Deprived of Military Command over a Cup of Wine-Ending
One day after this discussion, Song Emperor Taizu summoned Shi Shouxin, Wang Shenqi, Zhang Linduo, Zhao Yanhui and some other generals to a banquet. At the height of the drinking, the emperor suddenly called for a halt, and then bade all the servants to retire. After that he turned to his generals: "Running a country is a hard nut to crack; I was more at ease at the post of jiedushi, and have never slept soundly since the ascension." Shi Shouxin and the others present could not all help wondering, "What else do you have in mind, Your Majesty?"
The emperor suddenly raised his voice: "Have you ever thought of the fact that everybody wants to be emperor? You have all pledged loyalty. Yet, once inferiors, in their desire for a better personal future, stage rebellion and force a dragon robe upon you, even if you are unwilling to act like that, are you sure that you can still retain control?" At this, Shi Shouxin and the others became most terrified. They could only keep begging the emperor to show them a way out.
The emperor sighed: "Life is short, and will flash by like lightning. Better to hand over military command, and work as a high-ranking civil official administering a district. Then, you can buy fertile land and luxurious houses, paving the way for happiness in posterity, living like fairies, drinking and enjoying comfort every day." The generals, hearing this, were full of gratitude, and thus retired. The following day, Shi Shouxin and others vied with each other to tender their resignations from office, on the excuse of ill health.
In this way the Song Emperor Taizu effortlessly disarmed his generals over a cup of wine. He eliminated the greatest threat to himself, by taking over military command from the generals, the very men who had pushed him onto the throne. By taking advantage of this favorable situation, he also snatched back, from the hands of the Jiedushi, military power, which from then on, whether central or local, was always in the emperor's grip. The influence of the Jiedushi, who used to lord it over the locals, gradually faded. The danger of the country being split by separatist regimes was thus eliminated.