During Emperor Taizong's Reign
Sometime prior to 640 but during the reign of Emperor Gaozu's successor Emperor Taizong, there was an occasion when a military officer, Lu Ning (魯寧) -- who, by virtue of his office, was higher ranked than Liu Rengui (fourth or fifth rank, compared to Liu's ninth rank) -- was accused of crimes and held in custody at the county jail in Chencang. He, proud of his rank, repeatedly insulted and cursed at Liu. Liu, in anger, battered Lu to death with a cane. When this was reported to Emperor Taizong, Emperor Taizong, in anger, ordered that Liu be executed, but as he was pondering how a lowly ranked sheriff would dare to kill a highly ranked military officer, and so had Liu, prior to execution, delivered to the capital Chang'an for him to personally examine him. When he asked Liu the reason he killed Lu, Liu calmly, without appearance of fear, stated, "Lu insulted me and shamed me in front of the people I govern, and I got so angry that I battered him to death." The chancellor Wei Zheng, who happened to be present, spoke on Liu's behalf, arguing that a reason for Sui's downfall was that the people had no respect for local officials and did not hesitate from resisting them. Emperor Taizong withdrew his order to execute Liu and further promoted him to be the secretary general of Liyang County (櫟陽, in modern Xi'an, Shaanxi), close to the capital.
In 640, when Emperor Taizong was about to go on a hunt in Tong Prefecture (同州, roughly modern Weinan, Shaanxi), Liu submitted a petition pointing out that it was harvest time and that the farmers would be greatly interfered with by a hunt, particularly since a good number of them would have to be conscripted to fix the roads. He asked that Emperor Taizong delay his hunt by 10 days. Emperor Taizong agreed, and praised Liu for his petition. He soon promoted Liu to be the magistrate of Xin'an County. Eventually, he was promoted to the post of imperial attendant.
Read more about this topic: Liu Rengui
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