CHINA HERITAGE QUARTERLY China Heritage Project, The Australian National University ISSN 1833-8461
No. 28, December 2011


A View of the Hero Yue Fei and the Traitor Qin Gui | China Heritage Quarterly

A View of the Hero Yue Fei and the Traitor Qin Gui 岳飛與秦檜

An essay by Zhou Zuoren 周作人
Introduced and translated by Tim Cronin
The Australian National University

Editor's Introduction

The Song-dynasty general Yue Fei (1103-42) is an incontrovertible 'patriotic martyr' who features prominently in the pantheon of Chinese heroes. His rival at the Song court, Qin Gui (1090-1155), however, lives on only in infamy.[Fig.1] The pair represent the clash between resistance and appeasement in the trans-historical consciousness of the Chinese world. As the historian F.W. Mote put it, 'They have come to embody noble-minded loyalty on the one hand and, on the other, base treachery.' As he also notes, '…historically, the myths surrounding this stark confrontation of policies and personalities have been more important than the reality.'[1]

Fig.1 Qin Gui 秦檜 and Lady Wang 王氏, Yue Fei Temple (Yue miao 岳廟), West Lake, 2002. (Photograph: Lois Conner)

The founding leader of the People's Republic and frequent resident of Hangzhou Mao Zedong (see Mao Zedong and West Lake: a chronology in Features) approved of Yue Fei partly because, along with the general Guan Yu 關羽 (aka 關公, d.219), he is one of the great martial heroes of Chinese history and legend, but also due to the fact that he was a canny strategist who imposed strict military discipline on his forces. Although it should be noted that Mao did not so much blame Qin Gui for Yue Fei's denouement for he argued that the emperor Gaozong 高宗 manipulated Qin to frustrate the militants at court.[2]

Ever since the de facto independence of Taiwan following the flight of the Nationalist to the island in the late 1940s, leaders on mainland China have maintained an obsessive rhetorical position on questions of territorial integrity both in regard to contemporary China, and in their retrospective view on and interpretations of the country's past. Figures who championed territorial claims in dynastic times such as Yue Fei—a man who refused to see the Southern Song survive on limited territory (or pian'an 偏安, to use an ancient formulation), are held up not merely as 'patriots' avant la lettre, but also as moral exemplars. Others, like Qin Gui, or more recently Zhou Zuoren (1885-1967), a man whose reputation is beclouded by his collaboration with the imperial Japanese occupiers of Beiping 北平 (latterly Beijing) in the 1940s, no matter how complex the actual history and facts of their betrayal, are forever decried for their ignominy.

As we have noted elsewhere, and in the Editorial of this issue of China Heritage Quarterly, the landscape of West Lake is as much (if not more) man-made as natural; man-made not only in the physical sense, but also as an environment bound in the cultural and historical warp and woof of stories, personages, fables, poems and art works. Statues, former residences, commemorative buildings, wall plagues and museums now encircle the Lake providing an itinerary of cultural meaning that embraces everything from the lyrical to the revolutionary. Yue Fei's tomb, like the commemorative statue of the late-Qing female martyr Qiu Jin 秋瑾 (see Claire Roberts on Erwo Xuan in Features) and the recently rebuilt 'tomb' of the fictional character Wu Song 武松 (all on the northern shore of the Lake), invariably attract the tourist cum-patriot who visits West Lake, as well as countless casual passers-by.

They are members of a pantheon of historical worthies that is promoted through public education, party indoctrination and the mass media. The use of historical figures, or stories from the past, or indeed from fiction, to support the regnant authority—be it dynastic, Republican or contemporary, is a feature of what is dubbed the 'humanistic'/or rather 'humanities encoded' topography (renwen jingguan 人文景观) of China. Of similar significance in the landscape of the region in which West Lake is situated—the ancient kingdom of Yue 越—the story of King Goujian 勾踐 is also significant. To this day, General Yue Fei's martyrdom elicits ire and righteous dudgeon; King Goujian, who bided his time after the fall of his kingdom to wreak a terrible revenge on his enemies, has inspired people despite the numerous transitions of political authority in China's modern history.[3] Both figures, the patient and resilient ruler set on wiping away the humiliation of defeat and the loyal general betrayed by 'traitors' at court, resonate with people of all backgrounds, and political allegiances.

As Frederick Wakeman has noted, far from being of recent origin the term 'traitor' (hanjian 漢奸) dates back to the Song dynasty (the period that is the subject of Zhou Zuoren's essay below). It was used then to describe subjects of the Song who spied on behalf of the Jurchen Jin court, the very dynasty with which both Yue Fei and Qin Gui were embroiled. In the context of modern China, Wakeman goes on to note that:

According to the most authoritative dictionary in use in the People's Republic of China at present, a hanjian, then, 'is someone who helps a different race [yizhong] harm his or her own race [tongzhong].' Needless to say the term is more particularistic than such a definition properly would allow: that is, you have to be Han in order to be hanjian. Semantically, in other words, it is difficult to separate political treason from ethnic transgression.[4]

As with so many issues that continue to resonate in contemporary China, the 'traitor' or hanjian became a modern concept during the conflict with the expanding Japanese empire in the 1930s. During that time a ci-lyric 詞 said to have been composed by Yue Fei was set to music and used as a patriotic rallying cry. The poem, set to the tune of 'Man jiang hong' 滿江紅 (Full river red), is a later invention, but its lines are etched in the popular mind as being the stirring words of General Yue:

My hair bristles in my helmet,…
My breast is filled with violence…
My fierce ambition is to feed on the flesh of the Huns
Laughing, I thirst for the blood of the Barbarians.
Oh, let everything begin anew.
Let all our rivers and mountains be recovered
Before we pay our respects once more to the emperor.[5]


During the Japanese War, as Wen-hsin Yeh observes, 'A whole generation of young men were taught…not only to love their country, but also to set upon the traitors.'[6] It is a habit that persists powerfully in the Chinese world, official and unofficial, to this day.[7]—The Editor

Editor's Notes:

[1] F.W. Mote, Imperial China, 900-1800, Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1999, p.299.

