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Hangzhou a historic sanctuary of patriotism
Hangzhou News   2021-10-19 13:58   Source:ezhejiang.gov.cn

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 is still scattered with numerous heritage sites paying tribute to the patriotism of the Southern Song Dynasty.

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.

At the Hai'er Alley in Hangzhou's Xiacheng district stands the Memorial Hall to Lu You.

Lu You (1125-1210), one of China's most prolific and famous poets, wrote one of his greatest poems in the alley in his later years.

Lu was an official living in Lin'an who routinely boldly advised the emperors to wage wars to restore the ancestral land. Disappointed by the dynasty's appeasement policy, Lu conveyed his grief and indignation in numerous patriotitic poems.

In his famed poem To My Son, Lu wrote, "When the emperor's army does recapture the north one day, forget not to inform me of that when you visit my tomb."

Gaoting Mountain in northeastern Hangzhou is home to a statue of Wen Tianxiang (1236-1283), a Southern Song poet and politician who is one of the most popular symbols of moral courage in China.

When the invading Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368) army was garrisoned in Gaoting Mountain and was about to end the Southern Song Dynasty in 1276, Wen volunteered to serve as an envoy of the teetering dynasty and demand the Yuan's retreat, only to be captured. Wen narrowly escaped and continued to lead a desperate resistance until being captured again two years later. He resolutely refused to serve a high post in the Yuan Dynasty government and suffered for four years in prison before his execution in 1283.

Wen's most well-known verse reads, "All men are mortal, but my loyalty will illuminate the annals of history forever."

Author:  Editor:Wang Jian
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