Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period/Shang Chih-hsin

SHANG Chih-hsin 尚之信, d. 1680, age 45 (sui), was the second son of Shang K'o-hsi [q. v.] Through the early death of his elder brother he became heir, and in 1654, at the age of nineteen (sui), was sent to Court to be in attendance on Emperor Shih-tsu. The latter treated him with honor out of regard for the services of his father, and ordered that in matters of Court etiquette he should be considered to have the rank of duke. Similar consideration was shown him by Emperor Shêng-tsu. In 1671, at the request of his father who was ailing in health, Shang Chih-hsin was sent to Kwangtung to take charge of military affairs under his father's direction. He turned out to be licentious and cruel, established a separate palace for himself, and acted in general with entire independence. During his drunken rages, he is said to have killed servants for amusement or to supply food for the large pack of dogs that he kept. In 1673 his father, reduced to desperation, petitioned the Emperor for permission to retire and leave his son in charge. Although intended as a strategic move to compel action against his son, the proposal was accepted, and preparations were made to retire at the same time other powerful independent princes of the South. Before Shang K'o-hsi had left Kwangtung the rebellion of Wu San-kuei [q. v.] began, the latter being joined by Kêng Ching-chung [q. v.] in Fukien.

When one of the subordinate generals who was stationed at Ch'ao-chou went over to the rebels in 1674, Shang Chih-hsiao [q. v.], third son of Shang K'o-hsi, was sent to restore order. Shang Chih-hsin, who accompanied him, was irked at receiving a commission inferior to that of his younger brother. Two years later, when the rebellious forces pressed on Kwangtung from both sides, Shang Chih-hsin decided to join them and accepted from Wu San-kuei the title of Prince Fu-tê (輔德親王). When, however, Wu began to make appointments to important positions in Kwangtung, Shang Chih-hsin regretted having joined the rebellion and reopened negotiations with the government forces in Kiangsi. His allegiance was accepted, his succession to the rank of prince was confirmed, and by the end of 1677 the province of Kwangtung had been recovered. Shang Chih-hsin refused thereafter to engage in further operations against the rebels, ignoring all the orders sent to him by the government. Not until after the death of Wu San-kuei, in 1678, did he agree to undertake a campaign into Kwangsi. Meanwhile the younger brother, Shang Chihhsiao, attempted to persuade the government to take from Shang Chih-hsin the title of prince. To this end he sent a number of reports to Peking, detailing the latter's wickedness and accusing him of plotting another rebellion. In the spring of 1680, just as Shang Chih-hsin had taken the city of Wu-hsüan in northern Kwangsi, orders arrived for his arrest and transportation to the capital for trial. He was taken as far as Canton where he tried to get revenge on one of the principal informers against him by causing his assassination. When this was reported to the Emperor an order was issued on September 20 for his immediate death. He was permitted to commit suicide.

Three of his brothers and several of his associates were executed. The princedom of P'ing-nan Wang 平南王, which had been held by Shang K'o-hsi before him, was abolished.

[1/480/13b; 2/80/25a; P'ing-nan Ching Ch'in-wang Shang K'o-hsi shih-shih ts'ê (see bibliography under Shang K'o-hsi); Haenisch, E., T'oung Pao, 1913, p. 94.]

George A. Kennedy