Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period/Ting Pao-chên

TING Pao-chên 丁寶楨 (T. 稚黃), June 8, 1820–1886, May 24, official, was a native of Niu-ch'ang 牛廠, a village in the department P'ing-yüan-chou, in Kweichow. His grandfather was a magistrate in Szechwan and his father was a sub-director of schools. Becoming a chin-shih in 1853, Ting Pao-chên was selected a bachelor of the Hanlin Academy. Late in the same year, when he was home on leave, his mother died, and ensuing events made it necessary for him to stay in Kweichow much longer than he had first expected. In 1854 a band of outlaws under Yang Lung-hsi 楊隆喜 rose in arms in northern Kweichow and the rebellion spread westward. Ting used his private funds to train a contingent of local volunteers to defend his native place, and in 1855 led eight hundred men eastward to fight the bandits. He defeated them in several engagements and captured a few ringleaders. For this exploit he was given the title of a fifth grade official and the decoration of the peacock feather. In the meantime a rebellion of Miao tribesmen of eastern Kweichow, which had begun in 1855, was spreading. Early in 1856 the governor of Kweichow memorialized that Ting was needed in that province, with the result that by special edict he was granted the rank of a compiler in the Hanlin Academy and was excused from having to appear in Peking to take the regular examination at the Academy. With his volunteers he helped to defend the capital city of Kweichow and was several times sent to nearby cities to drive away attacking bandits or Miao rebels. In this way he fought for four years during which he was made an expectant prefect. In 1860 he was appointed prefect of Yochow, Hunan, and in consequence the volunteers under him were disbanded. He left Kweiyang in 1861 and the task of suppressing the Miao rebellion fell to the local officials who did not complete the work until twelve years later (see Ts'ên Yü-ying).

After serving for about half a year at Yochow, Ting Pao-chên was (in 1862) transferred to Changsha where he suppressed a riot among a detachment of troops passing through the city. Late in 1862 he was promoted to be provincial judge of Shensi, but before he could leave Changsha he was asked to assume the same post in Shantung. At this time Prince Sêng-ko-lin-ch'in [q. v.] was fighting the Nien bandits in the Shantung area, but found that his northern volunteers lacked discipline. Ting was therefore ordered to bring with him one or two hundred Hunanese who had served in the army or had had experience in training soldiers. With this force Ting proceeded hurriedly to Shantung and began to look after judicial affairs and the training of volunteers. In 1864 he was made financial commissioner of Shantung, but in 1865, after Sêng-ko-lin-ch'in was killed in action, Ting was one of the officials who were reprimanded for failure to prevent a disaster of this magnitude in their territory. Nevertheless he retained his post and, in co-operation with the governor, Yen Ching-ming 閻敬銘 (T. 丹初, posthumous name 文介, 1817–1892), fought the roving bandits and looked after the building of dikes along the flooded waterways.

In 1867 Ting was made governor of Shantung, a post he held until 1876. During these years he worked ceaselessly to rehabilitate the wartorn districts, to prevent floods, to strengthen the local militia, to introduce modern industries, and to construct coastal defenses. He witnessed the dispersal of the Nien bandits in 1868 and was rewarded for his part by being given the title of Junior Guardian of the Heir Apparent. Also he was several times commended for his efforts to improve the Grand Canal which had gotten into disorder after the Yellow River changed its course in 1855.

But the most impressive achievement of Ting in Shantung was his part in the dramatic capture and execution of the eunuch, An Tê-hai 安德海 (1844–1869), favorite of the Empress Dowager, Hsiao-ch'in [q. v.]. Except for a brief time in the Shun-chih period, eunuchs were never given much power—until the eighteen-sixties. Empress Hsiao-ch'in, as one of the regents, relied on eunuchs to spy on officials and to help her to maintain order in the palaces. Her first favorite was An Tê-hai whom she sent in 1869 to supervise the weaving of certain patterns of imperial fabrics at Nanking. This assignment was a serious departure from the regulations governing eunuchs, and if allowed to become a precedent might easily have led to eunuch ascendancy and all the accompanying ills. An Tê-hai and his party passed through Tientsin and sailed south on the Grand Canal in several boats, flying imperial insignia and banners. So encouraged was he by the respect which the over-awed officials of Chihli had shown him that he engaged women to play music on the boats and demanded services and bribes from local magistrates. As he was passing through Shantung his activities were reported to Peking by Ting who announced also that he was ordering the arrest of the offender. On September 7, 1869, An was arrested in Tai-an. In the meantime Ting received a decree ordering his execution, and this was carried out on September 12. Other members of An's party were either executed or banished. According to some sources, Ting was secretly told by Prince Kung (see under I-hsin) to arrest and execute An. Others attribute the decision to Empress Hsiao-chên (see under Hsiao-ch'in). It is possible, on the other hand, that both the Prince and Empress Hsiao-chên were dismayed at the trust which Empress Hsiao-ch'in placed in eunuchs and forced her to consent to the execution. At any rate this dramatic episode served as a warning both to the eunuchs and to Empress Hsiao-ch'in, and for a number of years limited the activity of eunuch functionaries inside the Palaces. The incident marked also, perhaps, the beginning of the cleavage between the two dowager empresses. However that may be, it is significant that Empress Hsiao-ch'in never took reprisal on Ting.

