Friday, October 3, 2008

Ouyang Tong

Ouyang Tong , formally the Viscount of Bohai , was an official of the dynasty Tang Dynasty and Wu Zetian's Zhou Dynasty, serving briefly as during Wu Zetian's reign.


It is not known when Ouyang Tong was born, but it is known that his family was from Tan Prefecture . His father Ouyang Xun was a famed and served as an official during Tang's predecessor Sui Dynasty and early Tang, receiving the title of Baron of Bohai, dying in his 80s.

Ouyang Tong was said to be still young when Ouyang Xun died. His mother Lady Xu taught him the calligraphic techniques of Ouyang Xun and gave him money when he wrote well. Eventually, Ouyang Tong was nearly as good at calligraphy as his father.

During Emperor Gaozong's reign and Emperor Ruizong's first reign

By 's ''Yifeng'' era , Ge had become ''Zhongshu Sheren'' , a mid-level official at the legislative bureau of government . When his mother died, he was recalled to the imperial administration after observing a brief mourning period, but throughout the next four years, whenever he went home, he would change into mourning clothes and live in a small hut. During the ''Chuigong'' era of Emperor Gaozong's son , he served as the director of palace affairs and was created the Viscount of Bohai.

During Wu Zetian's reign

In 690, Emperor Ruizong's mother took the throne herself as "emperor," establishing Zhou Dynasty and interrupting Tang Dynasty. She made Ouyang Tong the minister of defense . In 691, he was made minister of rites and acting ''Nayan'' , the head of the examination bureau of government and a post considered one for a .

However, about a month later, Ouyang became engulfed in a controversy and offended Wu Zetian. At that time, there was a movement led by one Wang Qingzhi to have Wu Zetian's nephew Wu Chengsi created crown prince, displacing her son Li Dan . Ouyang's senior colleague Cen Changqian strenuously opposed and wanted that Wang's group of petitioners be disbanded. Ouyang supported Cen. As a result, Wu Zetian had him, Cen, and another chancellor Ge Fuyuan arrested and interrogated by her secret police official Lai Junchen. Lai tortured Ouyang severely, but Ouyang refused to confess to treason, so Lai forged a confession in his name. Soon, Ouyang, Cen, and Ge were executed. After Wu Zetian was overthrown in a coup in 705 and her son , himself a former emperor, was restored to the throne , Ouyang's titles were posthumously restored.

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