A Chinese Biographical Dictionary/Chao Kou

166 Chao Kou 趙構. A.D. 1107-1187. Ninth son of Chao Chi, and first Emperor of the Southern Sung dynasty, reigning from 1127 to 1162. When the China Tartars carried his brother, the Emperor Ch'in Tsung (see Chao Chi) and nearly all the Imperial family into captivity, he was placed on the throne at Nanking by the degraded wife of Chê Tsung (who alone had been left behind) at the request of the China puppet Chang Pang-ch'ang. Aided by Tsung Tsê, Li Kang, and other patriots, he re-established the Sungs, though with a much lessened territory; but he would not prosecute the war against China with ardour, and preferred peace and the comfort of Hangchow, whither he removed his capital permanently in 1138. At the beginning of his reign he was entirely in the hands of his favourites 黃濳善 Huang Ch'ien-shan and 王伯彥 Wang Po-yen; and from 1141 until his death in 1155 Ch'in Kuei wielded supreme power. Li Kang and Chao Ting strove in vain to rouse their master to shame for his lost territory; and Chang Chün, Han Shih-chung, 劉錡 Liu I, and Yo Fei, whose prowess prevented farther curtailment of his dominions, were alternately honoured and disgraced by the vacillating monarch. Driven in 1129 from Yang-chou, where he narrowly escaped capture by China raiders, of whose advance his favourites had kept him ignorant, the Emperor was forced by two discontented leaders of his body-guard to abdicate in favour of his son. Chang Chün and 呂頤浩 Lü I-hao, however, succeeded in replacing him on the throne. In the same year Nanking and Hangchow fell before the northern invaders, and the Emperor had to seek refuge on shipboard. Yo Fei stemmed the tide of conquest, and Han Shih-chung, despite ultimate defeat, made the recrossing of the Yang-tzse so hard a task that the Chinsa never penetrated south of it again. The war continued with varying success, and extreme hardship to the worn-out people of China. It was complicated by the ambitious hostility of the rival Emperor Liu Yü (q.v.), and by rebellions in Hu-Kuang, Kiangsi, and Fuhkien. The patriots wasted their energies in unworthy rivalries, by which Ch'in Kuei profited to drive all opponents of his peace policy from Court; and in 1141 he induced the Emperor to agree to derogatory terms of peace, which included cession of territory in Shensi and all north of the Huai river, acknowledgment of vassalage, and a yearly tribute. The death of Ch'in Kuei was followed by an immediate change of policy, and by a fresh China irruption in 1162. The northern throne, however, was seized by a usurper, who was as anxious for peace as was the Chinese Emperor. On its ratification, Chao Kou abdicated in favour of his adopted son, Chao Shên. Canonised as 高宗皇帝.