Saturday, March 28, 2015

Another Historical View of Zhang Liang (Pt. 2)

Click here for part one.

The following writing on Zhang Liang is from China history 

I found more interesting info on Zhang Liang from the book 《千古良辅 - 张良》 (Qiān Gŭ Liáng Fú - Zhāng Liáng, translated to Zhāng Liáng, virtuous assistant of the ancient), from the illustrated series 中国百杰图传之智慧之星篇 (全套10册), published by 南方出版社. Illustrated by 李浩, written by Gan Yü and Li XiangTai, Chief editor 陈显泗.

Though it might seem like a children's book, it actually contained quite a bit of information not found in others references I have read. It contained some rather blatantly obvious interpretations through the communist ideology.

Here's are some additional info that I gleaned from the book.

01. After deciding to avenge the demise of the State of Han, Zhang Liang travelled to HuáiYáng (淮阳), located in present day Henan Province, to study the Court protocols in the hope of getting close the Emperor Shi of Qin. Due to strict rules of the Qin court, it was the only way he thought he could get close to the closely-guarded Emperor. He eventually gave up on personally assassinating the ruler as he could not get near the emperor for a long time. However, he learned the importance of being informed of the movements of the opponent, which would serve him well in time to come.

02. After the failure of the assassination attempt at BoLangSha, Zhang Liang hid himself in XiaPi. He tried to go through the breathing exercises and meditations he learnt through Daoist texts in order to still his mind. But this time, he just could not focus, the disappointment of his failure being too bitter.

03. The book he obtained from Huang Shi Gong not only contained military treatise, but also strategies for empire building, governance and rulership. It highlighted the wise ways and the foolish ways of politics, military etc. The writer took the opportunity to briefly contrast the warfare of the CCP against that of the KMT during the Chinese civil war.

04. At the end of the treatise on political struggle, Zhang Liang was upset reading that the successful victor must eliminate potential threat from those who aided him in the struggle. This made a lasting impression on him, and thus, he was able to remain safe while aiding Liu Bang on the road to establishing a new empire. Among the three most invaluable pioneers of the Han Dynasty, Han Xin was executed and Xiao He was imprisoned once (I must find how more about this, anyone knows?)

05. During the uprising staged by Chen Sheng and Wu Guang, Zhang Liang assembled more than a hundred youths in the vicinity of XiaPi and was about to go to join Chen Sheng when Chen Sheng was killed. Zhang Liang briefly considered raising the banner himself as a scion of the royal house of Han, but decided that he was more than capable as an assistant but unsuitable as a leader.

06. After joining Liu Bang, who in turned joined up with Xiang Liang, Zhang Liang suggested he go to the former territories of the State of Han in order to gain the following of the Han natives. This was accepted by Xiang Liang.

07. In YingChuan prefecture of Han, Zhang Liang raised a force of several hundred and began utilising the learnings from the book. He found a descendant of the last Han ruler (by the name of Cheng, known as Lord HengYang). Xiang Liang was happy to confer Lord HengYang as King of Han and Zhang Liang as the Premier.

08. The newly formed Han army gained several cities under Zhang Liang's direction. But they were soon badly defeated by the regular armies of Qin. Upon learning about it, Liu Bang sent encouragements to Zhang Liang.

09. Zhang Liang evaluated the situation and considered the defeats. He realised it was a mistake to pit Han's current strength against Qin's army. He came up with a new strategy and divided his forces into independently operating fighting units, with the aim of preserving their strengths while attacking the Qin only when conditions were favourable.

The unorthodox methods adopted by Zhang Liang's army proved more effective. They appeared and disappeared before the Qin's forces like will-o-wisps. They chose advantageous timing and terrain to launch surprise attacks on the Qin, and then withdrew quickly into the wilderness after damaging the Qin army and achieving their objectives. This took away the initiative from the Qin army and put them on the defensive. The writer described this as a forerunner of modern guerrila warfare.

10. In 208BC after Xiang Liang perished at the defeat in the battle of DingTao, King Huai of Chu ordered a two prong attack towards the capital Qin, led mainly by Xiang Yü and Liu Bang, and proclaimed whoever entered the Land within the Passes first would become the ruler there.

Zhang Liang was then still waging his guerrila warfare in the State of Han. He had also established an extensive network of informants and scouts to keep himself informed of developments in other parts. He decided to assist Liu Bang.

