- This article is about the Water Margin character, Zhu Tong. He is not to be confused with another Water Margin character Zhou Tong or the archer Zhou Tong.
|Water Margin character|
|Nickname||"Lord of the Beautiful Beard"
|Rank||12th, Fulfillment Star (天滿星) of the 36 Heavenly Spirits|
|Tiger Cub Vanguard General of Liangshan|
|Hometown||Yuncheng County, Shandong|
|First appearance||Chapter 13|
Zhu Tong is a fictional character in Water Margin, one of the Four Great Classical Novels of Chinese literature. He ranks 12th of the 36 Heavenly Spirits of the 108 Liangshan heroes and is nicknamed "Lord of the Beautiful Beard".
Zhu Tong is a constable from Yuncheng County, Shandong. He stands at eight chi and four or five cun, and sports a beard a chi and five cun long. His sparkling eyes and his beard make him resemble Guan Yu in appearance, thus earning him the nickname "Lord of the Beautiful Beard". Zhu Tong is known to be gallant and chivalrous, thus he is often held in high regard by the magistrate. Besides, he comes from a rich family but he is generous and always willing to use his wealth to help the less privileged. In his spare time, Zhu Tong befriends other men of virtue and practises martial arts.
Zhu Tong and his colleague Lei Heng maintain a close friendship with Chao Gai. After Chao Gai and his six companions have been revealed to be the ones responsible for robbing a convoy of birthday gifts meant for the Imperial Tutor Cai Jing, the authorities send Zhu Tong and Lei Heng to arrest them. However, Zhu Tong and Lei Heng respect Chao Gai, and are thus unwilling to arrest him and hand him over to the authorities. They work out a plan to help Chao Gai and his friends escape. Shortly after, Song Jiang kills Yan Poxi after she discovered his connections with the outlaws. The magistrate sends Zhu Tong to arrest Song Jiang but once again Zhu Tong and Lei Heng release Song and help him escape. Since then, Zhu Tong's civil career has undertaken a slight deviation as he is inclined to side with the outlaws instead of performing his duties as a law enforcer.
Becoming an outlaw
In another incident, Lei Heng kills a singer called Bai Xiuying in anger after Bai behaved rudely towards his mother. Lei Heng is arrested and sentenced to exile in Jizhou. Zhu Tong is tasked with escorting Lei Heng there but along the way, he releases Lei and helps him escape on account of their friendship. Zhu Tong returns to the county office and sentenced to exile in Cangzhou for negligence of his duty. In Cangzhou, the prefect treats Zhu Tong well and entrusts his young son to Zhu's care. The outlaws come to Zhu Tong and persuade him to join the Liangshan cause. However, Zhu Tong firmly rejects the offer. Li Kui kills the prefect's son and forces Zhu Tong to join Liangshan, in accordance to a plan devised by Liangshan's strategists to make Zhu become part of Liangshan. Zhu Tong has no choice but to join Liangshan since he will be killed by the prefect if he returns to Cangzhou.
Campaigns and later life
Zhu Tong becomes one of the Eight Tiger Cubs Vanguard Generals of the Liangshan cavalry. He follows the Liangshan heroes on their campaigns against the Liao invaders and rebel forces after they have been granted amnesty by Emperor Huizong. He makes great contributions and is one of the few lucky survivors from Liangshan after the campaigns. He is offered an official post in recognition of his contributions and he accepts it. He joins Liu Guangshi in the subsequent war against the Jurchen-ruled Jin Empire and is promoted to a higher military rank for his achievements.
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