When Hsiao Tao-ch'eng deposed the Sung Dynasty it closely resembled Liu Yü's usurpation of the Chin, making nominal use of an abdication in order to seize political authority in what had become ever since the Ts'ai-Wei Dynasty a traditional wasy of legitimizing such transitions of power. Where Hsiao Tao-ch'eng and Liu Yü differ though is that while the latter rose up out of the mass of commoners the former came from an old and honorable family which was locally prominent in the area of Lan-ling in Tung-hai. Both his grandfather and father had served as high officials, while Tao-ch'eng himself as the scion of a distinguished family time and again distinguished himself in battle to amass prestige and power enough that he could obtain political power. After Tao-ch'eng had been proclaimed emperor he became the Southern Ch'i ruler Gao-ti (Eminent). He sensed that in the dynasty of the Liu-Sung discipline had been subverted and so at the beginning of his reign he asked Liu Hsien about the nature of government and Hsien replied, "The basis of administration resides with the Filial Classic (Hsiao Ch'ing). All that brought about the fall of the Sung clan and that by which your majesty has obtained the throne both derive from this fact. If your majesty guards against errors of the cart in front, and adds to this tolerance and generosity then although there be dangers he can obtain peace; but if he follows in the wheel ruts of the cart that overturned then although there is peace, danger must result!" (NOTE: The cart here is a metaphor for the state.) Kao-ti sighed and said, "The words of one who is so learned can truly be treasured for ten-thousand generations!" Therefore, at the start of the Hsiao-Ch'i Dynasty much effort was put into correcting the abuses of the Sung to avoid the misfortunes of family infighting.
Although the Liu-Sung Dynasty was finished in the south a portion of the Royal Family and some surviving officials were in exile at the Northern Court where they had been given shelter, but the Northern Court also used them as political tools for an invasion of the south. Among this remnant of the Sung Royal House was the son of Wen-ti, Liu Ch'ang, the former Hsü-chou Prefect and King of I-yang. In 465 when he fled into exile with the Northern Wei during the upheavals occasioned by Liu Tzu-yeh, the Wei rulers gave him a princess for a wife, appointing him the Southern Expedition General, Palace Attendant and ennobled him as the King of Tan-yang according him extremely favorable treatment. By 479 he had already passed 14 swift years among the Northern Wei. When he heard of the coup in his fatherland he asked the Empress Dowager Feng to lend him troops to recover his country. So the Empress Dowager dispatched troops on an expedition tot he south after agreeing with Liu Ch'ang that if he was able to restore the kingdom of his ancestors in Chiang-nan he would declare his submission to Wei. So during the 11th lunar month of 479 in the winter the troops were divided into three columns to go down south, a column led by T'o-pa Chia was to head toward Huai-yin, while another led by T'o-pa Ch'en was directed at Kuang-ling and the third led by Hsüeh Hu-tz'e headed for Shou-yang with Liu Ch'ang as the Great Inspector-General of the western route of the southern campaign. Moreover, the Man tribes of the Ching and Hsiang areas were incited to rise up in support of the invasion and all at once these events combined to shake the very foundations of the Southern Court. Of the three invasion routes the assault of the northern armies focussed on Shou-yang. In the spring lf 480 a mixed Wei force of cavalry and infantry that was reputed to be 300,000 men strong fought their way to Shou-yang. Relying on a determined defense and hard fighting the Yu-chou Prefect for the Ch'i state, Huan Ch'ung-tsu, finally beat back the Wei army. By the 3rd lunar month of 480 there were heavy rains that did not stop with many of the northern soldiers becoming ill so Liu Ch'ang petitioned the Wei court for permission to withdraw the army. The other two columns of the northern army had also been defeated and had withdrawn. Since at the time the inhabitants of the four provinces of Huai-pei did not want to be ruled by Wei, they now seized the opportunity to rise up in revolt. In Hsü-chou Huan Piao-chih gathered together a large following to protect Wu-ku and they acclaimed Ssu-ma Lang-chih as their leader. When the men of Wei heard it said that Huai-pe was in disorder they then sent out in 481 Wei Yuan King of Huai-yang and the Pacifies the South General Hsüeh Hu-tz'e along with troops to suppress Huan Piao-chih. Wei Yuan laid siege to Wu-ku for over half a year until the fall of 481 when Wu-ku finally fell to