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Traditional Chinese 扶蘇
Simplified Chinese 扶苏

Fusu (died 210 BCE) was the eldest son and heir apparent of Qin Shi Huang, the first emperor of the Qin dynasty.


After being deceived by two alchemists while seeking prolonged life, Qin Shi Huang ordered more than 460 scholars in the capital to be buried alive, though an account given by Wei Hong in the 2nd century CE added another 700 to the figure. Fusu counselled that, with the country newly unified, and enemies still not pacified, such a harsh measure imposed on those who respect Confucius would cause instability.[1] However, he was unable to change his father's mind, and instead was sent to guard the frontier in a de facto exile.

Moreover, after the death of Qin Shi Huang, Fusu's youngest brother, Huhai, together with two high officials Zhao Gao and Li Si, forged Qin Shi Huang's decree to rename Huhai as the successor and order Fusu to commit suicide.[2] Some aides of Fusu doubted the veracity of the decree, but Fusu either did not believe someone would dare to forge the decree or, with good reason, feared being killed anyway, and he committed suicide.[3]


Fusu had a son, Ziying, who was enthroned after Zhao Gao forced Huhai to commit suicide in 207 BCE. By that time, Li Si had already been eliminated by Zhao Gao. Ziying soon killed Zhao Gao. There is a controversy that Ziying was not Fusu's son. Some scholars pointed out that Fusu's son might be too young to plot the demise of Zhao Gao, as two sons of Ziying, also involved in the plot, should have been old enough. Qin Shi Huang only lived to about 50. Fusu might have only lived into his 30s.

Modern references

Fusu appeared as the protagonist in the action role-playing game Prince of Qin. In the game, the plot has been altered such that Fusu did not commit suicide as he was supposed to in history. The game allows the player to explore what Fusu could have done if he did not die.

Fusu also appears in the Chinese animated series The Legend of Qin since the third season.

Fusu is a prominent character in Eugie Foster's short story "Mortal Clay, Stone Heart."


  1. (於是使御史悉案问诸生,诸生传相告引,乃自除犯禁者四百六十馀人,皆阬之咸阳,使天下知之,以惩後。益发谪徙边。始皇长子扶苏谏曰:「天下初定,远方黔首未集,诸生皆诵法孔子,今上皆重法绳之,臣恐天下不安。唯上察之。」) Shiji vol. 6.
  2. Sima Qian. Dawson, Raymond Stanley. Brashier, K. E. [2007] (2007). The First Emperor: Selections from the Historical Records. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-922634-2, ISBN 978-0-19-922634-4. pg 15 - 20, pg 82, pg 99.
  3. Tung, Douglas S. Tung, Kenneth. [2003] (2003). More Than 36 Stratagems: A Systematic Classification Based On Basic Behaviours. Trafford Publishing. ISBN 1-4120-0674-0, ISBN 978-1-4120-0674-3.
Died: 210 BC
Honorary titles
Preceded by
Crown Prince of China Vacant
Title next held by
Liu Ying