Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Xin Qiji

Xin Qiji was a poet and military leader during the Southern Song dynasty.

At the time of his life, northern China was occupied by the Jurchens, a people from what is now north-east China then regarded as barbarians but later to become the Manchus. Only southern China was ruled by the Han Chinese Southern Song dynasty. Xin Qiji was born in the modern city of Jinan of Shandong Province, and in his childhood his grandfather told him about the time when the Han Chinese ruled the north and told him to be an honorable man and seek revenge against the barbarian for the nation. It was then when he developed his patriotic feelings.

Xin Qiji started his rebellion against the Jurchen at the age of twenty. With merely fifty men, he fought the way into Jin camp and killed a man who had initially joined the anti-Jin cause but later betrayed the leader. He then led his men back across the border to the Southern Song. Afterwards Xin was given the position as a governor. He had many victories but was forced to give up his plan when the South negotiated a peace treaty in 1164. Despite his great ability and experience in military and politics, he was soon forced to resign by the Consul.

In his late years, the war between the North and South intensified. The Consul had no choice but to use him again, but without trust. Xin Qiji retired in 1194 and built a retreat in the Shangrao countryside. There he studied and perfected his famous form of poetry. He died in 1207, at the same time that war was restarted again between and the Jurchens.

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