the assault, killing Ssu-ma Lang-chih and the rest and pacifying all of Huai-pei. The many pitiable men of Han who had risen up in righteous revolt were now all driven to P'ing-ch'eng before the whips of the soldiers of Wei. The Wei army had already tried to take advantage of the victory to cross the river and invade Huai-nan but they had been beaten back by Huan Ch'ung-tsu and the Directing the Army General Li An-min. The armies of the north and south had traded blows with one another for two years with the result that Wei was unable to push south across the valley of the Huai, but Ch'i also was unable to push its way north across the river maintaining the stalemate between north and south. Having just established his kingdom the Ch'i ruler Hsiao Tao-ch'eng did not wish to have Wei as an enemy along his borders so in the fall of 481 he made it a point to send an envoy to Wei to repair their relations, and the Wei also ceased hostilities and spoke of peace so from this time on envoys travelled back and forth between the north and south without a break.
Hsiao Tao-ch'eng reigned for only four years as Ch'i Kao-ti and then died. When the Imperial Heir, Hsiao Tse, succeeded to the throne he became Ch'i Wu-ti and the reign title was changed to Yung-ming "Forever Bright". Since he paid such particular attention to administration and to social stability history calls the period the Yung-ming Administration (meaning "good" administration). The Yung-ming period of the Southern Court (483-493) and the T'ai-ho period of the Northern Court (477-499) were both eras of relative prosperity and security, and with the good relations between north and south the borders were quiet, an unusual state of affairs in this turbulent period. On the Central Plain the peasantry obtained a temporary respite in the midst of the signal fires of war. The emperor's son, Hsiao Tse-liang, King of Ching-ling became the Minister of the Masses and headed the garrison at Hsi-chou. Tze-liang loved literary studies and enjoyed having guests and visitors, believed in the Buddhist dharmas and when he would open the doors to his western palace he would associate with the outstandting talents of the empire. Serving as his secretaries were the Military Consultants Hsiao Ch'en, Jen Fang and Fan Yün, the Law Bureau Consultant Wang Hung, the Libationer of the Eastern Chamber hsiao Yen, the Stabilizes the West Merit Officer Hsiao T'iao, the Colonel of the Foot Soldiers Shen Yüeh, and the outstanding scholar Lu Ch'ui who were all well-known for their literary studies and the men of the time called them the "Eight Friends" and they would usually either exchange their literary works or discuss the mysterious and speak of principle. At the same time the King assembled scholars to make copies of the Five Classics (the Confucian Canon comprising the Book of Changes, the Book of Odes, the Book of History, the Book of Rites and the Spring and Autumn Annals) and the books of the Hundred Schools, classifying them as important about one-thousand volumes and also summoned a great crowd of Buddhist clergy who were to expound on the buddhadharma so that at the same time there was a profusion of Buddhist followers and also of literary studies. During his eleven-year reign Hsiao Tse, Ch'i Wu-ti, ceased military activities and promoted cultural pursuits giving to the land a time of peace for there were no great disturbances either at home or abroad. There was only one regrettable affair and that was the incident concerning Hsiao Tzu-hsiang King of Pa-tung. Tzu-hsiang was the son of Wu-ti, brave and forceful, an accomplished horseman and archer, who was now serving as the Ching-chou Prefect and frequently engaged in illegal activities. His Chief Clerk Liu Yin and others reported this to the Court and when Tzu-hsiang learned of this he had Liu Yin and eight others killed. Wu-ti trembled in his rage and sent out the Palace Writer and Member of the Suite Ju Fa-liang to lead troops there were to go and summon Tzu-liang to come to the court but he refused the summons, leading troops in a surprise attack on Fa-liang. Wu-ti then sent the Tan-yang Metropolitan Prefect Hsiao Hsün-chih in command of troops to punish Tzu-hsiang who having already exhausted his strength was then captured and strangled to death by Hsün-chih. In the 8th lunar month of 490 after this had been done Wu-ti was very upset about it. In 493 Wu-ti passed away and since the Imperial Heir Chang-mao had died earlier then crown then passed on to one of his children, Chao-yeh, and the domestic evil of a struggle for political power rose up again as the Ch'i government passed from order into disorder following along the tracks of the overturned cart of the fallen Liu-Sung Dynasty.
