Emperor Suzong of Tang
Emperor Suzong of Tang, whose personal name was Li Heng, was an emperor of the Tang dynasty and the son of Emperor Xuanzong. He ascended the throne after his father fled to Sichuan during the An Lushan Rebellion in 756. During his reign, he focused on quelling the rebellion, which was ultimately suppressed during the reign of his son, Emperor Daizong.
Emperor Suzong’s reign saw the rise of eunuchs as top-ranked officials. Li Fuguo, a powerful eunuch, gained significant influence near the end of Suzong’s reign. Li Fuguo allied with Emperor Suzong’s wife, Empress Zhang, to eliminate their opponents at court, but they later became enemies. In 762, Li Fuguo killed Empress Zhang in a power struggle, and shortly after, Emperor Suzong died.
Born in 711, Emperor Suzong was the son of Emperor Xuanzong and Consort Yang Guipin. His early life was marked by power struggles and plots to prevent his birth. He was raised by Empress Wang, Emperor Xuanzong’s wife, after his mother’s death.
As crown prince, Li Heng faced political challenges and was accused of plotting rebellions. After the An Lushan Rebellion, he became emperor and waged campaigns to recapture Chang’an from the rebel forces. He later formed an alliance with Huige to defeat the Yan forces.
In his later years, Emperor Suzong fell ill and granted regent powers to his son, Li Yu (Emperor Daizong). There were internal power struggles at court, and Empress Zhang attempted to plot against the powerful eunuch, Li Fuguo. However, the plot failed, and Emperor Suzong died on May 16, 762, only 13 days after the death of his father, Emperor Xuanzong.
Emperor Suzong also had diplomatic relations with Muslims. During the An Lushan Rebellion, he requested armed assistance from the Abbasid Caliphate’s ruler, Al-Mansur. In response, Al-Mansur sent 4,000 soldiers to aid the Tang dynasty, and some of them settled permanently in China, contributing to the formation of the earliest Muslim communities in the country.