Stories from History: General Li Guang Couldn't Get Promoted

Yi Dou

PureInsight | August 8, 2007

[] General Li
Guang in the Han Dynasty (202 B.C. – 220 A.D.) was very brave and
heroic in wars. He had fought in over 70 wars throughout his life. Many
of his subordinates were promoted for their military achievements, but
Li Guang was nothing but a Prefect ranking 2000 Dan until his death.
People sighed, "Li Guang had a hard time getting promoted," and made
him a symbol for those in history who were unable to give full play to
their talent. However, if you ponder well enough, you will see there
might be some reasons for Li Guang's lack of promotion.   

One day, Li Guang went hunting on the South Mountain. While trying to
go through the Lingba Pass, the official in charge yelled at him and
prohibited him from passing. Li Guang's entourage told the official,
"This is the former General Li." The official said, "I don't care even
if he is an incumbent general. Not to mention a former one!" Before
long, the Xiongnu army invaded China and the Emperor reinstated Li
Guang. Li Guang obtained the Emperor's permission to bring the official
from the Lingba Pass with him to assume duty. But as soon as he arrived
at the army post, Li Guang killed that official.

When Li Guang was in charge of Longxi Prefect, some Qiang nationality
people carried on a rebellion. Li Guang persuaded more than 800 Qiang
people to surrender, but he had them all killed on the same day.


Li Guang followed General Wei Qing on a military expedition but he got
lost and missed the schedule. According to the military rule he
deserved death penalty. Li Guang committed suicide. Li Guang's son, Li
Gan, took his anger out on General Wei Qing and injured the General.
General Wei Qing did not fight back or make any mention of it.

A person who wants to carry big responsibilities must start with
self-improvement. Our forefathers said, "Cultivate yourself, harmonize
your family, and enable the whole earthly world to be at peace." It was
indeed sensible.

From Historical Records

Translated from: http://www.zheng

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