Zhou Tong (Water Margin)

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Zhou Tong
Water Margin character
Nickname "Little Conqueror"
Rank 87th, Empty Star (地空星) of the 72 Earthly Fiends
Tiger Cub Scouting General of Liangshan
Origin Bandit chief
Ancestral home / Place of origin Qingzhou (in present-day Shandong)
First appearance Chapter 5
Weapon Spear (走水綠沉槍)
Simplified Chinese 周通
Traditional Chinese 周通
Pinyin Zhōu Tōng
Wade–Giles Chou T'ung
This is a Chinese name; the family name is Zhou.

Zhou Tong is a fictional character in Water Margin, one of the Four Great Classical Novels of Chinese literature. He ranks 87th of the 108 Stars of Destiny and 51st of the 72 Earthly Fiends. He is nicknamed "Little Conqueror". He is often confused with the similarly named Zhou Tong, the archery teacher of Yue Fei.[1]


The novel describes Zhou Tong as a robust and strong man with a broad face and a loud booming voice. He is a powerful fighter and wields a long spear in battle. He resembles Xiang Yu and is thus nicknamed "Little Conqueror". He is from Qingzhou (in present-day Shandong) and leads a group of bandits on Mount Peach Blossom (桃花山).

Zhou Tong attempts to rob Li Zhong when the latter passes by the mountain after parting ways with Shi Jin and Lu Zhishen. He is defeated by Li Zhong in a fight and is so impressed with Li's skill that he invites Li to join his bandit gang and offers his position as chief to Li. Li Zhong accepts and becomes the new chief of the gang with Zhou Tong as his second-in-command.

Encounter with Lu Zhishen[edit]

Zhou Tong once chanced upon the daughter of Squire Liu, a wealthy squire who lives in a manor near Mount Peach Blossom, and forces her to marry him. By coincidence, on the wedding night, Lu Zhishen passes by the manor and takes shelter there for the night. He hears about Zhou Tong from Squire Liu and promises to help Liu stop the marriage from taking place. He hides inside the bride's room, ambushes Zhou Tong in the dark when he shows up, and gives him a good beating.

Zhou Tong manages to escape back to his stronghold and tell Li Zhong about it. Li Zhong and Zhou Tong then lead their bandit followers to the manor to confront Lu Zhishen, who is waiting for them. Li Zhong is surprised when he recognises Lu Zhishen. The conflict between Lu Zhishen and Zhou Tong is resolved when Li Zhong succeeds in convincing Zhou to give up on marrying Squire Liu's daughter. Lu Zhishen stays with Li Zhong and Zhou Tong at their stronghold for a few days before leaving.

Joining Liangshan[edit]

Huyan Zhuo is defeated by the outlaws from Liangshan Marsh and he retreats to Qingzhou. Along the way, his steed is stolen by Zhou Tong when he passes by Mount Peach Blossom. Huyan Zhuo is furious and he leads the Qingzhou army to attack the bandit stronghold. Li Zhong and Zhou Tong seek help from the outlaws on the nearby Mount Twin Dragons but they are still no match for Huyan Zhuo. Eventually, the Liangshan outlaws arrive to help them and they defeat imperial forces in the great battle at Qingzhou. Huyan Zhuo is captured and he defects over to join Liangshan. Zhou Tong follows the heroes back to Liangshan after the victory.

Campaigns and death[edit]

Zhou Tong becomes one of the leaders of the Liangshan cavalry after the Grand Assembly of the 108 Stars of Destiny. He follows the heroes on their campaigns against the Liao invaders and rebel forces after they have been granted amnesty by Emperor Huizong.

During the campaign against the rebel leader Fang La, Zhou Tong follows Lu Junyi to attack the enemy at Dusong Pass (獨松關; located south of present-day Anji County, Huzhou, Zhejiang) and is ordered to scout ahead. While he is surveying the terrain outside the pass, the pass gates suddenly open and the enemy general Li Tianrun charges out, catches him off guard, and kills him swiftly. Zhou Tong is posthumously awarded the title "Righteous Gentleman of Integrity" (義節郎) by the emperor in recognition of his contributions during the campaigns.


  1. ^ (Portuguese) SHAOLIN À BRASILEIRA - See #6 on pg. 4. The author incorrectly represents Yue Fei's teacher and this character as the very same person.