Liu Rengui - During Emperor Gaozong's Reign - Campaign Against Baekje

Campaign Against Baekje

It appeared that Liu Rengui remained at the post of imperial attendant for at least a decade, after Emperor Taizong's death in 649 and succession by his son Emperor Gaozong. In 656, he was involved in the inquiry into one of Emperor Gaozong's most trusted officials, the chancellor Li Yifu, as Li was accused of being enamored with a beautiful prisoner, a Lady Chunyu, and getting the secretary general of the supreme court, Bi Zhengyi (畢正義) to improperly release her so that he could take her as a concubine. When the chief judge of the supreme court, Duan Baoxuan (段寶玄) realized this, he reported this to Emperor Gaozong, and Emperor Gaozong put Liu in charge of the investigation. During the investigation, Li, wanting to avoid further scrutiny, forced Bi to commit suicide, and the interrogation was aborted. Still, Liu's investigation drew hatred from Li.

In 659, Liu was made the prefect of Qing Prefecture (青州, roughly modern Weifang, Shandong), at Li's instigation. In 660, as Emperor Gaozong was launching a major campaign against Goguryeo, Liu was in charge of supplying the army through sea shipping, but the ships that he was in charge of met a major storm, and a large number of the ships were lost. Li, hearing this, sent the imperial investigator Yuan Yishi (袁異式) to Qing Prefecture, hoping to intimidate Liu into committing suicide, but Liu refused. Yuan put Liu in chains and returned to Chang'an to submit his report. Li insisted to Emperor Gaozong that Liu be put to death, but Emperor Gaozong pointed out that Liu could not be held responsible for the storm, instead reducing him to commoner rank and having him join the army in that status.

Meanwhile, the general Su Dingfang had destroyed Goguryeo's ally Baekje in 660, left his assistant Liu Renyuan (劉仁願) in charge of the former Baekje capital Sabi, and then withdrew. Su's mistreatment of the Baekje people, however, caused much resentment toward Tang forces, and after Su's departure, the Buddhist monk Dochim/Daochen (道琛) and the Baekje general Buyeo Boksin/Fuyu Fuxin rose in resistance to Tang forces, with Juryu/Zhouliu (주류/周留, in modern Seocheon County, South Chungcheong) as their headquarters. They also welcomed back the Baekje prince Buyeo Pung/Fuyu Feng back from Japan, where he had served as a hostage-to-be-king, and their forces were strengthened. They put Sabi, defended by Liu Renyuan, under siege. Emperor Gaozong put Liu Rengui in command of an army that another general, Wang Wendu (王文度), who had recently died, would have commanded, and had him aid Liu Renyuan. Liu Rengui was pleased at the news, and was said to have immediately lept up and stated, "Heaven is giving glory and wealth to this old man!" He then, after confidently requesting the imperial calendar and the names of the imperial ancestors (in order to promulgate to the Baekje people for naming taboo purposes), departed for Baekje. Fighting the Baekje resistance forces in conjunction with forces from Tang's ally Silla, he was able to force them to lift the siege on Sabi. However, he and Liu Renyuan still had too few forces, particularly after Silla forces withdrew after suffering defeats, so for a time Liu Renyuan and Liu Rengui held defensive position.

Meanwhile, Su, who had been attacking Gogureyo and putting its capital Pyongyang under siege, was forced to withdraw in spring 662 after the general Pang Xiaotai (龐孝泰) was defeated and killed by Goguryeo forces. Emperor Gaozong issued an edict, ordering Liu Renyuan and Liu Rengui to abandon Sabi and march to Silla—and then, at the option of Silla's King Munmu (Kim Beopmin/Jin Famin), remain to help defend Silla or return to Tang. The soldiers largely wanted to accept these orders, but Liu Rengui pointed out if they abandoned Sabi, Baekje would be reestablished and would not be able to be defeated. However, believing that LIu Renyuan and Liu Rengui would surely abandon Sabi, Buyeo Pung and Buyeo Boksin (who had by now assassinated Dochim and taken over the rest of the army) were becoming overly confident and not taking precautions. Liu Rengui caught them by surprise and captured a number of cities they held, including a strip of territory that allowed Silla forces to supply Sabi with food. Liu Renyuan repoted this to Emperor Gaozong and requested reinforcements, and Emperor Gaozong sent 7,000 men, as well as Buyeo Pung's brother Buyeo Yung/Fuyu Long, who was familiar with the territory.

Meanwhile, Buyeo Pung and Buyeo Boksin were beginning to suspect each other as well, and Buyeo Pung killed Buyeo Boksin in an ambush and then sought aid from Goguryeo and Japan. At Liu Rengui's insistence, in 663, the Tang/Silla forces headed directly for the Baekje headquarters at Juryu, defeating joint Baekje/Japanese forces. Buyeo Pung fled to Goguryeo, and the rest of the Baekje resistance forces surrendered, ending the Baekje resistance movement. Emperor Gaozong recalled Liu Renyuan and left Liu Rengui in charge of Baekje's former territory. It was said that Liu Rengui was effective in comforting the Baekje people and restoring social order after years of warfare had rendered the region in waste. He was also credited with treating two Baekje generals, Heukchi Sangji/Heichi Changzhi and Sataek Sangyeo/Shazha Xiangru (沙吒相如) with kindness, after they had participated in Baekje's resistance movement, pointing out that they were compelled to do so after Su mistreated the Baekje people—and he was able to receive their allegiance, allowing him to, with their serving as his forward commanders, defeat the last Baekje general holding out, Ji Susin/Chi Shouxin (遲受信). After Liu Renyuan returned to Chang'an, he endorsed Liu Rengui's abilities, and Emperor Gaozong gave Liu Rengui honors, including a house at the capital.

Read more about this topic:  Liu Rengui, During Emperor Gaozong's Reign

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