11. In the 3rd month of 207BC, Zhang Liang joined up with Liu Bang just as the latter was en route to Qin's capital and storming KaiFeng (开封) on the way (Da Liang 大梁, capital of the former State of Wèi 魏, in present day Henan province). Zhang Liang advised Liu Bang not to exhaust himself attacking the strongly guarded city but shift the battle to the former State of Han instead against the weaker Qin's positions. Liu Bang agreed with Zhang Liang's analysis and proposal, and made him in charge of all the military forces.

12. Zhang Liang adopted a flexible strategy of dividing and concentrating the military forces according to different situations, attacking only when confident of victory. This won them a series of battles which brought them much captured supplies, equipment, arms and armour, and at the same time elevated the fighting capacilities of their troops.

13. Enraged by Zhang Liang's picking on cities and towns weakly garrisoned, the Qin army despatched general Yang Xiong with the aim of engaging Zhang Liang's forces in a decisive battle.

Having monitored the Qin's army movements, Zhang Liang embarked on an attack at BaiMa (W Hua county in present day Henan province), the staging area for Qin's expeditionary force, before they could fully assemble. At the same time, he deployed light cavalry to launch 2-prong attack the rear of the Qin's forces.

The Qin army was dispersed by the attack, and the late-arriving units were ambushed by Zhang Liang. Zhang Liang explained to Liu Bang the essence of warfare on being decisive, taking the initiative and advanced planning rather than relying on boldness alone.

14. Zhang Liang won the respect of many commanders, but he cautiously remained humble and passed the credit to Liu Bang and the officers who trusted him and fought valiantly. Zhang Liang automatically returned military control to Liu Bang and concentrated on being advisor and strategist, all the while keeping track of enemy movements through spies and scouts.

The writer wrote that it was here Zhang Liang became aware Liu Bang could not be trusted in times of success in the future.

15. After the battle of BaiMa, Liu Bang went on to attack the city of NanYang in south HeNan. The unprepared Qin defenders fled to the city of Wan, allowing Liu Bang to take the NanYang easily. When Liu Bang perceived that Wan was stoutly defended, he was going to emulate Zhang Liang's actions at KaiFeng and ordered his troops to detour west from Wan.

Zhang Liang quickly went to stop Liu Bang. The mild mannered Zhang Liang could also show steely determination, and explained to Liu Bang the situation was very different from KaiFeng. Without taking down Wan, their army would suffer serious rear threat when they encounter strong Qin positions ahead. They returned quickly to surround Wan.

As Wan was a city of the former State of Han, Zhang Liang decided to send his trusted henchmen to infiltrate the city to persuade the former Han citizens to defect. Eventually, the garrison commander of Wan had to surrender.

16. In order to get to XianYang, Qin's capital, the most formidable challenge would be the strongly guarded HanGu Pass (函谷关) located on strategic terrains. Zhang Liang advised Liu Bang to avoid it and go for the Wu Pass (武关) which was generally overlooked.

Next, in the 12th month, they bribed the Jia Jian, commander of Yáo Pass (峣关/嶢关) and attacked the citadel while the guard was down.

Coincidentally, there was a coup in XianYang whereby the Qin Prince ZiYing killed the eunuch Zhao Gao who monopolised power. Liu Bang despatch a message calling for his surrender, and ZiYing, feeling there was no alternative, agreed.

17. After persuading Liu Bang not to enjoy the luxuries of the Qin palace, Zhang Liang also arranged for Liu Bang's army to withdraw and allow the Qin's garrisons to keep order in the Land within Passes. He was also responsible for abolishing the Qin's laws and replaced with three simple ones (约法三章).

The writer criticised the three laws as intending to protect the interest of property owners, but admit it had the effect of restoring stability.

18. At this time, Xiao He (萧何) took the opportunity to collect and study the records in the Qin Imperial Archives, with all the geographical and economical, military, terrains, demographic etc. information of the entire empire. This proved invaluable to future endeavours of Liu Bang in establishing the Han Dynasty.

19. When Xiang Yü was enraged by Liu Bang's ill-conceived stationing troops at HanGu Pass and easily broke through, threatening Liu Bang with a force 5 times larger, Zhang Liang was actually away from Liu Bang. Liu Bang had apparently rejected some of Zhang Liang's proposals and the proud scion of former State of Han went off with his followers numbering about one hundred. Nonetheless, when Xiang Bo came to warn Zhang Liang of the attack, Zhang Liang felt he could not abandon Liu Bang.