[2] Ye Jianxin 葉建新, Mao Zedong and West Lake (Mao Zedong yu Xihu 毛澤東與西湖), Hangzhou: Hangzhou Chubanshe, 2005, p.99.

[3] See Paul A. Cohen, Speaking to History: The Story of King Goujian in Twentieth Century China, Berkeley: University of California Press, 2008; and, G.R. Barmé's review essay in The Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies, 71.2 (December 2011): 351-64.

[4] Frederic Wakeman Jr., 'Hanjian (Traitor)! Collaboration and Retribution in Wartime Shanghai', in Wen-hsin Yeh, ed., Becoming Chinese: Passages to Modernity and Beyond, Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000, p.299.

[5] Hellmut Wilhelm's translation from his chapter 'From Myth to Myth: The Case of Yue Fei's Biography' in Arthur F. Wright and Denis C. Twitchett, eds, Confucian Personalities, Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1962, pp.146-61, quoted in F.W. Mote, Imperial China, 900-1800, p.305 & see also pp.997-98, n25.

[6] Wen-hsin Yeh, 'Introduction: Interpreting Chinese Modernity, 1900-1950', in Becoming Chinese, p.20.

[7] On 28 December 2011, the Maoist revanchist site Utopia published the results of a year-end poll on China's top traitors (乌有之乡: 评选'十大文化汉奸'). The CIW-Danwei Online Archive project provided this news and the decoded list (see The nominees in infamy were: 1. Economist Mao Yushi 茅于轼 ; 2. History teacher Yuan Tengfei 袁腾飞; 3. Science cop (anti Chinese medicine, etc) Fang Zhouzi 方舟子; 4. Economist Wu Jinglian 吴敬琏; 5. Diplomat Wu Jianmin 吴建民; 6. CCTV host Bai Yansong 白岩松; 7. Military scholar, Mao Zedong and Lin Biao biographer Xin Ziling 辛子陵; 8. Retired government official/ reformer Li Rui 李锐 9. Legal scholar/ law professor He Weifang 贺卫方; 10. Economist Stephen N.S. Cheung 张五常; 11. Economist Zhang Weiying 张维迎; 12. Economist Li Yining 厉以宁; 13. Southern Weekly deputy general editor Xiang Xi 向熹; 14. Former People's Daily deputy editor-in-chief Huang Fuping 皇甫平; 15. Writer, Nobel Prize-winning dissident Liu Xiaobo 刘晓波; 16. Former Mao doctor, Mao biographer Li Zhisui 李志绥; 17. Peking University journalism professor Jiao Guobiao 焦国标; and, 18. Former People's Daily editor-in-chief/ publisher Hu Jiwei 胡绩伟.

Translator's Introduction

The Yue Fei Temple (Yue miao 岳廟) is located in the southern foothills of Dawn's Perch Peak (Qixia Ling 棲霞嶺) on the north-western shore of West Lake, only a short walk from the famous embankment, or causeway, named after Su Dongpo (Su di 蘇堤).[Fig.2] The main temple building was reconstructed in 1979, but there has been a memorial commemorating Yue Fei of one sort or another on this spot since the reign of the Song emperor Ningzong 宋寧宗 (Zhao Kuo 趙擴, r.1195-1224), the great grandson of Gaozong 宋高宗 (Zhao Gou 趙構 , r.1127-62), the ruler complicit in Yue's tragic denouement. The mausoleum—with its formal temple, tombs and display of Yue's enemies in effigy (see Eugene Wang's essay 'In Wake of the 1911 Revolution' in this issue)—does not merely commemorate a man regarded as a tragic hero. Even if the facts of his life could be satisfactorily untangled from the thicket of fiction that has grown up around them, Yue Fei 岳飛 (1103-42) has long since come to represent much more than an historical figure and his actual deeds; his name has long been conflated with complex notions of late-dynastic and modern Chinese selfhood, ethnicity and fidelity.

Fig.2 Lord Yue's Temple (Yue wang miao 岳王廟). (Photograph from the early Republic, reprinted without attribution in Mei Chong 梅重, et al, eds, Old Photographs of West Lake [Xihu jiu ying 西湖旧影], Hangzhou: Zhejiang Sheying Chubanshe, 1998, p.126)

In the post-Song dynastic tradition Yue Fei became a paragon of loyalty and selfless duty. The tag line jing zhong bao guo 精忠報國—'to serve the dynasty with unswerving loyalty'—both summarising and exemplifying his life. According to later lore, Yue Fei's mother was supposed to have tattooed this motto onto the skin of his back at his request. This 'patriot' before the fact has consistently generated an emotional resonance among modern Chinese of a kind that few historical or pseudo-historical personalities could hope to rival (although, as the Editor of China Heritage Quarterly notes in the above, the story of the King of Yue, Goujian, elicits similar responses). Perhaps for many people he is a hero whose own fate poignantly mirrors that of the Chinese state's late-imperial and modern history, one which contains within it a certain tragic grandeur, reflecting the story of a mighty nation aggrieved and victim to circumstances and dynamics far beyond its control. Yue Fei would become and remain something of a synecdoche for a national narrative that features an admixture of equal parts of resentment and romanticism.

