for labor in place of corvee labor, increase the supply of copper coins, improve management of trade, direct government loan to farmers during planting seasons and to be repaid at harvest. He believed. To limit speculation and eliminate private monopolies, he initiated price control and regulated wages and set up pensions for the aged and unemployed; the state began to institute public orphanages, dispensaries, hospices and reserve granaries. The military reform centered on a new institution of organized households; this was done to ensure collective responsibility in society and was used to strengthen local defense. He proposed the creation of systems to breed military horses, the more efficient manufacture of weapons and training of the militia. To improve education and government, he sought to break down the barrier between clerical and official careers as well as improving their supervision to prevent connections being used for personal gain.
Tests in law, military affairs and medicine were added to the examination system, with mathematics added in 1104. The National Academy was transformed into a real school rather than a holding place for officials waiting for appointments. However, there was deep-seated resistance to the education reforms as it hurt bureaucrats coming in under the old system. Although Wang had the alliance of such prominent court figures as Shen Kuo, imperial scholar-officials such as Su Dongpo and Ouyang Xiu bitterly opposed these reforms on the grounds of tradition, they believed Wang's reforms were against the moral fundamentals of the Two Emperors and would therefore prevent the Song from experiencing the prosperity and peace of the ancients. The tide tilted in favor of the conservatives due to renewed foreign conflict, he was temporarily removed from power and imprisoned in 1075. Like many Chinese officials of the era, Wang's career experienced many ups and downs, but the beginning of the end came in 1074.
A famine in northern China drove many farmers off their lands. Their circumstances were made worse by the debts they had incurred from the seasonal loans granted under Wang’s reform initiatives. Local officials insisted on collecting on the loans; this crisis was depicted as being Wang’s fault. The empress dowager was an opponent of Wang. Wang wanted to resign, but the emperor still supported him, giving him high honors and an appointment to Jiangning He was recalled by the emperor the following year, but now he was seen as vulnerable and was attacked from groups of conservatives. Wang returned to Nanjing, he wrote and engaged in scholarship through to his death in 1086. With Shenzong's death in 1085, Wang was ousted and the New Policies were rolled back - some temporarily, some permanently. In addition to his political achievements, Wang Anshi was a noted poet, he wrote poems in the shi form, modeled on those of Du Fu. He was ranked number seven among the Eight Great Prose Masters of the Tang and Song.
He was an adherent of the Classical Prose Movement championed by Han Yu and Liu Zongyuan and second of the Eight Masters of the Tang and Song respectively. His poetry included social themes along with the traditional observations of nature. A well-known man-of-letters, Wang Anshi produced many outstanding poems. Lines from one of his most famous pieces: One of
Gongsun Qiao, better known by his courtesy name Zichan, was a statesman of the State of Zheng during the Spring and Autumn period of ancient China. His ancestral surname was Ji, clan name Guo. A grandson of Duke Mu of Zheng, Zichan served as prime minister of Zheng from 544 BC until his death. Under Zichan, Zheng managed to expand its territory, a difficult task for a small state surrounded by several large states. Zichan reformed the government to emphasise the rule of law; as a philosopher, Zichan separated the domains of heaven and the human world, arguing against superstition and believing that humans should be grounded in reality. Zichan was responsible for many reforms. A realist, Zichan was involved in all aspects of the state, reforming agricultural and commercial laws, setting the borders, centralising the state, ensuring the hiring of capable ministers, changing social norms, he prohibited the hanging and deliver of pamphlets, but is recorded as having prevented other ministers from executing a man for criticising the government, arguing that it was in the best interests of the state to listen to the opinions of the common people.
Zichan reformed the government to emphasize the rule of law. In 543 BC, he had the state's code of law cast in a first among the Zhou states, he enacted harsh punishments for criminals. Because of his focus on laws, historians classify him as a Legalist; the Zuo Zhuan records. Zichan was highly skilled in state-to-state politics; when the State of Jin tried to interfere in Zheng's internal affairs after the death of a Zheng minister, Zichan was well aware of the danger, arguing that if Jin was allowed to determine the successor of the deceased minister in the state of Zheng, Zheng would have lost its sovereignty to Jin. He proceeded to convince Jin not to interfere in Zheng's internal politics. Walker, Robert Louis; the Multi-state System of Ancient China. 1953
Criticize Lin, Criticize Confucius
The Criticize Lin, Criticize Confucius Campaign was a political propaganda campaign started by Mao Zedong and his wife, Jiang Qing, the leader of the Gang of Four. It lasted from 1973 until the end of the Cultural Revolution, in 1976; the campaign produced detailed Maoist interpretations of Chinese history, was used as a tool by the Gang of Four to attack their enemies. The campaign continued in several phases, beginning as an academic attempt to interpret Chinese history according to Mao's political theories. In 1974 the campaign was joined with another, pre-existent campaign to attack Lin Biao, who had attempted to assassinate Mao in a failed coup before his death in 1971. In early 1975 the campaign was modified to indirectly attack China's Premier, Zhou Enlai, other senior Chinese leaders. In mid-1975 the Gang of Four introduced debate on The Water Margin as a tool to attack their enemies; the campaign only ended in 1976, when the Gang of Four were arrested, ending the Cultural Revolution.
