Stories from History: Qu Tutong's Well-Intentioned Advice


PureInsight | April 20, 2008

[] Qu Tutong was a brave general in the Sui dynasty. Once, Emperor Wendi ordered him to check the livestock record at Longxi and he found there were twenty thousand horses not recorded in the book. Emperor Wendi got very angry and arrested fifteen hundred officials related to the affair and wanted to execute them all.

Qu Tutong said to the emperor: "It is a matter of life and death. If they are executed, they will not come to life again. Your highness's kindness has spread over the whole world. Do you really mean to kill all fifteen hundred people just for these livestock?"

Emperor Wendi was in a fit of anger and reprimanded him. Qu Tutong knelt to plead for the lives of these officials: "I am willing to die for them instead."

Emperor Wendi came to realize the seriousness and said: "I was confused and that's why I behaved that way. Thanks for your kind advice." He, thus, punished those officials according to the law and didn't execute any of them. Emperor Wendi then promoted Qu Tutong to General Guarding the Left to honor him.  

Qu Tutong was a military officer, but he cherished life. On the contrary, several tens of millions of Chinese citizens died from hunger under the rule of the Chinese Communist Party military officials. Major general Zhu Chenghu, Dean of Defense Matters, Chinese Military Academy, once told a reporter from the Wall Street Journal that if a conflict occurs in the Taiwan Strait and if the US intervenes, China will consider using nuclear weapons to destroy several hundred US cities and that China is prepared to sacrifice billions of Chinese people and the cities east of Xi'an.  How can the lives of Chinese people under such military officials not be in danger?

 Source: New Tang Book

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