Hongmen Banquet-Sequel І
Soon after the death of Qin Shi Huang in 209 BC, his Prime Minister Zhao Gao manipulated the coronation of Hu Hai, the dead emperor's second son. That same year saw the outbreak of China's first massive peasant insurrection. It all began when the convicts Chen Sheng and Wu Guang defiantly questioned the legitimacy of an autocratic government by asking, "Are the nobility born noble?" The six-month- long revolt they led delivered a deadly blow to the political facade of the Qin Dynasty, already crippled by the corruption of its officials and the follies of its monarch, paving the way for its downfall. Despite the defeat of Chen Sheng and Wu Guang, uprisings against the government spread to become pandemic.
Out of the massive turmoil of the many skirmishes across the country emerged Xiang Yu and Liu Bang as the two leading forces. Instead of declaring themselves king as Chen Sheng had done, they crowned the grandson of the last prince of Chu, one of the warring states Qin had subdued. The new prince promised the principality of Qin to anyone who was the first to enter Xianyang, the imperial capital. Xiang Yu turned out to be a fierce warrior; in one of his typical battles, his troops destroyed a Qin army of200, 000. Liu Bang, however, listened to one of his top advisors, Zhang Liang, and adopted a more benign strategy focused on winning over his opponents through peaceful means. This strategy paid off. Liu Bang avoided all the violent encounters Xiang Yu was forced to fight through, and thus ended up in Xianyang before his rival. In 206 BC the emperor of the Qin surrendered to Liu Bang, marking the end of his dynasty.
Xiang Yu was furious when he learnt that Liu Bang had beaten him to the Qin lands. His generals smashed their way through to penetrate Hangu Pass, a strategically important gateway to Xianyang, and encamped their troops 50 kilometers away from the capital city. An officer from Liu Bang's army sent a message to Xiang Yu, reporting that Liu Bang was going to claim the principality of Qin as well as all the treasures of the empire. Xiang Yu was enraged upon hearing these words. His advisor Fan Zeng believed Liu Bang to be capable of creating major trouble for Xiang Yu and thus had to be fought before it was too late.
However, Xiang Yu's uncle Xiang Bo was friend with Zhang Liang, who had once saved his life. He was so worried that Zhang Liang would be killed in a sudden raid by Xiang Yu that he skulked away to Liu Bang's place on a swift horse to warn Zhang Liang about the impending strike, and urged him to leave Liu Bang.
Zhang Liang refused to leave Liu Bang but instead informed him of the bad news. Liu Bang begged to be introduced to his uncle. He reassured Xiang Bo that he had never entertained the slightest notion of standing up against Xiang Yu. Xiang Bo was soon won over and agreed to speak on behalf of Liu Bang when he returned to Xiang Yu's camp. But he told Liu Bang that he must offer an apology in person to Xiang Yu.