Biography (SGYY): Fa Zheng (Xiaozhi)

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Fa Zheng (Xiaozhi)
法正 (孝直)
Lived: AD 174–219

Sanguo Yanyi Officer Biography
Author Notes in Blue
Authored by Qu Hui

Fa Zheng (Xiaozhi)

Fa Zheng, style Xiaozhi, was from Mei in Youfufeng (1) and son of Fa Zhen. He served Liu Zhang in 211, but conspired with his friends Meng Da and Zhang Song to surrender Zhang’s territory of Yizhou to Liu Bei. Zhang Song was able to convince Liu Zhang to invite Liu Bei into Yizhou, and Fa and Meng Da were sent to invite him. On his mission, Xiaozhi would successfully convince Liu Bei to take advantage of the situation and attack Yizhou from within.

1: In the novel, it is called Fufeng. Youfufeng was a district of Liangzhou.

Before a meeting between Bei and Liu Zhang at the city of Fucheng, Fa Zheng recommended a plan to capture Zhang at said meeting to Pang Tong, who was acting as director general for Liu Bei’s forces; however, both Tong and his lord did not heed his advice. Later on, when Liu Bei began actively campaigning against Liu Zhang, Fa Zheng would provide information about the topography of Luoxian. Following the capture of Luoxian, Xiaozhi would send Liu Zhang a letter in an attempt to incite his surrender, but it did not work.

Finally, following the defection of Ma Chao to Liu Bei, Liu Zhang surrendered. For his contributions, Fa Zheng was appointed governor of Shu district. In 217, Cao Cao captured Hanzhong and Liu Bei, moving to cement his control over Yizhou, attacked the city. Following the capture of Mt. Tiandang, Fa Zheng was assigned to act as military director for Huang Zhong, who had led the successful first assault. Fa Zheng’s plan to lure in and capture Xiahou Yuan was a success that ultimately led to Yuan’s death (2).

2: Guan Lu, style Gongming, was a man well versed in the Book of Changes. During a divining session with Cao Cao, he divined thus:

“Three and eight run crisscross; a yellow pig meets a tiger.

South of the outpost, you will lose a limb.”

“Three and eight run crisscross” referred to Jian’an 24. The “yellow pig” references his death on the first of the five ‘Pig’ years in the sixty-year cycle. “South of the outpost” is Dingjun, where Yuan was killed. “You will lose a limb” refers to the familial relationship between Yuan and Cao Cao.

In 219, Fa Zheng would be one of the supporters of Liu Bei’s assertion to the title King of Hanzhong and would be appointed chief of the Secretariat. He would later recommend Wu Yi’s younger wife to be Liu Bei’s new empress. Zheng would die soon after and two years before the disastrous battle of Yiling (3).

3: Zhuge Liang, before the battle, lamented: “Fa Zheng, were he alive, could have prevented this expedition.”

Copyright © 2009-2010 Qu Hui. All Rights Reserved.
Source: Luo Guanzhong’s Romance of the Three Kingdoms