8.1.2 Changes of Ming and Qing Empires and Measures Aimed to Intensify Imperial Power 明清王朝强化皇权的措施(二)

     The centralist regime of the ancient China was highly centralized but orderly and well organized, and exercised efficient management over the vast territory and a large population with the professional bureaucrats selected via the imperial examination system.   
     The centralist regime of the ancient China was highly centralized but orderly and well organized, and exercised efficient management over the vast territory and a large population with the professional bureaucrats selected via the imperial examination system.   
 
Military Affairs Division 
 
      Emperor Yongzheng of the Qing Dynasty set up the Military Affairs Division. Including military affairs, the Military Affairs Division also took part in discussions on all critical state affairs such as the military and administrative pro-grams, civil and diplomatic affairs, including official promotions, removals and assignments and important case hearings, and drafted orders for the emperor. It was a hub for the emperor to issue orders and handle state affairs. However, the ministers of the Military Affair Division were of lower ranks without dedicated government office or subordinates and were forbidden from contacting officials without authorization. All the reports submitted by the officials would be presented directly to the Emperor and then forwarded to the Military Affairs Division to handle after being read by the emperor so as to ensure that the will of the emperor was followed without any obstacle. The decision-making and administration system centered on the emperor was efficient and confidential, enabling the emperor to maximize his control over the political situation and state affairs.
 
The control over local areas
 
      The control of the central government over local areas was beefed up during the Ming and Qing dynasties. In the Ming Dynasty, the Buzhengshi Division was set up to manage the administrative affairs of a province as a representative from the central government. Tixing Anchasi Division and Duzhihui Division were set up to manage criminal law, and military and administrative affairs. The three divisions, as representative offices of the central government in the provinces, were independent from each other, and discussed all critical issues before reporting to the central government, facilitating vertical leadership of the central government. In the Qing Dynasty, in addition to the viceroy who governed one or several provinces, Xunfu (governor) was set up in the province to take charge of administrative affairs of the province. The viceroy and Xunfu were favorites of the emperor and had the right to send confidential reports to the emperor. Sometimes the viceroy and Xunfu would be stationed in the same city and would be responsible for different affairs. They contained each other and their tenure was not long, facilitating the control of the emperor. The Ming and Qing dynasties also promoted reform in the southwestern areas and dismissed the hereditary Tusi and appointed Liuguan (appointed official) to manage local administration and exercised a similar system in the remote areas as the system in the central plain. The Qing Dynasty set up a "general" in the northwestern and northeastern areas to handle military and administrative affairs and enforce control on frontier areas.
 
The supervision system
 
       In the Ming and Qing dynasties, the supervision system was even more rigid. Duchayuan was set up in the central government, which was responsible for inspecting and delating the officials. Duchayuan was in charge of Supervision Censors, which supervised the local officials respectively. Corresponding to the six departments, Six Division Jishizhong was set up to inspect and correct mistakes and violations of the six departments. The supervision system played an active role in cracking down on separatist forces, rectifying the official administration, punishing corruption, improving administrative efficiency and consolidating centralist rule. However, the supervision system in the Ming and Qing dynasties emphasized assessment of the loyalty of officials, but neglected supervision of duty fulfillment, especially lack of constraining and supervision of the important decision-making of the emperor. While enforcing their supervision and control over officials both inside and outside the capital city, the rulers of the Qing Dynasty also removed the right of Jishizhong to return orders of the emperors.
 
Control over rural areas
 
       In the Ming and Qing dynasties, the country once again integrated the kin-based clan organizations in rural areas and controlled the grassroots people relying on these organizations. The huge control net formed by Baojia (neighbor-hood administrative system) and clan could be found even in remote areas and became a powerful tool for the rulers of the Ming and Qing dynasties to control the grassroots.
 
       The centralist regime of the ancient China was highly centralized but orderly and well organized, and exercised efficient management over the vast territory and a large population with the professional bureaucrats selected via the imperial examination system. The regime was of great significance in promoting the formation and development of a multi-ethnic country and boosting economic and cultural prosperity for a long time. But the separation of power in ancient China was merely a form of work division and balancing under imperial power and could not veto the emperor, even with the expostulation system. It was a supplement to the rule of absolute monarchy.