The China History Podcast (podcasts)
CHP-132-The Song Emperor Huizong Part 1

We're going to begin a new series that will look at political, social and cultural life in the late Northern Song.  The second the the last emperor Huizong will serve as our vehicle to examine this period in late 11th and early 12th century China.  University of Washington professor Dr. Patricia Buckley Ebrey has recently published a book entitled Emperor Huizong.  I'm going to use this as one of the main sources.  The Song Dynasty was another one of those times when China was the most advanced and economically powerful civilizations on earth.  The period which Huizong reigned was one of the high points of the dynasty.  But in 1127 the emperor's world will come crashing down with invasions from the north.  Today we begin our look at this emperor.



Huizong 徽宗 Song Dynasty emperor who reigned 1100-1127

Ouyang Xiu 欧阳修 Featured in CHP-071, China's answer to Leonardo da Vinci.  Once a reformer, later conservative.

Zhao Kuangyin赵匡胤 Song dynasty founder, also known by his temple name Taizu 太祖。

Han 汉 Han Dynasty

Jin 晋 Jin Dynasty

Sui 隋 Sui Dynasty

Tang 唐 Tang Dynasty

Kaifeng 开封 in Henan, Capital of the Northern Song

Lin'an 临安 Near Hangzhou

Yuan 元朝 The Mongol Yuan Dynasty

Taizu 太祖 Temple name of Zhao Kuangyin, Song founder

Taizong  太宗 2nd Song emperor

Zhenzong  真宗 3rd Song emperor

Renzong 仁宗 4th Song emperor

Yingzong 英宗 5th Song emperor

Shenzong 神宗 6th Song emperor, father of Huizong

Zhezong 哲宗 7th Song emperor, older brother of Huizong

Wujing Zongyao 武警总要 Collection of the Most Important Military Techniques, written 1044, explained gunpowder for the 1st time

Wang Anshi  王安石 Reformer during Shenzong emperor

Fan Zhongyan  范仲淹 Early Reformer of the Song

Su Dongpo  苏东坡 Also known as 苏轼, great politician and local Hangzhou hometown hero.

Empress Dowager Gao 高太后 Empress to the Yingzong emperor

Sima Guang 司马光 Song historian and politician known for his conservative bent

Empress Dowager Xiang 向太后 Empress of Emperor Shenzong  

Consort Chen 陈皇后 Consort of Shenzong, birth mother of Huizong

Zhao Xu 赵頊 The Shenzong emperor given name (1st tone Xu)

Zhao Xu 赵煦 The Zhezong emperor given name (4th tone Xu)

Zhao Ji 赵佶 Huizong's given name

Chang'an 长安 Near modern day Xian, ancient capital of the Tang

Bian River 卞河 River in Kaifeng

Qianlong  乾隆 Qing dynasty emperor who took several tours of China

Li Jie 李誡 China's greatest architect of ancient time, author of the 营造法式 Yingzao Fashi

Sunzi 孙子 Wrote the Art of War

Yingzao Fashi 营造法式 The Song work: Treatise on Architectural Methods. Also known as the State Building Standards.

Prince of Duan  端王 Title of Huizong prior to becoming emperor

Wang Shen 王诜 Considered one of China's greatest landscape painters. Had early influence on young Huizong's love of art and lit.

Consort Liu 刘皇后 Consort of Zhezong

Prince of Shen 申王 9th son of Shenzong, also known as Bi, the one with weak eyes.

Bi 赵佖 Older brother of Huizong, the one who had bad eyes

Cai Jing 蔡京 Northern Song official, later to play a major role in Huizong's reign.  One of the greatest calligraphers of his day. Brother of Cai Bian.

Cai Bian 蔡卞 Younger brother of Cai Jing. Also a chancellor and famed calligrapher.

Wu 赵俣 Zhao Wu, younger brother to Huizong

Si 赵似 Zhao Si, younger brother to Huizong

Ssi 赵偲 Zhao Ssi, younger brother to Huizong (spelled with 2 "s" to differentiate from Zhao Si)

Cixi 慈禧 Cixi Taihou, a.k.a. Empress Dowager Tzu-Hsi

Zeng Bu 曾布 Junior Chief Councillor and trusted advisor to Huizong as soon as he became emperor.

Zhang Dun 章惇 Chancellor before Cai Jing

Liang Congzheng 梁从政 The chief eunuch when Huizong ascended the throne.