When Ch'i Wu-ti was dying of an illness a trusted subordinate of King Tze-liang's, Wang Jung the Gentleman of the Palace Writers, had along with others wanted to set up Tze-liang as the ruler but their plans had not reached completion. So it came about that the Imperial grandson, Hsiao Chao-yeh ascended the throne with Hsiao Luan Marquis of Hsi-ch'ang serving as the General-in-Chief assisting with the government, while Tze-liang was honored with the post of Grand Tutor. Hsiao Luan was the nephew of Hsiao Tao-ch'eng and while Tze-liang was submissive and cowardly by nature Luan was wolfishly greedy and contemptuous of authority so Tze-liang yielded in all matters to Hsiao Luan in deference to him, thus was Luan able to grasp full authority. Therefore, it came as quite a surprise whtn Luan pressured Tze-liang out of all his positions of power and even went so far as to have Tze-liang's trusted subordinate Wang Jung murdered while it was not long after that when Tze-liang abruptly died, sad and bitter. Hsiao Luan formed a faction to abuse power and intimidate the Son of Heaven at the time the Ch'i ruler, Chao-yeh, was already twenty-one and fearing Luan he plotted together with the Prefect of the Palace Writers Ho Lin and other to punish Luan. However, the servants of the emperor acted as the eyes and ears of Hsiao Luan and he quickly learned of the matter. Clad in his military dress Luan led troops into the barracks commanding Hsiao Ch'en the Commandant of the Guards to enter the palace where he was forced to kill Chao-yeh, falsely claiming to be following an edict from the Empress Dowager demanding that Tz'u-liang be dethroned and made the King of Yü-lin while the emperor's second son, Chao-wen King of Hsin-an, replaced him as the emperor. When Chao-wen became emperor he was just fifteen years old.
As the power and influence of Hsiao Luan grew with each passing day people everywhere were viewing events with alarm while the murder of Chao-yeh made many very uneasy. At the time the oldest of Hsiao Tao-ch'eng's surviving sons was Hsiao Ch'iang King of P'o-yang, while the eldest of Hsiao Tse's sons was Hsiao Tse-lung. Some men came to the aid of these two, leading troops into the palace in compliance with orders issued by the emperor to remove Hsiao Luan. The two Kings hesistated and had not yet decided what to do when Hsiao Luan learned of it and immediately dispatched troops to surround the residences of the two and killed Hsiao Ch'iang and Hsiao Tse-lung. When Wu-ti's son Tse-mao the Chiang-chou Prefect and King of Chin-an heard of that the two Kings had been killed he immediately began making plans to revolt. Tze-mao's mother, the Lady Juan, lived in Chien-k'ang and letters secretly passed back and forth between her and Tze-mao but the news leaked out. Hsiao Luan promptly sent out Wang Hsuan-miao from the Central Protection Army and General Fei Shu-yeh to lead troops to punish Tze-mao but since he was not yet prepared Hsün-yang fell to the assault and Tze-mao was killed. Because of these incidents concerning the three kings Hsiao Luan now also had his doubts about all of the other descendants of the first two Ch'i emperors and suddenly be means of extremely quick and brutal methods sent out troops to ambush them, envoys to coerce them and killed them all: the South Yen Prefect and King of An-ling Hsiao Tze-hsün (a son of Wu-ti); The Hsiang-chou