20. After the division of spoils by Xiang Yü, it was Zhang Liang who bribed Xiang Bo with lavish gifts to persuade Xiang Yü to add the territories from Ba, Shu and parts of HanZhong to Liu Bang's kingdom of Hàn (汉). This was even though Zhang Liang was returning to the State of Hán (韩) as premier.

21. To distract Xiang Yü from Liu Bang, Zhang Liang directed Xiang Yü's attention to the revived State of Qi whose leader Tian Rong was ambitious and chaffing under Xiang Yü's overlordship. While Xiang Yü was distracted in the east, Liu Bang was able to strengthen his forces and stole out of his fief to catch the watchdogs set on him by Xiang Yü by surprise.

22. Zhang Liang also persuaded Xiang Yü afterwards that Liu Bang was merely after the territories which was promised to whoever entered GuanZhong first.

23. After Xiang Yü killed King Cheng of Hán (韩), Zhang Liang fled to Liu Bang. He wrote a proclaimation listing Xiang Yü's crimes to alienate the other feudal lords from Xiang Yü and raised Liu Bang's prestige.

24. In spring of 205 BC, due to the proclaimation, many regional lords switched allegiance to Liu Bang, expanding his military strength to 500,000-600,000. Zhang Liang devised a plan to bring these lords into Liu Bang's encampment to "host" them but in effect, to detain them while seizing control over their armed forces.

25. After Liu Bang conquered Peng city (Xiang Yü's capital) while Xiang Yü was away campaigning, he fell back to his bad habits of greed and lust. Zhang Liang despised these behaviours but aware that he could not dissuade Liu Bang, Zhang Liang chose to retire into seclusion.

26. It did not take long for Liu Bang's errors to catch up with him. Xiang Yü rushed back with 30,000 crack troops and trounced the Hàn (汉) army. Liu Bang fled helter-skelter while Zhang Liang had long prepared for an orderly withdrawal through routes overlooked by the Chŭ army.

Zhang Liang was aware that Liu Bang would overlook him when successful, but would also humbly consult him when down, just like the occassion of Liu Bang's ill-conceived blocking of Xiang Yü at HanGu Pass.

This time was no different. Liu Bang restored his confidence after seeking guidance from Zhang Liang who analysed his loss was not the final defeat.

Zhang Liang had Liu Bang establish bases in YingYang and ChengGao as rallying points for anti-Xiang Yü elements. He also advised Liu Bang to parley and establish firm relationships with Peng Yue, Tian Rong and Ying Bu - the only lords who could credibly fight against Xiang Yü.

27. Zhang Liang was quick to note Liu Bang's poor treatment of Sui He, Liu Bang's follower who served successfully as an envoy to Ying Bu to ally with Liu Bang. Together with Xiao He, Zhang Liang corrected Liu Bang's behaviour.

28. When YingYang was besieged by Chŭ's army, Zhang Liang managed to persuade Liu Bang of the wisdom of himself breaking out and raise an army elsewhere. Liu Bang had been hesitant, fearing his departure would cost him all he had built up, and was not confident of breaking through either. To allay Liu Bang's fears of the latter, Zhang Liang had Chen Ping to come up with a decoy to trick the besiegers.

29. After Liu Bang successfully escaped and raised another army in GuanZhong, he wanted to rush to YingYang's rescue. Zhang Liang dissuaded him and advised him to follow another strategist (Yuan Sheng) to lure Xiang Yü's army from YingYang by announcing his target was the city of Wan. The ruse worked and Xiang Yü moved his forces to Wan, withdrawing the siege from YingYang.

30. Zhang Liang had no intention of allowing Xiang Yü to engage them in a decisive battle. Once the Chŭ army was on the move, he messaged Peng Yue to attack Xiang Yü's rear. Fearing the loss of his capital, Xiang Yü was forced to turn back. Thus, Zhang Liang was able to control the movements of the enemy and the flow of the battles.

31. During the stand-off between Liu Bang's army and Xiang Yü's at GuangWu mountain, Xiang Yü came forth and demanded loudly he meet Liu Bang face to face.

Zhang Liang persuaded fearful Liu Bang to go forth, noting the terrain made it impossible for them to come into direct contact, and that Xiang Yü had no bow. This was something Liu Bang had to do or cause his army to be demoralised.

Liu Bang only with Zhang Liang's accompaniment, and bolstered by Zhang Liang's calm demeanour.