Gong County 巩县 Former name of Gongyi, where the Song tombs are

Gongyi 巩义 City where the ancient Song tombs are located

Han Zhongyan 韩忠彦 Senior chancellor during Huizong's reign

Liu Hunkang 劉混康  Great Daoist master. b. 1035, d. 1108

Gaige Kaifang 改革开放 Reform and opening up to the world, a policy instituted by Deng Xiaoping in the 80's.



Direct download: CHP-132-The_Song_Emperor_Huizong_Part_1.mp3
Category:Podcasts -- posted at: 4:15pm PDT

CHP-131-Morris Two-Gun Cohen Part 2

We're going to finish off the last 45 years of Morris Two-Gun Cohen's life in this extra-long episode.  With Sun Yat-sen now gone, Morris Cohen worked hard to reinvent himself and remain relevant in the world of the Chinese business and politics. Morris will hit some highs and lows in this episode as he tried to leverage his past association with Sun and his obvious loyalty to the KMT into an ongoing and lucrative career.  As you'll see in this episode, the road was hardly a smooth one.


Song Ailing 宋蔼龄 Eldest Song sister, married to H.H. Kung

Song Qingling 宋庆龄 Madame Sun Yat-sen, lifelong benefactor to Morris Cohen

H.H. Kung 孔祥熙 Husband of Song Ailing. Lifetime KMT stalwart. Economic and Finance guru for the party in the 30's and 40's.

Sheng-Gang Dabagong 省港大罢工  The Guangzhou Hong Kong Strike

T.V. Soong 宋子文 Brother of Soong Sisters. One of the biggest heavyweights of the late Republican era

Eugene Chen Youren 陈友仁 Eugene Chen Known as Sun Yat-sen's foreign minister

Song Meiling 宋美龄 Madame Chiang Kai-shek

Sun Fo 孙佛 Son of Sun Yat-sen, also known as Sun Ke 孙科

Hu Hanmin 胡汉民 Close ally of Sun Yat-sen, first supporter, then lifetime political foe of Chiang Kai-shek.

C.C. Wu 伍朝樞 Chiang Kai-shek's foreign minister and later a minister to the US.  Son of Wu Tingfang.

Wu Tingfang 伍廷芳 Official during last years of Qing. Later a top diplomat in the Nationalist government.

Wellington Koo 顾维钧 Longtime diplomat and KMT stalwart

Li Jishen 李济深 Military strongman based in Guangzhou. Had a falling out with Chiang Kai-shek and stayed in China after 1949

Chen Jitang 陈济棠 Governed Guangdong province from 1929-1936. Another of Morris's paymasters.

Nan Tianwang 南天王 Celestial King of the South, Chen Jitang's nickname down in Guangdong.

Wu Tiecheng 武铁成 Another KMT heavy.  Served as mayor of Shanghai and later high up in the post 1949 KMT. Another paymaster to Morris.

Xianbing Dui 宪兵队 The dreaded Japanese Kempeitai

Shuangqiang Ma Kun 双枪马坤 Two-Gun Morris Cohen

Direct download: CHP-131-Morris_Two-Gun_Cohen_Part_2.mp3
Category:Podcasts -- posted at: 2:35pm PDT

CHP-130-Morris Two-Gun Cohen Part 1

Today I wanted to introduce a sort of lovable rogue who haunted the hotel lobbies of Shanghai, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, London and Edmonton.  Today's subject was by no means a historic figure.  In fact, I don't think you can even call him a bit player.  Nonetheless, Morris Abraham Cohen had a China story that deserves a telling.   Today's episode will look at his early life, how he ended up in Canada and how he got hooked up with the local Chinese Canadians.  We'll get as far as the death of Sun Yat-sen in early 1925.  We'll finish up next time with Morris Cohen's life after Dr. Sun.  I mainly used Daniel S. Levy's superb biography: Two-Gun Cohen, A Biography.  Here's the amazon link:


Ma Kun 马坤 Morris Cohen's Chinese name

Tongmenghui 同盟会 Sun's Political Party, later became KMT

Puyi 溥仪 Last Emperor of the Qing dyansty

Song Qingling  宋庆龄 Madame Sun Yat-sen, Soong Ch'ing-ling

Guo Fu  国父 Father of the Country, Sun Yat-sen

Fuguan  副官  Body guard, aide-de-camp



Direct download: CHP-130-Morris_Two-Gun_Cohen.mp3
Category:Podcasts -- posted at: 7:53am PDT

CHP-129-The Incident at Xuanwu Gate

In this episode we revisit the founding of the Tang Dynasty and focus in on the events leading up to, during and right after the Incident at Xuanwu Gate.  This slice of historic theater took place on July 2, 626.  It resulted in the victory of Li Shimin over his two brothers.  Not long afterwards Li Shimin was promoted by his father to the emperorship and reigned as Tang Taizong.




