Liu Shan: capable or idiot?

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Liu Shan: capable or idiot?

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Fri Oct 21, 2005 4:08 pm

I have not found anything on this subject and didn't want to take the Prematured loss thread off subject. Forgive me if there is a thread for this

I hate Liu Chan for what he did in giving up so easy how can any one be compare to the stupid coward as Liu Chan, how could he do that to Shu and Jiang Wei


Sun Hao comes off worse in comparision. Liu Chan was born into luxary and after Fei Yi died, he seemed to retire into a life of plesure and allowed Shu to plunge into corruption. I don't think Liu Chan wanted the people to be hurt by his actions but Shu was to small and running of talent to afford Liu Chan's offhandishness

As to Jiang Wei, I doubt Liu Chan thought much of Jiang Wei and I doubt he belived that Jiang could win in his attacks. Maybe Chan doubted the loyalty of a man who so readily defected to Shu?

Was Liu Chan stupid? I don't belive so, after all he personally saw that work was done to see Zhuge Liang got supplies, he dealt with the Wei Yan/Yang Yi revolt well comptently, he exiled Li Yan and listned to advice when he surrendered to Wei. He also managed to survive in Jin by being careful what he said

Was he right in surrendering? Well Wu wasn't as strong as before, Shu's talent seemed to have dried up and even if Wei fell back, they could defend Han Zhong till they attacked again. Even if Wei was chased out of Han Zhong, Shu need an overhual to survive, during which the people would suffer with no guarnetee that the reforms would take affect in time

Coward? If we look at Sima Yi's 5 basics advice:

1) fight: Liu Chan sent out the Zhuge Zhan and despite intial success, the Shu army was destroyed. Jiang Wei was locked in battle so he had no commanders

2) defend: Liu Shan had no expirenced commander left to oversee the defences which had been neglected. Moral would be low

3) flee: Where to flee? As Qiao Zhao said, Wu would fall and the Nanman would hardly welcome Liu Chan with open arms

4) surrender: well he managed it and Shu was under secure rule while Liu Chan lived life of luxary. Most parties come home happy

I'm not claiming Liu Chan was ever going to be brilliant and he was very lazy a ruler but I don't agree with stupid and coward
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Unread postby Sima Hui » Fri Oct 21, 2005 5:43 pm

This is a duplicate thread, but we're gonna keep it open so that everyone can share their new views in it. :)

Dong Zhou, I've heard this theory before that Liu Shan may not have been all he seemed. Certainly, his surrender to Wei was, although tragic, a smart move on his part and for his ministers and people. War in Chengdu would have ruined the land and been futile in any case (I don't agree that Liu Chan's theory about using Jiang Wei to pincer Deng Ai's forces would work. They'd have to repel Zhong Hui first and it would be very difficult to take back the land that had already been conquered by Wei).

Liu Shan wasn't brilliant, but in the end he managed to save a lot of trouble for Shu when it was finished.
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Unread postby James » Fri Oct 21, 2005 6:21 pm

I’ve always been at the front of the crowd that bashes ol’ Liu Shan, and I can’t really say my views have changed. Your evaluation of his surrender is very good, I must say, and accurately fits in with Sima Yi’s views. Also, with the loss of Shu’s capital, I think Shu would have been reduced to a collection of independent bands just waiting to be wiped out, and in the end it would be Liu Shan’s officers, soldiers, and countrymen that would have suffered for his choice. Of course, if he had a chance to fend them off, he should have done so, as the Wei commander would still want his surrender.

My grievance with Liu Shan lies in the way he governed. Through a focus on himself over his country, and lending ear to corrupt views rather than that of his able advisors, he brought Shu to a state in which it was possible to conquer. Just as Shu had so much trouble marching north to conquer Wei, the task of conquering Shu was a daunting one indeed, and only truly possible under exceptional leadership (e.g. Cao Cao, who was gone) or with truly inept leadership in Shu (I would present Liu Shan).

One could even present the possibility that both Zhuge Liang and Jiang We would have been much more successful in their northern campaigns if they could rely on stable leadership back at home. The Cao clan wasn’t without its own moronic leadership at some points, and even the Jin clan quickly deteriorated after Sima Yan. Given proper circumstances at either of these points, history could have presented a different outcome. This is why the statements about all empires rising and falling hold true—all it takes is a little bit of ineptitude and corruption to wipe out a lifetime of work from a virtuous or intelligent leader. This is the fundamental flaw of dictatorships.

