1. Yan Emperor
Yan Emperor is the ancestor of the Huaxia clan, alias Lieshan, or Lishan. At ancient times, he was the chief of the tribe of Jiang. According to legends, Yan Emperor was the first to grow grains as men’s food; he invented a farm tool for tillage; he tasted hundreds of plants to find medicine for treatment; he wove linen cloth to make clothing; he made pottery and smelted metal for storage; he made musical instrument to amuse people; he built markets for the convenience of people’s livelihood; he manufactured arms for people’s safety; he calculated through the trigram to explore the astronomical phenomena; and he died at the South during his trip to cure people and collect medicine by tasting each himself. After he was confronted with 70 kinds of poisonous ones, he was killed by Gelsemium. In memory of him, the first medicine work is named as Sheng Nong's Herbal Classic. The Mausoleum of Yan Emperor at Shengnong town, Gaoping city, Shanxi, is a specialized place to worship him.
2. Yellow Emperor (B.C. 2717 – B.C. 2599)
The Yellow Emperor, alias Xuanyuan, a chief of the tribal alliance in ancient times, is honored as the first ancestor of Chinese. He was son of Shaodian, whose original family name was Gongsun. Later he changed his family name to Ji, because he resided at Jishui for long. And he got his alias because he lived on the Xuanyuan Hill (now in the northeast of Xinzheng, Henan). And for his birth, startup and capital city are all located at Youxiong(Xinzheng, Henan), he was also named Youxiong. For his benefit to the earth, he was honored as Yellow Emperor. He was remembered by the history for he was the first one to unite the Chinese nation. “From the ancient Suiren Tribe to Tang, more than thousands of years have passed. When we observe the history, we will be amazed by the many ancient sages. And we can discover the simple and crude life of the earliest people. During the time of Xinong, even if there were musical instruments, fishing tools, farming tools and arms, we can still imagine the simplicity of their life. Until the time of the Yellow Emperor, all saints flourished. And palaces, clothing, land and water vehicles, arms, books, paintings, laws, calendars, and arithmetic thrived at the same time. So before the Flood, the period of Yellow Emperor is most prosperous times.” The Huaxia clan was gradually build up during the time of the Yellow Emperor and Yan Emperor. So, both of them were honored as ancestors of the Huaxia nation. And that’s why the Chinese call themselves as “the sons of the Yan and Huang”.
He was the chief of the Jiuli Tribe at ancient times. There are various explanations about his identity. Around 4600 years ago, after Yellow Emperor’s triumph over the Yan Emperor, the war with the Chiyou Tribe was started at Zhulu County, Hebei, which is called The Battle of Zhulu. Chiyou died in the battle, and the tribes of Dongyi and Jiuli integrated with the Yanhuang tribe, which is the earliest main part of the Chinese nation. In Zhulu County, Hebei, there are still relics of the Chiyou Tribe and the battle, which is recorded in historical documents like The County Annals of Zhulu, Shih Chi, and Commentary on the Waterways Classic in detail for people’s reference. Modern architecture about this history were also built, such as the “Three Chinese Ancestors’ Hall”.
Yao’s family name was Yiqi, alias Fangxun. He was called Tang Yao for his title “Tang Hou”. Yao was a good monarch in the ideal utopian society of ancient Chinese people. He was kind, generous and sensible. He employed talents and ruled wisely. He was known to the world for his virtue and morality. So, chiefs of different tribes left Dizhi, to join the tribe of Yao. In his later year, he abdicated for Shun because of his impious son Danzhu. His action was highly commended by the Confucius, which makes him the origin of the Confucianism. In Yaodu District of Linfen, there are Temple of Yao built from the Jin Dynasty and The Tomb of Yao built in Tang Dynasty. The Yi Village there is said to be the foster care home for Yao Emperor. In the west of this village, there stands a stele built in Ming Dynasty, with “Yao Emperor’s Simple House” on it. In the Longshan Culture Relics in Tao Temple, Xiangfen County, Linfen Bason, the drums, stone resonators and fete architectures from 5000 years ago were found recently. Experts think that these findings are relevant to Yao Emperor, which confirms that kingship was formed during the time of Tang Yao. It symbolizes that the Huaxia nation reached the civilization.
