Fighting to the bitter end

First published in Tulay Fortnightly, Chinese-Filipino Digest
vol. 29 | no. 14 | December 20, 2016-January 16, 2017

In 1221, the army of the Northern Jin (金) Dynasty (1115-1234) moved southward to attack Qi Zhou (蘄州) of the Song Dynasty. At the time, the term of Li Cheng Zhi (李誠之) as governor of Qi Zhou prefecture had expired but his successor had not yet arrived.
Li convened his subordinates and told them, “I am an intellectual who has been serving as the defender of the city. I am 70 years old, what else do I want? The only thing left for me is to die.” He vowed to defend the city with all his colleagues. If they can’t defend it, he vowed to fight until his death.
Qin Ju (秦鉅) was the judge under Li Cheng Zi. He was the great-grandson of Qin Gui (秦檜), the notorious traitor of Song who caused the execution of the famous anti-Jin general and a great patriot of Song, Yue Fei (岳飛). Nevertheless, unlike his great grandfather, Qin Ju did not have that kind of obsequiousness. Li and Qin, in solidarity, resolved to lead the masses in defending the city.
The Jin army was strong, but the defense of Qi Zhou refused to be overcome. They fought for more than a month, defeated the Jin army several times and killed a lot of its soldiers.
The Jin army sent an envoy to summon Li to surrender. But Li ordered the execution of the envoy and continued the resistance. Eventually, relying on its large army, the Jin army broke through the defense of the city.
Li, Qin and the masses took the fighting to the streets. But in the end, Li was exhausted and committed suicide. His son was killed in the street fighting and his relatives drowned themselves in a river.
When Qin realized that all the soldiers around him were either dead or wounded, he went to his office and ordered the burning of the warehouse and locked himself inside a room. When the soldiers pulled him out, Qin resisted and returned to the burning room. His son Qin Jun (秦浚) also died in this disaster.
Li and Qin are two patriots who willingly died rather than surrender to their enemies.

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