Yuan Shu (pronunciation ) (died 199), courtesy name Gonglu, was a warlord who lived in the late Eastern Han dynasty of China. He rose to prominence following the collapse of the Han central government in 189.
Yuan Shu was said to be a younger cousin of the warlord Yuan Shao, but was actually Yuan Shao's younger half-brother. After the death of General-in-Chief He Jin, Yuan Shu, as the Imperial Corps Commander of the Imperial Tiger Guards, led his men to kill the eunuch faction. When Dong Zhuo seized control of the Han central government, he wanted to appoint Yuan Shu as General of the Rear, but, fearing Dong Zhuo, Yuan Shu fled to Nanyang Commandery, which he took control over after Sun Jian killed its grand administrator, Zhang Zi. His rule was despotic.
Later, Yuan Shu participated in an alliance against Dong Zhuo led by Yuan Shao. After the dissension of this alliance, he vied with Yuan Shao over control of northern China, each establishing opposing alliances. Yuan Shu allied with Yuan Shao's northern rival Gongsun Zan, and Yuan Shao in turn allied with Yuan Shu's southern rival Liu Biao.
Yuan Shu fled to Shouchun (present-day Shou County, Anhui) after repeated defeats by the combined armies of Cao Cao and Yuan Shao. He declared himself emperor under the short-lived Zhong (仲) dynasty in 197, citing superstition as his justification, including the Chinese characters for his given name Shu and courtesy name Gonglu, and his possession of the Imperial Seal. This audacious action made him a target of the other warlords. His extravagant lifestyle and arrogance caused many of his followers to desert him. Most devastating of the departures and defections – both to Yuan Shu personally and to the strength of his forces – was that by Sun Ce, who had conquered most of the Jiangdong territories under Yuan Shu's banner. Following crushing defeats by the armies of Cao Cao, Liu Bei, and Lü Bu, Yuan Shu attempted to flee north to join Yuan Shao. Yuan Shao sent his eldest son, Yuan Tan, to try to aid Yuan Shu; however, an alliance between the Yuan brothers who had long hated each other was not destined, as Yuan Tan arrived too late, and Yuan Shu's forces were destroyed by Liu Bei. He died shortly thereafter of sickness and in grief.
- Grandfather: Yuan Tang (袁湯)
- Father: Yuan Feng (袁逢)
- Yuan Shao, elder half-brother
- Yuan Yi, elder cousin
- Yuan Yin (袁胤), younger cousin
- Spouse: Lady Feng (馮氏), daughter of Feng Fang (馮方)
- Yuan Yao (袁耀), son. After Yuan Shu's death, Yuan Yao and his family fled to Lujiang Commandery to join the minor warlord Liu Xun. After Sun Ce defeated Liu Xun and conquered Lujiang Commandery, Yuan Yao was captured and finally worked as a Palace Gentleman (郎中) in the state of Eastern Wu. Yuan Yao's daughter married Sun Fen (孫奮), the fifth son of Sun Quan.
- Lady Yuan (袁夫人), daughter, personal name unknown, became one of Sun Quan's concubines after she and her brother were captured. She was known for good character but did not give birth. Sun Quan let her raise children which were born by other concubines. However, all of children died at their early age. When lady Bu died in 238, Sun Quan wanted to instate lady Yuan as the empress. Lady Yuan refused with the reason of having no child.
- Lady Yuan (袁夫人), daughter, personal name unknown, married Huang Yi (黃猗)
- Yuan Wei (袁隗), uncle
- Yang Biao (楊彪), brother-in-law
- He Kui (何夔), distant cousin