Between the 8th and 5th centuries BC, China disintegrated into over 140 states which were fighting against one another fiercely in order to control the ineffective Emperor of the then Zhou Dynasty and then to dominate the other states. This period, known as the Spring and Autumn Period, was survived by seven strong states which continued the warring enterprise until the State of Qin conquered all the other six states and unified the entire China. The King of the State of Qin, King Zheng, called himself the First Emperor of China after the unification of China. King Zheng ascended the throne in the State of Qin when he was 13 years of age. His father, Zi Chu, was the youngest grandson of the then King of the State of Qin, King Zhao. In order to provide a guarantee that Qin would not invade the State of Zhao, King Zhao sent Zi Chu, his youngest grandson, to stay in Zhao as a kind of hostage. There was a wealthy merchant called Lu Bu Wei in the capital of Zhao, Handan, who had a great ambition of becoming a statesman. When he met Zi Chu, he perceived the great opportunity that Zi Chi offered to enable him to become an influential statesman in Qin. He then devised a plan which he subsequently discussed with Zi Chu who endorsed it. After all, Zi Chu’s position had become untenable as Qin by this time had adopted a hostile attitude towards Zhao in quest for expanding its sphere of influence amongst the warring states.. Treating this venture as a business deal, Lu Bu Wei sold his assets and used the proceeds to acquire a large quantity of presents, such as jewelleries, silk and beautiful swords etc. He used such presents to pay off court officials to seek an audience with the favourite concubine of the Crown Prince of Qin, Madam Hua Yang. Madam Hua Yang did not as yet have any children of her own. Being fully familiar with the internal strife amongst members of ruling families in the different states, Madam Hua Yang knew that she would lose her dominant position and all the associated privileges if the Crown Prince became the King of Qin and a son of one of his concubines was appointed as the next Crown Prince. By definition, the status of the mother of the Crown Prince would get elevated and enjoy special privileges. Lu Bu Wei eventually had the honour of being invited to see Madam Hua Tang her He told her about the plight of Zi Chu in Zhao. Without drawing attention to her insecurity, Lu Bu Wei told Madam Hua Yang that if she adopted Zi Chu as her son, he would be in the run for appointment as the next Crown Prince after the Crown Prince became King of Qin. Being the favourite concubine of the Crown Prince, Hua Yang was confident that she would be able to persuade him to appoint Zi Chu as the next Crown Prince. After some further discussion, their minds met and a deal was struck. When Lu Bu Wei returned to Han Dan, he invited Zi Chu to his residence for a banquet and briefed him on what he had achieved. This pleased Zi Chu tremendously and they both drank to their hearts’ content. After dinner, Lu Bu Wei ordered a concubine of his called Zhao Ji to perform a dance for their entertainment. Zhao Ji was a most attractive woman and Zi Chu was immediately enchanted by her beauty. Although he knew that Zhao Ji was one of Lu Bu Wie’s concubines, Zi Chu pretended to have a drink too much and asked whether he could take Zhao Ji as his wife. Lu Bu Wei was initially furious at such a request but having regard to Zi Chu’s prospect of becoming the King of Qin one day, he acceded to his request, reminding Zi Chu to remember his kindness forever. However, Zi Chu did not know that Zhao Ji was already pregnant, bearing Lu Bu Wei’s baby. Zi Chu and Zhao Ji got married a few days later. In 259 BC, Zhao Ji gave birth to a boy named Ying Zheng in Han Dan. When the King of Qin invaded Zhao and the Qin army was approaching Han Dan, the King of Zhao was outraged that Qin did not keep the terms of the peace pact between the two states. He ordered that Zi Chu, the grandson of the King of Qin, be executed forthwith. When Lu Bu Wei got wind of this, he bribed the relevant official in the Zhao court and managed to get Zi Chu freed and had Zi Chu, Zhao Ji and their son smuggled back to Qin. After ruling Qin for 56 years, King Chao of Qin died in 251 BC. The Crown Prince, Zi Chu’s father, ascended the throne and became King Xiao Wen. Madam Hua Yang, who had now adopted Zi Chu as her son, persuaded King Xiao Wen to appoint Zi Chu as the Crown Prince. As she always had the ear of King Xiao Wen, her request was granted and Zi Chu was turned from Qin’s hostage in Zhao to become a Crown Prince in his homeland. King Xiao Wen ruled Qin for only one year and died. When Zi Chu became King of Qin in 251 BC, he was called King Zhuang Xiang. No sooner had he become King than he appointed Lu Bu Wei to be the Prime Minister of Qin. However, he died three years later, in 247 BC. Young Ying Zheng, at the tender age of only 13 years, ascended the throne as King of Qin and was called King Zheng. As he was too young to rule, Lu Bu Wei and Zhao Ji, who was now the King’s mother, acted as regents and handled all state matters. Zhao Ji was a young widow. Being a fun loving girl, she could not stand the solitude in the royal palace. Shortly after Zi Chu’s death, she Lu Bu Wei rekindled their love and secretly