Shao Di

Historical records frequently mention two young princes who fled to the South, when the Southern Song Dynasty came to an end, and the Mongolians took control of all of China, in the year of 1279. The princes first withdrew to the southern province of Guangdong with some loyal mandarins and soldiers, but that soon turned into a chaotic getaway. In the end, it is said they jumped off a ship far out in the South China Sea, thus putting their lives to an end.

I never heard a mention of yet another child of that dynasty elsewhere, but there seems to have been one more, just a kid, that died on the shore. Is this accurate history, or a Chinese folk legend? In any case, it is another story about cruelty, loyalty, and desperation.

A statue in Shekou, Shenzhen, shows one of the remaining soldiers of the dynasty, carrying that small child on his arm. They are both looking South. It is a child searching for a way out, only to die a more or less natural death, soon after.

Hong Kong business people discovered and restored the grave, in the early 20th century.

« Back to the photo