The events that occurred during the "Criticize Lin, Criticize Confucius" campaign were "complex and confusing", but can be identified as occurring through four main phases. The first phase of the campaign began after the 1st Plenary Session of the 10th CCP Central Committee, in 1973. Following this session, Mao encouraged public discussions focused on criticizing Confucius and Confucianism, on interpreting aspects of historical Chinese society within a Maoist theoretical perspective; these initial debates focused on interpreting the issues of slavery and the relationship between Confucianism and Legalism according to the social theories published by Mao and Karl Marx. In late 1973 - early 1974 begins the second phase of the campaign, when as the main critics of Confucius were the masses; the universities were organized special courses, preparing a program of criticism of certain provisions of the Confucius used by Lin Biao. Tens of thousands of workers and peasants were trained in these courses, swelling the ranks of "Marxist theoretician."The attacks on Confucius merged with a pre-existent campaign to criticize Lin Biao.
With the deployment of the campaign it became clear that "criticism of Lin Biao and Confucius" was directed not so much against the "enemies of the past," as against the "enemies of today." During this phase, Mao's image was identified with that of Qin Shihuang. Hyperbolic praise was given to Qin based on his popular association with Mao. In the article "What kind of man Confucius", published in the seventh issue of the Red Flag magazine in 1974, paint a portrait of the ancient sage who reminds the reader of Zhou Enlai. Based on People's Daily articles, Russian researcher Leo Delyusin believed that locals formally belonging to the campaign "criticize Lin Biao and Confucius" sabotaged it, it was clear that Beijing was not satisfied with the progress of the campaign, from time to time Beijing heard complaints and accusations at those who tried to change the direction of the campaign and give it a different shape, different goals. The attempts to disrupt and distort the meaning of the campaign against Lin Biao and Confucius combined with a formal public statement about the importance of the campaign, in practice - curtail it and to address specific cases.
Under the guise of criticism of the ideas of Confucius education, Tang Xiaowen in the article "I was popular educator Confucius?", attacked those who moved away from the installations of the "cultural revolution." He tried to prove that in the saying of Confucius' all "contained class meaning", had a detrimental effect on the organization of the education system, serving as the basis of the revisionist line. Declaring that "Confucius harbored a fierce hatred of the social changes of the time," the author attributed his intention "to make all slaves China obedient and submissive." In his school, "he picked up the students with the intention to train "humane", "purposeful," "noble," "virtuous "men who adhere to" the orders of the Zhou Dynasty, having achieved success in their studies, would be officials and promoted to thereby restore the slave system of the Western Zhou". In the criticism of the private schools established by Confucius, aimed at the restoration of the old order, the Chinese reader found the familiar features of the "reactionary political line in the field of education".
The third phase began after Zhou Enlai reorganized the State Council during the 4th National People's Congress, in January 1975. At the People's Congress, Zhou Enlai brought many cadres back to work, purged during the 1966-1969 phase of the Cultural Revolution. In comparison with the first stage of the "cultural revolution", the rehabilitated leaders led by Premier Zhou Enlai had sufficient influence in the center. Feeling strong support from his supporters on 31 January 1974 at the enlarged meeting of the Politburo, he was able to request not to involve the armed forces in a campaign "four great freedoms", writing, free expression of opinions and extensive discussion, general criticism; because they had supported the purging of many career Communist Party veterans during the early Cultural Revolution, the Gang of Four opposed Zhou's efforts, began to use the campaign to subtly criticize Zhou and his policies. The fourth and final phase of the campaign coincided with Zhou's hospitalization.
