Biography (COB): Emperor Xian (Liu Xie)

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Emperor Xian (Liu Xie) (Bohe)Emperor Xian (Liu Xie - Bohe)
獻皇帝 (劉協 - 伯和)

Comprehensive Officer Biography
Translated & Authored by

Place of Birth: Luo Yang
Lifespan: AD 181 – 234 (53 Years)
Titles: Prince of Chen Liu, Han Emperor, Lord of Shanyang
Family: Emperor Ling (father), Consort Wang (mother), Empress Dowager Dong (grandmother), Emperor Shao (older brother)

Liu Xie was the second son of Han Emperor Ling and the Consort Wang. (1). On May fifteenth in the sixth year of Central Stability (AD 189), Liu Xie’s father died and his older brother Liu Bian was placed on the throne as the Emperor Shao. Liu Xie was titled the King of Chen Liu soon after.

He Jin and the Empress-Dowager He tried their best to keep Emperor Shao as their Emperor, but the internal discord between them and the palace eunuchs caused great trouble. When Dong Zhuo entered the capital Luo Yang, he replaced the Emperor Shao with the then eight year old Liu Xie. On September twenty–eighth of AD 189, Liu Xie was made the Emperor Xian. (2). The reign title was changed to Beginning Peace, with AD 190 as the first year.

When Dong Zhuo and others were purposely holding Emperor Xian for their own benefit and rebelling against his rule, Emperor Xian took action by “Driving off a Wolf with a Tiger.” When Li Jue and Guo Si kidnapped the Emperor after Dong Zhuo’s death, Lord Cao lead his army to rescue the Emperor and slay the rebels. The Han Capital was moved to Xu Chang where Lord Cao appointed a new Imperial Secretariat and denied the Emperor his rightful power.

The Emperor Xian was unhappy with Lord Cao’s abuse of power and in the fifth year of Rebuilt Tranquility (AD 200), he sent out an official decree known as the Girdle Edict. Emperor Xian ordered his old loyal ministers to assassinate Lord Cao. However the plot was discovered and many Ministers and innocent people were massacred by Lord Cao’s troops.

In June of the thirteenth year of Rebuilt Tranquility (AD 208), Lord Cao appointed himself as Prime Minister of the Han. In the nineteenth year of Rebuilt Tranquility (AD 214), Emperor Xian tried to use Liu Bei and Sun Quan to remove Lord Cao. Again many people of the Emperor’s clan lost their lives in this failed attempt.

The next year in AD 215, Lord Cao forced the Emperor Xian to marry one of his daughters and make her Empress. Lord Cao then appointed the three Great Ministers and took away all power from the Emperor Xian.

In the last year of Rebuilt Tranquility (AD 220), Cao Pi forced the Emperor to abdicate in his favor. The rule of the last Han Emperor had ended, and the rule of Wei took its place with Cao Pi as the first Emperor. Liu Xie was given the title Lord of Shanyang and was removed from the court. He died of natural causes at the age of fifty–three.

(1) Liu Xie’s mother the Beauty Wang was murdered by the jealous Lady He, the Head Concubine of Emperor Ling. Emperor Ling’s mother; Empress–Dowager Dong took care of her grandson after that. <return>

(2) In SGYY, Dong Zhuo expresses his favor towards the young Liu Xie: “But Liu Xian, Prince of Chen Liu, is sage and virtuous besides being of handsome exterior. He conforms to all the rules of propriety: His mourning is sincere, and his speech is always correct. Eulogies of him fill the empire. He is well fitted for the great duty of consolidating the rule of Han.” <return>

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Major Sources: Zhongguo Lishizhu – Professor T.Chen (1965 Peking)