Zi'ao (Chinese: 訾敖, died 529 BC) was a king of the state of Chu, although his reign lasted less than twenty days. His birth name was Xiong Bi (Chinese: 熊比) and his courtesy name was Zigan (Chinese: 子干).
|King of Chu|
Bi was the third son of King Gong of Chu. In 541 BC, his second elder brother Wei murdered his nephew Jia'ao and usurped the throne. In fear of his life, Bi fled Chu with his younger brother Heigong. Wei became King Ling of Chu.
Later, King Ling conquered the states of Chen and Cai. The former ministers of both states soon developed plans to regain the two states' independence from Chu. In 529 BC, King Ling led his troops to attack the state of Xu. In the mean time, Bi and Heigong with their youngest brother, Qiji, met with the former Chen and Cai ministers and developed a plot that was successful in overthrowing King Ling. Sons of King Ling were killed. As the eldest of the three brothers, Bi took the throne of Chu. King Ling was abandoned by his troops and committed suicide days later, but initially this was not widely known.
Later, Chaowu, a former minister of Cai, tried to persuade Qiji to become the new king. However, Qiji said he would be opposed if he tried to take the throne from his elder brothers. Chaowu knew that Qiji really wanted to be king so they came up with a plan. They pretended to be defeated by the returning King Ling and announced that King Ling would soon be entering the capital. Bi and Heigong were so fearful of King Ling's return that they both committed suicide. However, the army that was supposed to be led by King Ling was actually led by Qiji. With his brothers dead, Qiji was able to ascend the throne indisputably as King Ping of Chu.
Bi was buried at Zi as a prince. As a result, he is given the posthumous title of Zi'ao.