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Fang La (方腊) was a rebel in the Song Dynasty and also
a nemesis of the 108 heroes of Liangshan in the epic Chinese tale, the Water Margin.
The Fang La Rebellion took place nearing the end of the northern
Song period in China. Fang La was by occupation a lumberjack. Being
a man from south of the Yangtse River, he
became frustrated and angry at the growing corruption in the Song
emperor's court. Given that this frustration was shared by many of
his compatriots who suffered from the same poverty and neglect he
found himself well supported. By gaining massive support and
rallying troops south of the Yangtse River, he became formidable
enough to challenge the emperor in the north. Soon enough, by
conquering and gaining control of vast amounts of land south of the
Yangtse, Fang La set up his own court and declared himself
Fang La's rebellion was eventually crushed by united local
armies organized by the corrupt officials he sought to destroy.
Afterwards, Fang La was captured and killed.
The classic Chinese epic novel The Water Margin presents a
semi-fictional account of Fang La and his battle with the Liangshan outlaws. After Song Jiang and the
outlaws defeated the Imperial Court, which despatched troops time
and time again to attack Liangshan Marsh, the Emperor decided to
grant them amnesty after listening to their account that they were
forced to become outlaws and they wanted to serve their country.
After the outlaws have been granted amnesty, the Emperor sent them
on campaigns against the Liao Tartars in the north and the other rebels in the
south. Fang La was one of the southern rebel leaders, with the
others being Wang Qing
and Tian Hu.
Whilst the Liangshan contingent suffered hardly any casualties
up till the point of the defeat of the Liao Tartars, the campaign
against Fang La proved to be calamitous. Only 30-odd heroes
survived the brutal and bloody war, while a majority of the rest
were killed in action by several of Fang's subordinates.
Fang La was eventually captured by the Liangshan heroes after an
elaborate infiltration scheme involving Chai Jin. He was gagged and tied up by Lu Zhishen and escorted
back to the capital city by imperial troops under the command of Tong Guan. Fang La was
found guilty of treason and executed in the capital city.
List of Fang La's
- Fang Jie (方杰) - Fang La's nephew. He is a
powerful warrior who defeated Hua Rong in battle once. He kills Liangshan's
Qin Ming by stabbing him
with his spear while the latter is distracted. He is slain by Wu Song just before Fang La's
- Fang Tianding (方天定) - one of Fang La's
generals. He kills Liangshan's Hao Siwen in battle and dismembers the corpse
before displaying Hao's severed head. He orders his archers to kill
Zhang Shun when the
latter is climbing over the Yongjin Gate (涌金門) of Hangzhou. Fang Tianding is
slain by Zhang Shun's brother Zhang Heng on Mount Wuyun
- Bao Daoyi (包道乙) - Fang La's imperial advisor
(國師). He wields the Xuantian Hunyuan Sword (玄天混元劍). He uses the
sword to slice off Wu Song's
arm in the final battle but Wu Song is saved by Lu Zhishen. Bao Daoyi is
killed by Ling Zhen
- Du Wei (杜微) - a former blacksmith who becomes
one of Fang La's trusted warriors. He is an expert in using his six
flying daggers. At one instant on the battlefield, he hurls one of
his daggers at Qin Ming
and Qin Ming uses his weapon to block. Fang Jie seizes the
opportunity to stab Qin and kill him. Du Wei also kills Sun Erniang and Yu Baosi with his flying
- Shi Bao (石寶) - one of Fang La's best warriors
whose skills are comparable to the best of Liangshan's. He wields a
saber called the "Windsplitter" (絶風刀). He is responsible for the
deaths of the following Liangshan heroes: Suo Chao, Deng Fei, Yan Shun, Bao
Xu and Ma Lin. He commits suicide to
avoid capture and humiliation after his army is defeated.
- Zheng Biao (鄭彪; aka Zheng Mojun 鄭魔君) - one of
Fang La's generals. He is a fearsome warrior and a master of
sorcery. He uses magic to bewitch his enemies and attack them using
his golden bricks when they are in a trance. He slays Liangshan's
Xiang Chong and the
couple Wang Ying and Hu Sanniang. He laughs
aloud after killing the couple and is killed by Yang Xiong who sneaks up on
- Zhang Jinren (張近仁) - one of Fang La's best
warriors. He is nicknamed "Thunderbolt God" (霹靂神). He slays
Liangshan's Han Tao and Peng Qi with Gao Keli.
- Gao Keli (高可立) - one of Fang La's best
warriors. He slays Liangshan's Han Tao and Peng Qi with Zhang
- Bai Qin (白欽) - one of Fang La's warriors. He
fights with Lü Fang at
Black Dragon Ridge (烏龍岭). Both of them roll down the slope to their
- Premier Lou (婁丞相) - the premier of Fang La's
kingdom. He kills Liangshan's Ruan Xiaowu after discovering Ruan's
- Wang Yin (王寅) - Fang La's chief secretary. He
is responsible for slaying Liangshan's Li
Yun and Shi Yong.
- Guo Shiguang (郭世廣) - one of Fang La's
generals. He fights with Xuan
Zan and both of them perish together under Yinma Bridge (飲馬橋)
- Si Xingfang (司行方) - one of Fang La's officers.
He kills Liangshan's Lei
- Pang Wanchun (龐萬春) - one of Fang La's best
warriors whose archery skills rivals Liangshan's Hua Rong's. His first
appearance is marked with his dramatic killing of Liangshan's Shi Jin with a single arrow at
Yuling Pass (昱岭關). He inflicts heavy casualties on Liangshan when
his archers kill Shi Xiu, Chen
Da, Yang Chun, Li
Zhong and Xue Yong
along with 2000 Liangshan troops. He kills Ou Peng who is famous for his ability to catch
projectiles in mid-air, with a few successive arrow shots.
- Lei Tong (雷炯) - Pang Wanchun's
- Ji Ji (計稷) - Pang Wanchun's subordinate.
- Li Tianrun (厲天閏) - a general of Fang La's army
who guards Dusong Pass (獨松關). He is best known for killing
Liangshan's Zhang Qing and Zhou Tong.
- Zhang Tao (張韜) - one of the four generals who
defended Dusong Pass together with Li Tianrun. He slays Liangshan's
- Li Tianyou (厲天佑) - one of the four generals
guarding Dusong Pass.
- Zhang Jian (張儉) - one of the four generals
guarding Dusong Pass.
- Yao Yi (姚義) - one of the four generals
guarding Dusong Pass.