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Zhuge Liang and Liu Chan’s relationship during the Shu Three Kingdoms Era

| Articles of Ancient China | September 20, 2010

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During the Romance of the Three Kingdom Shu Era, Zhuge liang’s role is like that of a trainer to the young and inexperience emperor Liu Chan.

At that point of time when Liu Chan just became Shu’s emperor. Liu Chan had the following image tagged to him:-
1) Liu Chan like to listen to xiao ren/rumours
2) Liu Chan does not remember those whom had helped him before
3) Liu Chan gives up without a battle or fight to Wei
4) Liu chan is a generous emperor which means some said he is weak and indecisive
Are these all true?

Romance of the Three Kingdoms - Liu Chan Liu Shan

During Liu Bei’s death bed, Zhuge Liang had written a letter to Liu Bei giving comments and his view on Liu Chan. Zhuge Liang in this letter to Liu Bei had written and said that Liu Chan was of great intelligence with his observations. So, was Liu Chan really a man with great intelligence or an indecisive emperor?

History had written that after Zhuge Liang’s death. Liu Chan immediately remove the post of prime minister and spitted Zhuge Liang’s prime minister power into two and into two men. Jiang Wan and Fei Yi. As he commanded that both ministry must overlook, support and govern each other. This was Liu Chan’s idea to reduce power and keep in check the authority.

Liu Chan had also proposed to attack Cao Wei with Wu instead of Shu attacking Wei alone
These above historical records shows that Liu Chan is not an indecisive or ignorant emperor.

Then why did Zhuge Liang not give up his power to Liu Chan?
Liu Bei before his death had given Zhuge Liang the following words – If Liu Chan is able to be Shu emperor, then support him. If Liu Chan is not able to be Shu emperor, then Zhuge Liang is able to take power on his own accord and rule Shu. Zhuge Liang - Romance of the Three Kingdoms

Reasons why Zhuge Liang did not relinquished his authorities to Liu Chan was not recorded. But following are some suggestions why he did not release power to Liu Chan:-

1) Zhuge Liang knew that Liu Chan was still inexperience in governing Shu at the moment of time
2) At that era Zhuge Liang was always putting Liu Chan under his wing of protection and not letting off power
.This was due to Zhuge Liang might wanted to revert back to Han’s emperor reign era where the emperor
did not look into government, while only prime ministers and ministers work and govern. This type of government might be one of the best governing method, where the emperor can question prime minister and lower ranked ministers of faults and queries of what went wrong to policies and issues.
3) Zhuge Liang was also not willing to make any mistake and let Liu Chan govern Shu country due to promises to Liu Bei. Further more, at that time Shu country was at a chaos, and Shu was at a very dangerous situation where at the North Cao Cao awaits to attack anytime, and at the East side there was the cunning Sun Quan. And last but not least there was also internal affairs and problems of Shu which Zhuge Liang was still trying to resolve, thus he still does not felt secure enough to hand over the Shu state to the still inexperience Liu Chan. Of all the issues mentioned above, the internal affairs was the most critical issue which Zhuge Liang need to resolve.

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