Shun is the name of an emperor in the ancient times, who was the tribal alliance leader of the late patriarchal clan society. His family name was Yao, alias Youyu. And his first name was Chonghua, so he was called Yu Shun historically. He was the offspring of the Yellow Emperor, and was recommended as the heir of Yao by leaders of the four mountains. When he acted as a regent, he punished the evil and employed talents with morality. He traveled in the county to rectify the bureaucracy, to mitigate punishment, and to standardize the measurements. After his enthronement, he established the capital city in Puban. Yu, Kao Yao, Qi, Hou Ji and other people were employed by Shun. He applied the official inspection system and created a peaceful and ordered society. “People from far and near were all willilng to contribute.” So there’s the saying that the real morality and sense started from the Yu Emperor. In his later years, he recommended Yu as his heir. The Tomb of Shun ten kilometers away from the Yuncheng City was founded in 738, and it was ruined and rebuilt several times. The Mausoleum of Shun Emperor at Jiuyi Mountain in Hunan has been moved many times.
Yu, whose family name was Si, alias Xiahou, first name Wenming, is honored as Yu the Great. He was the great –great-grandson of the Yellow Emperor. He got the throne by Shun’s demise. He was the leader of the Xiahou Tribe in legend. And he was the first son who succeeded his father’s throne, the creator of Chinese Slavery. Si Maqian recorded Yu as an emperor in Shih Chi, and gave him highly praise. He went to control the Flood under the order of Shun and spend thirteen hard years to accomplish finally. After the Flood, he explored the land, built roads, made fishing pools, measured mountains, and divided up farmlands. He set up geld and assisted Shun to build up order in society. He was chosen as the heir to the throne by Shun. He succeeded the throne after Shun passed away. And Yu died in Kuaiji (Southeast of Shaoxing, Zhejiang) during his inspection tour in the east.
7. Jie Zitui (? – BC 636)
Jie Zitui, alias Jie Zhitui (Jie Tui), was also called Jie Zi. He Followed Chong Er (Duke Wen of Jin) during Chong Er’s 19 years of exile. He cut of the flesh from his thigh as food for Chong Er. After Chong was back in his country, Jie lived in Mian Mountain in seclusion. According to the legend, The duke asked him to be an officer, but he refused. Then the duke set fire to the mountain, trying to force him out. However, Chong Er and his mother died holding each other. The duke made the mountain as Jie’s nominal manor to “Keep in mind his own fault and honor the noble man”. So the Mian Mountain is also called Jie Mountain. Jie’s noble and unsullied reputation is highly honored by people, which is the original image of a man loyalty and faith in Chinese traditional concepts. And to worship Jie Zitui in Hanshik Festival has started since then.
8. Cheng Ying
He was the minister of Jin during the Spring and Autumn Period. In B.C 597, the Zhao Family was in distress. The wife of Zhao Shuo, Princess Zhuangji hided in Jinggong Palace and gave birth to the posthumous child Zhao Wu. Cheng conspired with his friend Gongsun Chujiu, to save the last child of the Zhao by fooling their enemies. Chujiu sacrificed his life for this. Cheng Ying switched his own son with Zhao Wu and raised him up, and assisted him to recover the place of Zhao Family. The story of Cheng Ying and Gongsun Chujiu is eulogized after ages. It was composed as drama and was even told overseas.
