Hangzhou in East China’s Zhejiang province was once named Lin’an, meaning “temporary shelter” in Chinese. Back then, it was the capital of the Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279), which was constantly faced with military threats from the north.
The Song Dynasty (960-1279), a Han-dominated imperial dynasty founded by Emperor Zhao Kuangyin, is divided into two distinctive periods: the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127) and the Southern Song Dynasty. The former dynasty had its capital in Bianjing, which is modern-day Kaifeng, Henan province, and controlled most of today’s Chinese territory to the east of the Heihe–Tengchong Line.
Following a series of humiliating military defeats to the Jurchen nomadic group from the northeast, the Song Dynasty lost its northern half to the Jurchen-led Jin Dynasty.
After his father and elder brother, the last two emperors of the Northern Song Dynasty were both captured in Bianjing by the Jurchen, Zhao Gou (1107-1187) led the remaining Song forces to the south of the Huaihe River and became the founding emperor of the Southern Song Dynasty.
Throughout the entire Southern Song Dynasty period, it was considered a “supreme mission” for patriotic soldiers and politicians to resist the northern invaders and even regain the ancestral land. Hence, today’s Hangzhou China is still scattered with numerous heritage sites paying tribute to the patriotism of the Southern Song Dynasty.
The statue of Yue Fei inside Yue Fei Temple in Hangzhou. [Photo/IC]
Beside the picturesque West Lake in Hangzhou stands the magnificent Yue Fei Temple, which was first constructed in 1221 to commemorate Yue Fei (1103-1142), a household name that is synonymous with national heroes in Chinese culture.
An extraordinary military general, Yue led the Southern Song forces in initiating a general counterattack against the Jin armies, delivering a number of triumphs. Although he was in a favorable position to recover Bianjing, Yue was suddenly summoned back to Lin’an by the paranoid emperor Zhao Gou, where Yue was executed to death on false charges, along with his eldest son.
Yue’s last word was said to be, “A feat achieved in 10 years was ruined in one day!”
Three months following Yue’s tragic death, another prominent Southern Song general, Han Shizhong, built a pavilion near West Lake to honor Yue, which remains today.
Company Name: The Information Office of Hangzhou Municipal Government
Contact Person: Cai Jingwen
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