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Kwan, Lai-Hung (1972) The Factional Struggle of China, 820-850 A.D. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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The T'ang factional struggle was not self-contained, nor independent of external circumstances. The activities of factions were interwoven with those of the military governors and the eunuchs, and each party could affect, or be affected by, others. Factionalism was not directly responsible for the fall of the T'ang empire, but too often its degenerating power which ravaged the central administration is under-estimated. This thesis attempts to bring to surface the undercurrents of factional struggle that prevailed in the former half of the ninth century. While each of the theories advanced in the past does subscribe to the promotion of the knowledge of the T'ang's factional struggle, a comprehensive understanding of the whole matter could best be achieved by making a study of the wide spectrum of causes and results covering the political, social, academic, historical and geographical aspects. By this thesis I also attempt to correct the common concept of two contending factions having identical set-ups, headed by Niu Seng-ju and Li Te-yu (Niu-Li) respectively. The political group led by the former and his associates had all the essential attributes of a faction; whereas the opposite camp was ascribed to the latter who appeared to be an isolated character throughout. T'ang's factional struggle roughly covered the period 820 - 850 A.D., which tallied with the reigns of Mu-tsung, Ching-tsung, Wen-tsung, Wu-tsung, and the early years of Hsuan-tsung. The first two were pleasure-seekers; the third, though pious in thinking, was irresolute; Wu-tsung co-operated flawlessly with the superior statesman Li Te-yu for over five years and left no room for opposition political factions; Hsuan-tsung, like his father Hsien-tsung, was able to master the court and purged it of factions by virtue of his strong character and shrewdness, particularly at a time when the factional leaders were either dead or ageing.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 12 Oct 2020 17:26

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