developed an affair. As far as Lu Bu Wei was concerned, a side benefit of this affair was that by establishing this secret liaison with Zhao Ji, whom he had full control, he enjoyed absolute power in the royal court of Qin. Needless to say, the wealth he accumulated during his tenure was uncountable and legend had it that his domestic servants alone numbers around 10,000. As Ying Zheng was becoming of age, Lu Bu Wei was afraid that his affair with the Zhao Ji, would one day become exposed and jeopardize his position. To satisfy Zhao Ji’s strong sexual appetite, he introduced a man called Lao Ai who claimed to have exceptional sexual ability to Zhao Ji, so that he could distance himself from Zhao Ji. Zhao Ji had a most wonderful time with Lao Ai although she also missed Lu Bu Wei. Despite her superior position in the royal palace, she arranged for Lao Ai and herself to live in a summer palace several hundred miles away from the royal palace. It was recorded in history that she secretly gave birth to two sons as a result of this affair. Being the King’s mother and also one of the two regents, Zhao Ji also arranged for Lao Ai to be appointed to a senior position in the Qin court. Being an ambitions man, Lao Ai also accumulated great wealth and trained a private army. While serving as regent as well as Prime Minister of Qin, Lu Bu Wei managed to expanding the territories of Qin and forcing other states to cede their land to Qin. To fulfil Ying Zheng’s ambition to conquer all the other states and to unify China, he invited over 3,000 scholars to discuss how a state should be governed. All the discussions and debates culminated in the production of a book called “Lu’ s Treatise of State Governance”. Lu Bu Wei also hired a famous legalist philosopher, called Li Si, who was also a seasoned calligrapher, to be Zhang’s tutor, hoping that his son would one day be a great emperor. In 238 BC, Lao Ai after a few drinks boosted that he himself was the King’s step-father and that one of his own sons would become King some day. This was reported to King Zheng, who was furious and ordered an immediate investigation. Lao Ai knew that he had incurred the King’s wrath and endangered the lives of his family and his relatives. With the support of his own army, he immediately started a coup in the palace. King Zheng, who was 21 years of age at that time, managed to put down the coup with the help of Li Si. He beheaded Lao Ai and his two sons despite his mother’s plead not to execute his step brothers. He also exiled his mother and never allowed her to return to the capital. Zhao Ji died in 228BC and was buried next to King Zhaung Xiang (Zi Chu) in Shanzi. In the following year, the secret of King Zheng being the son of Lu Bu Wei was brought to his ears. As the rumour might call his legitimacy into question and jeopardize his position, he striped Lu Bu Wei of all his titles and his privileges and exiled him to Si Chuan where he was ordered to drink a poison wine and kill himself. . A few years later, King Zheng brought his son to visit the grave of Lu Bu Wei and ordered him to pay respect to him. In 230 BC, King Zheng resumed Qin’s efforts to conquer the six other states. Finally in 221 BC, at the age of 39 years, King Zheng declared complete victory over the other states and formal establishment of the Qin Empire. He entitled himself ‘Qin Shi Huang Di’ (The First Emperor of Qin Dynasty). With the wise counsel of Li Si, his Prime Minister, he centralized the governance authority of the state, abolished the feudal system, standardized weights and measures, and currency, and systemised the written Chinese language. On the other hand, he was one of the most ruthless and brutal rulers in the history of China. In 214 BC, in order to consolidate his power and to forestall any rebellious activities, he burned and destroyed all historical records and literature, including key Confucian texts, because he was afraid that these books might be used against him. Another most impressive achievement of his was is linking of all the defence city walls of the different states to form the Great Wall of China at its northern borders. Qin Shi Huang Di died in 210BC, and was buried in a massive tomb with thousands of soldiers, horses, chariots and jewellery beside him. Interesting notes on Qin Shi Huang Di: 1. Qin Shi Huang Di was always looking for immortality medicine. He ordered a taoist priest called Xu Fu to find immortality medicine for him. Xu Fu asked for several hundred young men and women and ships so that he could travel abroad to find the medicine. Xu Fu never returned to China as he was afraid that he would be executed if he failed to find the medicine. It is believed that Xu Fu and the youngsters have settled down in the islands of Japan which at that time were uninhabited. 2. When Qin Shi Huang Di died, Li Si and the chief eunuch, Zhao Gao, wanted to put Qin Er Shi, the prince second in line of succession, on the throne. They both forced the Crown Prince Fu Su to commit suicide. When Zhao Gao had deployed his men all over the place and his power was secured, he killed Li Si brutally in 208 BC. In 207 BC, Emperor Qin Er Shi plotted against Zhao Gao, but instead was killed by Zhao Gao. The next Emperor, Zi Ying, killed Zhao Gao, and on the downfall of the Qin Dynasty, he was killed too.