Qian Liu - Rule Over Zhenhai and Zhendong

Rule Over Zhenhai and Zhendong

After Qian Liu killed Dong Chang, Emperor Zhaozong bestowed on Qian the greater honorary chancellor title of Zhongshu Ling (中書令), but for some time did not official confirm his takeover of Weisheng. Instead, he commissioned the chancellor Wang Tuan as the military governor of Weisheng. Qian, however, got the soldiers and the people of both Zhenhai and Weisheng to submit petitions asking that Qian be given Weisheng as well. Emperor Zhaozong was forced to recall Wang and, after renaming Weisheng to Zhendong (鎮東), made Qian the military governor of both Zhenhai and Zhendong.

Despite Dong's destruction, the warfare between Qian and Yang Xingmi did not cease, and over the next several years there were intermittent battles as both sides tried to capture cities that the other side controlled. Qian captured Hu (湖州, in modern Huzhou, Zhejiang from Yang's vassal Li Yanhui (李彥徽) in 897 and recaptured Su from Huainan's officer Qin Pei (秦裴) in 898, while Tian Jun's subordinate Kang Ru (康儒) captured Wu Prefecture (婺州, in modern Jinhua, Zhejiang) from Qian's nominal vassal Wang Tan (王檀) in 899. In 901, Emperor Zhaozong bestowed the honorary chancellor title of Shizhong (侍中) on Qian. Also that year, Qian's mother Lady Shuiqiu died.

In fall 901, a rumor reached Yang that Qian had been assassinated. Yang, believing the rumor, sent his officer Li Shenfu to attack Hang Prefecture, to try to seize it in a power vacuum. Qian sent Gu Quanwu to resist the attack. Gu viewed Li Shenfu lightly, and Li Shenfu and his deputy Lü Shizao (呂師造) were able to ambush, defeat, and capture him. Li Shenfu put Lin'an under siege, but soon realized that the rumor of Qian's death was a false one. He could not capture Lin'an quickly and was apprehensive that Qian might counterattack, and therefore gained goodwill by protecting Qian's family tombs and allowing Gu, whom Qian valued greatly, to write home. He also pretended that a major Huainan reinforcement was on the way. Qian thus sought peace and offered a monetary reward. Li Shenfu, after accepting it, withdrew. In 902, the sides made peace, and Gu was returned to Qian in return for Qin. Later that year, Emperor Zhaozong promoted Qian's princely title from Prince of Pengcheng to Prince of Yue.

In fall 902, Qian faced the most serious challenge to his rule since he took over the two circuits. He was visiting his ancestral neighborhood in Lin'an, which he had promoted to the status of Yijin Base (衣錦軍). Meanwhile, he ordered his officer Xu Wan (徐綰), and Xu's soldiers to dredge a canal, a task that Xu and his soldiers, who had previously served under Sun Ru and who fled to Qian after Yang defeated Sun, complained about; despite the advice by Cheng Ji, who was Qian's deputy military governor by this point, to rescind the dredging order, Qian did not relent. While Qian was at Yijin, Xu and Xu Zaisi (許再思) started a mutiny and tried to capture Hang Prefecture, which was defended by Qian's son Qian Chuanying (錢傳瑛) and Ma Chuo (馬綽). They captured the outer city, but Qian Chuanying and Ma held out against the attack in the inner city. Qian Liu, hearing of the mutiny, had to rush back to Hang Prefecture and only got into the inter city through the siege with difficulty. With the inner city continued to be under siege, there were some suggestions that Qian flee to Zhendong's capital Yue Prefecture, but Qian remained at Hang after advice from Du Leng's son Du Jianhui (杜建徽).

Still, Qian was concerned that Xu Wan and Xu Zaisi would instead seize Yue, and he was ready to send Gu to Yue to defend it. Gu, however, pointed out that Xu Wan and Xu Zaisi, after being unable to capture Hang quickly, would surely seek aid from Tian, and that he should try to ensure that Yang would not agree with such an action. At Gu's advice, Qian had his son Qian Chuanliao (錢傳璙) accompany Gu on a mission to Huainan (to offer Qian Chuanliao as a hostage to Yang), seeking for Yang to stop a potential attack from Tian.

