An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History, Literature and Art

Diao Xie 刁協

Jun 30, 2018 © Ulrich Theobald

Diao Xie 刁協 (d. 322), courtesy name Xuanliang 玄亮, was a high state official of the Eastern Jin period 東晉 (317-420). He hailed from Rao'an 饒安 in the commandery of Bohai 渤海 (today's Yanshan 鹽山, Hebei) and obtained an excellent education. He was first instructor (wenxue 文學) of the Prince of Puyang 濮陽, then an erudite of the Chamberlain for Ceremonials (taichang boshi 太常博士), and rose to the post of governor (taishou 太守) of the commandery of Yingchuan 潁川.

When the Jin court fled to southeast China during the disturbances in the Central Plain, Diao Xie was appointed left scribe (zuo changshi 左長史) of the Counsellor-in-chief, and in 317, when Prince Sima Rui 司馬睿 adopted the title of the sovereign (Emperor Yuan 晉元帝, r. 317-322), Diao became Left Vice Director of the Imperial Secretariat (shangshu zuo puye 尚書左仆射).

In this function, Diao Xie was one of the most important central-government officials arranging a new administrative and legal framework for the Eastern Jin regime. Diao, soon made Director of the Imperial Secretariat (shangshu ling 尚書令) and Grand Master of Splendid Happinesss of the Gold-Purple Hall (jinzi guanglu dafu 金紫光祿大夫), also belonged to a body of civilian officials which played the role of a counterbalance to the mighty military leaders Wang Dao 王導 (276-339) and Wang Dun 王敦 (266-324).

In 322, Wang Dun rose in rebellion and marched towards the capital. Diao Xie was entrusted with the command over the six metropolitan guards, but was not able to withstand the attack of Wang Dao and died when attempting to flee with part of the court.

Diao Xie's character is described as heartless towards subordinates.

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