Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period/Sun Shên-hsing

SUN Shên-hsing 孫愼行 (T. 聞斯, H. 淇澳), 1565–1636, Feb. 18, Ming official, was a native of Wu-chin, Kiangsu. He ranked third as chin-shih in 1595 and was appointed a Hanlin compiler, but retired a few years later to devote himself to study in strict seclusion. In 1613 he was made junior vice-president and acting head of the Board of Ceremonies, in which capacity he attacked various irregularities that had arisen through twenty years of complete neglect of governmental affairs on the part of Emperor Shên-tsung. In the following year he retired—this time until 1621 when he was given the presidency of the same Board. The death of the Ming Emperor Kuang-tsung (see Chu Ch'ang-lo) had occurred under suspicious circumstances. Taken ill less than ten days after ascending the throne, he rapidly grew worse and died after being given a pill of "red lead" by the sub-director of the Court of State Ceremonial. When this official was accused by the censor of criminal negligence he was shielded by the Grand Secretary, Fang Ts'ung-chê (see under Chu Ch'ang-lo). Sun denounced the latter as the murderer of the late emperor and demanded his execution. As a result the official who had administered the pill was exiled, although Fang escaped an investigation. Shortly afterward Sun resigned on account of illness and was kept out of office thereafter by the eunuch, Wei Chung-hsien [q. v.]. In 1627 he was condemned to banishment, but the sentence was not carried out owing to the fall of the eunuch party. Though he was often recommended at Court for the post of a Grand Secretary, it was not until 1635 that he was again summoned to take part in the government. Soon after reaching Peking he took ill and died, at the age of seventy-two (sui). He was granted posthumously the title of Senior Guardian of the Heir Apparent, and was canonized as Wên-chieh 文介.

Sun Shên-hsing was the great-great-grandfather of the eminent scholar, Sun Hsing-yen [q. v.].


[M.1/243/11a; M.39/21/1a; Wu-chin Yang-hu ho-chih (see under Li Chao-lo) 21/1a.]

George A. Kennedy