Liu Hun (柳渾) (715 – February 23, 789), né Liu Zai (柳載), courtesy nameYikuang (夷曠), alternative name Weishen (惟深), formally Count Zhen of Yicheng (宜城貞伯), was a Chinese politician during the Tang Dynasty, serving as a chancellor during the reign of Emperor Dezong.
Liu Zai was born in 715, during the reign of Emperor Xuanzong. His family was from Xiang Prefecture (襄州, in modern Xiangfan, Hubei) but claimed as their ancestral lands the Hedong region (河東, roughly modern Shanxi) and claimed the Jin Dynasty (266–420) official Liu Chun (柳純) as an ancestor. Their traceable ancestry included officials of Jin Dynasty, Liu Song, Southern Qi, Liang Dynasty, and Tang Dynasty. His grandfather Liu Shangsu (柳尚素) and father Liu Qingxiu (柳慶休) both served as county-level officials.
Liu Zai’s father Liu Qingxiu died early. He was studious, but was poor as a result of his father’s early death. He passed the imperial examinations early in Emperor Xuanzong’s Tianbao era (742–756) and was made the sheriff of Danfu County (單父, in modern Heze, Shandong).
During the Zhide era (756–758) of Emperor Xuanzong’s son Emperor Suzong, Liu Zai served as a secretary for Huangfu Shen (皇甫侁) the surveyor of Jiangxi Circuit (江西, headquartered in modern Nanchang, Jiangxi). He was then recalled to serve as Jiancha Yushi (監察御史), an imperial censor. As the imperial censors were required to be careful and formal in their behavior, and Liu was free in his spirit, Liu became unhappy and sought another position. The chancellors had regard for his talents, however, and so had him made Zuo Bujue (左補闕), a low-level official at the examination bureau of government (門下省, Menxia Sheng). He was later given the responsibility of monitoring the tax revenues from Jiangxi Circuit.
Early in the Dali era (767–779) of Emperor Suzong’s son Emperor Daizong, Wei Shaoyou (魏少遊), the governor of Jiangxi Circuit, requested that Liu Zai serve as his secretary. While he was serving under Wei, there was an occasion when the abbot of a Buddhist temple dedicated to Emperor Xuanzong was drinking at night with his disciples, and in their drunkenness, the temple suffered a fire. They blamed it on the deaf servant guarding the door, however, and bribed the military officer Wei put in charge of the investigation to submit a report indicating such. Wei believed the report and was set to punish the servant, and while many people knew of the servant’s innocence, no one dared to speak. Liu and his colleague Cui Youfu, however, stepped in and reported this to Wei. Wei was surprised, and after he interrogated the abbot further, the abbot confessed. Wei thanked them and stated, “Except for you two gentleman, this old man would have committed a wrong.” Later, after Lu Sigong (路嗣恭) succeeded Wei, Lu made Liu the deputy commander of the circuit militia (團練副使, Tuanlian Fushi). In 778, Liu was made the prefect of Yuan Prefecture (袁州, in modern Yichun, Jiangxi).