An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History, Literature and Art

Gongzhong Lian 公仲連

Mar 15, 2019 © Ulrich Theobald

Gongzhong Lian 公仲連 was a high minister in the state of Zhao 趙 during the Warring States period 戰國 (5th cent.-221 BCE). He served Marquis Lie 趙烈侯 as counsellor (405-400).

Marquis Lie was fond of music and intended to rewards some of his singers and dancers with servants and 10,000 mu 畝 (see weights and measures) of land, but as a responsible regent, Gongzhong Lian remonstranted against the dissipation of wealth. When the Marquis ignored this advice, Gongzhong pleaded illness and refused to go to court. In 402, the Lord of Fanwu 番吾君 recommended to Gongzhong three persons of high abilities, namely Niu Chu 牛畜, Xu Xin 荀欣, and Xu Yue 徐越. The counsellor accepted and introduced the three to Marquis Lie. Niu Chu was in fact able to convince the sovereign to carry out a benevolent government (renyi 仁義) by adhering to the "royal Way" of old (wangdao 王道); Xun Xin urged him to promote and appoint "worthy and competent" (xian neng 賢能) persons; and Xu Yue suggested not to squander the finances of the state ( 節財儉用) and examine officials according to their performance (chadu gongde 察度功德).

Their words finally convinced Marquis Lie to refrain from his prodigious presents to the singers, and he appointed Niu Chu Preceptor (shi 師), Xun Xin Central Defendor (zhongwei 中尉), and Xu Yue Chamberlain (neishi 內史). Gongzhong Lian was rewarded with two suits of robes. The reforms carried out by the three persons were a mixture of legalist and Confucian statecraft and the model for the mode of governance in imperial China.

Xiong Tieji 熊鐵基, Yang Youli 楊有禮, ed. (1994). Zhongguo diwang zaixiang cidian 中國帝王宰相辭典 (Wuhan: Hubei jiaoyu chubanshe), 452.
Zhang Jianhua 張建華, ed. (1996). Handan cidian 邯鄲辭典 (Beijing: Kexue puji chubanshe), 398.
Zhang Huizhi 張撝之, Shen Qiwei 沈起煒, Liu Dezhong 劉德重, ed. (1999). Zhongguo lidai renming da cidian 中國歷代人名大辭典 (Shanghai: Shanghai guji chubanshe), Vol. 1, 288.