Why do you guys hate Liu Chan?

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Unread postby Tan_Binrui » Mon Dec 25, 2006 3:48 am

James wrote:People did petition Liu Shan to make changes, and others attempted to make him aware of these problems. His own brother again serves as an example. There is no excusing Liu Shan’s ability to see through this corruption. It is further worth nothing that those who opposed Huang Hao, or spoke out against him, with the exception of only a few particularly powerful people (who were ignored in the end), wound up losing their authority or position. His brother couldn’t even get an audience after Huang Hao slandered him.


Wait wait... who were these people? From what I remember, the only few petitions made to Liu Chan were Jiang Wei's petitions for war (which were all accepted), and Jiang Wei's idea for defending the northern territories (which was denied). The others of government didn't petition much from Liu Chan, and when the idea of Huang Hao came to his attention, he told the officer "I can be in the company of friends"... and that's all Huang Hao really was.

Who lost their position because of Huang Hao? I don't remember anyone.
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Unread postby Dong Zhou » Mon Dec 25, 2006 11:48 am

I don’t see how that matters when the power of Huang Hao’s influence is already well established and documented.


1) it showed that Huang Hao couldn't get away with everything
2) it is still not something Huang Hao would have wanted, having to apolgise to his main rival

People did petition Liu Shan to make changes, and others attempted to make him aware of these problems. His own brother again serves as an example


His own brother was slandered like Peng Yang was yet who are these people? I have failed to find anything that suggests and nobody has shown me when I have asked but would be glad to see these peoples protests to Liu Shan

. There is no excusing Liu Shan’s ability to see through this corruption. It is further worth nothing that those who opposed Huang Hao, or spoke out against him, with the exception of only a few particularly powerful people (who were ignored in the end), wound up losing their authority or position. His brother couldn’t even get an audience after Huang Hao slandered him.


Is, being able to tell something when you have little expirence in a matter without even a single helping hand to point in the right direction can be quite tough.

Fan Jian never seems to have been punished despite refusing to have dealings but again, I don't know of that many who did protest
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Unread postby Zhilong » Wed Dec 27, 2006 7:48 am

Fan Jian is not a good counter example as he neither directly opposed him nor did he accomodate his actions to suit Huang Hao to the extent of his peers.

Luo Xian who was famed for his defense against Wu after Shu fell was relieved of his military appointment and shifted to Badong to act as governor due to Huang Hao.

Dong Yun's loyalty to the state was pretty obvious. However, after his death Chen Shi/Huang Hao slandered him. Thus Liu Shan's opinion of him changed and he disliked him. We are also told that Chen Shi became a firm favourite of Liu Shan because he had a sweet mouth. It is clear that Liu Shan likes to hear flattery and not the harsh truth and thus that is mostly what he got from his officers.

Despite this, Qiao Zhou petitioned Liu Shan about his indulgences coupled with his neglect of official affairs. Liu Shan paid no heed and demoted him. This was worrying because after the death of ZL Liu Shan abolishes the post of Prime Minister. Now the Prime Minister is usually the last bastion against an incompetent ruler. So presumably by consolidating power Liu Shan should usher in a new era where he actively and competently rules but no he is too busy with his hoes and neglecting affairs. Lets face it, his kingdom is merely a glorified province so in terms of size his workload was less than the other 2 rulers.

Qiao Zhou also debated Chen Shi in court but it made no difference.

Eventually Qiao Zhou would leave behind an essay entitled "A Disourse on Enemy States" which was basically stating out the problems in Shu and the corruption caused by Chen Shi etc. Part of this essay is reproduced in the novel but changed so that it serves the purpose of soley opposing Jiang Wei's campaigns.

Zhang Yi opposed Jiang Wei's exhausting rate of campaigns in court as it was exhausting the state but Liu Shan approved them anyway.

Another point is that Liu Shan chose the use of witchcraft to repel the last Wei invasion. It makes one wonder just how capable such a person was. Even if we accept the argument that a ruler is sometimes not aware of problems and does not make an effort to even fulfil his official duties, let alone actively seek out advice, just how many times must a ruler be told?

While he was not a tyrant, Chen Shou's numerous appraisals of him is not flattering.

