Shunyi’ s Savour­ing An­tiq­uity

Beijing (English) - - CONTENTS - Trans­lated by Zhang Weix­ing, pol­ished by Png Yu Fung

Among the four re­main­ing an­nals of Shunyi, An­nals of Shunyi County writ­ten by Huang Chengzhang con­tains the most, telling of the county's an­cient sto­ries.

Shunyi is unique in Bei­jing's his­tory. Facts about Shunyi and its 2,200-year his­tory, were recorded con­sci­en­tiously in sev­eral an­nals of Shunyi County. To­day, there are four re­main­ing an­nals of Shunyi County. The lat­est edi­tion is the newly com­piled An­nals of Shunyi County pub­lished by Bei­jing Pub­lish­ing House in 2009, about 580 years later than the first an­nals of Shunyi in his­tory— Il­lus­trated An­nals of Shunyi County. Dur­ing these 580 years, the com­pi­la­tion of an­nals of Shunyi con­tin­ued.

One day in 1674, an of­fi­cial named Han Shuwen and his four sub­or­di­nates were sit­ting in the Shunyi County Of­fice. On the desk there were four thick piles of pa­per. Han Shuwen slowly stood up, say­ing: “Let us name this book An­nals of Shunyi County!” The oth­ers nod­ded in as­sent. The book, which was the 13th year of the Kangxi reign (1662–1723) edi­tion An­nals of Shunyi County, was later printed, and is the ear­li­est sur­viv­ing an­nals of Shunyi to­day.

Ear­li­est Sur­viv­ing An­nals of Shunyi

In the 3,000 years of his­tory of Bei­jing, Shunyi first ap­peared as Shun­zhou Pre­fec­ture in The New Book of Tang com­pleted in 1060. Lit­ter­a­teur Ouyang Xiu (1007–1072), one of the au­thors of the book, wrote: “In the fourth year of the Zhen­guan reign (AD 627–650), Shun­zhou Pre­fec­ture was es­tab­lished.” Here Shun­zhou Pre­fec­ture refers to mod­ern-day Shunyi.

There is a story be­hind the name of Shun­zhou Pre­fec­ture. In the Sui (AD 581–618) and Tang (AD 618–907) dy­nas­ties, Yingzhou Area Com­mand was es­tab­lished to house eth­nic im­mi­grants, pris­on­ers of war and refugees. Un­der the Area Com­mand there were many pre­fec­tures and coun­ties, whose names con­tained an un­der­tone of sub­mis­sion, in­clud­ing fa­mous ones such as Guishun Pre­fec­ture, Shun­zhou

Pre­fec­ture and Gui­hua Pre­fec­ture. Later, due to chaos caused by war, the pop­u­la­tion of Yingzhou de­creased sharply, and some of its pre­fec­tures and coun­ties, in­clud­ing Shun­zhou Pre­fec­ture and Huairou County, were be­ing moved near the hin­ter­land. In ad­di­tion, Shun­zhou Pre­fec­ture and Huairou County shared the same ad­min­is­tra­tion cen­tre. Later, Guishun Pre­fec­ture was re­named Shun­zhou Pre­fec­ture. This name con­tin­ued to be in use for 600 years.

Shun­zhou Pre­fec­ture was one of the16 pre­fec­tures of Yan and Yun. In 1368, the first year of the Hongwu reign (1368–1399) of the Ming Dy­nasty (1368–1644), Em­peror Taizu of the Ming Dy­nasty Zhu Yuanzhang re­named Dadu of the Yuan Dy­nasty (1271– 1368) as Peip­ing, and Shun­zhou Pre­fec­ture as Shunyi County. At that time Shunyi and Huairou coun­ties still shared the same juris­dic­tion. In 1380, the Ming gov­ern­ment es­tab­lished a new Huairou County based on a part of Chang­ping and a part of Miyun, and the seat of Huairou County was moved out of Shun­zhou Pre­fec­ture to what is the mod­ern-day seat of Huairou County. Since then, Shunyi be­came geo­graph­i­cally lo­cated where it is seen on the map to­day.

Facts about Shunyi were recorded and then com­piled into its suc­ces­sive an­nals. Shunyi has a writ­ten his­tory of 2,200 years. So far there are seven an­nals of Shunyi, in­clud­ing Il­lus­trated An­nals of Shunyi County, An­nals of Shunyi County and An­nals of Shunyi com­piled in the Ming Dy­nasty; An­nals of Shunyi County com­piled twice dur­ing the Qing Dy­nasty (1644–1911), An­nals of Shunyi County com­piled in the Repub­lic of China pe­riod (1912–1949), and An­nals of Shunyi County com­piled af­ter the found­ing of the Peo­ple's Repub­lic of China (1949–Present).