Prefect and King of Nan-ch'ang Hsiao Ch'iu (a son of Kao-ti); the South Yü-chou Prefect and King of Hsüan-tu Hsiao Chien (a son of Kao-ti); the King of Kuei-yang Hsiao Shuo (son of Kao-ti); the King of Chiang-hsia Hsiao Feng (son of Kao-ti); the King of Heng-yang Hsiao Chün (son of Kao-ti); the King of Chien-an Hsiao Tse-chen (son of Wu-ti); the King of Pa-tung Hsiao Tze-lun (son of Wu-ti). At the time of his death Hsiao Tze-lun was only sixteen years old and when he received the imperial edict commanding him to drink poisoned wine he could only sigh and say, "In the past the former rulers of this house exterminated the Liu clan so there are many reason that today's affair thus has to be." During the 10th lunar month of 494 as soon as he had killed all of the Kings, Hsiao Luan went ahead and deposed the young ruler Chao-wen naming him King of Hai-ling and then himself ascended the throne to become the ruler Ch'i Ming-ti. Within the next few years after taking the throne, he also ordered the deaths of the King of Ho-tung Hsiao- Hsüan (son of Kao-ti); the King of Hsi-yang Hsiao Tze-ming; the King of Nan-hai Hsiao Tze-han; the King of Shao-ling Hsiao Tze-chen; the King of Nan-k'ang Hsiao Tze-lin; the King of Lin-ho Hsiao Tze-yüeh; the King of Yung-yang Hsiao Tze-min; the King of Heng-yang Hsiao Tze-chün; the King of Tze-tung Hsiao Tze-chien; and the King of Nan-chün Hsiao Tze-hsia; (all the sons of Wu-ti Hsiao Tze). With this all of the sons and grandsons of Kao-ti had been completely eliminated, resembling the kinstrife that had plagued the Liu-Sung Dynasty now once again seen in the Hsiao-Ch'i Dynasty, a state of affairs that the spirit of the times seemed to make inevitable.
The disorders brought about by Hsiao Luan were at just the time that T'o-pa Hung, the Northern Wei ruler Hsiao-wen-ti, was transferring the capital to Lo-yang. When the Wei ruler heard it said that the royal family of the Southern Court was slaughtering itself he reccognized that this was a good opportunity for a southern campaign and consequently in 494 he personally set out at the heaf of a large force to lead it in an expedition to the south. Thus the peaceful situation that had been maintained between north and south for several decades was shattered and once agin the conflict commenced. Hsiao-wen-ti ordered the capable General Hsüeh Chen-tu to command a force to attack Hsiang-yang, Liu Ch'ang and Wang Su were to attack I-yang, T'o-pa Yen was to lead the assault on Chung-li and Liu Tsao was in charge of the strike against Nan-cheng in a general offensive with four lines of advance. Liu Yuan acted as the vanguard while T'o-pa Hung personally directed this great army and supervised rear operations from Hsüan-hu. Hsiao Luan the Ch'i emperoro also sent out his forces to separately resist each of these assaults, and the Wei armies were all unable tp obtain success. During the 2nd lunar month of 495 the Wei ruler Hsiao-wen-ti personally supervised the advance of a vast army from Hsüan-hu across the Huai River, a force said to be 300,000 strong, whose iron cavalry filled the wilds, which advanced beneath the walls of Shou-yang where Hsiao-wen-ti ascended th Mount of Eight Dukes (Pa-gung Shan) and chanted poems in order to make known his purpose. The Ch'i Duke of Feng-ch'eng Hsiao Yao-ch'ang closed the city gates to guard it securely while Hsiao-wen-ti seeing that the