Wen Tianxiang and Shenzhen

Wen Tianxiang, the last Prime Minister of the Southern Song Dynasty, who accompanied the boy Emperor south, is an authentic hero of Chinese culture and history, and one of the most remembered events of his career took place in this area during the denouement of the Southern Song Dynasty.

One of the most famous Chinese poems, one which every school child knows by heart, is Wen Tianxiang’s Guo Ling Ding Yang, in English, Crossing the Ling Ding Ocean.

Wen wrote this in Goulan Bay, Zhuhai after the Mongols had captured him, but the Ling Ding Ocean to which he refers is the Pearl River between Shenzhen and Zhuhai and Ling Ding Island is visible from Shekou. This is a lovely poem. Wen was captured by the Mongol forces and offered a deal, one of multitudes of similar end of dynasty deals, which appear all through Chinese history. In these deals ministers of the previous dynasty denounce their previous masters and work for the new dynasty.

Unusually Wen refuses the deal and is taken back to the Mongol capital, Cambulac to await his fate. As he sits there he reflects on the wild Ling Ding Ocean, his life, and the decision he has just taken. He concludes:

No man has ever been immortal, leaving life by choosing loyalty will shine immortally through the historical record.

Metro: Chiwan on the Shekou line

Wen Tianxiang and Shenzhen Photo Gallery

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