Qin dynasty

Book burnings and  Executions
Book burnings and Scholars executed ©Image Attribution forthcoming. Image belongs to the respective owner(s).
212 BCE Jan 1

Book burnings and Executions


As part of his Legalist political beliefs, Shi Huangdi requires that all books that do not support Legalism be destroyed. He orders these books to be burned, and only texts on farming, medicine, and predictions are saved. On the advice of his chief advisor Li Siu, Shi Huangdi orders 420 scholars to be executed by live burial, since many scholars opposed his book burnings. In 2010, Li Kaiyuan, a researcher in the field of history of Qin Dynasty and Han Dynasty, published an article titled The Truth or Fiction of the Burning the Books and Executing the Ru Scholars: A Half-Faked History, which raised four doubts about "executing the ru scholars" and argued that Sima Qian had misused historical materials. Li believes that the burning the books and executing the ru scholars is a pseudo-history that is cleverly synthesized with real "burning the books" and false "executing the ru scholars".

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Last Updated: : Thu Aug 25 2022