After the 1974 campaign "criticize Lin Biao and Confucius" reached its climax, soon subsided. Beginning in the summer of 1975 the Gang of Four deployed a new campaign, introducing public debates on The Water Margin and the "war on empiricism"
Wang Mang, courtesy name Jujun, was a Han Dynasty official and consort kin who seized the throne from the Liu family and founded the Xin Dynasty, ruling 9–23 AD. The Han dynasty was restored after his overthrow, his rule marks the separation between the Western Han Dynasty and Eastern Han Dynasty; some historians have traditionally viewed Wang as a usurper, while others have portrayed him as a visionary and selfless social reformer. Though a learned Confucian scholar who sought to implement the harmonious society he saw in the classics, his efforts ended in chaos. In October 23 AD, the capital Chang'an was attacked and the imperial palace ransacked. Wang Mang died in the battle; the Han dynasty was reestablished in 25 AD. Wang Mang was the son of Wang Man, the younger brother of Empress Wang Zhengjun, his wife Qu, born in 45 BC, his lineage can be traced back to the kings of Qi, whose descendants changed their surname to Wang as Qi locals referred to them as the "royal family". Wang Man died early, while Wang Mang was young, before Emperor Cheng took the throne and his mother Empress Wang became empress dowager.
Unlike most of his brothers, Wang Man did not have the opportunity to become a marquess. Empress Wang took pity on his family, after she herself was widowed, had Qu moved to the imperial palace to live with her. While Wang Mang was well-connected to the imperial family, he did not have nearly the luxuries that his cousins enjoyed. Indeed, unlike his relatives who lived expensively and competed with each other on how they could spend more, Wang Mang was praised for his humility and desire to study, he wore those of a young Confucian scholar. He was praised on how filial he was to his mother and how caring he was to his deceased brother Wang Yong's wife and son Wang Guang. Wang Mang served his uncles carefully; when Wang Mang's powerful uncle Wang Feng grew ill, Wang Mang cared for him near his sick bed day and night, attended to his medical and personal needs. Wang Feng was touched, before his death, he asked Empress Dowager Wang and Emperor Cheng to take good care of Wang Mang. Wang Mang was therefore given the post of imperial attendant and promoted to be one of the subcommanders of the imperial guards.
In 16 BC, another of Wang Mang's uncles, Wang Shang the Marquess of Chengdu, submitted a petition to divide part of his march and to create Wang Mang a marquess. Several well-regarded officials concurred in this request, Emperor Cheng was impressed with Wang Mang's reputation, he therefore created Wang Mang the Marquess of Xindu and promoted him to the Chamberlain for Attendants. It was described by historians that the greater the posts that Wang was promoted to, the more humble he grew, he did not accumulate wealth, but used the money to support scholars and to give gifts to colleagues, so he gained more and more praise. Another thing that Wang Mang made himself known for was that he had only a single wife, Lady Wang, no concubines. However, as events would show, Wang was not faithful to his wife at this time. Emperor Cheng appointed his uncles, one after another, to be commander of the armed forces, speculation grew as to who would succeed Wang Mang's youngest surviving uncle, Wang Gen. Wang Mang was considered one of the possibilities, while another was his cousin Chunyu Zhang, who had a much closer personal relationship to Emperor Cheng than Wang Mang did.
Chunyu had friendly relations with both Emperor Cheng's wife Empress Zhao Feiyan and his deposed former wife Empress Xu. To overcome Chunyu's presumptive hold on succeeding Wang Gen, Wang Mang took action, he collected evidence that Chunyu, a frivolous man in his words and deeds, had secretly received bribes from the deposed Empress Xu and had promised to help her become "left empress", that he had promised his associates great posts once he succeeded Wang Gen. In 8 BC, he informed Wang Gen and Empress Dowager Wang of the evidence, both Wang Gen and Empress Dowager Wang were displeased, they exiled Chunyu back to his march. Chunyu, before he left the capital, gave his horses and luxurious carriages to his cousin Wang Rong – the son of his uncle Wang Li, with whom he had a running feud. Wang Li, happy with Chunyu's gift, submitted a petition requesting that Chunyu be allowed to remain at the capital—which drew Emperor Cheng's suspicion, because he knew of the feud between Wang Li and Chunyu, he ordered Wang Rong to be arrested, Wang Li, in his panic, ordered his son to commit suicide—which in turn caused Emperor Cheng to become more suspicious.
