Everyone cries, including a saint. Heroes do not easily cry, be it in ancient times or at present, unless things are really tough. Lady Xian also cried. Her seven recorded cries manifest her nature as great woman with universal love.
The First Recorded Cry
During the Battle of Jianxi around 527, in order to compromise with the imperial court, Lady Xian released General Sun Jiong of the Liang dynasty (502-560), who killed her father and uncle. To maintain the stability of the whole country, she gave up the chance of avenging for her father and uncle. She cried because loyalty and filial piety could not be maintained at the same time. (Lady Xian’s father and uncle were trapped and killed by General Sun Jiong.)
The Second Recorded Cry
Feng Bao, the husband of Lady Xian, was a diligent officer who worked whole-heartedly for the people. He launched city building projects. Due to longtime overwork, he died at an early age in 556. Soon after his death, Lingnan area turned into a turmoil. With tears in her eyes, Lady Xian managed to stop the turmoil and brought peace to multiple ethnic groups in the Yangtze River’s middle and lower reaches as well as the area south of the Yangtze River.
The Third Recorded Cry
In 569, Ouyang He, the prefecture governor of Guangzhou, rose in rebellion and lured Feng Pu (Lady Xian’s only son) to Gao’an, asking him to join the rebellion. Feng Pu sent a messenger to inform Lady Xian. Lady Xian said: “I have maintained my loyalty for two dynasties. I cannot betray the country just to take care of you.” So she sent army to guard other areas of Lingnan apart from Guangzhou.
Before setting off, Lady Xian waved goodbye with tears in her eyes to her pregnant daughter-in-law and other family members, thinking about the upcoming suppression of Ouyang He in the north, the future fierce battle and the uncertain future of Feng Pu.
The Fourth Recorded Cry
In the middle of the reign of Emperor Zhide (583-586) of Chen dynasty, Feng Pu passed away. Later, the Chen dynasty (557-589) fell.
Lady Xian cried for the early death of her husband and her son, for the fall of the Chen dynasty (557-589) and the suffering of the people.
The Fifth Recorded Cry
In 589, King of Chen surrendered and Emperor Gaozu of the Sui dynasty dispatched Wei Guang to pacify Lingnan area while General Xu Deng of the Chen dynasty stood fast in Nankang. When Wei Guang reached the foot of Nanling Mountain, he hesitated and did not dare to enter.
Lady Xian gave a cane as tribute to Emperor Houzu of the Chen dynasty. At that time, Yang Guang, the Princess of Jin asked Emperor Houzhu to write a letter to Lady Xian to inform her of the fall of the Chen dynasty (557-589) and to ask Lady Xian to surrender to the Sui dynasty (581-618). The letter came with the cane and the army seal of the Chen dynasty as proves. Once seeing the cane, Lady Xian knew that the Chen dynasty (557-589) really fell. She gathered all the chiefs and wailed together for the fall of the Chen dynasty for a whole day. Later, she dispatched her grandson Feng Hun (some historical materials said it was Feng Xuan) to lead the army to welcome Wei Guang to enter Guangzhou and accept Sui’s governance, thus bringing peace to Lingnan area.
The Sixth Recorded Cry
In 590, Wang Zhongxuan, a native from Panyu, rose in rebellion. All the chiefs followed him and besieged Wei Guang in Guangzhou. Their troops stationed on Hengling Mountain. Lady Xian dispatched her grandson Feng Xuan to lead the army to help Wei Guang. However, Feng Xuan was friend with Chen Fozhi, a rebel. So he delayed the action of leading army to help Wei Guang. When Lady Xian got informed of the issue, she was very angry and sent Feng Xuan to prison. At the same time, she dispatched Feng Ang, another of her grandsons, to lead the army to suppress the rebellion of Chen Fozhi. Feng Ang defeated the rebellion and killed Chen Fozhi (It is also said that Feng Xuan and Chen Fo Zhi were relatives by marriage).
Lady Xian placed righteousness above family loyalty and suppressed the rebellion of Wang Zhongxuan and Chen Fozhi. When facing Feng Xuan and the family of Chen Fozhi, she cried out of the mixed feelings.
The Seventh Recorded Cry
In 591, Zhao Ne, the head of Panzhou (currently Guangzhou), was greedy and brutal. As a result, most of the people of ethnic Li and ethnic Liao either fled from home or rose in rebellion. Lady Xian dispatched Zhang Rong, an officer, to send a confidential document to the imperial court, in which she emphasized the importance of pacification and denounced Zhao Ne. The emperor ordered to dismiss Zhao Ne from his post. Later, bribes were searched out and Zhao Ne was brought to jail. Emperor Gaozu issued an imperial decree asking Lady Xian to offer amnesty and enlistment to rebels. Lady Xian personally brought the decree and called herself an envoy of the emperor. She announced the decree to all the ethnic groups when she travelled across over ten states. The people of the places she visited all submitted. On this occasion, she cried for the suffering of the people in Lingnan area.
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