A Step into the Past - Volume 25 - Chapter 13
Book 25 Chapter 13 – United States of China
As the rebellion forces of Lu Buwei and Lao Ai are mainly staffed by foreigners from the six States, coupled with Zhengguo Canal being exposed as a trick by Han to destroy Qin, on top of Yingzheng’s worry that the foreigners from the six States will continue to propagate ‘rumours’, Yingzheng implemented an ‘anti foreigner’ policy despite the mounting protests from his officials, instantly endangering foreign guests from the eastern States.
Li Si is fully conscious that he knows too much for his own good. Nonetheless, he is highly supportive of Yingzheng’s dream to unite the States. At the risk of his life, he submitted the following report:
"When subordinate heard that the Court of Qin has decided to implement anti-foreigner policies, I felt that this move in inappropriate! In the past, Duke Lao was seeking talent. From the west, he recruited You Yu from Rong; east, Baili Xi from Wan; welcomed Jian Shu from Song; and embraced Pei Bao and Gongsun Zi from Jing. None of these five men are originally from Qin but with their support, Duke Lao was able to occupy more than twenty States, forming the Kingdom of West Rong.
Using the laws of Shang Yang, Duke Xiao reformed local customs and manners, causing the population to greatly flourish and the country to grow rich and powerful. The population rejoiced, and the feudal lords were subjugated. Obtaining experts from Wei and Chu, they gained sway over thousands of miles of land, and to this day their governance was strong.
King Hui used the stratagems of Zhang Yi and seized the three river plains areas. In the west, he consolidated the states of Ba and Shu. In the north, he governed Shangjun, while in the south he took over Hanzhong. He embraced the nine barbarian tribes, and regulated Yan and Shao. He seized the dangerous passes to the east, which were easy to guard and made them hard to attack, cutting off the fertile land. He dispersed the alliance of the Six Eastern Powers, and made the west solely dominated by Qin. His accomplishments persisted to this very day.
Enlisting the help of Fan Wei, King Zao promoted him to the position of Marquis Xiang and disposed of Hua Yang, thereby strengthening the court administration and weed out corruption. By eradicating the feudal lords, King Zao is able to consolidate his authority.
The success of these four kings is undeniably linked to their reliance on foreign talents.
Regardless of perspective, these foreign advisors did not disappoint!
If the opposite had happened, for example, the four kings condemned these foreigners to lowly positions and did not exploit their capabilities, Qin will not stand to gain from their expertise and can never be as strong as today.
Additionally, this policy is not carefully researched and there is no distinction between truth and fiction. There is no basis to discriminate between citizens and non-citizens of Qin. Ultimately, the emphasis should be on genuine talent and not nationality. Thus, this policy is flawed."
From the frank and open assessment that Li Si had presented, besides exhibiting his undying loyalty to Yingzheng, it clearly elaborates ironclad truths and facts.
Finally, Yingzheng retracted his decree and abolished the ‘anti foreigner’ policy.
At the same time, Han Fei, the old friend of Xiang Shaolong and Ji Yanran, was forcefully invited to Qin.
However, his loyalty lies with his birth State and he spoke up for Han on several occasions. Due to his ineloquence, he failed to get into the good books of Yingzheng. Eventually, he offended Yao Jia and Li Si, and with the two men jealous of his talent, Han Fei was poisoned to death in prison.
After eradicating Lu Buwei and Lao Ai, Yingzheng consolidated his authority over Qin and subsequently began his conquest of the other six States.
Alone by themselves, none of the six States can withstand the might of Qin.
But if they worked in hand in hand, it is not impossible to give Qin a run for their money. For example, six years after Yingzheng’s coronation, Qin suffered a crushing defeat against the allied forces of Chu and the Three States. However, Han Chuang was down on his luck and perished during the skirmish.
Without Lu Buwei backing him, Tian Dan lost power. From then on, there are no more distinguished talents from Qi.
Learning his lesson the hard way, Yingzheng switched to employing strategies recommended by Li Si and Wei Liao. In an intricate manner, he exploited the three methods of bribery, sowing of discord and divide and conquer to destroy the six States.
Fourteen years into Yingzheng’s reign, King An of Han was the first to yield to Qin. The next year, the armies of Qin embarked on a killing spree and conquered Han.
Personally trained by Xiang Shaolong, Heng Qi (Huan Qi) was promoted to Great General after accumulating a ton of merits. Unfortunately, he pitted himself against Li Mu, the gifted general who devastated the army of Xiang Shaolong. After incurring huge losses at He Fei and ashamed to face Yingzheng, Heng Qi fled to Yan.
Finally, it has boiled down to a war between the two renowned generals Wang Jian and Li Mu.
Under the leadership of Wang Jian and Yang Duanhe, the armies of Qin launched a massive campaign against Zhao. Meeting them outside Handan City, Li Mu engaged their forces and their fights resulted in a deadlock. Bewitched by Li Si’s sowing of discord, Guo Kai went to the extent of persuading the King of Zhao to switch Li Mu with another general. Refusing to accept the switch, Li Mu was executed by the King of Zhao.
With the passing of a giant, there are no generals in Zhao who could stand up to Wang Jian. Like a gust of strong wind sweeping the fallen leaves, the armies of Qin swept Zhao into the memories of history.
After Yingzheng ruled for nineteen years, Prince Dan sent Jingke into Qin and tried to assassinate him. Failing in his mission, Jingke was mutilated and killed.
Finding a reason to counterattack, Yingzheng dispatched Wang Jian to Yan. After soundly defeating the armies of Yan at the west of River Yi, the next year, Wang Jian occupied Ji, the capital of Yan and killed Prince Dan.
With his son Wang Ben, Wang Jian went on to dominate more than ten cities of Chu. The next year, Wang Jian demonstrated his legendary abilities once again. By breaking a dam and flooding Daliang, he effortlessly erases Wei off the map of China.
Twenty three years into Yingzheng’s reign, Wang Jian began invading Chu and inflicted heavy casualties to the army of Chu at Pingyu. The next year, Meng Wu successfully overran Shouchun. The King of Chu and Li Yuan ended up as prisoners of war while Li Yanyan committed suicide by poisoning herself, heralding the demise of Chu.
Twenty six years after Yingzheng became the King of Qin, Wang Ben breached the defenses of Lin Zi. Tian Jian, the King of Qi, surrendered unconditionally.
From this point onwards, the vanquished six States are like a cloud of dissipating smoke. At the end of the day, all their lands are now part of Qin.
Recollecting Xiang Shaolong’s suggested caption of ‘Shihuang Emperor’, Yingzheng instructed his officials to evaluate the feasibility of this title now that he has united the whole of China.
Everyone is naturally full of praise and approval.
Therefore, Yingzheng gave himself the title of Shihuang Emperor. Removing the structure of marquises and lords, Yingzheng divided China into thirty six provinces. Confiscating all the weapons of China to safeguard himself, Yingzheng also constructed twelve golden statues in his likeness to remind the people of his authority. At the same time, he standardized the weights and measurement, road widths and carriage sizes of China. Yingzheng is also responsible for issuing a single currency for the whole country and deciding the language medium for all forms of communication. Finally, he resettled the richest one hundred and twenty thousand households to Xianyang
Indirectly, he has established the model for the future of China.
When Yingzheng ascends the Emperor throne as Shihuang Emperor, the majestic Huai Qing Platform is simultaneously being constructed.
The common folks are under the impression that their Emperor is building this to commemorate Widow Qing.
Only those in the know like Li Si and Wang Jian are aware that Yingzheng is actually building it to commemorate Xiang Shaolong who is far away from the Central Plains.