Jump to content
Chinese-forums.com
Learn Chinese in China

Yuan Chonghuan (袁崇煥)


bhchao
 Share

Recommended Posts

Yuan Chonghuan, the Ming dynasty general who was the equivalent of Yue Fei, died an early but brutal death. He was probably the most talented Ming general of his time.

Unfortunately for Yuan, a big disadvantage of being a general in imperial China was that your fate, whether it be promotion or death, was entirely in the hands of the emperor you served under.

When he was young Yuan would discuss defense frontier issues with high-ranking officials in his native Guangdong province. After leading his own army near Shanhaiguan, Yuan told the emperor he was confident he could defeat the Manchus.

In a short timeframe, Yuan was elevated by Emperor Chongzhen, and inflicted many defeats on the Manchus, while killing Nurhaci with the cannon.

But one incident helped cause Yuan to lose favor with the emperor. He executed Mao Wenlong (毛文龍), the guerrilla leader in northeastern China who was the source of so much frustration to the Manchus. Why Yuan executed Mao has been debated. Perhaps Yuan was jealous of Mao's talents, or Yuan viewed him as an obstacle to plans in defeating the Manchus.

Then the Manchu leader Huang Taji devised a scheme to have Emperor Chongzhen execute Yuan by planting two letters showing that Yuan corresponded with the Manchus. The two letters were planted at two city gates. When eunuchs came out to investigate the letters, Huang Taji had a Chinese officer deliberately talk about arrangements between Yuan and the Manchus in front of the eunuchs.

Almost all of the eunuchs at court resented Yuan from the beginning, and the news of this supposed treason was music to their ears. They relayed this "act of treason" to the emperor. Yuan was sentenced to death by slicing of the flesh. The former subordinates of the dead Mao Wenlong refused to support him, and he was surrounded by hostile eunuchs. Yuan's only hope was the emperor himself, but Chongzhen refused to intervene.

Yuan's fate was sealed. He met his fate bravely on the day of the execution. He was taken to the execution grounds, and after the horrible ordeal was done, all that was left of his body was his head hanging from a flagpole.

History might have been changed had Yuan been allowed to live. 375 years later Yuan is viewed as a hero in the PRC and ROC. This year on the 60th anniversary of the end of the Sino-Japanese war, Yuan's name was frequently mentioned to stir up patriotism.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Site Sponsors:
Pleco for iPhone / Android iPhone & Android Chinese dictionary: camera & hand- writing input, flashcards, audio.
Study Chinese in Kunming 1-1 classes, qualified teachers and unique teaching methods in the Spring City.
Learn Chinese Characters Learn 2289 Chinese Characters in 90 Days with a Unique Flash Card System.
Hacking Chinese Tips and strategies for how to learn Chinese more efficiently
Popup Chinese Translator Understand Chinese inside any Windows application, website or PDF.
Chinese Grammar Wiki All Chinese grammar, organised by level, all in one place.

  • 2 weeks later...

I believe I have a thread on General Yuan. But after thorough search, I may have mistaken.

General Yuan was a Cantonese and his hometown was Dongguan. There is a very emotionally overwhelming story after his death.

After General Yuan was brutally killed by the dumb Ming Emperor (whom later hanged himself), one of his faithful house servants quietly packed up his corpse and buried it somewhere in Beijing in a tomb without name.

Worrying that his tomb might be desecrated, this servant built a hut next to it and became Yuan's grave keeper. Before he passed away, this grave keeper left the will that his sons, grandsons, great grandsons.......had to be the grave keepers of this great patriot.

So generation after generation, this family became the faithful grave keepers. And for all the 250+ years during Qing Dynasty, they kept this secret well because they didn't want to reveal this grave buried the guy who killed the harbinger of Qing -- Nuerhachi.

But in 1980s, due to Beijing's urban renewal, General Yuan's grave had to be relocated and made news headline. The descendant of that faithful servant petitioned and petitioned the government in vain.

The last time I heard was that General Yuan's grave has been relcoated to his hometown -- Dongguan, Guangdong.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here is a very touching story about Yuan and the efforts by that family to guard his burial site. It mentions how General Yuan was Ming dynasty's only real hope in defeating the Manchus.

Too bad that there was no standard set of procedures at that time in determining the guilt of an individual. It was all based on swift judgments without a thorough, systematic investigation into the matter. And if the emperor you served under had a weak character like the Emperor Chongzhen, who was easily influenced by his eunuchs, you were doomed.

http://www.click108.com.tw/talk108032.php

"在北京的日子裡,由於沙塵暴,以及大多數名勝古績都已經去過的關係,休息的時候,我哪兒都沒去,只除了去尋找一個隱在北京老舊胡同裡,我年輕時代的一個夢,一個朝聖的地方,明朝袁督師袁崇煥的墓園。

在大大小小的胡同裡繞來繞去的經驗很特別,轉一個彎可能就碰到一個孤魂,幾段故事,歷史在尋尋覓覓中浮現,又在漸行漸遠裡消失。

終於在一個校園旁不起眼的小胡同裡找到了袁崇煥的墓,墓實在很小,因為是衣冠塚,我卻不在意,30年的心願得償,站在墓前,激動的我,讓淚水模糊了視線,我像似回到400年前的北京,西直門外,殺聲震天,袁督師正仗劍獨行,目光之中流露的,是充滿憂國憂民的悲憫,朗朗低吟,“功高明主眷,心苦後人知”。