Dur­ing the Ming Dy­nasty, three an­nals of Shunyi County were com­piled. The ear­lier Il­lus­trated An­nals of Shunyi County and An­nals of Shunyi County with a his­tory of about 600 years were com­piled dur­ing 1403–1424 dur­ing the Yon­gle reign of the Ming Dy­nasty, and An­nals of Shunyi with a his­tory of 444 years were com­piled by Yang Ting, who be­came a suc­cess­ful can­di­date in the high­est im­pe­rial ex­am­i­na­tions dur­ing the Longqing reign (1567–1573). How­ever, all these three an­nals were lost.

The ear­li­est sur­viv­ing edi­tion of An­nals of Shunyi County is the edi­tion from the 13th year of the Kangxi reign. In 1673, Han Shuwen, who had just as­sumed of­fice as Mag­is­trate of Shunyi County, sug­gested the com­pi­la­tion of lo­cal an­nals. Then Han Shuwen was ap­pointed to direct the com­pi­la­tion and choose the com­pil­ers. A large com­pi­la­tion board was es­tab­lished, and the com­pi­la­tion of An­nals of Shunyi County fi­nanced by Shunyi author­ity be­gan. One year later, in 1674, the 13th year of the Kangxi reign, An­nals of Shunyi County was pub­lished.

The 13th year of the Kangxi reign edi­tion of An­nals of Shunyi County has two vol­umes, 120 pages and 10,900 Chi­nese char­ac­ters, and con­tains 13 parts: Zo­diac, Ad­min­is­tra­tive Evo­lu­tion, Ter­ri­tory, Land­scapes, City Wall and Moat, Cus­toms, Lo­cal Prod­ucts, Gov­ern­ment Of­fices, Schools, Of­fi­cials,

Se­lec­tion and Rec­om­men­da­tion, Land Tax­a­tion, and Per­son­ages. More im­por­tantly, the book con­tains two ear­li­est sur­viv­ing maps of Shunyi.

Huang Chengzhang and the Five-vol­ume An­nals

The Shunyi author­ity com­piled the an­nals again 45 years later in 1719, the 58th year of the Kangxi reign. Dur­ing this pe­riod, great changes took place in Shunyi County. How­ever, the 13 mag­is­trates of Shunyi County hold­ing of­fice dur­ing this pe­riod did not have these changes recorded in the an­nals.

In the Qing Dy­nasty, Shunyi, lo­cated north­east of the down­town of Bei­jing, was deemed by of­fi­cials an un­de­vel­oped area. Most un­will­ingly as­sumed of­fice as mag­is­trate of Shunyi County, and did not care about the lo­cal peo­ple's liveli­hood. In­stead, they made up to their friends and teach­ers in the down­town of the cap­i­tal, hop­ing for a trans­fer soon. Most of these mag­is­trate did not stay for long.

This sit­u­a­tion didn't im­prove un­til Huang Chengzhang, a Mianzhu na­tive, Sichuan Prov­ince, was as­signed to Shunyi. In 1716, Em­peror Kangxi had an in­ter­view with Huang Chengzhang, who was a suc­cess­ful can­di­date in the high­est im­pe­rial ex­am­i­na­tions that year. Huang was not ner­vous and he flu­ently an­swered all the em­peror's ques­tions. The em­peror was sat­is­fied and as­signed Huang to gov­ern Shunyi andim­prove its de­vel­op­ment.

In June 1716, Huang Chengzhang ar­rived at the city gate of Shunyi County, where it was wa­ter­logged and slushy af­ter a heavy rain. See­ing the un­der­de­vel­oped county, Huang Chengzhang was de­ter­mined to let the county put on a new look.

Huang Chengzhang served as mag­is­trate of Shunyi County for seven years since 1716. Dur­ing his term, he was de­ter­mined and re­mained strict with him­self, He was also hon­est,kind, con­sid­er­ate and ex­tremely couteous to the tal­ented and the learned. He im­ple­mented many mea­sures to im­prove the lo­cal peo­ple's liveli­hood.

