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Wang Mang

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Wang Mang – (33 BC—23 AD) – Chinese emperor (9-23 AD)

Wang Mang was born in about 33 BC. He was the nephew of Yuan T’i, who had been Han Emperor from 48 to 32, and by the end of the first century, Wang was in a strong position in the counsels of the emperors. In about 9 AD, the year that Varus, the Roman general, was defeated and killed in Germany by Arminius, Wang seized power, offering the Chinese a revolutionary programme of reform. This included restructuring the system of tax raising, nationalizing all land and distributing it on a fair basis to peasants, fixing prices and incomes, and curbing monopolies of business and trade. He made loans available to farmers to improve their holdings. It was about as revolutionary a programme as any offered by a 20th century socialist party, but it was 1,900 years too early.

Strange to relate, many people of all classes, including those who stood to benefit most, were frightened by the radicalism of his reforms and they rebelled. In 23 AD Wang was assassinated.

Wang Mang

Wang Mang

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