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A Chinese Biographical Dictionary/Chao Chi


145 Chao Chi 趙佶. A.D. 1082-1135. Brother of Chao Hsü, whom he succeeded in 1100 as eighth Emperor of the Sung dynasty. For the first year the Empress Dowager 向 Hsiang was Regent, and displaced Chang Tun and Ts'ai Pien; but the Emperor soon recalled Ts'ai Ching, and the conservative party was again proscribed. The Emperor was a clever artist and an accomplished man, exceedingly fond of all rare and curious objects, which were wrung from the people by Chu Mien and the eunuch T'ung Kuan. In 1120 and 1121 local risings led to some alienation of this burden; but the people were already ruined. He also loved Taoism, and vast sums were expended over buildings for his assemblies of Taoist recluses. Ts'ai Ching, in spite of occasional reverses, remained the real Minister until he was turned out in 1125 by his son 攸 Yu, who boldly encouraged the Emperor to enjoy himself. In 1111 T'ung Kuan brought back the Liao traitor 李 (altered to 趙 Chao) 良嗣 Li Liang-ssŭ, and it was determined to use the rising power of the China Tartars to crush the Kitans, in the expectation of recovering the northern Districts. Accordingly, in 1122 Tung Kuan began hostilities, but the Imperial armies were twice routed, and a vast store of arms and equipments lost. When the Kitans were finally crushed, the demands of the China Tartars became extortionate, and in 1125 the latter invaded China in two columns. The Emperor, who had made no preparations to resist them, abdicated in favour of his son, taking the Taoist title of 教主道君太上皇帝. In 1127 he gave himself up, together with the new Emperor Ch'in Tsung, to the China army, which was besieging Pien-liang in Honan, and was carried north, where he died, his captors bestowing on him the contemptuous title of 昏德公 the Besotted Duke. His son, the first monarch of the Southern Sung dynasty, canonised him as 聖文仁德顯孝皇帝, with the temple name of 徽宗.