Lü Shinang (died 1121) was the leader of a Chinese Manichaean cult who led an uprising against the Song dynasty in Taizhou, Zhejiang. He is also featured as a character in Water Margin, one of the Four Great Classical Novels of Chinese literature. In the story, Lü Shinang is a subordinate of the rebel leader Fang La, one of the antagonists and enemies of the 108 Liangshan heroes.
Lü Shinang was from present-day Baita Town, Xianju County, Zhejiang. He was the leader of a Chinese Manichaean cult and helped the common people, who were suffering from poverty. He was popularly nicknamed "Lord Xinling" after Lord Xinling of the Four Lords of the Warring States for his efforts.
In 1120, Xianju was hit by a drought and the people suffered from famine. The following year, the situation worsened but the local government did not provide relief aid. Instead, it pressured the common people to pay taxes and supply grain. Lü Shinang and about 1,000 men from Xianju were ordered to deliver grain to the county office. On the way, the escorting officers treated the men harshly and beat them when they asked for a short break. Lü Shinang made a speech to his fellows, denouncing the government and calling them to revolt. The people responded to his call and killed the officers and distributed grain to the starving people. Subsequently, Lü Shinang's rebel force defeated an army sent to suppress the rebellion and seized control of Xianju. At the same time, many people and Lü Shinang's followers in Yongkang and Yongjia joined him in rebelling and the rebel forces grew in strength until it reached more than 10,000. Lü Shinang's rebellion took place in the territory of Fang La, another rebel leader, and Lü allied himself with Fang.
In the third and fourth months of that year, the rebels attacked Taizhou thrice but failed to conquer the city. Lü Shinang split his army into two forces to take Tiantai and Huangyan. Towards the end of the fourth month, Fang La was captured by imperial forces. Lü Shinang's force defeated the imperial army led by Zhe Kecun and Liu Guang and captured Yueqing and Wenzhou.
In the fifth month, Tong Guan organized a 150,000 strong army to crush the rebellion and inflicted heavy casualties on Lü Shinang's forces. In the seventh month, Lü Shinang attacked Wenzhou and besieged the city for 36 days but failed to conquer it, and the situation worsened when reinforcements for the enemy arrived. The rebels were surrounded in Huangyan and suffered heavy casualties. Lü Shinang was wounded and attempted to escape by leaping off a cliff, but was captured by imperial forces. Lü Shinang was eventually killed by arrows and his corpse was dismembered.
Following the suppression of Lü Shinang's rebellion, Tong Guan ordered a massacre on Lü's clan and followers. Lü Shinang's hometown was destroyed and its inhabitants slaughtered. Several years later, some survivors returned to the town and rebuilt their homes near the bridge overlooking Weijiang Stream. The place was named Lü's Bridge in memory of Lü Shinang.
|Water Margin character|
|Also known as||Lord Xinling
|Secret Keeper of Eastern Hall
(東廳樞密使) of Fang La forces
|Hometown||Shezhou (present-day She County, Anhui)|
|First appearance||Chapter 91|
|Weapon||Eight-feet-long Snake Spear|
In Water Margin Lü Shinang is a rich man from Shezhou. He donated his wealth to support Fang La in his rebellion and is appointed by Fang as an official after Fang established his kingdom in the Jiangnan region. Lü Shinang studied military strategy in his youth and excels in martial arts. He wields an eight-feet long snake spear in combat. He has 12 subordinates under his command, collectively known as the "12 Deities of Jiangnan", along with another 50,000 troops.
Lü Shinang encounters the Liangshan army led by Song Jiang near Wuxi. He fights with Liangshan's Xu Ning for more than 20 rounds and reveals a weak spot by accident. Xu Ning takes the opportunity to spear Lü Shinang below the ribs and kill him.
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