Li Duozuo - Coup of 707

Coup of 707

Soon, however, power slipped into the hands of Emperor Zhongzong's wife Empress Wei and her lover Wu Sansi the Prince of Dejing (Emperor Zhongzong's cousin and Wu Zetian's nephew). Zhang Jianzhi and most of the other coup leaders were falsely accused of crimes and exiled or executed. Li Duozuo, in fear, pretended to serve the interests of Empress Wei and avoided being killed himself.

Meanwhile, however, resentment against Empress Wei and Wu Sansi was brewing, centering around Emperor Zhongzong's son Li Chongjun the Crown Prince, born of a concubine, who was resentful toward Wu Sansi and his son Wu Chongxun (武崇訓) over Wu Chongxun's encouragement of his wife Li Guo'er the Princess Anle (Empress Wei's daughter) to repeatedly that Emperor Zhongzong make her crown princess to displace Li Chongjun and Wu Chongxun's and Li Guo'er's disrespect toward him. In 707, Li Chongjun rose in rebellion, in conjunction with Li Duozuo, Li Qianli (李千里) the Prince of Cheng (the son of Emperor Gaozong's brother Li Ke), and Li Qianli's son Li Xi (李禧) the Prince of Tianshui. Li Duozuo's son-in-law Ye Huli (野呼利) also participated and served as the forward commander of the coup forces. The coup forces attacked Wu Sansi's mansion and killed him, Wu Chongxun, and a number of Wu Sansi's associates, and then marched on the palace, claiming to be looking to arrest Emperor Zhongzong's concubine Consort Shangguan Wan'er, who also carried on an affair with Wu Sansi. Emperor Zhongzong went up onto a palace tower to look over the events, and the coup forces stopped, as Li Chongjun hoped for a chance to talk with Emperor Zhongzong. Meanwhile, however, Emperor Zhongzong's eunuch Yang Sixu (楊思勗) counterattacked, killing Ye and discouraging the coup forces. When Emperor Zhongzong further encouraged the soldiers to turn against the coup leaders, they did, and Li Duozuo, along with other generals participating in the coup, was killed. Eventually, Li Chongjun was killed in flight. In the aftermath, two sons of Li Duozuo were killed, and his family members were reduced to servitude.

After Emperor Zhongzong died in 710—a death that traditional historians believed to be a poisoning carried out by Empress Wei and LI Guo'er—another coup overthrew Empress Wei, and Li Dan was returned to the throne. He posthumously honored Li Chongjun and the generals participating in his coup. Li Duozuo was posthumously restored to the title of Prince of Liaoyang, and his family members were released. Emperor Ruizong was also set to bestow further honors on the coup leaders. However, the official Wei Cou (韋湊) submitted an objection, pointing out that while Empress Wei was guilty of crimes, it was still improper for Li Chongjun to start a coup. Emperor Ruizong agreed, and therefore halted further posthumous honors.

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