city of Shou-yang was going to be difficult to take chose instead to bypass it to advance and attack Chung-li (now Feng-uang in An-hui). Ts'ui Hui-hsiu, the Hsü-chou Prefect, offered stubborn resistance so the vigorous assault of the Wei troops was held off with heavy casualties. In the middle the army assaulting I-yang along with another in the west assaulting Hsiang-yang were both defeated by Ch'i forces. With the arrival of spring the level of the Yangtze rose allowing the Ch'i navy to travel upstream against the current leaving Hsiao-wen-ti no other choice but to withdraw his army and return north to Lo-yang. After half a year of hard fighting the northern army had absolutely nothing to show for its efforts. Hsiao-wen-ti was extremely unhappy with this outcome and in 497 after two years had passed he once again mobilized troops for a southern campaign. It was at this time that the Northern Wei were establishing the capital at Lo-yang and to the south of it were the towns of Nan-yang and Fan-ch'eng, an area that must be controlled if Lo-yang were to be protected. Hsiao-wen-ti ordered T'o-pa Hsieh King of P'eng-ch'eng to lead a powerful attack with a force said to be one-million strong, but the Ch'i Nan-yang Grand Administrator Fang Po-yü lead a stout defense that defied the assault. Hsiao-wen-ti then personally led another great force to reinforce the offensive and besiege Wan-ch'eng vowing, "If I cannot conquer Wan-ch'eng then I swear that I will not return to the north." The siege lasted from the 8th lunar month of 497 to the 2nd lunar month of 498 when finally after half a year Wan-ch'eng fell and Fang Po-yü became a prisoner. The Ch'i state then sent Ts'ui Hui-ching and Hsiao Yen to the aid of Nan-yang and they were also defeated by the Wei armies with heavy losses. All at once the lands of the five commanderies of Nan-yang, Hsin-yeh, North Hsiang-ch'eng, West Ju-nan and North I-yang were all lost to the enemy. Hsiao-wen-ti led his troops on another assault of Fan-ch'eng but since it did not fall he then withdrew his forces to Hsüan-hu. During the fierce battle for Nan-yang Hsiao-wen-ti split off a force under the command of the Stabilizes the South General Wang Su who was to advance and attack I-yang where they also destroyed a Ch'i army. P'ei Shu-yen the Ch'i Hsü-chou Prefect led a force of soldiers to counter-attack Wei at Kuo-yang (Meng-ch'eng in An-hui) and routed the Wei army which left Wang Su with no other choice but to give up the encirclement of I-yang and move east to relieve Kuo-yang and finally P'ei Shu-yeh was beaten back with neither side having gained anything as a result. The outcome of this great conflict was that Wei had obtained the lands of the five commanderies of Nan-yang, however, the line of battle had extended without break for several thousand li from east to west and both sides had suffered losses so although the northern armies were victorious they had paid a very high price for the victory such that even if they had wanted to mount another campaign they had no other alternative but to rest and replenish themselves. In addition, the Wei ruler Hsiao-wen-ti took ill when the army halted and it was at just this moment that Hsiao Luan the Ch'i emperor died, so using as a pretext "propriety will not allow the disruption of a funerla" Hsiao-wen-ti pulled his troops out of Hsüan-hu to return back north to Lo-yang.