9. King Wuling of Zhao
King Wuling of Zhao, named Yong, alias Suhouzi, whose family name was Zhao. Zhao (B.C. 325 – B.C. 299, in power for 27 years) lived in the Warrior States Period. He believed in the political thought of “Developing laws along the changing times, and setting up ritual system under specific circumstances”. He advocated to learn from the custom of the northern and Western ethnics, to transform social traditions, to reform the military system. His national strength grew stronger gradually. He beat countries like Zhong Shan, Lin hu and Lou Fan, and expanded its territory to the area of Yan and Dai. He built up the great wall and sent army to guard there. He implement progressive policies on national unity, consolidated the northern frontier, strengthened local unitary, and laid the foundation for the unity of the North in Qin and Han Dynasty Later. King Wuling of Zhao’s tomb is located in Lingqiu County, Datong City, Shanxi Province. Hence the place got the name of Ling qiu.
10. Hsun Tzu
Hsun Tzu named Kuang, alias Qing. In order to avoid the name of the Xuan Emperor of the Western Han Dynasty, Liu Xunhui, he was also called Sun Qing. Now people honored him as “Xun Qing”. He was a ideologist in the Warring States Period. He studied in the country of Qi, Qin, Zhao, and Chu. And he became a scholar in Qi for a long time. Later, upon the call of Chun Shen from Chu, he went to work as an office in Lanling (Cangshan, Shandong), and spent the rest of his life writing books there. His theory was originated and developed from Confucianism. It advocates the theory of original evil of human nature, contrasted with the theory of original goodness of human nature by Mencius. He believed that man can conquer the nature, so he put forward the thought of “actively control and use of the laws of nature”, which developed the materialist thought in ancient China. He attached great importance to the role of environment and education. Hsun Tzu is his magnum opus. He also contributed to the reform of the Confucius classics. The famous representative figures of the Legalism, Han Fei and Li Si, were both his students.
11. Guan Yu
Guanyu, alias Changsheng, which is changed as Yunchang later, is from Jie County, Hedong (Lin Yi, Shanxi). He was a general under Liu Bei. In the last years of the Eastern Han Dynasty, he followed Liu Bei for rebellions. After their failure, he surrendered to Yuan Shao. When he was captured by Cao cao, he was titled as an assistant general. And later he was returned to Liu Bei. When Bei struck the counties in the south of the Yangtze River, he became the governor of Xiang Yang, and managed the army and governmental affairs in Jing Zhou. In 219, he was titled as general of the forward army. He led his men to surround Cao Ren in Fan Cheng, inflicting a crushing defeat on the enemy, which built up his reputation since then. He was killed after the loss of Jing Zhou later. He was praised as a “tiger minister”, “a outstanding figure in the country” in The History of the Three Kingdoms. After he died, his image was deified by people gradually, and has been worshiped by the folks for a long time. He is honored as Guan Gong. In Qing Dynasty, he was honored as “Saint Guan”, enjoyed equal popularity with Confucius, the “Saint of learning”.
12. Fa Hien (335 – 420)
Fa Hien’s surname was Gong, a Buddhist in the Eastern Jin Dynasty. He was born in Wu Yang, Ping Yang (Xiang Yuan, Shan Xi). He was the first great Buddhist who went on a pilgrimage for Buddhist scriptures overseas. He was also an outstanding traveler and translator. He became a samanera when he was three. He vowed to seek for scriptures when he felt the lack and error of scriptures at hand. He spent around forty years to travel through more than thirty countries. He translated thousands of Buddhist sutras, and composed Journey to Buddhist Countries which recorded about the geography, transportation, religion, culture, products, custom society and economy of about thirty countries in Central Asia, India, and the Southeast Asia. It is the earliest recording of the journey between China and India. It occupies an important position in the history of geography and navigation in China and the Southeast Asia.
