Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period/Chao Liang-tung
CHAO Liang-tung 趙良棟 ( 擎之, 西華), Nov.–Dec., 1621–1697, Mar. 26, general, was a native of Sui-tê, Shensi. In 1645 when the Manchu forces conquered Shensi he joined them, was enlisted under Mêng Ch'iao-fang [q. v.] and before long was made a captain with headquarters at Ninghsia (then in Kansu). From this time he made his home at Ninghsia and came to be considered a native of that district. After several promotions he became, in 1656, a colonel and adjutant to Hung Ch'êng-ch'ou [q. v.], then commander of the armies fighting the remnant Ming forces in southwest China. In 1662 he was made brigade-general stationed at Kuang-lo, Yunnan, and was transferred to P'ing-yüan, Kweichow, in 1665; to Ta-t'ung, Shansi, in 1669; and to Tientsin in 1672. Soon the rebellion of Wu San-kuei [q. v.] and other generals brought turmoil to South China and to Shensi (see under Wang Fu-ch'ên). In 1676 Chao was recommended by Chang Yung [q. v.] as competent for the post of commander-in-chief of the forces at Ninghsia, and his appointment was approved. He stabilized Ninghsia and northern Kansu, and in the course of three years trained an army of five thousand men. In 1679 he volunteered to lead these men in the recovery of Szechwan and Yunnan, and was granted his plea. Under the general command of Tuhai [q. v.], he led one of the four armies that went southward, the other three being commanded by Tuhai himself, Sun Ssŭ-k'o [q. v.], and Wang Chin-pao 王進寶 (T. 顯吾, posthumous name 忠勇, 1626–1685). In this campaign Chao proved his bravery and soon took several cities in southwestern Shensi. For this achievement he was given the rank and title of General Yung-lüeh (勇略將軍). In 1680 he and Wang advanced still farther and soon stabilized the province of Szechwan. Chao was rewarded with the post of governor-general of Yunnan and Kweichow, and his eldest son, Chao Hung-ts'an 趙宏燦 ( 天英, d. 1717, posthumous name 敏恪), was made brigade-general of Ninghsia in the hope that Chao Liang-tung would continue to exercise virtual control. The latter, however, became the victim of jealous generals. When two Manchu generals under him in southern Szechwan were forced to retreat they and Wang Chin-pao blamed Chao for not sending sufficient recruits. Whereas Wang became a viscount, Chao received no reward, but was ordered instead to help in the recovery of Yunnan. In 1681 Chao advanced to the last stronghold of Wu San-kuei's remnant forces on the outskirts of Yunnanfu, the capital of Yunnan. The city had been besieged for several months by Ch'ing troops but fell immediately to the assault of Chao's men. After the city was taken the spoils were divided among all the generals except Chao who remained outside the city.
In 1682 Chao Liang-tung was recalled to Peking for trial in connection with the loss of several cities in the above-mentioned operations in southern Szechwan in 1680. In consequence of the trial one of the two Manchu generals who had retreated before the enemy was sentenced to enslavement and the other was discharged. Chao was degraded, and appointed Commissioner of the Imperial Equipage Department. In 1683 he memorialized the throne, reminding it of his exploits in the recovery of Yunnan, and maintaining that he was misjudged and inadequately rewarded. The State Council of princes and high officials considered his case and declared that his faults neutralized his merits. Chao was then permitted to retire to Ninghsia. In 1686 Emperor Shêng-tsu applauded him for his conduct at the fall of the capital of Yunnan, and restored his rank of general and governor-general. Two years later Chao went to Peking, again claimed a more suitable reward and was given (1690) the minor hereditary rank of Ch'i tu-yü.
When the border defenses were strengthened in 1691 to guard against a possible invasion by the Eleuths, Chao was made advisor to the local authorities at Ninghsia and in 1693 was for a time in charge of the local garrison. In the following year he again went to Peking and complained that Tuhai and Mingju [q. v.] had been unfair to him in their reports about his military exploits. Though reproved by the emperor for these recriminations he was given (1695) the hereditary rank of viscount of the first class. He spent his last years at his home in Ninghsia, and after he died in 1697 he was canonized as Hsiang-chung 襄忠. He was further honored by later rulers: Emperor Shih-tsung placed his name in the Temple of Eminent Statesmen, and in 1767 Emperor Kao-tsung changed the family hereditary rank to one including rights of perpetual inheritance. In 1782 this rank was advanced to an earl of the first class.
Chao Liang-tung had five sons of whom the two eldest were famous. Chao Hung-ts'an, after serving at several military posts, was made governor-general of Kwangtung and Kwangsi (1706) and was appointed president of the Board of War (1716) but died at Wuchang in 1717 on his way north. He was canonized as Min-k'o 敏恪. The second son, Chao Hung-hsieh 趙宏燮 (Wang Yüan-ch'i).亮工, 理庵, 1656–1722), heir to the hereditary rank, was governor of Chihli from 1705 to 1722. His posthumous name was Su-min 肅敏. The two brothers and Chao Hung-ts'an's son, Chao Chih-yūan 趙之垣, financed the printing of the illustrated records of the celebrations of the sixtieth birthday of Emperor Shêng-tsu, entitled Wan-shou shêng-tien (see under
[1/261/3a; 3/276/33a; 4/14/19a; 3/59/46a; 4/68/ 20a; P'ing-ting San-ni fang-lüeh (see under Han T'an) passim; 1/261/6a; 王忠勇公事實 Wang Chung-yung kung shih-shih in 史料叢刊初集 Shih-liao ts'ung-k'an ch'u-chi; Chang Yü-shu [q. v.], Chang Wên-chên kung chi, 5/42a.]