When Ch'en Hsien-ta, the Ch'i Grand Commandant, heard that the Wei ruler had returned north he planned to take advantage of the situation to recover the lost territories. During the 1st lunar month of 499 Ch'en directed the Pacifies the North General Ts'ui Hui-ching and others to proceed from Hsiang-yang to counter-attack Nan-yang where they fought a major battle with the Wei Vanguard General T'o-pa Ying as Ma-chüan City (located northeast of Teng-hsien in Ho-nan) where after a heated battle of forty days the Ch'i troops took Ma-chüan and T'o-pa Ying's army fled in ruin. Elements of the Ch'i army had advanced as far as Nan-hsiang (Hsi-chüan in Ho-nan) when the Wei ruler heard of it and fell into a rage, once again taking off at the head of a southern campaign to counter-attack Ma-chüan where he routed the Ch'i army. As part of his battle plan Hsiao-wen-ti had sent commandos (Tran Note: ch'i-ping is a military term that lacks an exact counterpart in English as commando is close but not quite) to circle round to the enemy's rear to cut off the Ch'i army's line of communications so Ch'en Hsien-ta's army was completely overturned, with over 30,000 dead and the loss of countless military supplies. Although the Wei army had obtained a complete victory Emperor Hsiao-wen-ti suddenly became seriously ill and was rushed north in a cart, but when he had travelled as far as Ku-t'ang Yuan (Lucky Pond Spring) he died. T'o-pa Hsieh and the others hastily performed funeral rites and then returned to Lo-yang as once again the great struggle between north and south came to a halt as in the north T'o-pa K'o came to the throne as Wei Hsüan-wu-ti (Proclaims Martial Virtue) while in the south there was the misgovernment of the Marquis of Tung-hun.
After a reign of five years Hsiao Luan, the Ming-ti, died in 498 and the Imperial Heir Pao-chüan ascended the throne but since he was only sixteen the government was jointly administered by Hsiao Yao-kuang (King of Shih-an), Hsü Hsiao-ssu (Prefect of the Masters of Writing), Chiang Yu (Right Supervisor), Chaing Ssu (Palace Attendant), Hsiao T'an-chih (Right General) and Liu Hsüan (Guard Commandant) and at the time they were known to the people as the "Six Eminences." When Hsiao Yen the Yung-chou Prefect heard of this he could only sigh and say, "If one country cannot bear to have Three Dukes then what is going to happen with Six Eminences at the same court, in this situation they must all scheme against one another and what they will do is rebel!" Consequently he gathered together his aides, made military preparations, assembled valiant men and extended his strength while biding his time before he made his move.
The young emperor Hsiao Pao-chüan immersed himself in amusements and excursions and stubbornly persisted in these activities even though every time he did the brothers Chiang Ssu and Chiang Yu would increase his restrictions but the young emperor would not listen. Consequently together with Liu Hsüan, Yu and Ssu planned to remove him, however, they all disagreed on a successor as Liu Hsüan advocated setting up Hsiao Pao-yin (the son of Hsiao Luan) King of Chien-an while Yu and Ssu advocated that Hsiao Yao-kuang (the younger brother of Hsiao Luan) King of Shih-an be made the emperor but Liu would not agree to this. Hsiao Yao-kuang then sent out assassins to kill Liu but he learned of the plot and then went to the palace to secretly tell the emperor that the Chiang brothers were planning a revolt. The young Pao-chüan flew into a rage and immediately had the Chiangs killed and also summoned Hsiao Yao-kuang to the palace to inform him of the crime of the brothers. Yao-kuang was consumed by his fears and thus gathered together his retainers to take control of the eastern city and begin military measures for a revolt. The young emperor Pao-chüan ordered the Right General Hsiao T'an-chih to lead forces to crush Yao-kuang whose troops were defeated and he himself killed. Then Hsiao T'an-chih was made the Right Supervisor of the Masters of Writing, Hsü Hsiao-ssu became the Minister of Works and together with Liu Hsüan the Directing the Army General, together they jointly administered the government. Since it was Hsial T'an-chih that had punished Yao-kuang he became very insistent on having his way in all affairs, and when those around the young emperor all slandered him the young emperor suddenly dispatched troops to seize and kill T'an-chih. There were men who also said that Liu Hsüan also had strange ideas and so he too was