Much has been written about the life and legend of Yue Fei,[1] and even the barest accounts of his life and deeds emphasize that he was a man from simple stock who rose through the ranks of the Song military to become one of its more renowned and successful commanders. The achievements of his life, however, are more often than not overshadowed by the circumstances of his death when, in the year 1141, he was divested of his military authority, placed under house arrest, only to be executed a few months later on trumped-up charges. Another famous line associated with his denouement is, to this day, used to describe the abuse of power by the authorities: 'crimes can always be found to fit the punishment' (yu jia zhi zui, he huan wu ci 欲加之罪,何患無詞). Similarly famous is Qin Gui's infamous response to whether Yue was truly guilt as charged: 'He might as well be' (mo xu you 莫须有).[2]

Being unfamiliar with the details of the Southern Song's political predicament at the time, and perhaps if one has been unduly influenced by the high-gloss image of the general as presented in later drama and fiction, then the seeming callousness of Yue Fei's end seems inexplicable. The reality is almost certainly more complex than appearances would first suggest, at the very least it is not so simply black and white as many versions of the Yue Fei legend would indicate.

Fig.3 Statue of Yue Fei. (Photograph from the early Republic, reprinted without attribution in Old Photographs of West Lake, p.127)

Walking up the stone steps that lead up to Yue Fei's mausoleum the visitor's gaze is immediately arrested by the looming, oversize figure of the general seated in full military regalia inside the massive wooden doors of the main temple building.[Fig.3] To the left, or the west, and inside the precinct of the tomb itself one steps over a the stone threshold laid across the entranceway and encounters four statues caste in iron to either side of the ritual pathway to the tumulus, two on either side. The figures almost look as if they have been rudely roused from sleep and hustled off to their reckoning, wrists bound, eyes downcast in shame, trapped behind the bars of low iron cages. They are all naked from the waist up, and apparently so heinous was her crime that even the single female figure among them has not been spared the indignity of having her chest also laid bare to the public's reproachful gaze.

The statues represent the four 'traitorous' figures whom posterity has declared to be the principal ringleaders of Yue Fei's downfall and wrongful execution. The arch-villain of the tale, the emperor's chief councillor Qin Gui 秦檜, is positioned on the immediate left; his duplicitous wife Lady Wang 王氏 next to him and opposite them on the right are two of the men reportedly instrumental in concocting the pretext for the General's death: the official Moqi Xie 万俟禼 and General Zhang Jun 張俊, himself one of the Southern Song's leading military commanders.[Fig.4] The story of the statues addresses perhaps more eloquently the passions vested in the legend of Yue Fei than anything else.[3] The venom, or rather the spit of visitors, rained on these four diminutive figures over the centuries is the obverse to the praise and affection lavished on the wronged hero himself. The statues, originally only three in number (General Zhang was a later addition), were first cast in bronze in 1513 during the reign of the Ming emperor Wuzong 武宗 (better known as by his reign title Zhengde 正德, Zhu Houzhao 朱厚照, r.1506-21). The cult of Yue Fei reached its apogee during the Ming as that dynasty faced threats from the north, similar to the minds of the court to those faced by the Song. The Qing dynasty's Manchu-led elite, against whose Jurchen (nüzhen 女真, rulers of the Jin 金 dynasty) ancestors Yue Fei fought, naturally took a less enthusiastic view of the man and his deeds.

Fig.4 Yue Fei's tomb. (Photograph from the early Republic, reprinted without attribution in Old Photographs of West Lake, p.125)

Not long after being put in place the statues of the miscreants were destroyed by wrathful visitors who exacted their revenge on the duplicitous courtiers in proxy. They were soon replaced and, in the twenty-sixth year of Emperor Shenzong of the Ming 明神宗 (better known as Wanli 萬曆, Zhu Yijun 朱翊鈞, r.1573-1619), the statues were caste for the first time in hardy iron instead of the easily damaged (and readily 'punished') bronze. According to the Ming-Qing writer Zhang Dai, famous for recording his memories of the late-Ming period (see Duncan Campbell's translations of Zhang's Search for West Lake in My Dreams in this issue), this did little to dampen the vengeful enthusiasm of Yue Fei's well-wishers; their hammerings simply became all the more impassioned and insistent in response to this change of material circumstance.

In Zhang Dai's day all four statues had apparently lost their heads and been buried right up to the shoulders by the rocks hurled at them in righteous anger. Some visitors were a more circumspect in showing their disapproval, merely choosing to spit on the statues as they walked by to pay their respects at the tomb proper. According to Chen Yilan 陳議蘭, a Republican-era writer, the iron figures reeked so badly of urine that they were simply 'unapproachable'[4]. Today, the statues are heritage protected cultural relics and all bodily effluvia are strictly forbidden.

When the essayist Zhou Zuoren visited the mausoleum as a child he was not particularly taken with the tradition; he saw something almost voodooistic in the practice of venting the national spleen on these surrogate villains.[5] Recalling that first encounter almost forty years later he wrote: 'For me it wasn't so much a display of the wickedness of Qin Gui, Lady Wang et al., as much as a demonstration of the ugliness in our national character.' Against a backdrop of the threat of all-out war with Japan and in a climate of intense political and ideological conflict at home, Zhou Zuoren in the following essay made use of the time-honoured Chinese technique of borrowing the past to illuminate the present (jie gu feng jin, 借古諷今); in this case he made reference to the Southern Song to reflect on China's contemporary predicament.

