(also Yüeh Fei). Born Mar. 24, 1103; died Jan. 27, 1142. Chinese military commander.
Yo Fei was the son of a peasant. Beginning in 1122 he took part in a series of military actions against the Khitans. In 1126 he joined the fighting against the Jurchens, who had begun a massive incursion into China in late 1125. Yo Fei rose quickly to a high post in the army and managed to stop the advance of the Jurchens, liberate most of Hupeh Province and part of Honan Province, and rout the Chinese feudal lords who had collaborated with the invaders. A capitulationist group at the imperial court, however, refused to aid Yo Fei. Headed by the first minister Chin Kuei, the group succeeded in obtaining a withdrawal of Yo Fei’s troops back beyond the Yangtze River. Yo Fei was accused of high treason, imprisoned, and secretly executed. A shameful peace treaty was signed with the Jurchens in 1141.
Yo Fei’s reputation as a patriot was restored in 1163, and he became a hero of Chinese folk epics.