In 1085, Song Shenzong died and conservative Empress Dowager Gao came to power. At this time, Sima Guang, who had been homeless for a long time, finally saw his chance, returned to capital at instigation of conservatives, attracted attention of Empress Dowager Gao, and soon became ruler. Under onslaught of Sima Guang and other conservatives, all reformers in imperial court were expelled. This incident was a bad start: during Wang Anshi's reign, he did not intentionally suppress conservatives. But now that conservatives are in power, they mistreat people and things, and this is beginning of party disputes in Song Dynasty.
In same year, Sima Guang began to preside over repeal of all new laws. However, there were also debates among Conservatives, and many ministers believed that reforms could not be completely reversed, since many measures had already proven effective. For example, Fang Bailu, Su Zhe, Su Shi and Fan Chongren opposed Sima Guang's plan to abolish labor law. They believed that labor law did reduce burden on people. Cancel reform. On contrary, Sima Guang could not listen to him at all, demoted Su Shi and others, and continued to repeal new law.
Empress Dowager Gao
In 1086, Sima Guang fell ill and had a premonition that he would soon see Wang Anshi, so he forgot to sleep and eat day and night to abolish new law. In August of that year, Sima Guang finally repealed "Young Harvest Law", which also marked major repeal of new law. In September, Sima Guang died, what he didn't know was that death knell for Northern Song Dynasty had already sounded.Third, destroyed future of Northern Song Dynasty.
As mentioned above, Sima Guang's suppression of reformers marked beginning of party struggle in Northern Song Dynasty, and impact of this move was very bad. For next 40 years, Northern Song dynasty was deeply involved in party struggle, which greatly weakened its own strength. During party struggle, Sima Guang single-handedly promoted Cai Jing, most notorious traitor of Northern Song Dynasty.
Cai Jing is a villain. Long before Sima Guang came to power, he wanted to harm Wang Gui and longed for his success, but failed. Sima Guang came to power and repealed recruitment law within five days, but ministers felt that Sima Guang was too concerned, so they were unwilling to listen to Sima Guang. However, Cai Jing abolished all employment laws in his jurisdiction within five days and then reported this to Sima Guang. Seeing that Cai Jing was so obedient, Sima Guang reused Cai Jing. Fang Zuyu, a persuader at time, said that Cai Ching was unavailable, but Sima Guang still refused to listen.
Photo by Cai Jing
Facts later proved that Cai Jing was a wayward and treacherous official who supported or opposed new law in his own interests and had no political ideas. Later, Cai Jing and another treacherous official, Gao Qiu, together corrupted Northern Song Dynasty, and they were two main perpetrators of Jingkang shift.
The greatest crime of Sima Guang was that land restored during reform was transferred to Xixia. Although Song Shenzong did not eliminate Xixia at end of Song Dynasty, after reforms, Northern Song Dynasty regained a large area of land, forming a check on Xixia on both sides. However, after Sima Guang came to power, he proposed to abolish two prefectures of Yanqing and cede Anjiang, Jialu, Futu, Mizhi, Ubao, and other Xixia villages. The reason why Sima Guang sent land was because he was afraid that Sixia would start a war. In addition, the return of these lands was due to political reform.
When Sima Guang put forward such a policy, it was considered an explosion in Northern Song Dynasty, and debate continued. Among them, Wen Yanbo offered to give Xixia entire northwestern region, and Sima Guang praised this as if he had found a confidant. At that time, Privy Councilor directly accused Sima Guang of his traitorous behavior, and Sun Lu, an official stationed in northwest, directly brought a map of northwest to Sima Guang, saying: “If Lanzhou is abandoned, Xizhou will be in danger; if Xizhou is abandoned, Xizhou will be in danger." Vibration in Guanzhong". Under opposition from many ministers, Sima Guang finally abandoned idea of handing over entire northwest of Xixia, and instead handed over four villages of Anjiang, Jialu, Futu, and Mizhi to Xixia.
After that, Siksia saw that Northern Song Dynasty was so weak that they attacked Northern Song Dynasty even more fiercely. Fortunately, after Song Zhezong came to power, he activated reformists and started a war against Xixia before regaining land, which curbed Xixia's ambitions, otherwise Guanzhong would have been difficult to defend. However, at this time, Northern Song dynasty had already fallen into serious party strife, and there was no selfless person like Wang Anshi to push for reforms. In 1100, Song Zhezong died, and famous imbecile Emperor Huizong of Song came to power, and Northern Song dynasty was not far from extinction. In 1127, Jin kingdom invaded south and Northern Song dynasty perished, which is known in history as "Jingkang Change".