Top 10 insane emperors in ancient China

By Zhang Junmian
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, September 2, 2011
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  Yang Guang 隋炀帝杨广

Yang Guang (569-618), Emperor Yang of Sui, was the second emperor of Sui Dynasty (581-618). Yang cunningly framed his elder brother Yang Yong and made their father Emperor Wen turn him into crown prince instead. It's believed that he even murdered Emperor Wen. After ascending to the throne in 604, he took Emperor Wen's favorite consorts, Lady Xuanhua and Lady Ronghua, for himself.

Yang was remembered as one of the worst and self-indulged tyrants in history. Although he had certain achievements during his reign, his inappropriate abuse of his populace and his nation's coffer greatly impaired the state power and brought untold sufferings to the people. He imposed excessive taxes on his people who could hardly survive to ensure the completion of the large construction projects including building the Grand Canal, reconstruction of the Great Wall, and redesigning the eastern capital of Luoyang. Yang also launched several wars to conquer Goguryeo (one of the three kingdoms of Korea), only to wind up in failure each time.

Like many other emperors, Yang was also indulged in the raunchy lifestyles with his concubines in the West Garden built in Luoyang all day and night. During his reign, the emperor, fed up with the northern landscapes, made several large-scale and opulent voyages to Jiangdu (today's Yangzhou city in Jiangsu province), each time escorted by 200,000 cavalry on shore with more than 10,000 mobile towers to drag the ships.

Uprisings rose one after another as people could no longer bear his rule, In 618, Yang was forced to hang himself in Jiangdu in a coup by his general Yuwen Huaji.

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