Be­fore Huang Chengzhang as­sumed of­fice, a 20- 25 per­cent huo­hao, the sur­charge on sil­ver dur­ing the pro­duc­tion of sil­ver bars or in­gots, was levied in Shunyi County. For this, Huang sub­mit­ted a doc­u­ment re­quest­ing ex­emp­tion of the sur­charge. When the road along the north­west wall of the city of Shunyi County had been de­stroyed by the rush of wa­ter, Huang do­nated his salary to help con­struct a dam to block the wa­ter. Some peo­ple tried to bribe him, but he re­fused. Huang was rep­utable for be­ing learned, ca­pa­ble and pru­dent. There­fore, when Huang Chengzhang was later pro­moted to mag­is­trate of Tongzhou Pre­fec­ture in the first year of the Yongzheng reign, the lo­cal peo­ple of Shunyi County re­luc­tantly bade farewell to him. Af­ter as­sum­ing of­fice as mag­is­trate of Tongzhou Pre­fec­ture, Huang Chengzhang di­rected con­struc­tion of city walls, bridges, schools and mon­u­men­tal arch­ways, and did good deeds. When he left Tongzhou Pre­fec­ture five years later, many bade farewell to himin tears.

Be­sides pro­mot­ing the econ­omy and the peo­ple's liveli­hood of Shunyi County, Huang Chengzhang es­tab­lished the com­pi­la­tion board of An­nals of Shunyi County in 1718. He per­son­ally col­lected data and led his sub­or­di­nates in vis­it­ing lo­cal house­holds to col­lect exclusive in­for­ma­tion.

In 1719, the 58th year of the Kangxi reign, a five-vol­ume An­nals of Shunyi County, whose com­pi­la­tion was di­rected by Huang Chengzhang, was pub­lished. An up­dated ver­sion of the 13th year of the Kangxi reign edi­tion An­nals of Shunyi County, this com­pi­la­tion has 494 pages and 113,600 Chi­nese char­ac­ters, and has eight parts: Ter­ri­tory, Es­tab­lish­ments, Land­scapes, Land Tax­a­tion, Zhiguan Of­fi­cials, Shiguan Of­fi­cials, Per­son­ages, and Lit­er­ary Works.

Con­tin­ual Com­pi­la­tion

An­nals of Shunyi County com­piled by Huang Chengzhang con­tains rare his­tor­i­cal records of Shunyi. The rea­son for the com­pi­la­tion of an­nals re­mains de­bat­able. Some schol­ars be­lieved that the com­pi­la­tion was part of Em­peror Kangxi's at­tempt to con­sol­i­date his rule with Con­fu­cian­ism.

Since Em­peror Shun­zhi (1644–1662), the em­per­ors of the Qing Dy­nasty all at­tached im­por­tance to Con­fu­cian­ism. Af­ter tak­ing over the reins of gov­ern­ment upon com­ing of age, Em­peror Kangxi pro­moted Con­fu­cian­ism, and con­ferred higher hon­ours on Con­fu­cius (551–479 BC), Men­cius (372–289 BC), the Cheng brothers (Cheng Hao and Cheng Yi, who were among the pi­o­neers of Song Dy­nasty Neo-con­fu­cian­ism), and Zhu Xi (1130–1200), a Song Dy­nasty (AD 960–1279) Con­fu­cian scholar who was the lead­ing fig­ure of the School of Prin­ci­ple and the most in­flu­en­tial ra­tio­nal­ist NeoCon­fu­cian in China. In 1712, the 51st year of the Kangxi reign, the em­peror put Zhu Xi as one of the ten sages in the Dacheng Hall (Hall of Great Ac­com­plish­ment) of the Tem­ple of Con­fu­cius. This re­sulted in tem­ples of Zhu Xi be­ing built all over China. Em­peror Kangxi didn't write the books by him­self, but in­vited min­is­ter

Li Guangdi (1642–1718) and oth­ers to com­pile Com­plete Works of Zhu Xi to­gether. Em­peror Kangxi at­tached great im­por­tance to the com­pi­la­tion of His­tory of the Ming Dy­nasty. He ex­pects the Six­teen Im­pe­rial Edicts to be re­peat­edly com­mu­ni­cated to the com­mon peo­ple and sol­diers eas­ily through­out China.

