Wang Xihou

Wang Xihou
Xinchang County (modern-day Yifeng County), Jiangxi
Died1777 (aged 63–64)
Criminal chargeViolation naming taboo regarding the person name of the Kangxi Emperor
Chinese name
Traditional Chinese
Simplified Chinese王锡侯
Hanyu PinyinWáng Xīhóu
Courtesy name
Traditional Chinese
Simplified Chinese韩伯
Hanyu PinyinHánbó

Wang Xihou (Chinese: 王錫侯; 1713–1777), courtesy name Hanbo (韓伯), was a Chinese scholar from Xinchang County (modern-day Yifeng County, Jiangxi) who lived during the Qing dynasty.[1] He was executed under the Qing government's literary inquisition policies during the reign of the Qianlong Emperor.

Wang was born in 1713. At the age of five, he began his studies with his brother Wang Jingyun (王景雲), and became proficient at the exegesis of ancient Chinese texts by age eight.[2] He locked himself in a room, studying day and night, and was sent home-cooked meals through a small crevice.

Wang became a scholar-bureaucrat at age 38. He wrote a book called Zi Guan (字貫), which criticized the Kangxi Dictionary and printed the emperor's name without leaving out a stroke as required by Chinese naming taboo. When the Qianlong Emperor found out about this in 1777, Wang was imprisoned in Beijing and sentenced to nine familial exterminations, the most serious form of capital punishment in imperial China.

Avoidance of naming taboo: Example of omitting a stroke. The last stroke of each character of Kangxi Emperor's given name "玄" (xuán) and "燁" (yè) is omitted.


  1. ^ 王幻 (1994). 鄭板橋評傳. 臺灣商務印書館. ISBN 9570508736.
  2. ^ 李雪飞 (14 November 2006). 揭秘清代江西第一文字狱案:宜丰王锡侯"字贯案". Anhui News (in Chinese). Retrieved 3 October 2011.

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