taken and killed. There remained only Hsü Hsiao-ssu who because of his tact had not yet been killed. However, during the 10th lunar month of 499 suddenly one day Hsiao-ssu was summoned to the palace and there he was ordered to drink poison thus bringing an end to the last of the Six Eminences. Although Pao-chüan was young and unlettered, the methods he used to kill these men were still extremely celver, and this was because his father Hsiao Luan had already taught him saying, "In acting you cannot fall behind other men." Therefore, when Pao-chüan moved against his ministers the affair was carried out quickly so that these men had no time to prepare themselves. This kind of brutal behavior by Pao-chüan angered the Grand Commandant Ch'en Hsien-ta, who at the time was serving as the Chiang-chou Prefect and since his northern campaign had met only with defeat feared that the young ruler would punish him for this failure, so he mobilized his army at Hsün-yang and issued a manifesto to the empire that enumerated the crimes of the emperor. Pao-chüan then appointed Ts'ui Hui-ching the Pacifies the South General to lead forces to suppress the revolt but he was defeated by Hsien-ta who then took advantage of this victory to head straight into Chien-k'ang where he unexpectedly in the midst of a wild battle suddenly fell from his horse and will killed in the fighting with his followers breaking ranks and scattering. Having already put down Ch'en hsien-ta, the young ruler Pao-chüan became even more proud and unruly travelling all around and everywhere he went he killed people for sport so that the peasants were all afraid and troubled, weeping along the roads. His grossly absurd behavior was about the same as that of the two deposed emperors of the Liu-Sung. In addition he was an extravagant builder of royal mansions and extremely wasteful. He doted on the Imperial Concubine P'an giving her gold carved in the likeness of lotus flowers spread on the ground and made her walk on them saying "each step you take gives birth to a lotus flower."
At the time the Prefect of Yü-chou was P'ai Shu-yeh whose army was stationed at Shou-yang and when he heard of the execution of the great ministers and the the brutal behavior grew fearful and uneasy suddenly sending envoys with documents of surrender to the Northern Wei. The Northern Wei court immediately appointed T'o-pa Hsieh King of P'eng-ch'eng to serve as the Yang-chou Prefect and lead troops to take control of Shou-yang. When the northern troops arrived at the city P'ei Shu-yeh suddenly took ill and so his son P'ei Chih went to meet the northern soldiers when they moved into Shou-yang. When the Ch'i ruler hear this news he then appointed the Guard Commandant Hsiao I the new Yü-chou Prefect with a command of 30,000 troops to use in toppling Shu-yeh and his son advancing as far as Shou-yang where they were defeated by the Wei army and immediately after the cities of Ho-fei and Chien-an were both occupied by the Northern Wei. This sudden advance by the men of Wei across the defense line of the Huai River into the region south of the river profoundly altered the military situation between the north and south so when the Ch'i ruler Pao-chüan heard of the defeat of Hsiao I's army he then sent the Pacifies the West General Ts'ui Hui-ching in command of a force to cross the Yangtze as reinforcements. With regard to the young emperor's injustice Ts'ui Hui-ching had long harbored a sense of moral outrage ans was in the same sort of mood as P'ei Shu-yeh. Immediately after leading his troops across the Yangtze he mutinied taking control of Kuang-ling and then brought troops back to Ching-k'ou where they acclaimed Pao-hsüan King of Chiang-hsia as emperor. At the time King Pao-hsüan was serving as the Prefect of South Hsü-chou and Yen-chou so uniting these troops into a common force he quickly headed for Chien-k'ang. There the young emperor pao-chüan personally led the army in a great battle with Hui-ching where the troops of the court were defeated and dispersed creating a crisis in T'ai-ch'eng. Hsiao I the Yu-chou Prefect commanded a troop garrison north of the river at Hsiao-hsien and upon receipt of an order to come with reinforcements he crossed the Yangtze at Ts'ai-shih and attacked Hui-ching by surprise. Caught unawares Hui-ching was unexpectedly defeated by Hsiao I and his troops broke and fled. Hui-ching fled to Chiang-pei where he was killed by a fisherman while Pao-hsüan King of Chiang-hsia was also captured and beheaded.
