Li Deyu

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Li Deyu (* 787 ; † 850 ) was a Chinese politician who was de facto Chancellor of China in the early 840s.

Li Deyu was the leader of the Li Party during the reign of the youthful Emperor Jingzong . The latter fought over power at court with the Niu party led by Niu Sengru , which became known under the name Niu-Li-danzheng . In this conflict, the Niu Party succeeded in taking over government power, based on the ever increasing power of the palace eunuchs. Jingzong's successor, Wenzong , initiated a conspiracy against the eunuchs in 833. Having been informed of this, the eunuchs began a massacre of their supposed opponents, which killed over a thousand people. Since the eunuchs feared that a direct takeover would inflict the military governors in the provinces, the leaders of the Niu and Li parties were promoted to ministerial offices, where their power was limited. Under Emperor Wuzong (r. 840–846) Li Deyu rose to become the de facto chancellor. He was able to rely on a relationship of trust with the emperor. In conversations he always gave the emperor the impression that he himself had made the political decisions. He never tried to outdo the emperor spiritually. Li Deyu is considered an authoritarian politician. He made his decisions walking up and down his garden alone. Based on his relationship with Wuzong, he began to oust the eunuch leader Qiu Shiliang. Li Deyu's office became the actual central administrative office, thereby abolishing the dualism between the emperor's favorites and the regular administration, at least for this period.

At the beginning of Wuzong's rule, the Kyrgyz destroyed the power of the Uyghurs , whereupon a large group of Uyghurs tried to settle on imperial territory near the Yellow Ribbon. Li Deyu became the commander in chief in the fight against the intruders. Responsible for both tactical and supply issues, he won a great victory over the Uyghurs in 843.

Towards the end of Wuzong's reign, the court began to laicize the Buddhist monasteries, this measure primarily going back to Emperor Wuzong himself. Wuzong died in 846. His uncle Xuanzong banished Li Deyu to Hainan because of his proximity to his unloved nephew . The climatic conditions in this area let the iron chancellor die a few years later.


  • Rainer Hoffmann, Qiuhua Hu: China. Its history from the beginning to the end of the imperial era. Freiburg 2007. ISBN 978-3793094999