Hu Weiyong

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Hu Weiyong
Left Chancellor
In office
Preceded byXu Da
Succeeded byposition abolished
Right Chancellor
In office
Preceded byWang Guangyang
Succeeded byWang Guangyang
Personal details

Hu Weiyong (Chinese: 胡惟庸; pinyin: Hú Wéiyōng; Wade–Giles: Hu Wei-yung; died 1380) was a Chinese politician and the first chancellor of the Ming dynasty, from 1373 to 1380. Hu was a main member of Huaixi meritorious group. He was well known as the central character of the case which named after himself and caused about thirty thousand deaths. Besides, his biography topped the Biographies of the Treacherous Courtiers, History of Ming.[1] He was later accused of attempting to rebel and was thus executed by emperor Zhu Yuanzhang.


Hu was born in Dingyuan, Haozhou (濠州; now a part of Chuzhou, Anhui province). In 1363 Hu contributed a large number of warships to Zhu Yuanzhang to use for battle with Chen Youliang. Li Shanchang, chief of warship production, was pleased with Hu and recommended Hu to Zhu Yuanzhang. Li was part of an anti-corruption campaign to eliminate political opponents of Zhu. In the end, both Li and Hu were executed by the Zhu emperor for attempting to usurp the throne.


In the Hongwu Emperor's elimination of the traditional offices of grand councilor, the primary impetus was Hu Weiyong's alleged attempt to usurp the throne. Hu was the Senior Grand Councilor and a capable administrator; however, over the years, the magnitude of his powers as well as involvement in several political scandals eroded the paranoid emperor's trust in him. Finally, in 1380, the Hongwu Emperor had Hu and his entire family arrested and executed on charges of treason. Using this as an opportunity to purge his government, the Hongwu Emperor also ordered the execution of countless other officials, as well as their families, for associating with Hu. The purge lasted over a decade and resulted in more than 30,000 executions.

Some accounts narrate the dubious legends about Hu. It was said that some stalagmites emerged from the water of well, which located at the yard of his former residence. Moreover, the tombs of his ancestors were glowed in the night. While he seemed to preened himself on that and conspired to coups.[1]


Chancellor Hu Weiyong arrogated all authority to himself and accepted bribes, which stirred the wrath of other officers and the people. In 1380, a subordinate of Hu Weiyong reported to the Hongwu Emperor (Zhu Yuanzhang) that Hu Weiyong met with the envoy of another country secretly, attempting to rebel. Four days later Zhu executed Hu Weiyong. The emperor soon abolished the Chancellery of China, taking over direct responsibility of the Three Departments and Six Ministries. The Grand Secretariat later assumed responsibility for aiding the emperor in managing the state.

Together with the other members of his clique, their offences were compiled a book tilted Zhaoshi Jiandang Lu (昭示奸黨錄;The Record to Proclaim the Treacherous Clique), at the behest of the emperor.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c History of Ming, Vol. 308

Further reading[edit]

  • Mu: "China's ancient political gains"
  • History Cultural China : "Abolishing the Chancellery of China - A Reform of Administrative System by Zhu Yuanzhang".
Preceded by
Xu Da
Left Chancellor of Ming Dynasty
1377 - 1380
Succeeded by
None, title abolished
Preceded by
Wang Guangyang
Right Chancellor of Ming Dynasty
1373 - 1377
Succeeded by
Wang Guangyang