Chang’an   Ancient capital of  the Tang and other dynasties.  Located in present day Xian

Xuanwu men zhi biàn 玄武 The Incident at Xuanwu Gate

Zizhi Tongjian 治通  The Comprehensive Mirror to Aid in Government

Sima Qian 司马迁  Considered China’s greatest ancient historian, writer of the Records of the Grand Historian (the 史记

Sima Guang 司马光  Credited with compiling the The Comprehensive Mirror to Aid in Government

Ouyang Xiu 欧阳修 Song dynasty official and all-around universal man featured in CHP-071.

Wang Anshi 王安石 Early Song Dynasty official responsible for instituting some major reforms

Tang Huiyao 唐会要 The Institurtional History of the Tang, written by Wang Pu

Zhao Kuangyin  赵匡胤 Song dynasty founder, The Taizu Emperor

Wang Pu 王浦 Credited with the writing of the Tang Huiyao

Tang Shu  唐书 The (Old) Book of Tang

Xin Tang Shu 新唐书 The New Book of Tang

Tong Dian 通典  The Comprehensive Statutes

Li Shimin  李世民 Known as The emperor Tang Taizong 唐太宗, as well as the Prince of Qin and the Duke of Dunhuang

Li Yuan  李渊  Known as the emperor Tang Gaozu 唐高祖

Li Jiancheng  李建成 The Crown Prince also known as the Duke of Longxi

Li Yuanji  李元吉  Youngest son of Li Yuan, also known as the Prince of Qi

Li Zhiyun 李志云 Son of Li Yuan from one of his concubines

Taiyuan  太原 Capital of Shanxi Province and power base of the Li Tang clan.

Niangzijun  娘子军 The Army of Women, let by the Princess Pingyang

Pingyang Gongzhu  平阳公主  The daughter of Li Yuan, a great military leader.

Sui Yangdi  隋炀帝 The Sui Emperor Yang

Li Hu  李虎 Grandfather of Li Yuan

Bazhuguo  八柱国 The Eight Pillars of the Western Wei

Yuwen Tai  宇文泰  Founder of the Western Wei Dynasty

Nanbei Chao 南北朝 The Southern & Northern Dynasty Period.

Li Xi  李熙 Grandfather of Li Hu

Li Tianxi  李天锡 Father of Li Hu

Li Song  李嵩 Founder of the Western Liang (西凉)

Longxi  陇西  Place in easternmost Gansu Province

Tuoba  拓拔 Clan name for many Xianbei people.  The Tuoba’s founded the Northern Wei Dynasty

Liu Bang  刘邦 Founder of the Han Dynasty (Han Gaozu 汉高祖)

Wu Zetian  武则天  Concubine of Tang Taizong, wife of Tang Gaozong and later empresss of China.

Daixian  代县 Located in present day Shanxi province

Wude  武德 The Era name of the Tang Gaozu emperor

Liu Heita  刘黑闼  Sui rebel general, served under Li Mi and Wang Shichong (see below).

Dou Jiande  窦建德  Sui rebel general and enemy of the Tang

Wang Shichong  王世充  First a Sui general, then helped bring Emperor Yang down.  Later defeated the other rebel leader Li Mi (see below)

Xue Ju  薛举  One of the major rebel generals who helped bring down the Sui

Li Mi  李密  One of the major rebel generals who helped bring down the Sui. 

Yuwen Huaji  宇文化及  General during the Sui, later led a coup against Emperor Yang and delivered the death blow.

Jiangdu 江都  District of Yangzhou

Yangzhou  扬州 City in Jiangsu

Jiangsu 江苏  Rich province in eastern China.

Zhangsun Wuji 长孙无忌  Served as a chancellor during the time of Taizong and Gaozong.

Yuchi Jingde  尉迟敬德 Later became the Door God (门神), close ally of Taizong, he fired the arrow that killed Li Yuanji.

Fang Xuanling  房玄龄  Served together Du Ruhui (see below) as chancellor

Du Ruhui  杜如晦  Chancellor during the reign of Taizong, one of the best it’s said.

Gao Shilian 高士廉  Uncle of Taizong’s wife (Lady Dou), also a high ranking official during his reign.

Gengshen  庚申 A day in the Chinese calendar

Zhang Jieyu  张婕妤  Official during time of Tang Gaozu and Taizong

Pei Ji 裴寂  Official during Sui and Tang Dynaties, served Tang Gaozu and Taizong.

