Shunyi’ s Savouring Antiquity
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.
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)