An­nals of Shunyi County writ­ten by Huang Chengzhang has five vol­umes. In “Per­son­ages”, he recorded 27 fa­mous of­fi­cials, 53 county sages, 57 county role models, 59 women, 8 recluses and 3 monks who died for hon­our. Huang was a recluse who be­came a suc­cess­ful can­di­date in the im­pe­rial ex­am­i­na­tions at the pro­vin­cial level in the Si­mao year (1699) of the Kangxi reign, and read an­cients book in­doors north of Yanggezhuang Vil­lage. Huang helped out many peo­ple fi­nan­cially. Huang Chengzhang was a dili­gent, benev­o­lent mag­is­trate and he put the Six­teen Im­pe­rial Edicts of Kangxi into prac­tice. He was commended by the Qing court for com­pil­ing the An­nals of Shunyi County.

Af­ter the fall of the Qing Dy­nasty, the com­pi­la­tion of An­nals of Shunyi County con­tin­ued as an­nals were deemed im­por­tant to lo­cal. In 1932, Yang Dexin, prin­ci­pal of Shunyi County Ru­ral Teacher Train­ing School, and oth­ers com­piled the 21st year of the Repub­lic of China pe­riod edi­tion of An­nals of Shunyi County. The an­nals with a his­tory of about 80 years in­clude around 16 vol­umes and nine in­stal­ments, to­talling 330,000 Chi­nese char­ac­ters and ap­pear­ing 213 years later than An­nals of Shunyi County com­piled by Huang Chengzhang.

The 21st year of the Repub­lic of China (1932) pe­riod edi­tion of An­nals of Shunyi County in­cludes 17 as­pects: Ter­ri­tory, Es­tab­lish­ments, Trans­porta­tion, Cli­mate, Ad­min­is­tra­tion, Taxes and Corvee, Coun­cils, Ed­u­ca­tion, Prod­ucts, In­dus­tries, Fi­nance, Cus­toms, Re­li­gions, Per­son­ages, Art, Epig­ra­phy, and Mis­cel­la­nies, pro­vid­ing a com­pre­hen­sive ac­count of the pol­i­tics, econ­omy, cul­ture, ge­og­ra­phy and other as­pects of Shunyi.

The com­pi­la­tion of An­nals of Shunyi County con­tin­ued af­ter the found­ing of the Peo­ple's Repub­lic of China. In 1990, the Shunyi county gov­ern­ment es­tab­lished the com­mit­tee for the com­pi­la­tion of the an­nals of Shunyi County to or­der to com­pile­new an­nals. The newly com­piled An­nals of Shunyi County records the his­tory of Shunyi from the pre-qin pe­riod (21st cen­tury–221 BC) to De­cem­ber 31, 1995.

In 2009, Bei­jing Pub­lish­ing House pub­lished a newly com­piled An­nals of Shunyi County, which in­cludes 23 parts, 93 chap­ters and 328 sec­tions, to­talling 1.1 mil­lion Chi­nese char­ac­ters. Be­sides the pref­ace, ex­plana­tory notes, chronicle of events and in­tro­duc­tion, the con­tents of the book in­clude ad­min­is­tra­tive evo­lu­tion, ad­min­is­tra­tive di­vi­sions, nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment, ge­og­ra­phy and ge­o­mor­phol­ogy, ge­ol­ogy and soil, moun­tains and rivers, hy­drol­ogy and me­te­o­rol­ogy, nat­u­ral disas­ters, pop­u­la­tion mi­gra­tion, pop­u­la­tion dis­tri­bu­tion, and eco­nomic in­dus­tries such as farm­ing, forestry, an­i­mal hus­bandry, side-line pro­duc­tion and fish­ery, in­dus­try and com­merce, post and telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions, trans­porta­tion, town and town­ship en­ter­prises, fos­sil fu­els, for­eign econ­omy and trade, fi­nance and tax­a­tion, au­dits and sta­tis­tics, as well as so­cial in­dus­tries such as the Party, the gov­ern­ment and the army, the united front work, mass work, cul­ture and ed­u­ca­tion, sci­ence and tech­nol­ogy, sports, pub­lic health, peo­ple's liveli­hood, re­li­gions and cus­toms, di­alects, leg­ends and anec­dotes, of­fi­cial po­si­tions and dis­tin­guished per­son­ages. More­over, the an­nals in­clude around 100 pic­tures that help to il­lus­trate Shunyi's his­tory.

To­day's Shunyi has be­come a new dis­trict, with nu­mer­ous high- rise build­ings and some land­marks. If you want to find more about, you can read the re­main­ing an­cient an­nals of Shunyi to savour the an­tiq­uity.

An­nals of Shunyi County (new ver­sion)

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