Jia-jing: Year 16, Month 4, Day 19
27 May 1537
Pan Dan, superintendent of military affairs in Guang-dong/Guang-xi and vice minister of the left in the Ministry of War, memorialized: "The disorder in Annam began with Chen Hao killing his ruler Li Zhou. Hao was eliminated and his son Sheng occupied the region of Liang-shan. Mo Deng-yong had initially forcibly enthroned Li Hui as ruler and then forced him to the seas, after which [Li Hui] occupied Qing-du. Finally, in order to realize his plan of seizing the country, Mo falsely claimed that there had been an abdication. Now Chen Sheng has been taken in by Mo Deng-yong. Of the territory within the country, the Lis only have about two-tenths, while the Mos occupy eighth-tenths. The Court has sent envoys to enquire into the crimes, while Deng-yong has sent a despatch requesting permission to offer tribute. The yi and di, like the birds and the beasts, are without human morality. Under the laws of China, none of these persons should be appointed as ruler. Thus, they should be handled in accordance with the ways of the yi and di, as in the past, when Yuan Hao could be appointed as a lord, Bu Yi could be appointed as a marquis and Li Li could be appointed as a king. The two sides are wrangling with each other and there is fighting without end. Both sides want to make use of the name of the Heavenly Court in order to become overall ruler. It is humbly requested that Imperial orders be sent to the Ministry of Rites and the Ministry of War requiring them to deliberate and report on the best course, and that we be allowed to maintain strict defences, observe developments and wait for that country to come to peace by itself. This is the way the ancient Emperors governed without actively governing." At this time, the Minister of Rites Yan Song and the Minister of War Zhang Zan responded noting: "Annam is a country on the borders of our state. It has been entrusted as a feudatory, has declared itself a vassal and has been respectful in coming to Court to offer tribute. It is thus different from the Northern lu and the western rong. Mo Deng-yong drove his lord away, killed his ruler and seized despotic control of the country. His crimes are clear. Also, Annam was enfeoffed as a country by our Imperial ancestors. How could Kuang transfer it to the rebel Yong and how could the rebel Yong receive it from Kuang? If we say that yi and di countries have always been without human morality and it was thus that Yuan Hao could be appointed as a king and Bu Yi could be appointed as a marquis, and then there occurs this situation whereby the rebel Yong kills his ruler, seizes the country and submits a memorial requesting enfeoffment, how is the state to handle it? If it is said that the two sides are wrangling and there is fighting without end, and that they should all be left alone and not punished, it will inevitably exacerbate the disorder and encourage evil. This will mean the ignoring of Li Ning's request for assistance. Now, if we hastily take the two instances of Zi Mi and Yuan Hao as evidence, the principles applied will not be appropriate and this is not the way to subdue yi evil-doers and maintain national prestige. Li Ning is still alive in Qing-du and he has sent persons to advise of rebellion and of his determination to recover his post. However, now there have been claims that the country is at peace and a memorial has been submitted requesting permission to offer tribute. The situation is extremely obscure. During the Hong-wu reign (1368-98), Annam sent an envoy to offer tribute. The Tai-zu Gao Emperor, said: `In Annam, persons have rebelled and assassinated the ruler. They are not permitted to offer tribute.' Now, the rebel Yong is seeking permission to offer tribute. This should not be hurriedly approved. The military superintendents, grand coordinators and regional commanders should be instructed to closely examine the matter to see whether Annam is rebelling or according, and to either pacify or eliminate them as the situation demands. They should respect the previous Imperial orders and act in accordance with considered arrangements. In this way, it will be possible to demonstrate Your Majesty's benevolence in restoring the broken line of succession and Your Majesty's righteousness in punishing the ruthless and eliminating the tyrannical." The Ministry re-submitted the memorial. The Emperor approved the Ministry's proposals and ordered that the military superintendents handle matters in accordance with the previously-issued Imperial orders.
Zhong-yang Yan-jiu yuan Ming Shi-lu, volume 80, page 4186/88