And lastly Wu envoy Xue Xu's report to his sovereign on the state of Shu not long before they were conquered:

All affairs of state are in the hands of a certain eunuch named Huang Hao, and all the courtiers look up to him as to a father. At court plain truth is never heard, and the country people look sallow and starved. The whole country appears on the verge of destruction. The birds on the roof do not know that the building is about to be burned.
"You weaver of mats! You plaiter of straw shoes! You have been smart enough to get possession of a large region and elbow your way into the ranks of the nobles. I was just going to attack you, and now you dare to scheme against me! How I detest you!"
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Unread postby Tan_Binrui » Wed Dec 27, 2006 3:59 pm

Zhilong wrote:Fan Jian is not a good counter example as he neither directly opposed him nor did he accomodate his actions to suit Huang Hao to the extent of his peers.

Luo Xian who was famed for his defense against Wu after Shu fell was relieved of his military appointment and shifted to Badong to act as governor due to Huang Hao.

Dong Yun's loyalty to the state was pretty obvious. However, after his death Chen Shi/Huang Hao slandered him. Thus Liu Shan's opinion of him changed and he disliked him. We are also told that Chen Shi became a firm favourite of Liu Shan because he had a sweet mouth. It is clear that Liu Shan likes to hear flattery and not the harsh truth and thus that is mostly what he got from his officers.

Despite this, Qiao Zhou petitioned Liu Shan about his indulgences coupled with his neglect of official affairs. Liu Shan paid no heed and demoted him. This was worrying because after the death of ZL Liu Shan abolishes the post of Prime Minister. Now the Prime Minister is usually the last bastion against an incompetent ruler. So presumably by consolidating power Liu Shan should usher in a new era where he actively and competently rules but no he is too busy with his hoes and neglecting affairs. Lets face it, his kingdom is merely a glorified province so in terms of size his workload was less than the other 2 rulers.

Qiao Zhou also debated Chen Shi in court but it made no difference.

Eventually Qiao Zhou would leave behind an essay entitled "A Disourse on Enemy States" which was basically stating out the problems in Shu and the corruption caused by Chen Shi etc. Part of this essay is reproduced in the novel but changed so that it serves the purpose of soley opposing Jiang Wei's campaigns.

Zhang Yi opposed Jiang Wei's exhausting rate of campaigns in court as it was exhausting the state but Liu Shan approved them anyway.

Another point is that Liu Shan chose the use of witchcraft to repel the last Wei invasion. It makes one wonder just how capable such a person was. Even if we accept the argument that a ruler is sometimes not aware of problems and does not make an effort to even fulfil his official duties, let alone actively seek out advice, just how many times must a ruler be told?

While he was not a tyrant, Chen Shou's numerous appraisals of him is not flattering.

And lastly Wu envoy Xue Xu's report to his sovereign on the state of Shu not long before they were conquered:

All affairs of state are in the hands of a certain eunuch named Huang Hao, and all the courtiers look up to him as to a father. At court plain truth is never heard, and the country people look sallow and starved. The whole country appears on the verge of destruction. The birds on the roof do not know that the building is about to be burned.


You gave us one official changing of title, a single example of slander (that apparantly didn't end in demotion), and a single example of demotion (by petition).

With only three examples to support your claim of "numerous petitions" (when you've only showed us ONE), this isn't a very helpful addition to your argument.

We still only have a single person (two, if you count Jiang Wei) who come up and say something is wrong. The others just sit back and make room for the Emperor's friend. Which more supports the idea that there weren't enough people telling him what was wrong. If there was a real threat to his position, he'd probably do something, but only one minister isn't a threat. At all.
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Unread postby James » Wed Dec 27, 2006 5:57 pm

Thanks, Zhilong, for posting some other examples.
I didn’t have enough time to go digging for them. :(

Tan_Binrui wrote:You gave us one official changing of title, a single example of slander (that apparantly didn't end in demotion), and a single example of demotion (by petition).

Rather than arguing numbers, why don’t you argue points? It would be pretty silly for someone to give three examples of Dong Zhuo’s tyranny only for those examples to be dismissed because there were only three. Furthermore, it would be fun to see examples providing a counterpoint.

Every time I have seen a reference to someone challenging Huang Hao bad things wind up happening to them—be it through court intrigue or him slandering the man in question to Liu Shan, resulting in damage to their career. You’ve seen examples, why not present your own?

Tan_Binrui wrote:We still only have a single person (two, if you count Jiang Wei) who come up and say something is wrong. The others just sit back and make room for the Emperor's friend. Which more supports the idea that there weren't enough people telling him what was wrong. If there was a real threat to his position, he'd probably do something, but only one minister isn't a threat. At all.