After Gu and Qian Chuanliao departed for Huainan's capital Guangling (廣陵), as Gu expected, Xu Wan and Xu Zaisi sought aid from Tian. Tian arrived with an army to aid the siege, while offering Qian safe passage to Yue if he was willing to yield Hang. Qian refused. Tian thus put Hang under siege. Meanwhile, Gu and Qian Chuanliao had arrived at Guangling and persuaded Yang that if Tian seized Hang, his power would increase such that he would no longer be subordinate to Yang and would in fact pose a major danger. Yang, after keeping Qian Chuanliao at Guangling and marrying a daughter to him, thus agreed to recall Tian. When Tian initially failed to withdraw, Yang sent the message, "If you do not return, I will send someone else to take over Xuan Prefecture ." Tian thus agreed to withdraw, after extracting money tributes and Qian Liu's son Qian Chuanguan as a hostage, to whom he gave a daughter in marriage. Xu Wan and Xu Zaisi followed Tian back to Ningguo.

In 903, Tian, resentful of how Yang forced him to abandon the Zhenhai campaign, rebelled against Yang, along with An Renyi. Yang sent Li Shenfu to engage Tian, and LI Shenfu, after initial victories, captured Xu Wan. Yang had Xu Wan delivered to Qian, and Qian cut out Xu Wan's heart and sacrificed it to Gao Wei (高渭), an officer who was killed in the Xu Wan/Xu Zaisi mutiny. With Tian and An each having substantial armies, Yang sought aid from Qian, and Qian sent his officer Fang Yongzhen (方永珍) to help attack An's base Run Prefecture, his cousin Qian Yi (錢鎰) to help attack Xuan Prefecture, and Yang Xi (楊習) to attack Mu Prefecture (睦州, in modern Hangzhou), whose prefect Chen Xun (陳詢) had rebelled against Qian. Around the new year 904, Tian was killed by Tai Meng in battle, and Yang regained control of Ningguo. In the aftermaths, Qian Chuanguan, whom Tian had wanted to kill but who was protected by Tian's mother Lady Yin and Tian's brother-in-law Guo Shicong (郭師從), returned to Hang safely. Yang also returned Qian Chuanliao and his wife (Yang's daughter) to Hang Prefecture. Meanwhile, Qian had sent requests to the imperial government, seeking to be created the Prince of Wuyue — to signify his ambition toward not only the historical Yue region (modern Zhejiang) but also the historical Wu region (modern Jiangsu). The imperial government refused. Zhu Quanzhong the military governor of Xuanwu Circuit (宣武, headquartered in modern Kaifeng, Henan), who had by this point seized control of Emperor Zhaozong and forced him to move the capital to Luoyang, however, was an ally of Qian's, and so at Zhu's request, Qian was created the Prince of Wu (a title that Yang also carried).

Mu Prefecture, however, remained out of Qian's control, and in late 904, after Qian sent Ye Rang (葉讓) to try to assassinate Chen Zhang (陳璋) the prefect of Qu Prefecture (衢州, in modern Quzhou, Zhejiang), whom Qian had resented for receiving Xu Wan's associate Zhang Hong (張洪), Chen Zhang also submitted to Yang. Meanwhile, Yang sent Tao Ya (陶雅) to aid Chen Xun. When Qian Yi, Gu, and Wang Qiu (王球) engaged Tao, Tao defeated them, capturing Qian Yi and Wang. Tao then further advanced to attack Wu Prefecture, and Qian sent his brother Qian Biao and Fang to try to relieve Wu Prefecture. After Yang's death in 905 and succession by his son Yang Wo, however, because Yang Wo had a running dispute with Wang Maozhang the governor of Xuan Prefecture, Wang Maozhang abandoned Xuan and fled to Qian. Apprehensive that Wang Maozhang would cut off his escape path, Tao withdrew, allowing Qian to retake Mu and Qu Prefectures.

In 907, Qian Liu sent Qian Chuanliao and Qian Chuanguan to attack Wen (溫州, in modern Wenzhou, Zhejiang) and Chu (處州, in modern Lishui, Zhejiang) Prefectures, which were part of Zhendong Circuit but had been held independently by the brothers Lu Ji (盧佶) and Lu Yue (盧約) respectively. They defeated and killed Lu Ji quickly, and Lu Yue subsequently surrendered, allowing Qian Liu to take control of Wen and Chu Prefectures.

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