Emperor Shunzong of Tang

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Emperor Shunzong was an emperor of Tang Dynasty China, who reigned for only around six months. He is known as a particularly weak emperor, and his reign is cited as an example of the extent of factionalism in the Tang Court, and of intrigues between court ministers and eunuchs.

Shortly before succeeding to the throne, Shunzong suffered a stroke, leaving him, reportedly, unable to speak and unable to make decisions. His short reign was therefore characterized by intrigues and competition between court ministers and eunuchs vying for control over policy.

One policy decision made by these scheming ministers in the name of Emperor Shunzong was the abolition of a market system by which eunuchs supplied the palace with goods from the city markets; the ministers accused the eunuchs of setting unfair prices for these goods within the palace, exploiting those they were selling to, and collecting excessive personal profit.

Less than a year after taking the throne, Emperor Shunzong was forced to abdicate in favor of his son, who then took the throne as Emperor Xianzong.

Preceded by
Emperor Dezong of Tang
Emperor of Tang
Succeeded by
Emperor Xianzong of Tang


  • Valerie Hansen, The Open Empire, New York: W.W. Norton & Company (2000), 232.