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Retreat about thirty miles as a condition for peace

During the Spring and Autumn Period (770-476 B.C.), Duke Xian
of the State of Jin Killed the crown prince Sheng because he had heard slanders
about Sheng and believed them. He also sent his men to arrest Chong Er, Shen
Sheng and believed them. He also sent his men to arrest Chonh Er, Shen Sheng's
brother. Hearing the news, Chong Er escaped from the state of Jin, remaining a
fugitive for more than ten


innumerable hardships, Chong Er arrived at the State of Chu at last. King Cheng
of the State of Chu treated him with high respect as he would have treated the
ruler of a state, believing that he would have a vright

One day, King
Cheng of the State of Chu gave a banquet in honoudr of Chong Er. Suddenly, amid
the harmonious atmosphere of drinking and talking, King Cheng of the State of
Chu asked Chong Er. "How will you repay me when you return to the State of Jin
and become its ruler one day?" After thinking for a moment, Chong Er said, "You
have plenty of beauties and attendants as well as jewelry and silk cloth, and
the state of Chu abounds in rare brides and animals. What treasure can the State
of Jin boast having to present to your majesty?" King Cheng of the State of Chu
said, "You are too modest. Nevertheless, you still have to show your gratitude
to me in one way or another, I presume?" Smiling, Chong Er answered, "If I
should be fortunate enouge to return to the State of Jin and become its ruler,
the State of Jin would be friendly to the State of Chu. If, one day, there
should be a war between the two states, I would definitely order my troops to
retreat three SHE (one SHE is equivalent to thirty LI. The LI is a Chinese unit
of length equivalent to 1/2 kilometre. And, therefore, three SHE is about thirty
miles.) as a condition for peace. If, under that condition, you were still not
reconciled, I would have to fight with


Four years later, as might be expected, Chong Er returned to the State
of Jin and became its ruler. He was none other than Duke Wen of the State of Jin
famous in ancient Chinese history. Ruled by him, the State of Jin became

In the year
533 B.C., the Chu troops and the Jin troops confronted each other in a battle.
Faithful to his promise, Duke Wen of the State of Jin ordered his troops to
retreat about thirty miles. After retreating, the Jin troops were stationed at
Chengpu. Seeing that the Jin troops were retreating, the Chu troops thought that
the enemy troops were afraid, and began chasing them. Taking advantage of the
Chu troops' arrogance and their talking the Jin troops lightly, the Jin troops
concentrated their forces and inflicted a crushing defeat on the Chu troops,
thus winning the victory of the battle of Chengpu.

set phrase, "retreating about thirty miles as a condition for peace," is derived
from the Chapter "The Twenty-second Year of Duke Xi" in ZuoZhuan, the famous
commentary by Zuo Qiuming on The spring and Autumn Annals. The idea of this set
phrase is to give way to somebody in order to avoid a


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