Co-sponsored by CIRU. Lunch will be provided!
In the Ming Dynasty, the Imperial Censors were mainly composed of Yushi (御史) and Jishizhong (给事中), taking charge of supervision as their duty. The scope of Imperial Censors' supervision, from emperor to all officials, from national affairs to all aspects of social life, made the history of Ming Dynasty branded as Imperial Censors. From the actual situation, the role of Imperial Censors' anti-corruption supervision played a good role before the mid-Ming Dynasty. The emperors feared, the officials who broke the law shuddered, and the people admired them. But in the late Ming Dynasty, the various defects in the Imperial Censors began to show in their recommendation and impeachment misrepresentation, e.g., bullying local officials, corruption and corruption, involving in party disputes and so on. The reason why the Imperial Censors were reduced from the anti-corruption champions to the corrupt officials lied, first, in the lack of independence and solid legal protection of the power of supervision; the Imperial Censors were only a tool of checks and balances of the power of the emperor. Secondly, the authority of the Imperial Censors was not limited to the confines of the system. Finally, the oracle lost his professional ethics after being avenged by the overseer. All of these indicate that the power structure of supervisory power, power restriction and power balance in Ming Dynasty is not flawed.
Cai Minglun 蔡明伦 is a professor in the School of Culture and History at Hubei Normal University, China. His research interests mainly focus on the political system and culture of the Ming Dynasty. He has published a book, Group Study on Imperial Censors in Ming Dynasty (2009). He is currently working on the accountability of officials in the Ming Dynasty, which is funded by the State Social Science Fund of China. Professor Cai has been a visiting scholar in the History Department at Rutgers since September 2018.