13. Wang Huanzhi (688-742)
Wang Huanzhi, alias Wang Jiling, was born in the Wang Family in Taiyuan, whose original family home was in Jin Yang (Tai Yuan, Shan Xi). The Wang Family was moved to Jiang County, Shan Xi by his great-great-grandfather. He was a famous poet in the flourishing time of Tang Dynasty. He was clever and eager to learn when he was little. He had mastered the essences of classics before his thirties. He often hung out with Gao Shi and Wang Changlin, both poets. Many of his poems was composed as songs by musicians, which made him a well-known influential figure of those days. He was renowned especially by his poems about the scenery of the frontier fortress. Only six poems of his are remains nowadays. The verse “Ascend another storey to have a further sight retrospect and prospect” has been remembered and quoted for thousands of years as a motto of pursuing the ideal.
14. Empress Wu Zetian (February 17, 624 – December 16. 705)
Wu Zetian, whose family origin was in Wen Shui, Bing Zhou (Wen Shui County, Shanxi), is the only empress and an outstanding female politician in Chinese history. From her reign behind the curtain during the rule of Emperor Gaozong to her abdication in 705, the empress ruled the Li Tang Dynasty for nearly half a century. In 690, she changed the title of the dynasty fo Zhou, and crowned herself as the Emperor of Shengshen, and set the holy capital city in Luo Yang. Her reign is call “Wu Zhou” historically. Under her governess, the country is stable, harmonious, and strong. And by her well employment of oppressive and kindhearted officials, the politics was most often sobriety. In November, 705, Wu Zetian died at the Shangyang Palace in Luo Yang, and was buried with the Emperor Gaozong in The Qian Tomb. A monument without words was set up by her – let people comment about her achievements and mistakes.
15. Fu Shan (1607 – 1684)
His original name was Dingchen, alias Qingzhu. He was also known as Gongta, Selu, Zhuoweng and so on. He was born in Yangdu, Shanxi. In the last years of the Ming Dynasty, he was well known for defending grievances for his teacher Yuan Jixian. He became a hermit after the destruction of the Ming Dynasty. He lived a hard life but insisted integrity, refusing to be official. He called himself Zhuyi Daoren. He read widely and carefully, from the Confucius classics to religion scriptures. He was a remarkable figure in the history of ancient ideology and culture, and was honored as one of the “Six Masters in the early Qing Dynasty” and a polyhistor. He made extraordinary achievements in the art of calligraphy and painting, and even in medicine. He was honored as “The First Calligrapher in Early Qing Dynasty”. His theory of calligraphy had profound influences. He wrote Shuang Hong Kan Ji, Fu Qingzhu Gynecology, and Fu Qingzhu Andrology and other books. He was not been recorded by the biographical history books in detail, but his reputation and influence is great.
16. Gao Junyu (1896 – 1925)
Gao Junyu was a famous political activist in the early stage of the Chinese Communist Party, one of the founders of the Party and League organizations in Shanxi. His original name was Gao Shangde, alias Gao Xishan, born in Jingle, Shanxi. He was in charge of the Students’ Union of the Peking University during the May 4th Movement. In 1915, he entered the Peking University. During his study there, he met with the revolutionary pioneer Li Dazhao, and was introduced to the Marxism. In the beginning of 1919, the Students’ Union of Peking University was established. And Gao was elected as the person in charge. In March, 1920, under the instruction of Li Dazhao, together with Deng Zhongxia and other people, Gao organized the seminar of Marxism in Peking University secretly, which was one of the earliest communist groups in Beijing. He joined the Chinese Communist Party in 1921. Later he was sent to Taiyuan, Shanxi by Li Dazhao to be the founder of the Party and League organization in the area of Shanxi. In 1922, he was elected as one of the first Central executive members of Chinese Socialism Communist Youth League in 1922.