Since the young emperor had crushed Ts'ui Hui-ching's revolt he felt that those who had opposed him had to meet with failure for only he had the good fortune of heaven, thus he became even more arrogant and wild. Because of his success in putting down Ts'ui Hui-ching, Hsiao I was selected for appointment as the Prefect of the Masters of Writing and he was venerated and doted on when he was in power. At this time the men in the Imperial Court all detested the unprincipled ways of this despot and among them were some who secretly counselled Hsiao I to remove him. Although Hsiao I had not yet accepted this advice there were still others who secretly reported this to the young emperor Pao-chüan who immediately summoned I to the palace and ordered him to commit suicide. Just before he died Hsiao I said, "I now die having no crime, but I must protect my younger brother in Yung-chou for it is he who will carry out my vengence." His younger brother Hsiao Yen was the Yung-chou Prefect. When Yen heard of I's death he immediately took up arms and gathered together his forces in Yung-chou (at the time the Prefect controlled a garrison in Hsiang-yang) and at the same time took the Ching-chou Prefect, Hsiao Pao-jung King of Nan-k'ang, as his leader issuing a call to arms to the empire that proclaimed the crimes of the despot. With the soldiers from Yung-chou and Ching-chou, Yen and Pao-jung turned the prows of their ships around and went with the current down the Yangtze and their display of power was so impressive that in the countryside many of the provinces and commanderies thronged up in support. The young Pao-chüan ordered Ch'en Po-chih the Chiang-chou Prefect to lead troops west to guard against Hsiao Yen, but Ch'en surrendered without a fight and joined forces with Hsiao Yen to quickly fight their way eastward to Chien-k'ang. The young emperor then ordered Wang Chen-kuo, Hu Hu-ya and other generals out to meet the enemy, engulfing the suburbs outside the walls of Chien-k'ang in a great battle during which the buildings on either side of the Ch'in-huai were burnt to the ground while in the river the bodies of the dead piled up until they were level with the Chu-chüeh Bridge (Red Sparrow Bridge). Wang Chen-kuo's defeated troops surrendered to Hsiao Yen and then Wang led them back into the palace where the young emperor was finally killed by his servants. Hsiao Yen then entered the palace and had the Lady P'an and all the emperor's servants executed, while the Empress Dowager issued an edict posthumously appointing the deposed emperor the Marquis of Tung-hun and so it is that history calls this period "the Misgovernment of the Marquis of Tung-hun." From the time Hsiao Yen took up arms to the end of this chaos a year's time had passed. Now that the disorder of the state had been brought to a close, so too was the Ch'i Dynasty also drawing to an end.
While Hsiao Yen had been leading his troops into the east, at the same time Hsiao Pao-jung King of Nan-k'ang ascended to the throne in Chiang-hsia to become the ruler Ch'i Ho-ti (Harmony). When Ho-ti heard the Chien-k'ang was secure he quickly sent envoys with gifts to amuse and entertain Hsiao Yen. Yen still remained in the capital and proclaimed himself the Minister of State and was enfeoffed as the King of Liang (NOTE: these acts indicated that Hsiao Yen planned to establish his own dynasty). Employing Fan Yün, Shen Yüeh and others as his brain trust, he rooted out those who disagreed to establish his own power and influence. He completely eliminated the Ch'i Royal Family by killing off the various Kings (Pao-chih King of Hsiang-tung, Pao-yu King of Shao-ling, Pao-sung King of Chin-hsi and Pao-chen King of Kuei-yang). Hsiao Pao-yin King of P'o-yang fled north across the Yangtze in ruin to surrender to the Northern Wei. Ho-ti still did not yet know what was going on in the east and when he led a group toward the capital he reached Ku-shu before realizing that his position was beyond any hope of recovery and so he handed down an edict abdicating the throne to the King of Liang. It was the second year of the reign of Ho-ti during the 4th lunar month of 502 that Hsiao Yen ascended the imperial throne to become Liang Wu-ti. So the Southern Ch'i Dynasty fell after twenty-four years and seven rulers, and of all the southern dynasties its span of years was the shortest.