The following translation is of an essay that Zhou wrote in early 1935. It is one of a number of essays he composed around that time in which he addressed his own understanding of patriotism, service to the country, the relative worth of active resistance versus accommodating the enemy and what true heroism might entail.[6] In these works Zhou takes a dim view of traditional views; he seeks not so much to undermine received opinion as to point out their inherent inconsistencies and to urge his readers to consider in a more objective light matters of such vital importance to the country. To him they were issues which all too often were dealt with in a highly emotive fashion, one that permitted little room for different or nuanced ways modes of thinking.

With the value of hindsight—and perhaps anachronistically, one can almost discern Zhou Zuoren laying the intellectual and emotional groundwork for what would eventually be his own collaboration with an invading power later in the decade. To this day, Zhou's name remains tarnished by the obliquity of his actions, and in some people's minds this places him alongside the likes of Qin Gui, another name in a long rollcall of China's Hanjian 漢奸, or 'race traitors'. Zhou himself never apologised for his involvement with the Beiping-based Japanese puppet regime of the war years, and there is even some evidence that members of the resistance had talked him into his infamous collaboration. However Zhou's later actions are ultimately regarded, one can detect in the piece offered below, along with many of his other writings from the same period, a rare sensibility, a certain scepticism, as well as a conception of heroism and of responsibility to self and country that set him quite apart from the vast majority of his contemporaries.[7]

Yue Fei and Qin Gui

Zhou Zuoren 周作人

On the thirteenth of the month a news dispatch from Nanjing reported that the municipal government there had recently issued a general order to the Department of Education requiring the ban of the historian Lü Simian's A Vernacular National History for Independent Learners[8] for the reason that, in the second part of his section on medieval dynastic history,[9] the professor presents an argument in flagrant opposition to both common sense and common sensibility. Wherein he somehow manages not only to slander Yue Fei but also praise Qin Gui. In the chapter dealing with the history of conflict between the Jin and Song dynasties for example, he writes:

All the great generals from Zong Ze right down to Han Shizhong, Yue Fei, Zhang Jun and Liu Guangshi[10] employed pardoned bandits under their banners in great numbers.[11] None of these men had undergone formal training, nor did they have any military discipline to speak of; as such they were completely unreliable. In light of the central government's powerlessness in asserting its authority, the generals naturally became arrogant and brazen. The resulting situation was one of insolence on the part of the generals and indolence amongst their troops.

In another section he says:

I would contend that Qin Gui's insistence on escaping back to the Song court aptly displays his love of country[12] and that his unwavering commitment to arriving at a peaceful accommodation with the Jin is evidence both of his great insight, and of his willingness to assume responsibility, et cetera.

Such notions might almost seem a little contrarian in the outlandishness of their conclusions, straying as they do so far from popular opinion; that people should be unhappy to hear them is going to be inevitable. Now, for my own part, I cannot help but feel as though Professor Lü's pen might be carrying with it just a little too much emotion, and indeed his phrasing and choice of words are hardly above reproach; but as far as his underlying ideas go, they're not all bad. At the very least his views are based on a fair amount of evidence and have some definite precedent—having been argued before. In his Further Writings from the Guisi Year [1833]. Yu Zhengxie includes a discussion of Qin Gui's execution of Yue Fei entitled 'On the Imprisonment of General Yue' which I think puts things very well.[13] In the short piece that follows it—'On the Military Regulations of General Yue'—Yu writes:

'The Biography of Yang Zaixing'[14] contains a passage that reads: 'In the Second Year of the Shaoxing reign of Gaozong [1133] Yue Fei's forces entered Moye Pass. After a successful assault his fifth in command, Han Shunfu, and his men made camp; unsaddling their mounts and stripping off their armour. Han then had the women prisoners of war serve him wine and accompany him drinking. Taking them unawares, Yang led a force into the camp and slew Shunfu as well as Yue Fei's younger brother Fan.

In light of this episode I suppose that the fabled discipline of the General Yue's army must have been a later development. Yue himself told Zong Ze quite early on that while careful planning before battle and the deployment of soldiers accordingly was a fundamental principle of war; in his view however, the effective use of troops lay more in flexibility in midst of battle. It must be that from the start General Yue was more interested in his particular military philosophy than formal principles of military strategy.[15] But then perhaps it is not seemly to cast doubts on famous ministers of old just because of a few slight differences in the sources available to us.

The way Mr. Yu puts it is wonderfully clever, and very amusing besides. But perhaps it wouldn't hurt to copy out a few words from someone else's hand just to shore up the argument a little? This particular someone is none other than the most venerable Master Zhu Xi himself.[16] In juan 132 of his Classified Conversations we find the following passage:

The various excesses committed during the Jianyan era[17] by the 'righteous hosts raised in the defence of the Emperor'—all the wanton pillage and senseless plunder—was the source of much distress, both public and private.
In the following juan he also states:
The three prefectures of Tang, Deng and Ru were taken by government forces as they hastened towards the Southern Capital[18] and the depredations suffered upon the women and girls of the region at the hands of the generals and their troops were simply unspeakable.