17. Peng Zhen (1902 – 1997)
Peng Zhen was born in Quwo. He was named Fu Maogong once and joined League in 1923. In the winter of 1923, he became a Party member. Peng Zhen was a great proletariat revolutionist, politician, a prominent statesman, and a firm Marxist. He was the main founder of the Chinese socialist legal system, and a brilliant leader of the Party and the country. Peng Zhen, with his firm belief in communist and will of perseverance and persistent, was entirely devoted to the Party and the people. He was adept in applying the Marxism to analyze and solve problems. He has the courage and talents to open up new situations and handling complex problems in a creative way. At the critical time and major political issues concerned about the fate and future of the Party and the country, he adhered to principles and took a clear-cut stand. He always kept in mind the fundamental purpose of the Party to serve the people with all heart and soul, and maintained the nature of a people’s public servant, who should be modest and prudent, live a hard and simple life, and be strict with oneself. He executed the principle of democratic centralism and Party’s system of collective leadership by performing as model himself and persisting in the mass line, to go deep among the common people, to dig deep into the reality, and to be democratic in work. He pursued truth all his life. No matter what difficulties and frustration he was into, he could keep the spirit of optimism, and was full of faith to the success of the Party.
18. Liu Hulan (1932 – 1947)
Liu Hulan was born in Zhouxi Village, Wenshui County, Shanxi (Now it has been name as Liu Hulan Village). She joined the Chinese Communist women management training classes in 1945. In 1946, she was assigned to Yunzhouxi Village to be responsible for the women working group, and became a Party member candidate. On January 12, 1947, Liu was arrested and refused to surrender. She was killd by fodder chopper at the age of 15. Soon afterwards, she was posthumously ratified as a full Party member. Mao Zedong wrote and inscription for her, “A great life died as a hero”. A fifteen-year-old country girl sacrificed her life to destroy enemies’ evil conspiracy. She showed the nobility of a Party member with a youth and blood.
19. Yan Xishan (1883 -1960)
Yan Xishan, also known as Yan Baichuan, or Yan Bochuan, was born in Wutai, Shanxi. He studied military in Japan when he was young. In 1905, he joined the Chinese Revolutionary League in Tokyo. In 1909, he graduated from the Japan Army Officer School. After he was back in China, he held several positions in the local army to support the activities against the government of Qing Dynasty. In 1911, he was elected as the governor of Shanxi after the Wuchang Uprising. During the reign of Yuan Shigai, he was the provincial governor of Shanxi Province. In 1927, he became the northern commander in chief of the national revolutionary army. He purged the communist party in Shanxi. The next year, he became the Commander in chief of the Third Army Group. In 1929, he sent armed forces to suppress Tang Shengzhi. He was committed as the deputy commander of the Army, Navy and Air-force by Jiang Kai-shek. In 1930, he, together with Feng Yuxiang, Li Zongren, tried to bring down Jiang. He ran to Dalian after their failure. In 1932, he became the chief of the Shanxi Appeasement Government Office. There he grasped the political and military power in Shanxi again. After the Mukden Incident, he supported Jiang’s nonresistance policy. During the Anti-Japanese War, he applied double sides policy against the Japanese, the Communist Party, and Jiang Kai-shek. After the war, he supported Jiang with the war against the Communist Party. In April, 1949, He fled away from Shanxi after the People’s Liberation Army attacked and occupied Taiyuan. He became the last Prime Minister and Defense Minister of the National Government in Guangzhou in June. Later, he went to Taiwan and became the Prime Minister and member of the Central Consultative Councils of the Nationalist Party. He died of illness in 1960 in Taipei.
20. Kong Xiangxi (1880 – 1967)
Kong Xiangxi, or Kong Yongzhi, alias Ziyuan, was born in a well-educated business family in Taigu County, Shanxi. He was an heir of the Confucius. His ancestor Kong Shangyi moved to Taigu. And he was the seventy fifth generation of the Confucius. He was the Prime Minister and the Minister of Finance of the National Government in Nanking during the reign of Republic of China. He was also a banker and rich merchant. His wife, Eling Soong, had affinity with Soong Tse-ven and Jiang Kai-shek. Kong Xiangxi governed for the national government finance for a long time and made many achievements. He reformed the Chinese currency system, built the Chinese bank system, and strengthened the macro-control of the capital market.