Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period/Li Ch'êng-tung

LI Ch'êng-tung 李成棟 (T. 廷貞), d. Apr. 7, 1649, Ming-Ch'ing general with an unenviable reputation for cruelty, was a native of Liaotung (some accounts say of Shensi). Formerly an officer under Shih K'o-fa [q. v.], when the Manchu general Bolo [q. v.] undertook the subjugation of the south, Li Chêng-tung was brigade general at Hsü-chou, Kiangsu. He surrendered with his command and collaborated in capturing the region around Shanghai for the Manchus, oppressing the populace which was loyal to the Ming and slaughtering the defenders of Chia-ting (see Huang Ch'un-yüeh). Later he campaigned in Fukien, and in 1646 became general-in-chief of Kwangtung. Feeling that his services were not adequately rewarded and, if the stories can be credited, encouraged by a favorite concubine, on May 2, 1648 he changed his allegiance again and was made Duke of Hui-kuo (惠國公) by the southern Ming. He induced the Ming emperor, Chu Yu-lang [q. v.], to move his court to Chao-ch'ing, Kwangtung, was promoted to generalissimo, and soon dominated the government. Later in the same year he led an army of 200,000 into Kiangsi, and on December 9–10 he was ingloriously defeated by Ch'ing troops at Kan-chou-fu. In a second encounter at Hsin-fêng on April 7, 1649 his strategy failed and he was drowned in the course of the rout that followed. He was canonized as Chung-wu 忠武 and was given the posthumous title, Prince of Ning-hsia 寧夏王. His adopted son, Li Yüan-yin (see under Chin Pao), a Honanese whose original surname was Chia 賈, was made an earl.


[M.59/65/1a; Ming-chi nan-lüeh, 12/6b, 13/2b, 6b, 7a, 7b, 13a, 14b, 17a; 嘉定縣乙酉紀事 Chia-ting-hsien i-yu chi shih, T'ung-shih, XI; Shao T'ing-ts'ai [q. v.], Hsi-nan chi-shih 9/1a.]

Earl Swisher