Yue Fei - Chinese Patriotic General
Yue Fei was a patriotic general in China's Southern Song Dynasty. His life was full of legend and tragedy.
Yue Fei was born in 1103 in the Northern Song Dynasty when the incompetent ruler could hardly save the nation from declining, and the country was constantly invaded by the strong Jurchen army. Received an education of traditional culture from childhood, Yue Fei was concerned about the situation of the nation and determined to protect it from Jurchen's invasion. Therefore, just in the year when the Northern Song Dynasty collapsed and the Southern Song Dynasty was founded, he renounced the pen and joined the army. He distinguished himself in battles against northern invaders and was appointed general commissioner, the highest rank in the army. The army he led, known as "the army of Yue's", was a highly disciplined one that the enemies became terror-stricken on hearing the name. Emperor Gaozong sent him an autograph of "Total Loyalty to Serve the Country" and ordered him to have it embroidered on the banner when he commanded the army.
Yue Fei was a man of both literal and military ability. In order to express his ambition and passion of serving the country, he once wrote a poem "My Quest, to the tune of The Whole River Red", a heroic poem in the history of Chinese literature which never fails to spirit up patriotism whenever the Chinese nation barges up against crises.
His last campaign against the northern invaders was a sweeping victory but his attempt to push northward and recover all the lost territory, however, was opposed by an appeasement party within the capital headed by the minister Qin Hui. Emporor Gaozong accepted Qin's proposal of making peace with the invaders and ordered Yue Fei to return. Legend has it that Yue Fei received twelve Gold Plates from the emperor ordering the general to return to Capital Lin'an within a day. Yue Fei could not help but obey the emperor's will. Later Yue Fei and his son were executed in Fengbo Pavillion of Dali Temple in Hangzhou after being set up by Qin Hui. People bemoaned the death of the hero and despised and detested Qin Hui.
In 1163, 21 years after Yue Fei's death, Emperor Xiaozong exonerated Yue Fei and gave him a posthumous recognition as King of E, and had his corpse reburied at Qixia Hill, the northwest bank of the West Lake in Hangzhou. The iron statues of the four people who set Yue Fei up, Qin Hui and his wife, Zhangjun and Mo Qixie, are kneeling in front of the tomb of Yue Fei, all cursed and spat by visitors for their guilt.
The legendary tragedy of Yue Fei turned into a subject matter of literature thereafter, like the novel Legend of Yue Fei, and Peking opera Yue Fei and Yang Zaixing. Yue Fei is loved and esteemed by Chinese people and his patriotism has constituted the ethos of the Chinese nation.