How many people do you expect to openly challenge, question, or oppose him given the history of what happens to the people who do so? Especially people of less influence in the government (who probably did protest in cases that weren’t documented). In all likelihood other court officials either retired from office or held their peace rather than suffer a similar fate at Huang Hao’s hands. What can they accomplish when Jiang Wei and Liu Shan’s brother accomplished nothing through their actions?

The evidence leads me to believe Liu Shan was not receptive to this type of feedback.

Edit: Grammary and Clarity.
Last edited by James on Wed Dec 27, 2006 6:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Unread postby Zhilong » Wed Dec 27, 2006 6:00 pm

You gave us one official changing of title


I did not give an exhaustive list as some were already mentioned. Add in Huang Hao's attempt to replace Jiang Wei with his dog Yan Yu. To Liu Shan's credit this was not carried out. However, Huang Hao did not stop and instead got Luo Xian removed to prevent anyone checking Yan Yu's power.

a single example of slander


Aforementioned was his own brother Liu Yong.

single example of demotion (by petition).


Not all advice has to be set out in formal petitions and i gave examples. Another one to add would be Jiang Wei's memorial to him to make preparations for an impending invasion and send reinforcements. Instead our enlightened ruler listens to Huang Hao and suppresses the warning and makes no prior preparations - instead he relies on witchcraft instead. Then he did not deploy troops till rather late and we could see the disadvantage that caused the Shu side. When Qiao Zhou quizzed him about this he was unable to answer.

With only three examples to support your claim of "numerous petitions" (when you've only showed us ONE), this isn't a very helpful addition to your argument.


I do not recall making any such argument. In addition, Liu Bei & Zhuge Liang sent him at least a few memorials full of advice on how to rule. Liu Shan seemed to do the opposite alot of the time once the old guard died out and he actually had to start exerting and shrewdly applying himself.

The others just sit back and make room for the Emperor's friend.


There is an example in the Spring and Autumn period of one of the Chu rulers. The start of his reign was pretty poor as he was lazy and neglected affairs. Many years later he all of a sudden applied himself and the state prospered. His personnel was the same, what changed was him.

Now Liu Shan has to bear alot but not all of the blame for his court degenerating to such a level.

Which more supports the idea that there weren't enough people telling him what was wrong.


Was he retarded? Which part of stop your endless indulgence, increasing your number of hoes and neglecting your official duties did he not understand (Dong Yun and Qiao Zhou both gave similar advice)? How many ppl do you need to tell you the same thing? One Wu envoy could tell the state of his kingdom, why can he not do the same when he has the personnel of a whole kingdom?

Given recent history was it really wise for him to let a ennuch direct state affairs? Was his realm so peaceful he could afford to sit back? His position was precarious since all the regimes that holed up in the south which could not advance past the Qin mountain range were all annexed in the end. Surely he should have at least concentrated on administrating his kingdom well internally and stop letting Jiang Wei exhaust it.

Qiao Zhou, Zhang Yi, Liao Hua all spoke out against Jiang Wei's campaigns. If he still had doubt perhaps he could have actively sought out more opinions or investigated if his own mental capacity could not quite figure out that almost annual campaigns will take their toll. Eventually the gentry and common ppl had to gang together and complain before something was done. For Liu Shan to actually do something does the whole kingdom have to scream it at him?
"You weaver of mats! You plaiter of straw shoes! You have been smart enough to get possession of a large region and elbow your way into the ranks of the nobles. I was just going to attack you, and now you dare to scheme against me! How I detest you!"
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Unread postby Dong Zhou » Wed Dec 27, 2006 6:22 pm

Sorry about my example, it was the best I could think of.

Luo Xian was moved from diplomat too Governor, more a sideways shift from what I can tell, Liu Shan still used him.

Liu Shan, according to the SGZ, feared Dong Yun so why wouldn't Shan dislike him? Is that the Chen Shi father of Chen Shou or Dong Yun's succesor?

The debate thing is new as is the book, the first bit I heard once before but never got a source or much info. Could you tell me whose bio it is in? Who should step into the Prime Minister Role? Only Jiang Wan would have been able to fill it and it is a rare thing for a ruler to like somebody having even more power then them.

I thought Zhang Yi's complaints where to Jiang Wei rather then the court itself?