Xiao Yu  蕭瑀 Ally of Tang Gaozu and Taizong, later a high ranking official

Chen Shuda  陈叔达  Ally of Tang Taizong, later became his chancellor







Direct download: CHP-129-The_Incident_at_Xuanwu_Gate.mp3
Category:Podcasts -- posted at: 1:30pm PDT

After a record-breaking pause in the action Laszlo is back with one last episode to finish off 2013.  This time we look at the interesting and amusing history of Chinese cuisine in America, an oft requested topic here at the China History Podcast.  This is a history that goes hand in hand with the earliest Chinese immigration to the US.  If you’re interested to learn more on the subject check out Andrew Coe and Jennifer 8 Lee’s books.  The links to amazon are below:

Andrew Coe – “Chop Suey”

Jennifer 8. Lee – “The Fortune Cookie Chronicles”

Direct download: CHP-128-The_History_of_American_Chinese_Cuisine-f.mp3
Category:Podcasts -- posted at: 11:05am PDT

In this episode we take a look at the circumstances and times when the brand spanking new nation of the USA came a calling to China for the very first time.  The so-called “Most Important Relationship in the World” had very humble origins indeed.  When representatives of the United States first arrived in Canton in August 1783 they really had a lot of explaining to do about who they were and where they came from.  Repeatedly they had to explain to the Chinese who interacted with them that they weren’t British.


Qianlong 乾隆  The Qing emperor who reigned 1735-1796

Guangzhou 广州  Canton

Wujing 五经  The Five Classics

Sishu  四书 The Four Books

Zhong-Mei guanxi 中美关系  China – US Relations

Lao Mei 老美 a term for America or Americans…not particularly a polite way to say it

Lao Zhong 老中 I never heard this used before…but the counterpart of Lao Mei

Jin Sha 金沙 Cumshaw. A bribe given in the form of a gift (means gold sand or gold dust)

Wuyi Cha 武夷茶  Bohea Tea  A popular type of tea export back in the day

Xichun Cha 熙春茶  Hyson Tea Another popular type of tea export back in the day.

Bupingdeng tiaoyue  不平等条约 Unequal Treaty

Qiying  耆英 Known as “Keying”, a Manchu noble who signed many Unequal Treaties

Wangxia Tiaoyue  望夏条约  The Treaty of Wangxia July 3, 1844

Guanyin Tang  观音堂  The Temple in Macao where the Treaty of Wangxia was signed

Puji Chanyuan  普及禅院  The former name of this temple

Da-Qing  大清  The name of the Qing Empire…means Great Qing

Jean Baptiste Du Halde, writer of the The General History of China

Direct download: CHP-127-The_Birth_of_US-China_Relations-R.mp3
Category:Podcasts -- posted at: 12:47am PDT

This week we look at the Khitan people of the steppes.  These people came from the lands in between Manchuria and Mongolia.  Their most famous son was Yelü Abaoji who took his people to great heights in the early 10th century.  His Liao Dynasty in the north of present day China ran concurrently with the continue reading >>
Direct download: CHP-126-Yelu_Abaoji.mp3
Category:Podcasts -- posted at: 7:59pm PDT

In this episode we explore the life and times of Zhuge Liang (181-234 AD).  He’s a very good example of a well-known name from Chinese history that many have heard of but aren’t quite sure why.  He lived during the Eastern Han and Three Kingdoms periods.  Zhuge Liang is mostly remembered for his cleverness and continue reading >>
Direct download: CHP-125-Zhuge_Liang.mp3
Category:Podcasts -- posted at: 3:02pm PDT

Today after a month-long break the CHP is back with another episode.  This time we look at the life and times of Sir Y.K. Pao.  In telling the story of Sir Yue-kong Pao (Bao Yugang in Mandarin) we can also relive the periods in China and Hong Kong during the 1960′s, 70′s and into the continue reading >>

Direct download: CHP-124-Sir_YK_Pao-R.mp3
Category:Podcasts -- posted at: 7:15am PDT

After the longest delay in between CHP episodes ever, we resume our Chinese history voyage. This time we look at a topic that isn’t particularly well-known but offers a glimpse of one sliver of the Chinese diaspora that began once the Qing Dynasty began to fall on hard times.    The story of the Chinese continue reading >>
Direct download: CHP-123-The_History_of_the_Chinese_in_Mexico.mp3
Category:Podcasts -- posted at: 4:27pm PDT