During the meeting, Zhang Liang taught Liu Bang the words to use to list Xiang Yü's crimes. As he predicted, the proud Xiang Yü could make no answer to the charges.

When a sniper from the Chŭ army hit Liu Bang's chest with a crossbow shot, the quick-thinking Liu Bang yelled he was hit on the toe and maintained his composure and posture returning to the camp. The Hàn camp was in the dark about the serious injury and instead was full of praises for Liu Bang for going up to meet Xiang Yü.

32. Zhang Liang went in person to confer Liu Bang's assigning Han Xin as King of Qi - to assure Han Xin of the sincerity.

33. After signing the peace treaty with Xiang Yü, Zhang Liang decided they should break the treaty and take Xiang Yü unawares. To persuade Liu Bang, Zhang Liang roped in Chen Ping who was full of tricks. This was a difficult proposition to make to Liu Bang because he always lost in battle against Xiang Yü.

Though the battle was indeed lost, Zhang Liang was confident that Liu Bang's defeats were merely temporary while every victory scored by Xiang Yü was phyrric. As it turned out, he was right.

The defeated Liu Bang did not lose the alliance of his allies, while Xiang Yü's forces were suffering casualties, exhaustion and growing isolation. Zhang Liang's suggestion of confirming the territories of Han Xin and Peng Yue was crucial in enlisting the critical reinforcements to turn the tide of the battle against Xiang Yü.

34. Zhang Liang composed the Chŭ song to be sung to demoralised Xiang Yü's army during the final confrontation. 

Other Notes

With regards to why Ying Bu would defect to support Liu Bang, there's several causes.

To begin with, Xiang Yü was not that popular head among rebel leaders. In Han Xin's analysis of competitive strengths and weaknesses between Liu Bang and Xiang Yü, Han Xin pointed out that Xiang Yü was generous with empty praise but miserly with giving out rewards of significant worth.

At first, Ying Bu had a close relationship with Xiang Yü. He was Xiang Yü's hatchet-man to murder King Huai of Chu (楚怀王). Xiang Yü had his nominal overlord titled as Emperor Yi (义帝) and moved to ChangSha (长沙), and Ying Bu was secretly ordered to set an ambush along the way.

Ying Bu’s first discord with Xiang Yü had nothing to do with Liu Bang.

In 207 BC, King Tian Rong of Qi 齐王(田荣) rebelled against Xiang Yü. Xiang Yü summoned Ying Bu to contribute troops to suppress the rebellion, but Ying Bu, on the pretext of illness, only sent his subordinates with a few thousand troops to aid Xiang Yü.

After Liu Bang successfully attacked Xiang Yü's base in Peng (彭城), Ying Bu again declined to go to Xiang Yü's aid.

Upset, Xiang Yü summoned Ying Bu to appear in person, which the latter was understandably worried and refused. Nonetheless, to avoid having too many enemies to deal with, and considering Ying Bu as a valiant general, Xiang Yü took no action against him.

In 208 BC, after being defeated by Xiang Yü, Liu Bang despatched an envoy by the name of Sui He (隋何) to persuade Ying Bu to switch allegiance.

Initially, Ying Bu refused to meet Sui He, until Sui He communicated that it was because Chu was strong compared to Han.

When Ying Bu met Sui He, Sui He persuasively pointed out that there was little to be gained supporting Xiang Yü while there was much to look forward to with Liu Bang. Furthermore, Ying Bu's failure to support Xiang Yü twice would be a black mark against him in Xiang Yü's books.

At first, Ying Bu persuaded but not prepared to go public with siding with Liu Bang. Sui He forced Ying Bu's hand by appearing in the presence of Xiang Yü's messenger.

Xiang Yü launched an attack and defeated Ying Bu, who fled to Liu Bang. He felt honoured when he noted Liu Bang provided him the same level of accomodation etc. which Liu Bang enjoyed. Ying Bu learned from his agents that his family had been killed by Xiang Yü. He returned to JiuJiang to rally remnants of his followers, and joined Liu Bang with several thousand troops.

It was thought by some historians that Xiang Yü character - his lack of respect for others - alienated many of his followers. Some of Liu Bang's most significant helpers like Chen Ping were formerly serving Xiang Yü.

Source : http://www.unitedcn....w_page_2250.htm 

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Side Note
We will re-edit the content of these Zhang Liang's notes and re-publish it sometime in the future.

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