An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History, Literature and Art

He Jin 何進

Mar 8, 2011 © Ulrich Theobald

He Jin 何進 (died 189), courtesy name Suigao 遂高, was a high minister during the Later Han period 後漢 (25-220). He was an older brother of Empress He 何后, consort of Emperor Ling 漢靈帝 (r. 167-188).

He Jin's family hailed from Yuan 宛 (modern Nanyang 南陽, Henan). When his sister became an imperial favourite, He Jin was appointed court attendant (langzhong 郎中) and then Leader of the palace gentlemen (huben zhonglangjiang 虎賁中郎將), in which position he acted as governor (taishou 太守) of the commandery of Yingchuan 潁川.

In 180, his sister was made empress, and He Jin was subsequently promoted to palace attendant (shizhong 侍中) and metropolitan magistrate (yi 伊) of Henan. When the Yellow Turban rebellion 黃巾起義 broke out, He Jin was appointed Great general (da jiangjun 大將軍), defending the capital. For these efforts he was given the title of Marquis of Shen 慎侯.

When Emperor Ling died, Empress He's son Liu Bian 劉辯 was proclaimed emperor. Because Liu Bian was still a young child, He Jin became, according to custom, regent for the infant ruler.

In 189, he planned, together with general Yuan Shao 袁紹, to get rid of the powerful eunuch clique that dominated the court affairs. The plan was reveiled, and the eunuchs killed He Jin.

Yuan Shao, nevertheless, was able to slaughter the eunuchs and thereby unintentionally evoked the total disintegration of the central government of the Later Han dynasty.

Zhang Shunhui 張舜徽, ed. (1994). Houhanshu cidian 後漢書辭典 (Jinan: Shandong jiaoyu chubanshe), 204.