Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period/Li Yung-fang

LI Yung-fang 李永芳, d. 1634, Chinese general who served under the Manchus, was a native of T'ieh-ling, Liaotung. In 1613, when the Manchu expansion began to cause friction with the Ming Court, he was a major at Fu-shun. He attempted a parley with the Manchu leader concerning Chinese support to the Yehe, a tribe with which Nurhaci [q. v.] was at war. Nevertheless when the latter in 1618 disclosed his seven grounds for irritation at Chinese policy and declared open war against the Ming emperor, the city of Fu-shun became the first object of his attack. Li surrendered without a struggle and, together with the entire population, was carried off to the Manchu stronghold of Hsing-ching, east of Mukden. There he was given a position of authority over the conquered Chinese and was provided with a Manchu wife, the daughter of Nurhaci's seventh son. Li rendered effective service to the Manchus in the campaigns of 1619 and 1621, for which he was made a brigade-general. For refusing all entreaties of Wang Hua-chên [q. v.] to reaffirm his allegiance to China, the Manchus granted him advance pardon equivalent to the commutation of three death sentences. Since he was the first Chinese of importance to join the Manchus, his value to the latter was great. He helped materially, for example, in conducting the peace negotiations with the Koreans in 1627 (see under Amin). He died seven years later, soon after receiving the hereditary rank of viscount of the third class.

Li Yung-fang had nine sons, the most prominent of whom were Bayan (see under Li Shih-yao), inheritor of the rank of viscount, and Li Shuai-t'ai [q. v.] who on his own merit received the hereditary rank of a first class baron. After 1642 Li Yung-fang's descendants belonged to the Chinese Plain Blue Banner.

[1/237/2b; 2/78/10a; 4/5/5b; 明季北略 Ming-chi pei-lüeh 1/1b; Hauer, K'ai-kuo fang-lüeh 66f.]

George A. Kennedy