Yang Xingmi - Background


Yang Xingmin was born in 852, during the reign of Emperor Xuānzong of Tang. He was from Lu Prefecture (廬州, in modern Hefei, Anhui). His ancestors, including his father Yang Fu (楊怤), were farmers for generations. In youth, Tian Jun and he became close friends, and they came to refer to each other as brother. It was said that he was physically strong in his youth, and during the Qianfu era (874-879) of Emperor Xuānzong's grandson Emperor Xizong, Yang Xingmin became a bandit. He was captured, but the prefect of Lu Prefecture, Zheng Qi, was impressed by his appearance, and stated to him, "You will be rich and honored one day. Why be a bandit?" Zheng then released him. Yang later became a soldier of the Lu Prefecture militia, and he distinguished himself in battles. However, as a result, his commander was apprehensive of him, and persuaded then-prefect Lang Youfu (郎幼復) to send Yang on an away mission. When Yang subsequently met his commander to bid farewell, and the commander, wanting to pretend to favor Yang, asked Yang what favors Yang would want him to do, if any; Yang responded, "I need your head!" and then killed him. Yang then took control of the militia and declared himself the commander. Lang was unable to control him, and so submitted a report to Gao Pian the military governor (Jiedushi) of Huainan Circuit, which Lu Prefecture belonged to, recommending that Gao commission Yang the new prefect to replace Lang himself. Gao agreed, and Emperor Xizong subsequently, at Gao's recommendation, issued such an commission.

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