Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period/Liu Tsê-ch'ing

LIU Tsê-ch'ing 劉澤清 (T. 鶴洲) d. Dec. 9, 1648, renegade Ming general with a reputation for cruelty, hypocrisy, and corruption, was a native of Ts'ao-hsien, Shantung. Starting his career as second captain in a military post in Liaotung, he distinguished himself fighting against the Manchu invaders and by 1633 had attained the rank of brigade-general and three years later, general-in-chief and Grand Preceptor of the Heir Apparent. In 1640 there was a great famine in Shantung, the people resorted to banditry, and Liu Tsê-ch'ing was assigned to suppress the disorder and ameliorate their condition. He was degraded one rank for misappropriation of funds. When Li Tzŭ-ch'êng [q. v.] was besieging Kaifeng he attempted to relieve the city, but his force was routed and many of his men drowned. Nevertheless he reported success and claimed rewards. He disregarded his orders, raided the country south of Lin-ch'ing, and when the censor Han Ju-yü 韓如愈 impeached his lawlessness, he had him murdered.

When the dynasty fell he went to Nanking and joined the Ma Shih-ying [q. v.] faction in support of the Prince of Fu (see under Chu Yu-sung). He was appointed one of the Four Guardian Generals, along with Kao Chieh, Liu Liang-tso, and Huang Tê-kung [qq. v.], given the title of earl, later marquis, of Tung-p'ing 東平 and assigned headquarters at Huai-an, northern Kiangsu, with jurisdiction over Shantung. He used his military prestige to engage in intrigue at the Nanking court, working hand in glove with Ma Shih-ying and clashing with the reform faction led by Chiang Yüeh-kuang and Liu Tsung-chou [qq. v.]. In 1645 when the Manchu prince Dodo [q. v.] was besieging Yangchow he sent General Junta (see under Hûrhan) with a detachment to Huai-an. Liu Tsê-ch'ing, with more than fifty of his officers, 2,000 men, and 30 ships, surrendered to him and was sent to Peking where he was given the rank of third class viscount. In 1648 he was charged with conspiring with some of his fellow-townsmen to place a distant relative of the late Ming emperor on the throne. On December 9 Liu was executed and his family sent into exile.

[M.1/273/15b; 2/80/43b; M.59/64/11a; M.35/13/12a; Mao Nai-yung 毛乃庸, 季明封爵表 Chi-Ming fêng-chüeh piao (1933) 1b.]

Earl Swisher