Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period/Chu I-kuei

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3636414Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period, Volume 1 — Chu I-kueiFang Chao-ying

CHU I-kuei 朱一貴, d.c.1721, desperado, was a native of Ch'ang-t'ai, Fukien. Compelled to leave his native place, he went to Taiwan (Formosa) in 1713 as a servant to the intendant of the Circuit of Taiwan and Hsia-mên (Amoy). He was soon discharged and took to raising ducks, which he trained so that at his command they would proceed in military formation—much to the amazement of his neighbors. Meanwhile he made friends with the depressed and lawless classes of the island. For several decades after Taiwan was taken from the family of Chêng Ch'êng-kung [q. v.] most of the officials who were sent to rule there oppressed the people, especially the aborigines who lived in the mountainous country on the eastern seaboard. Popular discontent was especially evident in the spring of 1721, owing to the misrule of a local official. Chu I-kuei and his band took advantage of the situation to initiate an uprising. Having the same surname as the Ming Imperial House, Chu pretended to be a descendant of the Ming family. On May 14, 1721, the leaders, fifty-two in number, assembled at Kang-shan 岡山 on the border of the Fêng-shan district to take an oath of brotherhood. After several victories over the local guards, they entered the capital of the island on May 26, and a few days later occupied the whole territory.

Chu I-kuei declared himself king, with the reign-title Yung-ho 永和. But as soon as a government was formed and his followers were placed in office, struggle for power arose among the leaders. On June 6 fighting between Chu I-kuei and an opposition faction began. Meanwhile government troops and marines, numbering about 18,000 men in 600 ships, under the command of Shih Shih-p'iao [q. v.] and Lan T'ing-chên (see under Shih Shih-p'iao), hastened to the scene. On learning of the dissention between the rebels, the government forces at once prepared to attack. On July 10 their advance ships reached Lu-êr-mên 鹿耳門 where they fired on the rebel fort. The magazine of the fort exploded and the rebels were forced to retreat. The government troops landed and took the coast town of An-p'ing near the capital city of Taiwan. Serious fighting ensued, and on July 16 Chu I-kuei retreated from the capital. He and a handful of his followers were pursued and on July 30 were captured and delivered to Peking, along with several other rebel leaders. By the summer of 1723 the island was finally cleared of insurgents. After 1722 two censors were annually sent to the island on a tour of inspection with a view to putting an end to unjust government, and the garrisons were also strengthened. Aside from this, very few reforms were introduced—Chinese settlers were still forbidden to bring their wives and children to the island, and all means of livelihood except the breaking of new land were closed to them. The old policy of discouraging permanent settlement on Taiwan still prevailed. Nevertheless the island was quiet for the ensuing sixty-five years after which the revolt of Lin Shuang-wên (see under Ch'ai Ta-chi) occurred.

[ Lan Ting-yüan [q. v.] P'ing-T'ai chi-lüeh; T'ai-hai shih-ch'a lu (see under Huang Shu-lin), chüan 4; Inō Yoshinori (see bibl. under Chêng Ch'êng-kung), Taiwan bunka shi 上/792; China Review, vol. XVI, 1887–88, pp. 281–283, vol. XXI, 1894–95, pp. 96–97.]

Fang Chao-ying