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According to SL Lee,
"Lee (Li3) is 7.9% of all Chinese on mainland. With the others around
the world, it is about 100 million."
There are more Li3s than Zheng4s (my surname) in the world.
Are there more Zhangs (Chong) than Li3s?
Chinese surname No.4 Li3
Li3 means: plum or Mu4 Zi3 (Son of wood).
Surname Li3 is about 3100 years old.
Abstract: Surname Li3 originated in an area which was called the
Long3 Xi Prefecture during the Qin2 Dynasty (221BC to 207BC).
The present day location of Long3 Xi Prefecture is in
Lin2 Tao county in the province of Gansu.
According to the Chinese historical records, Gao Tao2 was a Li3 Guan
(Law Official) in the administration of Yao2 Di4, the legendary chief of
federated tribes in ancient China (Kingdoms were yet to be established).
Gao Tao2 adopted Li3 (Law) as his surname.<motivation?>
One of his descendants named Li3 Zheng was employed as an adviser
(Jian4 Guan) in the Court of King Zhou4 (reigned 1154BC to 1122BC) of the
Shang Dynasty (1783BC to 1122BC).
King Zhou4 was a wicked and cruel man; he was however, a very clever and
capable King and thus Zhou4 seldom listened to Li3 Zheng.
King Zhou4 eventually married Dan4 Ji3, the most beautiful woman in the
land. The couple neglected the welfare of the country, building many
palaces and, in the process, they exhausted the resources of the country.
Anyone who dared to expostulate his extravagance was tortured then
There existed a clan Zhou that lived in the area of Wei4 Valley, west of
the great bend of the Yellow River. Zhou's territory was within the
jurisdiction of the Shang empire and therefore Ji Chang, the leader of the
Zhou clan, was obliged to serve in the Shang Court as an advisor and one
of Ji Chang's sons, Ji Kao3 was to become his assistant.
One day Ji Chang told King Zhou4 about the financial situation of the
country and advised him not to be too much of a spendthrift. King Zhou4
was angry, imprisoning Ji Chang and executing Ji Kao3.
Ji Chang was released after three years of imprisonment, after which
he returned to his homeland and died soon after. His elder son, Ji Fa
succeeded him as the leader. Ji Fa wanted to take revenge on King Zhou4,
he could not do so however, because the Zhou clan was not strong enough
to take on King Zhou4.
Twelve years later Ji Fa belived that his people were ready to fight
King Zhou4, challenging King Zhou4 to battle. Li3 Zheng advised the King
Zhou4 not to do fight; King Zhou4 was furious at this suggestion,
executing Li3 Zheng and his family. One of Li3 Zheng's sons, L3 Li4 Zhen
escaped to a mountain. There was no food on the mountain, however there
were a few Li3 (plum) trees in blossom, so Li3 Li4 Zhen survived by eating
The decisive battle between the Zhou people and King Zhou4 was fought in
Mu4 Ye3 (present day Ji3 county in Henan province). The Shang army were
defeated, resulting in the end of the Shang Dynasty. Ji Fa established the
Zhou Dynasty (1134BC to 250BC) and Ji Fa became known as King Wu3.
Li3 Li4 Zhen, who was hiding on the mountain, ate a lot of plums. He
came down from the mountain, so grateful to the plums that had saved his
life that he changed the way of he wrote his surname from Li3 (Law) to Li3
(plum, same pronunciation).
Li3 (plum) was the family surname of all the 20 emperors during the
Tang2 Dynasty (618AD to 907AD) and it was the tradition of the Tang2
Emperors to reward their officials, generals and some loyal citizens the
investitive title of Surname Li3 (plum).
The capital of the Tang Dynasty was in Xi An city in Shaanxi province
and it appears that there are many people with surname Li3 in Shaanxi
Xing4 Zuan3 (An Edition on Surnames).
Shi3 Ji4 (Historical Records).
Tang2 Shu (History of Tang Dynasty).
CHUNG Yoon-Ngan. firstname.lastname@example.org