Juan 131 records that one of Zhu Xi's students, a certain Shen Xian, sought out the Master's opinion:

'Surely if Gaozong had not been so willing to make peace with the Jin we would have prevailed?' The Master responded: 'Yet I do not know how this would have been. Not when the generals had become so proud and indolent as to be unusable.' To this Shen Xian replied: 'It is true that Generals Zhang, Han, Liu, Yue and their followers had grown exceedingly wealthy and powerful, however surely this was an unsuitable pretext to put any of them to death? Simply in terms of raw talent, Yue Fei surely had the most. And he still desired to press forward.' To which Master Zhu replied: 'This may be so, yet the most talented are often the most gravely flawed; in Yue's case even his superiors could not rein him in.'

One final passage states that:

During his captivity Qin Gui saw that the barbarians too had grown tired of constant warfare, and so from the very beginning it was for this reason that he staunchly advocated reaching a peaceful accommodation with the Jin after having fled back to the Song court. If he had only been able to capitalise on the peace and been able to effectively govern and strengthen the state, then, when the Jin were rocked by Prince Hailing's usurpation of the throne, a great opportunity to take back the whole central plain in one fell swoop would have presented itself. This was a truly great shame.[19]

It seems evident that back in Zhu Xi's day most people were of much the same opinion about Yue and Qin, so surely nobody should fault us for citing such a lofty authority as this on the matter at hand?

As to our current proclivity for worshipping Yue Fei and spitting vitriol at Qin Gui, I suspect that this is due in no small part to the influence that The Tale of the Unswervingly Loyal Yue Fei[20] has had on us, much in the same way that other novels have influenced our veneration of our Lord Guan of peach garden oath fame and our favourite outlaw from the marsh, Second Brother Wu.[21] If we should insist upon censuring Lü Simian's book on the basis of current sentiment, then other works espousing similar views—like Conversations of Master Zhu quoted above—should likewise be subjected to rigorous critique.

And another thing; if we are to take the advocacy of war or the pursuit of peace to be mutually exclusive and, if we are to assume that Qin Gui—as an advocate of reconciliation—is to be considered a man of bad character, then Han Tuozhou[22]— our hawk par excellence—must be a man of good character by that same logic, surely? Yet somehow the world heaps abuse on Qin Gui and then turns around and curses Han Tuozhou for good measure. This being the case how is any sensible discussion of right and wrong or of uprightness and infamy meant to take place? The thirty-fifth juan of Zhao Yi's Collected Reading Notes on the Twenty Official Histories[23] contains the following entry:

There is not one of those high-minded men who in deigning only to speak of literary principles and high-flown moral precepts, while neglecting the pressing realities of the age, that has not done disservice and injury to self, family and country. The Song's flight to the South and Qin Gui's advocacy of peace with the Jin—were all undertaken to ensure some manner of peace and continued existence for the state, however diminished. Indeed, at that time there was not a single individual who did not turn his back on General Yue and thus become complicit in Qin's crime. Later on, when revanchist factions held sway at court, Zhang Jun no sooner went out to battle than he met defeat and similarly, when Han Tuozhou made to regain lost territories he too was defeated. The Song eventually returned to a policy of accommodation to maintain its borders.

This account of the matter seems to me very even-handed. I don't know what those who discuss Yue Fei and Qin Gui make of it?

March, Twenty-fourth Year of the Republic [1935]















可見在朱子當時,大家對於岳飛秦檜也就是這樣意見,我們如舉朱子來作代表,似乎沒有什麼毛病吧。至於現今崇拜岳飛唾罵秦檜的風氣我想還是受了《精忠岳傳》 的影響,正與民間對於桃園三義的關公和水泊英雄的武二哥之尊敬有點情形相同。我們如根據現在的感情要去禁止呂思勉的書。對於與他同樣的意見如上邊所列朱子的語錄也非先加以檢討不可。還有一層,和與戰是對立的,假如主和的秦檜是壞人,那麼主戰的韓佗冑必該是好人了,而世上罵秦檜也罵韓佗冑,這是非曲直又怎麼講?趙翼《廿二史札記》卷三十五云:



Translator's Notes:

* I would like to thank Duncan Campbell for his work on this material and for encouraging me to submit it to China Heritage Quarterly; Fan Shengyu 范圣宇 for his help with the translation; and, the Editor, Geremie R. Barmé, for his scrupulous reading and editing both of my introduction and of the translation.

[1] For accounts of the life and legend of Yue Fei in English, see: James C. Liu 'Yueh Fei and China's Heritage of Loyalty', The Journal of Asian Studies, vol.31, no.2 (February, 1972):291-297; and, Helmut Wilhelm, 'From Myth to Myth: The Case of Yüeh Fei's Biography', in Arthur F. Wright and Denis Twitchett, eds., Confucian Personalities, Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1962, pp.146-61.

[2] Qin Gui's name is sometimes pronounced 'Qin Hui' in modern Standard Chinese, but that is due to the lazy reduction of the complexity of Chinese characters and pronunciations increasingly encouraged by the authorities in the People's Republic. For more on this, see Michael Churchman, 'Confucius Institutes and Controlling Chinese Languages' ( Zhou Zuoren's essay was originally published in North China Daily News (Huabei Ribao 華北日報), 21 March 1935, and later included in his Jottings from Bitter Tea Studio (Kucha suibi 苦茶隨筆), which appeared in October 1935.

[3] These details are taken primarily from A History of Travel in Hangzhou (Hangzhou lüyou shi 杭州旅游史), Beijing: Zhongguo Shehuikexue Chubanshe, 2011.

