Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period/Ch'ên Ch'i-yü

CH'ÊN Ch'i-yü 陳奇瑜 (T. 玉鉉, H. 正學), d. 1648, Ming official, was a native of Pao-tê-chou, Shansi. A chin-shih of 1616, he was appointed magistrate of Loyang, Honan. He was promoted to a censor and memorialized against the eunuch, Wei Chung-hsien [q. v.]. In 1626 he was appointed to a post in Shensi and six years later was raised to acting governor of the northern part of that province where famine had caused the people to flock to the rebel-bandit standard of Li Tzŭ-ch'êng [q. v.]. By 1634 his vigorous campaigning had effectively reduced the bandits in Shensi but the evil had spread to neighboring provinces. To unify control he was given full powers for bandit suppression in Shensi, Shansi, Honan, Hukuang, and Szechwan. Organizing his command, he trapped Li Tzŭ-ch'êng and Chang Hsien-chung [q. v.] with 36,000 troops in a valley near Hsing-an-fu 興安府, southeastern Shensi. Accepting their proffered surrender, he sent them under guard to return to their farms. En route they mutinied, killed their guards, and the countryside was again thrown into uproar. Ch'ên Ch'i-yü tried to shift the responsibility but was removed from office (1634) and sentenced to exile. Later he was allowed to return to his home. While serving in Honan Ch'ên Ch'i-yü had used his influence to secure the succession of the title of Prince of T'ang to Chu Yü-chien [q. v.]. When the latter set up court in Fukien he named Ch'ên a Grand Secretary. The elderly official, however, never received the appointment and was executed at his home for refusing to comply with the Manchu order to cut his hair. Ch'ên Ch'i-yü's grandson, Ch'ên Ta-mo 陳大謨 (T. 聖祥, chü-jên of 1648), was magistrate of Ch'ing-fu, Szechwan, in the sixteen-sixties.


[M.1/260/5a; 小腆紀傳 Hsiao-t'ien chi-chuan 56/15b; Pao-tê-chou chih (1785) 7/4b; (1932) 7/3b; writings, ibid. 10/2b, 11/16a, 11/16b, 11/35a; 明紀北略 Ming-chi pei-lüeh 9/4a; 10/2a, 3a; Pao-tê chou chih (1932), 7/3b, 6b, 18a.]

Earl Swisher