From 1873 to 1874 Ting Pao-chên obtained leave to repair his home and his ancestral tombs in Kweichow which had been destroyed by the Miao rebels. Thereafter he served another two years in Shantung, and then was promoted to be governor-general of Szechwan where he served for about ten years, until his death. In Szechwan he repaired dikes to adjust certain waterways for irrigation, established a modern arsenal, and worked hard to fill the granaries during years of ample harvest. He abolished some surtaxes which had gone more often into the pockets of the collectors than to the treasury. Similarly he effected many sweeping reforms in the financial administration of the province. Especially notable was his reform of the salt administration which accounted for more than half of the revenue of the provincial government. The salt produced in Szechwan was sold not only locally but also in Kweichow and parts of Yunnan and Hupeh. Every year merchants with hereditary rights in the salt monopoly paid the government a fixed price for salt and for the right to sell it in specified areas. But they had to transport the salt to those areas and pay exhorbitant bribes to officials en route, so that the retail price often rose to ten times that paid to the government. During the years of unrest in Kweichow and elsewhere, transport was interrupted and merchants became bankrupt through the purchase of salt which they could not sell. In general, Ting's plan was for the government itself to transport the salt to the markets and permit the salt merchants to retail it there. In this way the price to the consumer would be lowered, the quantity sold and the revenue to the government would be increased, and hard-pressed merchants would be benefited. The plan was approved in Peking in 1877, and Ting appointed T'ang Chiung [q. v.] to head the bureau for the transport of salt to Kweichow. The plan was successfully carried out, but many officials who had profited by the old corrupt salt administration used all the influence they could muster to have Ting removed from his post. Accusations were hurled at him, and every reform he introduced was severely criticized. Mistakes in his administration were duly exaggerated and brought to the attention of the throne. Though several times reprimanded or lowered in rank, he was nevertheless permitted to continue in office and was encouraged by edicts to proceed with his reforms of the salt administration.

Reports on the salt administration of T'ang Chiung for the years 1877 and 1878 were printed in 1881 under the title, 四川官運鹽案類編 Ssŭ-ch'uan kuan-yün yen an lei-pien, 27 + 1 chüan. Reports for the years 1879–81 were printed later under the title, Ssŭ-ch'uan kuan-yün yen an hsü-pien (續編), 15 chüan. Those for the year 1882 bear the same title, and comprise 4 chüan. In the meantime Ting authorized the compilation of a record of the salt administration in Szechwan. This work, entitled Ssŭ-ch'uan yen-fa chih (鹽法志), 40 chüan, was completed in 1882 and was printed shortly after. It contains illustrations showing the process of mining and manufacturing salt from wells, the machinery used, and the methods of transportation.

In 1884 Ting Pao-chên's protégé, Tang Chiung, was arrested in connection with the controversy with France over Annam. Ting pleaded for T'ang's release and for this was punished by being degraded, but he was allowed to retain his post. In 1885 he was stricken with paralysis, but despite repeated requests, was not allowed to retire. Early in 1886 he was granted three months' sick leave. Shortly after resuming his duties, he died. In his last memorial to the throne he requested the Emperor to pay attention to the army and navy and to remember that peace treaties with Western powers were not to be trusted. He was canonized as Wên-ch'êng 文誠 and was celebrated in the Temple of Eminent Statesmen in Peking and also in special temples erected to his memory in Shantung, Kweichow, and Szechwan.

During some thirty years of public service, Ting Pao-chên worked hard to reform the corrupt administrations of Shantung and Szechwan. He was highly respected by his colleagues, and by the Court, as upright, self-denying, and public-spirited. Sometimes he was accused of being quick-tempered and harsh, but this treatment probably applied only to the inefficient. He was faithful and considerate of his friends, and by his help many able men, such as Hsüeh Fu-ch'êng, Chang Yin-huan [qq. v.] and Tang Chiung, rose to positions of great influence. A collection of his memorials, entitled Ting Wên-ch'êng kung tsou-kao (公奏稿), 26 chüan, was printed in 1893; and a few of his poems and short articles in prose were printed in 1894, under the title Ting Wên-ch'êng kung i-kao (遺稿) or 十五弗齋詩文存 Shih-wu-fu chai shih wên ts'un. Both the memorials and the literary collection were edited and printed by his brother's son-in-law, Ch'ên K'uei-lung 陳虁龍 (T. 筱石, b. 1857). Ch'ên was a chin-shih of 1886 who served as governor-general of Hunan and Hupeh (1908–09) and of Chihli (1909–11), and since the fall of the Ch'ing dynasty has lived in Shanghai.


[1/453/1a; 2/54/15a; 5/28/16b; P'ing-ting Kuei-chou Miao-fei chi-lüeh (see under I-hsin); T'ang Chiung [q. v.], Ting Wên-ch'êng kung nien-p'u; Wên-hsien ts'ung-pien (see bibl. under Li Fu), nos. 19, 20; 凌霄一士隨筆 in Kuo-wên chou-pao (see bibl. under Lin Fêng-hsiang), vol. 12, no. 41 (Oct. 21, 1935); Hsien T'ung Kweichow chün-shih shih (see bibl. under T'ang Chiung).]

Fang Chao-ying