[4] For the full account in Chinese of his visit to the Mausoleum of Yue Fei see Xihu xiaopin 西湖小品, Hangzhou: Hangzhou Chubanshe, 2007.

[5] Zhou was also reacting to the well-known folk etymology which held that the humble Chinese youtiao 油條—a deep-fried dough cruller—known as youzha gui 油炸鬼/油炸檜, youzha guo 油炸餜 or a similar variant—was originally the product of public indignation over Yue Fei's execution. Tradition has it that after hearing of Yue Fei's death an anonymous Hangzhou street vendor kneaded Qin Gui and Lady Wang's likenesses in dough before casting them into boiling oil. It is said that over time the effigies grew longer and more abstract until the modern foot-long cruller resulted. For Zhou Zuoren's essays on the subject, see 'On Deep-Fried Ghosts' (Tan youzha gui 談油炸鬼) and 'Revisiting Deep-fried Ghosts' (Zaitan youzha gui 再談油炸鬼).

[6] See, for example, 'Forsaking Pen for Sword' (Qi wen jiu wu 棄文就武) written in late 1934: 'On Hero Worship' (Guanyu yingxiong chongbai 關於英雄崇拜) from April 1935; 'Responsibility' (Zeren 責任) from August 1935; and, 'Revisiting Deep-fried Ghosts' (Zaitan youzha gui 再談油炸鬼) from July 1936.

[7] For detailed biographical treatments of Zhou Zuoren in Chinese, including the circumstances of his collaboration with the Japanese, see, for example: Yu Bin 余斌 Zhou Zuoren (Zhou Zuoren 周作人), Nanjing: Nanjing Daxue Chubanshe, 2010; Zhi An 止庵, Zhou Zuoren: A Life (Zhou Zuoren zhuan 周作人傳), Jinan: Shandong Huabao Chubanshe, 2009 and Hideo Kiyama 木山英雄, A Record of Bitter Dwelling Retreat in Beijing: Zhou Zuoren during the Sino-Japanese War (Beijing Kuzhu'an ji: Ri Zhong zhanzheng shidai de Zhou Zuoren 北京苦住庵記:日中戰爭時代的周作人), Beijing: Sanlian Shudian, 2008.

[8] Lü Simian 呂思勉 (zi Chengzhi 誠之, 1884-1957) was one of the most esteemed Chinese historians of the modern era, he is often paired with his student Qian Mu 錢穆, as well as Chen Yuan 陳垣 and Chen Yinque 陳寅恪 and spoken of as one of the 'Four Great Historians of Modern China'. The Si-mian Institute for Advanced Studies in Humanities (Simian Renwen Gaodeng Yanjiuyuan 思勉人文高等研究院 ) at East China Normal University is named in his memory (see:

[9] 近古史: according to Lü Simian's schema for Chinese history this specifically refers to the period from the Tang following the An Lushan Rebellion up to the founding of the Ming dynasty. It encompasses therefore the last half of the Tang as well as the Song and Yuan dynasties and spans the years 755 to 1368.

[10] Zong Ze 宗澤 (zi Rulin 汝霖)was a key general charged with the defence of the capital Kaifeng 開封 after renewed attacks by the Jin shortly following Gaozong's ascendance to the Song throne. He died of illness soon after. Han Shizhong 韩世忠 (zi Liangchen 良臣), Yue Fei 岳飛 (zi Pengju 鵬舉, posthumous names: Wumu 武穆 and Zhongwu 忠武), Zhang Jun 張俊 (zi Deyuan 德遠) and Liu Guangshi 劉光世 (zi 平叔), were collectively known as the 'Four Great Generals of the Restoration'. A famous depiction of the four men was painted by the Hangzhou artist Liu Songnian 劉松年, who was himself one of the 'Four Great Masters of the Southern Song', along with Li Tang 李唐, Ma Yuan 馬遠 and Xia Gui 夏圭. For detailed biographical accounts of these figures, see Herbert Franke, ed., Sung Biographies, Munich: Münchener Ostasiatische Studien, 1976.

[11] The trauma suffered by the Song state during the Jurchen invasions resulted in widespread lawlessness and banditry in many areas that were still nominally under Song control. In the early 1130s, by coaxing many bandit groups into surrendering and disarming with promises of amnesty and official titles the Song court was able to bring a measure of authority and stability to these regions. Following their surrender the pacified bandits were reorganised into official government armies, which could then be used in the resistance against the Jin. For details, see: Tao Jing-Shen, 'The Move to the South and the Reign of Kao-tsung (1127-1162)', The Cambridge History of China Volume 5 Part 1: The Sung Dynasty and its Precursors 907-1279, New York: Cambridge University Press, 2009.

[12] After the Song capital fell to the invaders in 1126, the Jin proposed deposing the Song royal house of Zhao and replacing them with the relatively malleable Song official Zhang Bangchang 張邦昌. Some sources suggest that it was Qin Gui who presented a petition on behalf of Song officials protesting against the deposition to the commander of the Jin forces. For this perceived impudence, he and his family were taken into custody by the Jin and transported north along with the Emperor Qinzong 宋欽宗 (Zhao Huan 趙桓, r.1126-1127) and his abdicated father, the renowned painter and calligrapher Huizong 宋徽宗 (Zhao Ji 趙佶, r.1100-1126), for whom Qin Gui initially served as a personal secretary in captivity. Later, Qin, was given over by the Jin ruler into the service of his younger brother Wanyan Dalan 完顏撻懶, a relatively moderate Jurchen nobleman and warlord operating in the Shandong and Hebei regions. After an attack on Dalan's camp, Qin Gui and his family escaped eventually managing to make their way back to the Song court in the south. The fortuitousness of this escape led some to suspect that he had been intentionally released as an agent who could ensure the Song court's adoption of a soft-line stance against the Jin. The majority of historians remain sceptical of such claims, based as they are on hardly disinterested speculation. For more details, see: Charles Hartman, 'The Making of a Villain: Ch'in Kuei and Tao-hsüeh', Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies, vol.58, no.1 (June 1998), pp.59-146.

