|Ran Wei||Jie and other Wu Hu|
|Commanders and leaders|
|Ran Min||Shi Zhi|
|Casualties and losses|
|light||Hundreds of thousands of Jie and other Wu Hu killed|
The Wei–Jie war was a conflict in North China in 350. Following the fall of the ethnic-Jie Later Zhao regime in 350 to the Chinese state of Ran Wei, tensions were high. The Jie people, who had formed the Later Zhao Dynasty, did not accept Ran Min's rule and rose against him; they were joined by many other Wu Hu nations also opposed to Ran Min. The resulting war ended with a decisive victory for Ran Min, who then proceeded to issue his famous "extermination order", which resulted in the extermination of virtually all of the Jie and most of the Wu Hu.
By 350, struggles within the Jie Later Zhao regime benefited Ran Min, who took over the regime and massacred the entire Shi family, who ruled Later Zhao, with the exception of one cousin of Shi Jian, the last emperor of Later Zhao. Later, however, this cousin of Shi Jian led an uprising against Ran Min, beginning the Wei–Jie war.
Course of the war
Outbreak of the war
Shi Jian's cousin, Shi Zhi, had been a Later Zhao general at Xiangguo. When he heard that Ran Min had massacred the Shi family and declared himself emperor, Shi Zhi rebelled against Ran Min. He was quickly joined by several other Later Zhao border armies, mostly composed of Jie soldiers who despised Ran Min's rule.
Extermination of the Wu Hu
When he heard of the Jie revolt against him, Ran Min issued his famous "extermination order", in which he called on the Chinese to kill all the Wu Hu. The Wu Hu had conquered Ran Wei half a century earlier. The effect of Ran Min's order was immense; some 200,000 Jie were killed in Yecheng (the Wei capital) in a few days, and brutal fighting broke out between Chinese and Wu Hu throughout North China.
Battle of Xiangguo
Meanwhile, Ran Min's army met the main rebel forces under Shi Zhi and defeated them at the Battle of Yecheng. In the spring of 351, Ran Min besieged Shi Zhi's capital, Xiangguo. Shi Zhi sought aid from Former Yan's prince Murong Jun and was able to deal Ran a major defeat. At this time, the Xiongnu soldiers in Yecheng also rebelled, captured Ran Min's son Ran Yin, and surrendered to Shi Zhi, who executed Ran Yin. Ran Min was thought to be dead, but when he appeared in Yecheng, the city was calmed. Shi Zhi ordered his general Liu Xian (劉顯) to besiege Yecheng, but Ran Min defeated Liu in the siege, awing the latter so much that Liu agreed that upon his return to Xiangguo he would kill Shi Zhi and surrender. He did so and sent Shi Zhi's head to Ran Min, who had the head burned on a busy street in Yecheng. Later Zhao was at its final end. The city of Xiangguo was burned, and its population moved to Yecheng.
End of the war
Following the victory at Xiangguo, Ran Min's forces proceeded northwards and defeated two Later Zhao border armies. Wherever he captured territory from the rebels, Ran Min's forces massacred any Wu Hu living there, burying their bodies in large pits. Some 100,000 were reputedly killed in this way. Thousands of Wu Hu fled China or were killed. The Jie were particularly hard hit; they were virtually completely wiped out.
- Li and Zheng, pg 402
- Li, Bo; Zheng Yin (Chinese) (2001) 5000 years of Chinese history, Inner Mongolian People's publishing corp, ISBN 7-204-04420-7,
- Book of Jin.