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Zhang rose to hold various important civil and military posts, and was successful on several occasions in checking the incursions of the JurchenJin dynasty in the Jin–Song Wars, notably in 1118 and 1126. He was for war and extermination, and would hear of no compromise with these enemies of his country. In reference to his mission of defence to Shaanxi and Sichuan, Zhao Ding (趙鼎) said of him that he had "repaired the heavens and cleansed the sun." He was appointed chancellor during the reign of Emperor Gaozong in 1135, a position he shared with Zhao Ding. In 1137 he fell a victim to the intrigues of Qin Hui, whose conciliatory policy he steadily opposed, and was sent to Yongzhou in Hunan. He was then recalled under the reign of Emperor Xiaozong, successor of Gaozong. He was ennobled as Duke. Xiaozong was supportive of Zhang's hawkish stance towards to the Jurchens. In the court of Xiaozong, his political rival was Shi Hao, his former tutor and an opponent of further wars against the Song. Afterwards he rose to the rank of Prince. He was deeply read, especially in the Classic of Changes, on which he wrote a commentary. Zhang was canonised as Zhōngyàn (忠鬳).
Gong, Wei Ai (2009). "The Reign of Hsiao-tsung (1162-1189)". In Paul Jakov Smith; Denis C. Twitchett. The Cambridge History of China: Volume 5, The Sung Dynasty and Its Precursors, 907-1279. Cambridge University Press. pp. 710–755. ISBN978-0-521-81248-1. (hardcover)
Tao, Jing-Shen (2009). "The Move to the South and the Reign of Kao-tsung". In Paul Jakov Smith; Denis C. Twitchett. The Cambridge History of China: Volume 5, The Sung Dynasty and Its Precursors, 907-1279. Cambridge University Press. pp. 556–643. ISBN978-0-521-81248-1. (hardcover)