I think if Liu Shan had been a capable ruler, closer on par with his father, we might see a very different story, and history to go along with it. Of course, I disliked Liu Shan the second I read of his stories in the novel, which, of course, aren’t entirely true, but I suspect I’ll always have a cold, dark, secluded spot in my heart for him.

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To clarify a little bit, we know this is a duplicate thread, but we would like to experiment with a new way of handling these situations, and this thread is the perfect example. We want new members to be able to share new views, and old members to have a chance to consider them, while also having a chance to present views they may have changed themselves.
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Unread postby Gal Jon » Fri Oct 21, 2005 7:47 pm

Great assessment Dong Zhou, I have to agree with what you said. However, I think that all of the kingdoms were always destined to fail. If you look across time, and I'm more familiar with European history than China history (other than 3K), but kingdoms that take over form others who have rained for a long time, are always destined to fail. Over the years, long reigning dynasties and empires have come to an end and the factions born out of these haven’t succeeded very well, as most want to change ways in which things happen. They don't want to change the name of the dynasty and adapt a law or two, they want to convert regions into different beliefs, rules and a general way of living, and people don't want that. It then takes some loyalist to unite the region, using the same rules as the old dynasty/empire.
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Unread postby Sun Gongli » Fri Oct 21, 2005 8:03 pm

I'd like to specifically address (and agree with) the point that Sun Hao was far worse than Liu Shan.

Liu Shan seems to have had at least some concern for the suffering of people, while Sun Hao reveled in it. Sun Hao was wicked; Liu Shan was unenlightened. Liu Shan also may have been developmentally challenged given Liu Bei's treatment of him, and an attempted kidnapping by his surrogate mother (Lady Sun) probably doesn't help.

Of course, I wouldn't say Liu Shan was talented. However, is he deserving of the ridicule that we give him? Is he deserving of such a negative portrayal, simply because he did what any of us would've done?
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Unread postby James » Fri Oct 21, 2005 8:18 pm

Sun Gongli wrote:Of course, I wouldn't say Liu Shan was talented. However, is he deserving of the ridicule that we give him? Is he deserving of such a negative portrayal, simply because he did what any of us would've done?

I would imagine probably not. There are plenty of losers who, I’m sure, wouldn’t even compare to him, though we tend to weigh them in on equal terms (an example would be so many bandits and minor officers which are generally lended a greater weight). I suppose this comes from a simple concern: should we not hold leaders to a higher standard? For a leader of this time to be respectable, I would suspect they shouldn’t be the sort we could claim to be able to personally outclass with ease.

Sidenote: I rank him ahead of the likes of Sun Hao and Dong Zhuo, of course. While unenlightened and self-serving, I see no evidence to specifically suggest that he ever strived to cause suffering to the people, which places him in an entirely separate class.
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Unread postby Starscream » Sat Oct 22, 2005 4:12 am

I feel that Liu Shan inherited an empire that was potentially facing diplomatic troubles (no thanks to Liu Bei) but was full of resources and untapped potentials. He was not a brilliant ruler since he listened to the words of corrupted officers and did not coordinate with the northern campaigns through sound internal policies. His choice for surrendering could well be personal reasons, i.e. protecting his current state of luxury, but it was apt.

Shu had undergone at least 7 campaigns to the north, courtesy of Zhuge Liang and Jiang Wei and gained little results, but incurred severe losses in manpower and resources. To continue fighting will probably plunge the state into a greater depth of poverty. Besides, there were still tribal unrest in the south and quelling them required even more resources. Therefore, Liu Shan made a good choice to surrender, although he did it probably for his own reasons and not for the state. So is he a coward? At a personal level, yes. In terms of welfare for the state, no. :)
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Unread postby Dong Zhou » Sat Oct 22, 2005 6:07 am

One could even present the possibility that both Zhuge Liang and Jiang We would have been much more successful in their northern campaigns if they could rely on stable leadership back at home.


Jiang Wei I can understand but how would a more stable home front of benfitted Zhuge Liang? I don't recall it being much of a problem and only transport difficulties and Li Yan are the only internal stuff that stopped Zhuge

Are you saying that Liu Shan should have got involved in the L Yan vs Zhuge Liang dispute?
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Unread postby kvn_m » Sat Oct 22, 2005 8:44 am

I don't suppose that fools always make foolish decisions... but I don't think Liu Chan deserved that much credit for surrendering. The action he took was the best course, I must say, but the fact that Shu had to end that way too was based on his own mistakes. I don't think surrendering to Jin completely redeemed the mistakes he made.
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Re: Liu Shan, capable or idiot?

