|Inspector of Yang Province (揚州刺史)|
200 – 208
|Monarch||Emperor Xian of Han|
|Preceded by||Yan Xiang|
|Courtesy name||Yuanying (元穎)|
Liu Fu (died 208), courtesy name Yuanying, was a government official who lived during the late Eastern Han dynasty of China. While serving as the governor of Yang Province from 200 to 208, he relocated the province's administrative centre from Liyang (歷陽; present-day He County, Anhui) to Hefei. During his tenure, Hefei became a highly militarised and well-defended military stronghold, which later served as a strategic location in several battles between the rival states of Cao Wei and Eastern Wu during the Three Kingdoms period (220–280).
Liu Fu was from Xiang County (相縣), Pei State (沛國), which is located west of present-day Huaibei, Anhui. When chaos broke out throughout China towards the end of the Eastern Han dynasty, he fled from his hometown and took shelter in Yang Province.
In the early Jian'an era (196–220) of Emperor Xian's reign, he met Qi Ji (戚寄) and Qin Yi, two military officers serving under the warlord Yuan Shu, who was based in Huainan (淮南; around present-day Shou County, Anhui). He managed to convince them to leave Yuan Shu and bring along their troops to defect to Cao Cao, the warlord who controlled the figurehead Emperor Xian and the Han central government in Xu (許; present-day Xuchang, Henan). Cao Cao was so pleased with Liu Fu that he appointed him as an assistant official under the Minister over the Masses (司徒) in the central government.
In the year 200, the warlord Sun Ce, who controlled the Jiangdong region, ordered Li Shu (李術), the Administrator of Lujiang Commandery (廬江郡; around present-day Lu'an, Anhui), to attack and kill Yan Xiang, the Inspector (刺史; provincial governor) of Yang Province appointed by the central government. At the same time, Mei Qian (梅乾), Lei Xu (雷緒) and Chen Lan (陳蘭) had amassed thousands of bandits in Huainan and posed a threat to the central government's control over the region. Around the time, the various counties and commanderies in Yang Province were in ruins as they had seen years of war between rival warlords fighting for control over Huainan.
In the same year, Cao Cao was at war with his rival, Yuan Shao, at the Battle of Guandu so he was unable to deal with the threats in the Huainan region. However, he believed that Liu Fu was capable of accomplishing that task so he nominated Liu Fu to serve as the new Inspector of Yang Province.
Upon assuming office, Liu Fu ordered the construction of a city at Hefei, which became the new administrative centre of Yang Province. At the same time, through exchanging gifts, he managed to persuade the local bandit forces to accept some measure of his authority. They helped him restore order and stability in Huainan, and pledged allegiance and paid tribute to the central government. Liu Fu governed Yang Province with benevolence and enjoyed high popularity among the locals. Thousands of residents who previously fled from Yang Province to evade chaos returned to their homes. As the population increased, Liu Fu had more schools built, implemented the tuntian system, and promoted agriculture and irrigation. His efforts led to a surplus of resources for both the local government and the common people. He also oversaw the construction of defence infrastructure and the stockpiling of military supplies in preparation for war.
In the 14th-century historical novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms, before the Battle of Red Cliffs, Cao Cao wrote a poem, Short Song Style, to express his feelings at that time. Liu Fu commented that the following lines in the poem were considered inauspicious:
Stars around the moons are few,
Flying with no rest,
Cao Cao, in his drunken rage, stabbed Liu Fu with his spear and killed him. He regretted his action later when he became sober.