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A Chinese Biographical Dictionary/Fu Chien (苻健)

578 Fu Chien (苻健) (T. 建業). A.D. 316-355. Third son of Fu Hung, whom he succeeded in 350. Just before his birth his mother dreamt of a great bear, and as he grew up he showed signs of a warlike temperament and a love for military exercises. On his accession he discarded the title of Prince of Ch'in, and acknowledged the suzerainty of the House of Chin. He drove 杜洪 Tu Hung from Ch'ang-an, and took it for his capital. A year later he assumed the title of Great Khan and King of the Great Ch'in dynasty, and after defeating an Imperialist army, he proclaimed himself Emperor. He did away with the burdensome regulations of Chao and tried to alleviate the sufferings of the people. He encouraged learning and held scholars in high esteem. In 354 Huan Wên defeated his army at Lan-t'ien, to the south- east of Ch'ang-an, and encamped for a while on the 灞 Pa river, but was ultimately compelled to make a disastrous retreat. He died of grief for the loss of his brother 苻雄 Fu Hsiung (T. 元才), who had filled the posts of Chancellor and of General in his army. "If God," he cried, "wished me to tranquillise the empire, why did He carry off Yüan-ts'ai so soon?" He received unauthorised canonisation as 高祖明皇.