Li Zhong (Water Margin)
|Water Margin character|
|Nickname||"Tiger Slaying General"
|Rank||86th, Remote Star (地僻星) of the 72 Earthly Fiends|
|Infantry leader of Liangshan|
|Ancestral home / Place of origin||Haozhou (around present-day Bengbu and Chuzhou, Anhui)|
|First appearance||Chapter 3|
Li Zhong is a fictional character in Water Margin, one of the Four Great Classical Novels of Chinese literature. He ranks 86th of the 108 Liangshan heroes and 50th of the 72 Earthly Fiends. He is nicknamed "Tiger Slaying General".
Li Zhong is from Haozhou (濠州; around present-day Bengbu and Chuzhou, Anhui). He earns a living as a medicine peddler by performing martial arts and physical feats on the streets to promote the drugs he sells. He is nicknamed "Tiger Slaying General" for his strong and muscular physique. He also instructed Shi Jin in martial arts before.
Becoming an outlaw
Li Zhong meets Shi Jin again in Weizhou (渭州; around present-day Pingliang, Gansu) after Shi left home. They are joined by Lu Zhishen (then known as Lu Da) while having drinks in a tavern. Lu Da kills Butcher Zheng, a bully in Weizhou, and goes on the run from the authorities. He finally settles down in a monastery on Mount Wutai, becomes a monk, and is renamed to "Lu Zhishen".
In the meantime, Li Zhong leaves Weizhou after parting ways with Shi Jin and passes by Mount Peach Blossom (桃花山), where he encounters Zhou Tong, the chief of a group of bandits based on the mountain. Zhou Tong attacks Li Zhong and tries to rob him, but is defeated in a fight by Li. Zhou Tong is impressed with Li Zhong's skill that he invites Li to join the gang and offers his position as chief to Li. Li Zhong agrees and becomes the new chief of the bandit gang.
Encounter with Lu Zhishen
Around the time, Lu Zhishen is expelled from the monastery after causing havoc. He makes his way to Dongjing (東京; present-day Kaifeng, Henan) and passes by Mount Peach Blossom along the way. He takes shelter in a manor near the mountain but is warmly received by Squire Liu, the manor's master. Squire Liu tells Lu Zhishen that Zhou Tong is coming to the manor that night to marry his daughter, even though he is unwilling to let his daughter marry Zhou. Lu Zhishen agrees to help Squire Liu. He hides in the bride's room, ambushes Zhou Tong in the dark when he shows up, and gives him a good beating.
Zhou Tong manages to escape, returns to his stronghold, and asks Li Zhong to help him. Li Zhong and Zhou Tong then lead their bandit followers to the manor to confront Lu Zhishen, who is waiting for them. Li Zhong is surprised when he recognises Lu Zhishen. The conflict between Lu Zhishen and Zhou Tong is resolved when Li Zhong manages to convince Zhou to give up on marrying Squire Liu's daughter. Lu Zhishen stays with Li Zhong and Zhou Tong for a few days and leaves later.
After Huyan Zhuo is defeated by the outlaws from Liangshan Marsh, he retreats to Qingzhou (in present-day Shandong) and passes by Mount Peach Blossom along the way. When his horse is stolen by Zhou Tong, he is so furious that he leads a group of soldiers from Qingzhou to attack the bandits on the mountain. Li Zhong and Zhou Tong are no match for Huyan Zhuo so they seek help from Lu Zhishen and the other outlaws on Mount Twin Dragons (二龍山). Eventually, the Liangshan outlaws arrive in Qingzhou, combine forces with the outlaws from the two mountains, and defeat Huyan Zhuo and the imperial forces. Huyan Zhuo is captured by the outlaws and he decides to join them after being persuaded by Song Jiang. Li Zhong and the others follow the others back to Liangshan Marsh and join the outlaw band there.
Campaigns and death
Li Zhong becomes one of the leaders of the Liangshan infantry after the Grand Assembly of the 108 Stars of Destiny. He follows the heroes on their campaigns against the Liao invaders and rebel forces after they have been granted amnesty by Emperor Huizong.
During the campaign against the rebel leader Fang La, Li Zhong and five other Liangshan heroes are assigned to attack Yuling Pass (昱嶺關; near present-day Zhupu Village, She County, Huangshan City, Anhui), which is defended by Fang La's general Pang Wanchun. Shi Jin is slain by Pang Wanchun while Li Zhong and the other four are killed by Pang's archers in the battle.
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- Buck, Pearl. All Men are Brothers. Moyer Bell Ltd, 2006. ISBN 9781559213035.
- Zhang, Lin Ching. Biographies of Characters in Water Margin. Writers Publishing House, 2009. ISBN 978-7506344784.
- Keffer, David. Outlaws of the Marsh.
- Miyamotois, Yoko. Water Margin: Chinese Robin Hood and His Bandits.
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