Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Chen Yuanguang

Joining the army

At the age of 13, he accompanied his father Chen Zheng , commander of the Southern China military expeditionary force, on a march to Fujian, for the purpose of setting up a regional administration. In April of the second year of the Emperor Gaozong of Tang , Chen Zheng died in the line of duty, Chen Yuanguang took over his father's duties, and led the troops in place of his father. At this time, the emperor granted him the title "General of the left guard, and jade bell defender of the county seat". He then proceeded to quell uprisings by local ruffians such as Chen Qian of Guangdong, as well as Miao Zicheng and Lei Wanxing , both of whom were leaders of a bandit gang named the "savage colleagues" . As a result, the southern Fujian region was pacified, and Chen Yuanguang was promoted to the rank of senior magistrate of upright character, and granted the title of commander of the Southern China military expeditionary force.

Settling Zhangzhou

Respect and admiration from his descendants

Chen Yuanguang's efforts at developing the regions near Zhangzhou and Chaozhou, received praise from numerous succeeding emperors. In the first year of the Emperor Xuanzong of Tang , the emperor granted Chen Yuanguang the title of "the great general, and defender of the leopard scabbard". He also gave him the title of "Marquis of Zhangzhou, the serene, loyal, resolute, and beneficent". Later he also gave him the title "Marquis of the Ying River", and ordered a great shrine built in his honor. The donated a horizontal inscription which read, "Temple of Awesome Kindness" . The Emperor Xiaozong of Song granted Chen Yuanguang the title "Defender Prince of Guangdong and brilliant spirit who accommodates brightness and ferocity". In the Ming Dynasty, his title was again changed, this time to "Marquis of brightness and ferocity". The people of the Zhangzhou region call him the "Sacred Prince, Developer of Zhangzhou." Temples dedicated to him have proliferated in Fujian, Taiwan and Southeast Asia. There are more than 100 "Sacred Prince Temples" in Zhangpu County alone. There are also more than 100 temples dedicated to Chen Yuanguang in Taiwan. Many people still burn incense at temples dedicated to him. In recent years, the Zhangzhou municipal government commemorated Chen Yuanguang by naming one of its main city streets Yuanguang North Road.

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