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A Chinese Biographical Dictionary/Chao Pien

176 Chao Pien 趙抃 (T. 閱道). A.D. 994-1070. An official of the Sung dynasty, celebrated for his integrity and benevolence. Graduated as chin shih in A.D. 1034. He acted fearlessly as a Censor, and later on opposed the innovations of Wang An-shih. Was popularly known as 鐵面御史 the Censor with the Iron Face. When sent as Governor to Shu (modern Ssǔch'uan), he took nothing with him but a lute and a crane. Even these were dispensed with at his next incumbency, and he was attended only by a single grey-headed servitor. When acting as Governor of Yüeh-chou, the region of Chehkiang was afflicted by famine caused by drought and locusts, and the price of grain went up. His brother officials forbade the raising of prices; but Chao Pien pursued a different policy. He proclaimed in his district that every one with grain to sell might raise the price as he pleased; the consequence being an influx of supplies which made provisions abundant at a low rate. His example is still appealed to as that of a saviour of the people in times of distress. It is also recorded of him that every night he was accustomed to robe himself and with offerings and incense to submit to Almighty God the events of the day. An act which he could not thus submit, he would hesitate to perform. Canonised as 清獻.