[13] Yu Zhengxie 余正燮 (zi Lichu 理初, 1775-1840) was a noted mid-Qing scholar famous for his remarkable memory. Today Yu is often cited as a kind of Confucian proto-feminist, having been uncharacteristically outspoken in his own day regarding the hypocrisies inherent in traditional notions of gender. Among other things he wrote against widow chastity, foot-binding and the notion of 'women's jealousy'. Two of his most famous works are the Categorised Manuscripts from the Guixi Year [1833] (Guisi Leigao 癸巳類稿) and Further Writings from the Guisi Year [1833] (Guisi Cungao 癸巳存稿), collections of notes made on an array of topics such as history, the classics, folklore, anthropology, medicine, economics and geography.

[14] Yang Zaixing 楊再興 (1104-40) originally served as a commander under the powerful bandit leader Cao Cheng 曹成. After suffering a series of defeats at the hands of the armies of Han Shizhong and Yue Fei, the latter was convinced to surrender to Song forces in exchange for official titles. Yang himself was later pardoned by Yue Fei and switched his allegiance to the Song, in whose service he proved a valuable asset in the struggle against the Jin until his death in battle in 1140.

[15] 運用一心 is a redaction of 運用之妙,在乎一心 which itself is taken from the formal biography of Yue Fei in the Song History. This phrase is the second half of Yue Fei's response to Zong Ze when the latter, his superior at the time who was impressed by Yue's bravery and skill in battle. Concerned by what he perceived to be Yue's insufficient grounding in the formal 'arts of war' he presented him with copies of famous military strategies to study. After a cursory inspection of the texts Yue offered Zong Ze his own philosophy of battle: '陣而後戰,兵法之常,運用之妙,存乎一心'.

[16] Zhu Xi 朱熹 (zi Yuanhui 元晦, 1130-1200), or Master Zhu 朱子 as he is commonly known, was one of the principal figures involving in articulating what is known as Neo-Confucian philosophy. Zhu's re-interpretation of Confucianism, which was influenced both by Chan Buddhism and by Taoism even thought it asserted the ultimate superiority of Confucianism, became official state orthodoxy from the end of the Southern Song into the Ming and Qing dynasties. Zhu Xi's commentaries on the Four Books, crucial in the popular Confucian canon, were essential reading for examination candidates right up until the first years of the twentieth century. In his lifetime, Zhu was an influential scholar who taught hundreds if not thousands of students a group of which collated his teachings in the influential volume Classified Conversations of Master Zhu (Zhuzi Yulei 朱子語類). Shen Xian 沈僩, quoted here, was one of those students. Although the above quotations reveal that Zhu Xi had little regard for Yue Fei this by no means can be taken to imply that he supported Qin Gui, a figure for whom he reserved a particular antipathy. For a discussion of the manipulation of history in the Southern Song and thereafter, see: Charles Hartman, 'The Making of a Villain: Ch'in Kuei and Tao-hsüeh'.

[17] Jianyan 建炎, which can be translated as 'establishing brilliance', was the first title of Gaozong's reign which he adopted upon assuming the throne in 1127. After the capital was devastated by fire in 1130 this reign title, containing as it did the word yan 炎 which is composed of two 'fires' (火), was deemed inauspicious. The reign was renamed Shaoxing 紹興.

[18] The Southern Capital in this case does not refer to modern day Nanjing, which was at that time known as Jiangning (江寧, later renamed Jiankang 建康 by Gaozong in 1129, the name used when it was the capital of the Southern Dynasties), but rather to Yingtianfu (應天府, modern day Shangqiu 商丘, Henan province) which was one of the auxiliary capitals in support of the principal capital of Kaifeng (the Eastern Capital, known at that time as Bianliang 汴梁, or Bianjing 汴京). It was here that Zhao Gou, the last of emperor Huizong's sons who remained uncaptured by the Jin, was proclaimed Emperor Gaozong, first sovereign of the Southern Song.