Unread postby Beauty Warrior Zhou » Sat Oct 22, 2005 2:05 pm

Sun Hao comes off worse in comparision. Liu Chan was born into luxary and after Fei Yi died, he seemed to retire into a life of plesure and allowed Shu to plunge into corruption. I don't think Liu Chan wanted the people to be hurt by his actions but Shu was to small and running of talent to afford Liu Chan's offhandishness




I dont want to say that Sun Haowas better than Liu Shan but at least Sun Hao fight till the end. Wu became worst in both domestic and militery under Sun Hao because of internal affair among Sun clan which was triggered by Sun Chen and Sun Jun. It just like the ancient Macedonian-Greece and Roman empires was ruined soon because of the death of their great leader and their heirs just killing each other. In Shu, there was no one who intend to dethhrone Liu Shan but still his country became poor and weak. Who has to blamed? Liu Shan as the leader. His surrendering to Jin can't cover his own mistakes, otherwise it shown what a coward man he was. He couldn't bearly to take responsible and risk as a leader to became punished in jail or even executed. He just want to continue his luxury lifestyle and ignored everything. In this case I should say that Sun Hao is better than this damned man.

As to Jiang Wei, I doubt Liu Chan thought much of Jiang Wei and I doubt he belived that Jiang could win in his attacks. Maybe Chan doubted the loyalty of a man who so readily defected to Shu?


How can you say one as a good leader if you doubted your suboordinate?
If you as a leader don't believe that your subordinate can't acccomplish a task, then he ratherly cant because you won't to take risk to support him in your maximum ability cause you affraid to lost more. Under Zhuge Liang, Jiang Wei has proved himself as a capable and loyal officer. It's not a reason that Jiang Wei was a deffected officer or not, we all know that Gan Ning, Thaishi Ci, Pang De, Zhang He, etc, etc were also deffected officers. But they as Jiang Wei has determined to whom their loyalty for. And their formed ruler treated them as they were.

Was Liu Chan stupid?

Indeed. He became idiot because something hit his head when his father throwed him to ground after was saved by Zhao Yun in Chang Ban.:twisted:

I don't belive so, after all he personally saw that work was done to see Zhuge Liang got supplies, he dealt with the Wei Yan/Yang Yi revolt well comptently, he exiled Li Yan and listned to advice when he surrendered to Wei. He also managed to survive in Jin by being careful what he said

It's up to you if you want to say that this idiot was a smart one.
He was a fool and a coward, that's all I think on him. His surrendering proved all of it.
Wasn't that Ma Dai who dealt with Wei Yan by ZL's secret instruction before ZL death?

Was he right in surrendering? Well Wu wasn't as strong as before, Shu's talent seemed to have dried up and even if Wei fell back, they could defend Han Zhong till they attacked again. Even if Wei was chased out of Han Zhong, Shu need an overhual to survive, during which the people would suffer with no guarnetee that the reforms would take affect in time

There is noway to excused his surendering. Agreed, Wu was not as strong as before, I told you why but they still fighted. We can't predict what happen if Shu refused to surrender cause it didn't happen at all, right?

Coward? If we look at Sima Yi's 5 basics advice:

1) fight: Liu Chan sent out the Zhuge Zhan and despite intial success, the Shu army was destroyed. Jiang Wei was locked in battle so he had no commanders

2) defend: Liu Shan had no expirenced commander left to oversee the defences which had been neglected. Moral would be low

3) flee: Where to flee? As Qiao Zhao said, Wu would fall and the Nanman would hardly welcome Liu Chan with open arms

4) surrender: well he managed it and Shu was under secure rule while Liu Chan lived life of luxary. Most parties come home happy

I'm not claiming Liu Chan was ever going to be brilliant and he was very lazy a ruler but I don't agree with stupid and coward


1)Fight: we dont know what would happen, but at least Wei/Jin would still in difficult time by fighting both Shu and Wei.

2)Defend: All force/country should have its own deffence system. How you can say that there was noone left in defend while only Jiang Wei who went to attack? Do you want to say that Shu just only have Jiang Wei and Liu Chan left?

3)Flee: Why should he flee while he still could attack and defense?

4)Surrender: The most idiot and coward choice.
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