Bao Zheng 包拯

A famous offical who understands the people’s feelings and vindicates the unjust prison


Chinese Name: 包拯

English Name: Bao Zheng

Other Names: Bao Xiren 包希仁, Bao Xiaosu 包孝肃, Bao Qingtian 包青天

Born: 999

Died: July 3, 1062


Enforce the law impartially 秉公执法,刚正不阿

Main Works:

Memorial of Bao Xiaosu Gong 包孝肃公奏议

Bao Zheng 包拯
Bao Zheng 包拯

Brief Biography of Bao Zheng

Bao Zheng (999-July 3, 1062), courtesy name Xiren 希仁, was born in Hefei 合肥, Luzhou 泸州 (now Feidong 肥东, Hefei 合肥, Anhui 安徽), was a famous official in the Northern Song Dynasty 北宋.

In the 5th year of Tiansheng 天圣 (1027), Bao zheng was a scholar. He once proposed to train troops and select generals and enrich the border troops. He successively served as a judge of the sanshihu department and a transfer envoy of Jingdong, Shaanxi 陕西 and Hebei 河北 roads. Later, he joined the court and served as the Deputy envoy of the sanshihu department, requesting the court to allow the salt to trade.

Bao Zheng 包拯
Bao Zheng’s statue 包拯塑像

When he was in the remonstrating court, he talked about impeachment of powerful officials for many times. He was also awarded the direct Bachelor of LongTuge 龙图阁直学士, the transfer envoy of Hebei Province, the transfer of Ying and Yang Zhuzhou, the right to know Kaifeng Prefecture, the right to control the history of Zhongcheng, and the three secretaries.

In the 6th year of Jiayou 嘉祐 (1061), he was promoted to the Deputy envoy of the Privy Council. Because he used to be a direct Bachelor of tianzhang Pavilion and Longtu Pavilion, he was called “Bao Daizhi 包待制” and “Bao Longtu 包龙图”.

In the 7th year of Jiayou (1062), Bao Zheng died at the age of 64. He was posthumously presented to the Minister of rites, with the posthumous title of “Xiaosu 孝肃”, and later generations called him “Bao Xiaosu 包孝肃”. There is the memorial of Bao Xiaosu Gong 包孝肃公奏议 passed down.

Personal Life and Major Contributions

Have great filial piety in his early years

Bao Zheng was born in the second year of Xianping 咸平 of emperor Zhenzong 真宗 of the Song Dynasty (999). In the 5th year of Tiansheng of emperor Renzong 仁宗 of the Song Dynasty (1027), he was admitted as a scholar. He was appointed as a judge of Dali 大理评事 and was appointed as a county magistrate of Jianchang County 建昌县 (now Yongxiu 永修, Jiangxi 江西).

Because his parents were old, Bao Zheng requested to work near Hefei 合肥, so he was granted the tax supervision of Hezhou 和州 (now He County 和县, Anhui Province). However, his parents did not want him to leave, so Bao Zheng resigned his official and went home to support his parents.

Bao Zheng 包拯
Bao Zheng’s tomb 包拯墓

A few years later, his parents died one after another. Bao Zheng built a thatched cottage beside his parents’ tombs. Until the mourning period expired, he still hesitated and could not bear to leave. His fellow countrymen came to comfort and encourage him many times. It was not until the 4th year of Jingyou 景祐 (1037) that Bao Zheng went to Beijing to listen to the election and was awarded Tianchang 天长 county magistrate.

Served as the Third Secretary 三司使

In the 4th year of Jiayou 嘉祐 (1059), Zhang Fangping 张方平, who was then the Third Secretary, was impeached and dismissed by Bao Zheng because he bought the property of the local tyrants; Song Qi took over, and Bao Zheng impeached him. After Song Qi was dismissed, Bao Zheng temporarily served as the Third Secretary in the post of a direct Bachelor in Privy Council.

In this regard, Ouyang Xiu 欧阳修 said: “Bao Zheng is so-called leading a cow to trample on the field and rob another’s cow (seizing a cow from another field 蹊田夺牛). The punishment is already very heavy, but he is greedy for a fat job. Isn’t it too much?” Therefore, Bao Zheng stayed at home to avoid the appointment of the Third Secretary, but Renzong refused. After a long time, Bao Zheng took the office.

Bao Zheng 包拯
The Baogong Memorial Hall in Hefei 合肥包公祠

In March of the 6th year of Jiayou (1061), he was promoted to the post of minister, and formally served as the Third Secretary. A few days later, was promoted to the Deputy envoy in Council. Soon, he was transferred to the Ministry of rites, but he refused.

Stay honest and clean

When Bao Zheng was promoted to Dali temple and zhiduanzhou (now Zhaoqing 肇庆, Guangdong 广东). At that time, Duanzhou specialty Duan inkstone 端砚 was the most cherished and fashionable elegant instrument of the scholar officials of the Song Dynasty. The local people paid tribute to the court every year. All the officials who are the “top leaders” here will levy tens of times the amount of “tribute inkstones” to bribe the court dignitaries. The so-called “management” of the relationship between the central government has increased the burden of the people.

Bao Zheng 包拯
Duan inkstone 端砚

As soon as Bao Zheng, a personality official, took office, he broke the hidden rule that had been in operation for many years and ordered that Duan inkstones could only be produced in the specified quantity. State and county officials were not allowed to increase the price without permission, and those who violated the rule were severely punished. This move caused a great stir in the local area. Three years later, Bao Zheng’s term of office expired and he was transferred to the central government.

Video: Bao Zheng : History Documentary Justice Bao from Song Dynasty

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