|Water Margin character|
|First appearance||Chapter 49|
|Nickname||"Forest Emerging Dragon"
|Rank||90th, Short Star (地短星) of the 72 Earthly Fiends|
|Infantry leader of Liangshan|
|Ancestral home / Place of origin||Laizhou, Yantai, Shandong|
|Weapon||Flying Tiger Staff (飛虎棒)|
Zou Yuan is a fictional character in Water Margin, one of the Four Great Classical Novels of Chinese literature. He ranks 90th of the 108 Liangshan heroes and 54th of the 72 Earthly Fiends. He is nicknamed "Forest Emerging Dragon".
Zou Yuan is from Laizhou. He is famous for being righteous, honest and highly skilled in martial arts, but is also known for being arrogant and fiercely competitive. He used to lead a wandering life and spent much of his time on gambling before deciding to become an outlaw.
Zou Yuan and his nephew, Zou Run (who is about the same age as him), lead a group of bandits based on Mount Dengyun (登雲山) near Laizhou, where they rob the rich and help the poor. The Zous are close friends of Sun Xin, Yang Lin, Deng Fei and Shi Yong.
When the Xie brothers (Xie Zhen and Xie Bao) are wrongly imprisoned and sentenced to death in Dengzhou (登州; in present-day eastern Shandong), Sun Xin and his wife Gu Dasao approach the Zous and enlist their help in staging a prison raid in Dengzhou to rescue the Xie brothers. After saving the Xie brothers, they flee to Liangshan Marsh together and join the outlaw band there.
During the battle between the Liangshan outlaws and forces from the Zhu Family Village, the Zous join Sun Li's team in serving as spies for Liangshan inside the village by pretending to come to the Zhus' aid. The success of their espionage mission is instrumental to the outlaws' eventual victory over the Zhus.
Campaigns and death
Zou Yuan becomes one of the leaders of the Liangshan infantry 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. He is trampled to death by enemy cavalry in the battle of Qingxi County (清溪縣; present-day Anxi County, Quanzhou, Fujian) during the campaign against the rebel leader Fang La.
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