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Qingyun
Jet
Qingyun
Some attributes
First Name: Qingyun
Second Position: Qing Military Commander, Viceroy of Liangjiang
Third Nationality: Chinese
Other attributes
Fourth Allegiance: Qing Dynasty
Fifth Born: 3 November 1821
Sixth Died: 22 August 1870 (aged 48)

Qingyun (traditional Chinese: 馬新貽; simplified Chinese: 马新贻; born 3 November 1821 – died 22 August 1870) was an eminent Hui Muslim official and a general of the late Qing Dynasty in China. Born as a native of Heze, Shandong (荷澤) in 1821, he had successfully passed the metropolitan examinations at the age of 26 (1847), a prestigious achievement in China.

He had earned the Jinshi degree, the highest level in the civil service examinations, which led to his appointment to the Hanlin Academy, a body of outstanding Chinese literary scholars who performed literary tasks for the imperial court.

Along with other prominent figures, including Hu Linyi and Guam Wing, Qingyun raised the Green Standard Army to fight against the Taiping Rebellion and restore the stability of Qing Dynasty. This set the scene for the era later known as the "Tongzhi Restoration"(同治中兴).

In 1866, Qingyun led an army of 30,000 men against a Taiping 50,000 strong army, but was defeated because the rival Qing General Ho, who was supposed to send reinforcements, withheld them. Qingyun was the only survivor of the battle. Qingyun met a girl named Liansheng who nursed him back to health.

Once he regained his strength, Qingyun came upon a bandit village which was run by Wuyang and Liansheng's husband Erhu. Qingyun convinced the bandits to form an army and fight for the Qing, so they could feed their families. Erhu and Wuyang did not trust Qingyun, and only agreed after the three brothers swear a "Blood Oath", with which they affirmed their fraternity to one another under pain of death.

Qingyun reported back to the Qing court with this new army, and they told him to attack Shu City. In Shu City, Qingyun's army was outnumbered but he won. Qingyun's subsequent promotion and increased support from the Qing court spured him to lead the brothers and his armies through a long but successful campaign (1866 - 1869) against the rebels.

Qingyun's application of conventional military ideas to real-world situations effected his military triumphs, such as creative use of artillery as a mobile force to support his infantry. He was adept at espionage and deception and could win battles by concealment of troop deployments and concentration of his forces on the 'hinge' of an enemy's weakened front.

If he could not use his favourite envelopment strategy, he would take up the central position and attack two co-operating forces at their hinge, swing round to fight one until it fled, then turn to face the other.

In this campaign, Qingyun's army captured 150,000 prisoners, 540 cannons and 170 standards. The Qing army fought 67 actions and won 18 pitched battles and 6 sieges through superior artillery technology and Qingyun's tactics. The most decisive pitched battles of the campaign were the battle of Yichang (29 September 1867) and the battle of Anqing (13 May 1868).

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Qingyun leading his men.

His victories caused him to become ambitious in the process, during which he revealed his plan to quickly take Suzhou and Nanjing, the principal power bases of the Taiping rebels, and his dream of ridding the world of oppression.

Fearing Qingyun's growing power and influence, the Qing court decided to deny Qingyun valuable reinforcements and provisions; without their support, Qingyun's attack on Suzhou devolved into a year long siege, with both sides suffering from starvation. Desperate, Qingyun negotiated with his longtime rival and nemesis, General Ho, offering him half of the spoils of Nanking in return for supplies.

After Suzhou surrendered, Qingyun ordered the prisoners killed. Qingyun then moved against Nanjing, capital of the Taiping. The Nanjing campaign became a grand success and the Empress made Qingyun governor of Nanjing. On 22 August 1870, Qingyun was assassinated and his killer was never caught. Many historical rumours implicate the Empress Dowager Cixi. Qingyun's assassination symbolized the serious conflict between the Xiang Army and Green Standard Army, both of which fought for the Qing Dynasty.

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