|Water Margin character|
|Also known as||King of Chu (楚王)|
|Leader of Wang Qing forces|
|Ancestral home / Place of origin||Dongjing (present-day Kaifeng, Henan)|
|First appearance||Chapter 101|
Wang Qing is a fictional character and an antagonist in Water Margin, one of the Four Great Classical Novels of Chinese literature. He is one of the three rebel leaders in China, together with Fang La and Tian Hu, that the Liangshan heroes have to defeat in the final chapters of the novel. He only appears in the longest versions of the stories which include these extra chapters.
Water Margin describes Wang Qing as a seven chi tall muscular and handsome man with eyes like a phoenix's, thick brows and a high forehead.
Wang Qing comes from a wealthy family in the Song Empire's capital, Dongjing (present-day Kaifeng, Henan). The young Wang Qing was a street rascal who indulged in gambling, prostitution and drinking. When his parents scolded him about his behaviour, he would turn violent and hurl abuse at them, such that they did not dare to bother about him anymore. After leading an extravagant lifestyle for six to seven years, Wang Qing squandered his family's fortune and becomes a military officer in Kaifeng.
Rising in rebellion
Wang Qing started his rebellion against the Song Empire in Fangzhou after resisting arrest and killing government soldiers. He robs Fangzhou's treasury and granary with his followers and split the money and grain at different locations near Fangzhou. Within a short period of time, Wang Qing builds up his own military force by raiding nearby villages and towns.
Wang Qing heeds the words of his advisor, Li Zhu, and seizes control of Jingnan in a strategy proposed by Li. Wang Qing proclaims himself "King of Chu". Concurrently, many bandits and outlaws flock to join Wang Qing and his forces increase in size over time. Within three to four years, Wang Qing seizes control of six administrative divisions of the Song Empire. He builds himself a palace in Nanfeng. Wang Qing's territory expands to eight administrative divisions later, covering several parts of central and western China.
After the Liangshan outlaws have been granted amnesty by Emperor Huizong of Song, the emperor sends them on military campaigns to drive back invaders from the Liao Empire in the north and suppress rebel forces within Song China. The Liangshan heroes successfully defeated Liao, followed by Tian Hu and Wang's rebel forces, without suffering much casualties. Wang Qing is captured by Liangshan's Li Jun after his defeat.
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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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- Shibusawa, Kou. Bandit Kings of Ancient China. KOEI, 1989.