Tyrant King Li of Zhou Dynasty

Li vang, the Tenth Emperor, reigned 51 Years.

This tyrant king of Zhou was proud, self conceited, prodigal and cruel ; the wealth of his subjects, which he drew from them through exaction, could scarcely satisfy his passion for riches, which he spent lavishly and without judgment : The misery of his subjects was extreme, and nothing was heard but complaints and murmurs. These clamours and repinings of an oppressed People only increased his fury, and he punished, with the utmost severity, those whom he suspected to be at the head of the malecontents.

As he was conscious how odious he had made himself to his subjects, he suspected that all their discourse was on his ill conduct, and therefore he forbid them, on pain of death to converse together, or even whisper to one another, so that you might see all the inhabitants walking the streets with eyes cast down, in mournful silence, and shunning each other.

Tchao kong, one of his most faithful ministers, frequently advised him to desist from these arbitrary proceedings, telling him that the forced silence of his subjects seemed to forebode something more dangerous, than if they had the open liberty to complain.

The prediction of this wise minister proved but too true; In the year 842 BC, the despairing people all revolted, and rushed into the imperial palace in order to assassinate the tyrant ; but not finding him there, he having fled at the first rumour of the tumult, they murdered all his Family, excepting his young son, whom Tchao kong had secretly conveyed to his own House, in order to conceal him from the rage of the multitude; but hearing that one of the sons of the Emperor was concealed at Tchao kong’s, they besieged his house, and demanded him with threats ; however he refused to give him up, and at last delivered them his own son instead of him, whose throat they inhumanly cut before the father’s face.

Li vang henceforward lived in obscurity, a wanderer and fugitive : Tchao kong tried the utmost of his power to appease the people, and to reestablish him on the throne, but he could not succeed in it, so that the throne was vacant for some Years.

(Selected from Du Halde, The General History of China)
This period was called “Gonghe Regency”.  “Gonghe” literally means “Lord He from Gong”, who was a person, but now it is used mistakenly as “republic”. (Wikipedia)

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