Qian Liu - As Later Tang Vassal

As Later Tang Vassal

Later in 923, Li Keyong's son and successor Li Cunxu the Prince of Jin declared himself the emperor of a new Later Tang Dynasty (as Emperor Zhuangzong), and soon thereafter made a surprise attack against the Later Liang capital Daliang. Zhu Youzhen, caught by surprise, committed suicide, ending Later Liang. Later Liang territory was taken by Later Tang. Qian Liu did not immediately react to Later Liang's destruction, but in late 924 offered tribute to Emperor Zhuangzong. In response, Emperor Zhuangzong conferred on him all of the titles that Later Liang had previously conferred on him. Qian submitted a large tribute, and gave many gifts to powerful Later Tang politicians. He requested that Emperor Zhuangzong grant him a golden seal, a certificate of his creation written on jade, the privilege of not being referred to by name, and the continued use of the title of king. Despite some Later Tang officials' reservations — pointing out that jade certificates were traditionally reserved for emperors and that, unless non-Chinese vassals were involved, vassals were not supposed to carry kingly titles — Emperor Zhuangzong granted Qian's requests. Subsequently, when Qian sent an emissary, Shen Tao (沈瑫), to Wu to inform Wu what had occurred, Wu authorities (probably referring to Xu Wen) refused Shen entry to Wu territory, on the basis that it believed that Wuyue, by the virtue of its name, was improperly showing ambition against Wu. The two states' relations interrupted for some time thereafter.

In 926, there was a time when Qian was, due to illness, resting at Yijin, leaving Qian Chuanguan in charge of the state affairs at the capital Qiantang (i.e., Hang Prefecture). Xu sent emissaries, ostensibly to wish Qian Liu a speedy recovery. Qian, judging correctly that Xu was trying to figure out how ill he was and preparing a potential attack, met with the emissaries despite his illness. Xu, believing that Qian was not that ill, cancelled the planned attack. Qian soon recovered and returned to Qiantang.

In 928, Qian wanted to officially make Qian Chuanguan his heir, but as Qian Chuanguan was not his oldest son, he decided to gather his sons and state, "State your contributions. I will make the one who has the most contributions my heir." In response, Qian Chuanguan's older brothers Qian Chuanyi (錢傳懿), Qian Chuanliao, and Qian Chuanjing (錢傳璟) all endorsed Qian Chuanguan. Qian thereafter submitted a petition to Emperor Zhuangzong's adoptive brother and successor Emperor Mingzong that the military governorships of Zhenhai and Zhendong be transferred to Qian Chuanguan. Emperor Mingzong approved the request.

By 929, Qian had offended Emperor Mingzong's army chief of staff (樞密使, Shumishi) An Chonghui by being arrogant in his style in his letters to An. Further, after Emperor Mingzong's emissaries to Wuyue, Wu Zhaoyu (烏昭遇) and Han Mei (韓玫) returned to Later Tang on a mission, Han accused Wu Zhaoyu of bowing to Qian and revealing state secrets to Qian. An thus persuaded Emperor Mingzong to order Wu Zhaoyu to commit suicide. Thereafter, Emperor MIngzong ordered Qian to retire with the title of Taishi (太師) and stripped him of all other titles, and further ordered that the Later Tang circuits arrest all Wuyue emissaries. Qian had his sons submit petitions to plead for him, but An ignored them. In 930, Qian, as Pei Yu (裴羽), the emissary that Emperor Mingzong had sent to create Wang Shenzhi's son and successor Wang Yanjun the Prince of Min was returning to Later Tang, wrote an apologetic petition and gave it to Pei to submit to Emperor Mingzong; in response, Emperor Mingzong released the Wuyue emissaries, but did not restore Qian's titles. In 931, after Emperor Mingzong removed An from his position as army chief of staff, he restored all of Qian's titles and blamed the situation on An.

In 932, Qian grew seriously ill. Despite his prior designation of Qian Chuanguan as heir, he, in order to test the subordinates' loyalty, stated, "I will surely not recover from this illness. My sons are foolish and weak. Who can succeed me as generalissimo?" The subordinates all responded, "The chancellor for the two circuits is both kind and filially pious, and also had accomplishments. Who would dare not to support him?" Qian Liu thus gave all of the keys to the storages to Qian Chuanguan, stating, "The generals and the administrators all support you. You should govern benevolently." He also stated, "My descendants should serve Zhongguo faithfully, regardless of what the surname of the ruling dynasty is." He died thereafter. Qian Chuanguan (who then changed his name to Qian Yuanguan) succeeded him (as King Wenmu). Emperor Mingzong gave Qian Liu the posthumous name of Wusu (武肅, "martial and solmen").

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