The Censorial Institution refers to both the Censorate (yushitai .tip ;t i;) and the Bureau of Policy Criticism (jianyuan ? Bt). The officials from the two institutions, known as censors and policy-criticism officials, were regarded as "ears and eyes" of the emperor. The reign of Emperor Renzong (1.::. *, A.D. 1010-1063,
reigned 1022-1063 ) was a critical turn in the development of Censorial Institution in the Song Dynasty, whereby the Bureau of Policy Criticism was assigned to censors, and that the right of policy criticism of censorial officials firmly acknowledged by Emperor Renzong. Censorial officials participated in policy criticism; took active part in political activities and acted as a check upon the executive power of the councillors. These activities and the enlarged censorial power in turn provoked controversy among the scholar-officials and historical critics in the Song and the later periods. They were even to blame for the decline of the dynasty.
This thesis aims to discuss the main characteristics of the Censorial Institution and to study how the censorial officials influenced the court affairs, and on how their political life were in turn affected by the changing court politics.
This thesis is divided into eight chapters. The introduction gives a profile on the previous study on the censorial institution of the Song Dynasty and concisely describes the significance of re-examining this topic. Chapter II sketches the organisation of Censorate and the Bureau of Policy Criticism, as well as the duties of their officials in the early Northern Song.
Chapter ill presents the several characteristics of the censorial institution, including the qualification of censorial officials and the principles of
reconunendation and selection of talents to be censorial officials. It also shows how the censorial power was made subordinate to the councillor power in court affairs during the Mingdao ( Il}J it, AD. 1032-1033 ) and Jingyou ( !-:Ui, AD.1034-
1037 ) periods.
Chapter VI critically discusses the new principles of recommendation of talents suggested by the officials in the Reform of Qingli ("Jt~a.). Another focus is put on how the censorial officials influenced the implementation of the reform, as well as their role in its ultimate failure.
Chapter V deals with the debates over the duties of censorial officials and censorial power among the officials. It discusses the way the censorial officials criticised the executive power of councillors and purged the latter to resign in the Huangyou (.t:Ui, AD. 1 049-1053 ) period. A detailed account on their participation on policy discussion and implementation in the Jiayou (lr;fi:;, AD. 1 056-1 063 ) period is given.
Chapter VI studies the promotion prospect and the actual promotion of censorial officials in the reign of Emperor Renzong. It also discusses the critique made by the Song officials on the issue as few studies sheded light on it.
Chapter VII evaluates the critique on the Censorial Institution and the performance of censorial officials given by the Song officials and historical critics in the later periods.
Chapter VIII summarises the main discussion on the previous chapters with an view to assess the relationship between the councillor power and censorial power and to show that the Censorial Institution and censorial activities all tied to the emperor's liking and the political circumstance during this controversial period.
School:The University of Hong Kong
School Location:China - Hong Kong SAR
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Keywords:opposition political science china history sung dynasty 960 1279 song
Date of Publication:01/01/1997