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Jia Sidao

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Jia Sidao

Jia Sidao (Chinese: 賈似道; pinyin: Jiǎ Sìdào; Wade–Giles: Chia Ssu-tao, 1213–1275) was a chancellor during the late Song dynasty of China. He dominated the Song court from 1260 to 1273, after rising to the rank of chancellor due to his sister being a concubine of the Emperor Lizong. Known for his corruption and incompetence, he is best known for his intervention in the Battle of Xiangyang, in which he hid the true situation from the Song court, and was responsible for its demise. In addition, Jia Sidao pioneered a policy of land nationalization, which was highly unpopular among the Confucians, who favored low taxes and a small role for the state. Later, at the Battle of Yihu, Jia Sidao's incompetence led to a defeat in which the remnants of the Song army were routed, leading to the Mongols advancing on the capital, Lin'an. As a result of this defeat, he was demoted from the chancellor post and killed by Zheng Hucheng in revenge.

The land survey, endorses by several more officials, was undertaken ca. 1262. It was dictated by the pressing military needs and rampant monopolization by the powerful clans. In 1263, the "public field" gongtian (the N.Song feature) were reintroduced, to function for the following 12 years.

Jia Sidao's land reform activity was exaggeratedly compared to that of Wang Mang, since, differently from the latter, the state monopolized only 1/3 of the excess land holdings, provided some minimal compensation, and alleviated the Harmonious Grain levy.[1]

He enjoyed special favor of the Emperor Duzong. Being Jia's junior by 27 years, he called him "teacher" (though Jia never held the corresponding post and was not an imperial degree holder), used to stand up upon his entrance, and kneel in tears begging to remain in office.

The possibility of execution for Jia Sidao was hotly debated in Lin'an (now Hangzhou) on the verge of its fall. Dowager Empress Xie objected to this cruelty, but issued progressively severe decrees of banishment and property confiscation for his family. Nevertheless, Jia was assassinated by the court-designated sheriff charged with his custody. Whether the execution was court-sanctioned, remains unclear.[2]

References

  1. ^ Cambridge History of China, 5.1:894-5
  2. ^ Cambridge History of China, 5.1:936

Sources

  1. Li, Bo and Zheng Yin. (Chinese) (2001). 5000 years of Chinese history. Inner Mongolian People's publishing corp. ISBN 7-204-04420-7.

See also

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