小時候讀金庸的小說,正是正義少年,善惡分明的時代,最流連忘返的不是令狐沖,也不是楊過,而是碧血劍後薄薄的袁崇煥評傳,讀一次哭一次,讀一次哭一次,覺得人生真是不公平,善惡不分,這麼了不起的一個人,拚了命保衛北京,最後卻被北京居民視為漢奸,千刀萬剮,體無完膚,一兩銀錢買一塊肉,凌遲而死。

袁崇煥是廣東人,康有為把他和歷史上的四大冤獄相比,認為他的死對後世的影響更大,如果他不死,中國的歷史會變得完全不一樣,最起碼,吳三桂根本沒有機會“衝冠一怒為紅顏“,滿清永遠沒有機會入關。

努爾哈赤一生戰功赫赫,英勇無敵,唯一的一場敗戰就是敗在袁崇煥的手上,而袁崇煥卻是一個進士書生,雖不能說是手無縛雞之力,但肯定是不會武功的文人。

這樣一個大英雄,真勇士,卻在皇太極攻北京時,使出三國演義裡的反間計,讓大明天子崇禎下令,把守衛城區的最高指揮官逮捕下獄。

歷史上的真實事蹟,現在讀起來,情節著實比所有的荒謬劇都還要荒謬;民眾是盲目的,天子永遠不會錯,也不能有錯,所以天子說他是漢奸,北京居民就認為袁崇煥是一個大漢奸,大壞蛋,清兵是他引進城的,國之干城就這樣被仇恨謀殺;但是崇禎也因此付出了代價,十四年後,崇禎自縊媒山,明朝滅亡。

明朝是中國歷代執政史上最糟的一個帝國,滿清卻是平均分數可以排在前三名的皇朝,但不能因此就忽視掉袁崇煥的貢獻,以及他個人的愛國憂民情操。

金庸的評論裡,非常精闢的指出,袁崇煥的死並不是因為皇太極的反間計,而是崇禎和袁崇煥的性格使然,人性的衝突使命運不可能更改,這樣的說法令當時年輕的我著實震撼,也產生研究人性的念頭與興趣,接下去,更進一步研究命理的因果,可以說,沒有金庸這篇文章,就不會有我對人性及命理的研究,也就不會有現在的科技紫微網。

人性是醜陋的,儘管是貴為皇帝也一樣,要讓年輕的皇帝願意承認中了敵人的反間計,需要大智慧大勇氣才可能做得到,而不是崇禎這樣自以為聰明,事實上是小聰明,而且心胸狹隘的人能做的;同樣的,在袁崇煥體內流的“南蠻”的硬頂性格,也讓他寧死不屈,這在他們兩人第一次見面時就已埋下了伏筆,或者說,命運已經預測了結局;“慨當初倚飛何重?後來何酷!”,這句詞既悲嘆了岳飛的遭遇,何嘗不是講出了所有政治人物千古同樣的命運。

但是在醜惡人性的背後,卻也有人性崇高的一面,程本直的衝冠上疏,願為袁崇煥代死,義僕佘(音念ㄕㄜ)氏冒死將袁崇煥的頭顱偷走埋起,並且後世子孫世世代代守著墓園,直到今天。

四百年過去了,從明到清到民國,再到人民共和國,“閣中帝子今何在,物換星移幾度秋?”,對崇禎、皇太極、袁崇煥的評價已經蓋棺定論,但是對命運的思維卻是永遠的懸念,何謂成功?何謂失敗?何謂吉?何謂凶?何謂禍?何謂福?不要說當時身處其境的人不懂,百年之後的人們又何嘗懂?千年之後,同樣的命運循環仍會上演,戲碼相同,只是串場的人物像走馬燈般替換。

我站在墓園前,世世代代看守墓園余家的後代佘女士絮絮的講著話,“….你們台灣的李敖在北京法源寺這本書裡亂寫,我們佘家代代單傳,怎麼可能有人出家當和尚?….”。

真真假假,假假真真,真就是假,假就是真,這就是世事的原貌。

隔墓園不太遠的另一條胡同裡,有明朝于謙的故居,他是另一位為了保衛北京,最後也被皇帝處死的宰相。但是他是因為宮廷政變而死,不是受冤而死,狀況不同。

我很喜歡他的一首詩“詠石灰”,這首詩道盡了千古英雄,雖千萬人吾往矣的氣概,也同時指出,所謂英雄,必然的最後歸宿。

千錘百鍊出深山,烈火燃燒若等閒,

粉身碎骨全不怕,留得清白在人間。

告別了袁崇煥的墓園,也告別了我三十年的夢,告別了善惡分明的慘綠少年時代,我踽踽而行在北京黃昏的胡同裡,向千年的古城致敬,青石板上黝黑的污漬,不知道曾是哪位無名英雄留下的血跡,人類的文明是用鮮血堆積出來的,但是教訓已經足夠了嗎?我心頭不禁浮起了杜牧阿房宮賦的結尾;

“……後人哀之而不鑑之,則復使後人之復哀後人也。”。

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think 凌迟 is one of the most cruel form of execution.

Yuan was sentenced to death by slicing of the flesh

I think he was 凌迟处死 right? 凌迟 involves pressing a net like thing against the skin and the executer will slice off the flesh bulging under the net. The executer will have to continuously slice off the flesh for 3 days without letting the prisoner die.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and select your username and password later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Click here to reply. Select text to quote.

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...