He therefore had Chunyu interrogated. Chunyu admitted to deceiving Empress Xu and receiving bribes from her, he was executed. In 8 BC, Wang Gen, by seriously ill, submitted his resignation and requested that Wang Mang succeed him. In winter 8 BC, Emperor Cheng made Wang Mang the commander of the armed forces, at the age of 37. After Wang Mang was promoted to this position—effectively the highest in the imperial government—he became better known for his self-discipline and promotion of capable
Xun Kuang widely known as Xunzi, was a Chinese Confucian philosopher who lived during the Warring States period and contributed to the Hundred Schools of Thought. A book known as the Xunzi is traditionally attributed to him, his works survive in an excellent condition, were a major influence in forming the official state doctrines of the Han dynasty, but his influence waned during the Tang dynasty relative to that of Mencius. Xunzi discusses figures ranging from Confucius and Zhuangzi, to Linguists Mozi, Hui Shi and Gongsun Long and "Legalists" Shen Buhai and Shen Dao, he mentions Laozi as a figure for the first time in early Chinese history, makes use of Taoist terminology, though rejecting their doctrine. Xunzi was born Xun Kuang; some texts recorded his surname as Sun instead of Xun, either because the two surnames were homophones in antiquity or because Xun was a naming taboo during the reign of Emperor Xuan of Han, whose given name was Xun. Herbert Giles and John Knoblock both consider the naming taboo theory more likely.
Nothing is known of his lineage, the early years of Xunzi's life are shrouded in mystery. Accounts of when he lived conflict; the Sima Qian records that he was born in Zhao, Anze County has erected a large memorial hall at his supposed birthplace. It is recounted that at the age of fifty he went to the state of Qi to study and teach at the Jixia Academy; the Shi Ji states that he became a member of the academy during the time of King Xiang of Qi, discounting the story of his being a teacher of Han Fei, but its chronology would give him a lifetime of 137 years. After studying and teaching in Qi, Xunzi is said to have visited the state of Qin from 265 BC to 260 BC, praised its governance, debated military affairs with Lord Linwu in the court of King Xiaocheng of Zhao. Xunzi was slandered in the Qi court, he retreated south to the state of Chu. In 240 BC Lord Chunshen, the prime minister of Chu, invited him to take a position as Magistrate of Lanling, which he refused and accepted. However, Lord Chunshen was assassinated In 238 BC by a court rival and Xunzi subsequently lost his position.
He retired, remained in Lanling, a region in what is today's southern Shandong province, for the rest of his life and was buried there. The year of his death is unknown, though if he lived to see the ministership of his supposed student Li Si, as recounted, he would have lived into his nineties, dying shortly after 219 BC. Xunzi witnessed the chaos surrounding the fall of the Zhou dynasty and rise of the Qin state which upheld "doctrines focusing on state control, by means of law and penalties". Like Shang Yang, Xunzi believed that humanity's inborn tendencies were evil and that ethical norms had been invented to rectify people, his variety of Confucianism therefore has a darker, more pragmatic flavour than the optimistic Confucianism of Mencius, who tended to view humans as innately good, though like most Confucians he believed that people could be refined through education and ritual. However, he believed, he adapted Confucianism to the ideas of the Legalists. Therefore, unlike other Confucians, Xunzi allowed that penal law could play a legitimate, though secondary, role in the state.
He rejects the Book of Lord Shang and Zhuangzi's claims that the way changes with the times, saying the way had been invented by the sages. To this end he seems to have taken up the Mohists' argumentative strategies and conception of models, saying "the Ru model themselves after the former kings". Unlike the Legalists, he places little emphasis on general rules, advocating the use of particular examples as models, he refused to admit theories of state and administration apart from ritual and self-cultivation, arguing for the gentleman, rather than the measurements promoted by the Legalists, as the wellspring of objective criterion. His ideal gentleman king and government, aided by a class of erudites, are "very close to that of Mencius", but without the tolerance of feudalism. Cua, A. S.. Ethical Argumentation: A Study in Hsün Tzu's Moral Epistemology. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press. ISBN 0-8248-0942-4. Knechtges, David R.. "Xunzi 荀子". In Knechtges, David R.. Ancient and Early Medieval Chinese Literature: A Reference Guide, Part Three.
Leiden: Brill. Pp. 1757–65. ISBN 978-90-04-27216-3. Loewe, Michael. "Hsün tzu 荀子". In Loewe, Michael. Early Chinese Texts: A Bibliographical Guide. Berkeley: Society for the Study of Early China. Pp. 178–88. ISBN 1-55729-043-1. Munro, Donald J.. The Concept of Man in Early China. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan. ISBN 978-0892641512. Schwartz, Benjamin I.. The World of Thought in Ancient China. Cambridge, MA.: Harvard University Press. ISBN 0-674-96190-0. Xun Zi at Curlie Hsun Tzu historical information and writing excerpts Article from the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy Full text of the Xunzi Quotes by Xunzi “Tell me and I forget.