Zhao Pu

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Emperor Taizu of Song visiting Zhao Pu in the early years of the Song dynasty, a 15th century painting by Liu Jun.

Zhao Pu (922–14 August 992), courtesy name Zeping, was a Chinese politician and strategist during the reigns of the first two Song dynasty emperors (Emperor Taizu and Emperor Taizong), who was instrumental in plotting the seizure and consolidation of power for both of them. Despite several crisis in his long career, Zhao Pu was by far the most powerful politician for most of the early Song dynasty, serving as a chief councilor (in many years the only one) three times for a total of 17 years. He has been praised for his brilliance in foreign and domestic policies which helped shape Song's Confucian outlook for the next 2–3 centuries. A proud Confucian (though not as learned as later ministers who came from the imperial examination), Zhao Pu is well known for allegedly claiming that he administered the state with "half the Analects". Confucian historians, however, also note his cunning, avarice, as well as ruthlessness towards political opponents like Lu Duoxun and Zhao Tingmei, all self-serving and un-Confucian traits.