Regarding withcraft, magic was belived in and quite frankly, I would put my faith in witchcraft over Jiang Wei, Liu Shan still made provisions for the defence.

How many ppl do you need to tell you the same thing? One Wu envoy could tell the state of his kingdom, why can he not do the same when he has the personnel of a whole kingdom?


It is easier to see sometimes from the outside then from within

sorry, rather tired and missed the second post, if you could answer my questions. I will try and respond to it tomorrow
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Unread postby Tan_Binrui » Wed Dec 27, 2006 9:55 pm

Forgot to combine the responses. They are below.
Last edited by Tan_Binrui on Wed Dec 27, 2006 9:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Unread postby Tan_Binrui » Wed Dec 27, 2006 9:55 pm

James wrote:Rather than arguing numbers, why don’t you argue points? It would be pretty silly for someone to give three examples of Dong Zhuo’s tyranny only for those examples to be dismissed because there were only three. Furthermore, it would be fun to see examples providing a counterpoint.


My counterpoint is the fact that there are only a handful of examples of people stepping up and saying something was wrong. Liu Chan's own ignorance is to blame, this is true. But a portion of the blame I always gave to the cowardice of the officers who feared for their own positions.

James wrote:How many people do you expect to openly challenge, question, or oppose him given the history of what happens to the people who do so? Especially people of less influence in the government (who probably did protest in cases that weren’t documented). In all likelihood other court officials either retired from office or held their peace rather than suffer a similar fate at Huang Hao’s hands. What can they accomplish when Jiang Wei and Liu Shan’s brother accomplished nothing through their actions?


How many people stood up to Sun Hao only to be executed? A hell of a lot more than people who stood up to Liu Chan and Huang Hao. Those who retired would be considered cowards, in my book, because all they faced was demotion. Nobody was executed by Huang Hao's advice, only moved.

Zhilong wrote:Not all advice has to be set out in formal petitions and i gave examples. Another one to add would be Jiang Wei's memorial to him to make preparations for an impending invasion and send reinforcements. Instead our enlightened ruler listens to Huang Hao and suppresses the warning and makes no prior preparations - instead he relies on witchcraft instead.


Woah... who called Liu Chan enlightened? I don't think anyone's saying he's a good leader, here. Yes, Liu Chan was an idiot, but I'm not trying to say he wasn't.

Zhilong wrote:There is an example in the Spring and Autumn period of one of the Chu rulers. The start of his reign was pretty poor as he was lazy and neglected affairs. Many years later he all of a sudden applied himself and the state prospered. His personnel was the same, what changed was him.


And Liu Chan's an idiot. He wouldn't see the changes he'd have to make within himself, and that's why a portion of the blame falls with a court of officials afraid of a demotion.

Zhilong wrote:Given recent history was it really wise for him to let a ennuch direct state affairs? Was his realm so peaceful he could afford to sit back? His position was precarious since all the regimes that holed up in the south which could not advance past the Qin mountain range were all annexed in the end. Surely he should have at least concentrated on administrating his kingdom well internally and stop letting Jiang Wei exhaust it.


Again, your arguing against a point that I'm not trying to make. I'm saying that his neglect should not label him as one of the worst leaders of the time, because, even while he lived, Cao Rui and Sun Hao were effectively and cruely weakening their own states. Liu Chan, on the other hand, was just not being a leader.

Zhilong wrote:For Liu Shan to actually do something does the whole kingdom have to scream it at him?


It took a revolution for the French Government to realize it was being neglectful. It took a revolution for the British government to realize they were being harsh. Even in the same time period, it took ministers who commit suicide to try to get their point across (Liu Zhang's many officials). And even THEN he didn't listen. But, because of their dedication to what was right, the fault lies completely within Liu Zhang.

In this case, half the fault is with the plethora officials who didn't speak up.

In a similar case of numbers, when only Xun Yu stood up to protest the taking of an Imperial title, Cao Cao scoffed at the advice. Now, Cao Cao is no idiot, yet the same amount of dedication was required.
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Unread postby James » Wed Dec 27, 2006 11:21 pm

Here’s a random blurb I came across while browsing for something else:

Zhuge Zhan’s SGZ; Translated by Jack Yuan wrote:[…] The eunuch Huang Hao usurped power and dallied with authority; yet everyone accommodated themselves to shield him and did nothing to rectify the corruptions. Only Fan Jian never had dealings with Huang Hao. […]
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