[19] This passage refers to the 'rebellion' of Wanyan Liang 完顏亮, the Prince of Hailing 海陵王 (he is thus known as he was denied the posthumous title usually granted to a deceased emperor). Liang usurped the Jin throne from his younger cousin, Emperor Xizong 金熙宗 (Wangyan Hela, 完顏合剌, r.1138-50) in 1150. His imperial ambitions were clear from the beginning; he instituted a bloody purge of his political enemies, including those officials who advocated peaceful co-existence with the Song, and ordered the liquidation of the male lineages of the royal houses of the Khitan Liao and the Song. He introduced many Song imperial rites and court ceremonies, examination system and he moved the capital from beyond the Great Wall to Yanjing (modern-day Beijing) before finally relocating it once again in 1161 to the old Song capital of Kaifeng, which he had begun restoring in 1152. At the end of 1161, Wanyan Liang broke the earlier peace accord with the Song (which had been payed for partly with Yue Fei's life). He crossed the Huai River with a formidable army and was met with little concerted resistance. In the following month his forces attempted to cross the Yangtze but they were soundly defeated at the hands of a superior Song naval force at the famous Battle of Caishi (Caishi zhi zhan 采石之戰). In Hailing's absence, even before he officially launched his attack on the Song, the Jin throne had been seized in turn by his cousin Wanyan Wulu 完顏烏祿 who was crowned Emperor Shizong 金世宗 (r.1161-89). Shortly thereafter, Prince Hailing was assassinated by his own men. Conflict between Jin and Song forces would continue sporadically until a new treaty was settled in 1165 on terms more favourable to the Song than the original agreement of 1141. For details, see Tao Jing-Shen, 'The Move to the South and the Reign of Kao-tsung (1127-1162)', and, Herbert Franke 'The Chin Dynasty' in The Cambridge History of China Volume 6: Alien Regimes and Border States, New York: Cambridge University Press, 1994, pp.239-243.

[20] Better known as The Complete Tale of Yue Fei (Shuo Yue quanzhuan 說岳全傳). The Tale of the Unswervingly Loyal Yue Fei was a Qing-dynasty novel pieced together on the basis of various popular legends surrounding Yue Fei and his son Yue Yun. It was compiled and written by Qian Cai 錢彩, Jin Feng 金豐, et al.

[21] As we have seen in the Editor's introduction to this translation, Lord Guan 關公 (Guan Yu 關羽, zi: Yunchang 雲長) is considered—along with Yue Fei—to be one of the quintessential paragons of loyalty and honour. Like Yue Fei, his deeds have been much romanticised and aggrandised in later fiction, in particular in The Romance of the Three Kingdoms (Sanguo yanyi 三國演義). He served as a general under Liu Bei 劉備, the first Emperor of Shu 蜀漢, one of the Three Kingdoms formed after the final collapse of the Han Dynasty. The apparently fictional oath of brotherhood made by Liu Bei, Guan Yu and Zhang Fei 張飛 in the Peach Garden portrayed in the first chapter of the Romance has become one of the most frequently depicted scenes in the Chinese artistic tradition. Second Brother Wu 武二哥, Wu Song 武松, is a major character in the classic novel the Water Margin (Shui hu zhuan 水滸傳; also known as Outlaws of the Marsh), as well as appearing in the salacious The Plum in the Golden Vase (Jin Ping Mei 金瓶梅). He is most often remembered in the popular imagination for pummelling a tiger to death with his bare fists.

[22] Han Tuozhou 韩侂胄 (zi Jiefu 節夫, 1152-1207) was the great grandson of Han Qi 韩琦, the renowned chief councillor under the Northern Song emperors Renzong 宋仁宗 (Zhao Zhen 趙禎, r.1022-63) and Yingzong 宋英宗 (Zhao Shu 趙曙, r.1063-67). He rose through the court ranks primarily by virtue of his marital relations with the Inner Palace, especially to the family of the Empress Dowager Wu, Gaozong's empress, who wielded considerable power during the reigns of the first four emperors of the Southern Song. Han Tuozhou was instrumental in securing the abdication of Emperor Guangzong 宋光宗 (Zhao Dun 趙惇, r.1189-94) in favour of his son Prince Jia, the future Emperor Ningzong 宋寧宗 as Guangzong proved increasingly erratic and mentally unsound. This culminated in his refusal to attend the funeral of his father, Emperor Xiaozong 宋孝宗 (Zhao Shen 趙昚, r.1162-89), from whom he had become estranged. During the reign of Ningzong Han increasingly came to dominate court politics, often clashing with the interests of the established bureaucracy. He even went so far as to impose a ban (which was eventually relaxed) on the daoxue 道學 or Neo-Confucian movement associated with Zhu Xi. It was as chief minister that, in 1206, the Song broke the peace with the Jin that had been in place since the 1160s and launched a series of progressively unsuccessful attacks against the northern dynasty. The operation was poorly planned and executed, though Song forces defended themselves with admirable tenacity after the Jin launched their own series of offensives into Song territory. A major blow came with the defection of Wu Xi 吳曦, the military governor of Sichuan, and his considerable army to the enemy—this situation was later reversed however with Wu's assassination at the hands of his own men, but the turmoil in this strategically vital region essentially derailed any hope of reconquest. A stalemate developed as neither side could secure an advantage over the other and, in November 1207, after a night of drinking Han was met by members of the palace guard and taken outside the walls of the imperial city where he was beaten to death, possibly with the complicity of Emperor Ningzong himself. His corpse was later sent to the Jin as a condition of a new round of peace talks and public defiled. (See : Richard L. Davis 'The Reigns of Kuang-tsung (1189–1194) and Ning-tsung (1194–1224)', in The Cambridge History of China Volume 5 Part 1: The Sung Dynasty and its Precursors 907-1279. pp. 775-812.

[23] Zhao Yi 趙翼 (zi 雲崧, 1727-1814) was a Qing poet and official as well as being one of the most esteemed historians of the age. His most famous work is his Collected Reading Notes on the Twenty Official Histories (Nianer shi zhaji 廿二史劄記), short essays which seeks to address, in contrast to the historical and philological scholarship prevalent in his day, many broader historical issues including historiographical method, and institutional and social history. For a more detailed treatment of the life and works of Zhao Yi see: William H. Nienhauser Jr. ed., The Indiana Companion to Traditional Chinese Literature, Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1986, pp.227-29.