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Zhezong was the son of Emperor Shenzong. He ascended the throne at age 10 under the supervision of Empress Dowager Gao. Under Empress Gao's regency she appointed conservatives such as Sima Guang as Chancellor and Sima Guang immediately halted socio-economic improvements set forth by Wang Anshi. Zhezong was powerless and it was not until Empress Dowager Gao's death in 1093 that Zhezong was able to reinstate Wang Anshi's reform and remove Sima Guang.
Zhezong lowered taxes, stopped all negotiations with the Tangut Empire and resumed armed conflict which eventually forced the Xixia to enter a more peaceful stance with the Song. Overall, Zhezong's reign gave the Song dynasty a breathe of fresh air but Zhezong was not able stop fighting between conservative members in his government and the more liberal members catering to Wang Anshi's reforms. This eventually lead to the northern Song's demise in the 12th century.
- Wang Anshi
- Sima Guang
- List of Song Emperors
- Architecture of the Song Dynasty
- Culture of the Song Dynasty
- Economy of the Song Dynasty
- History of the Song Dynasty
- Society of the Song Dynasty
- Technology of the Song Dynasty