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Hong-wu: Year 30, Month 8, Day 27

18 Sep 1397

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The Ministry of Rites memorialized that the envoys and traders from the various fan countries were no longer coming to China. The Emperor said: "In the beginning of the Hong-wu reign, the various fan countries had intercourse with China. The envoys came continually and the merchants took advantage of this situation. In recent times, such countries have totalled 30, including Annam, Champa, Cambodia, Siam, Greater Ryukyu, San-fo-qi, Bo-ni, Pahang, Bai-hua, Samudera, Xi-yang and Bengal. Making use of Hu Wei-yong's planned rebellion, San-fo-qi created discord (生間諜) and deceived our envoys into going there. The king of Java, hearing of this matter, admonished San-fo-qi and required it to courteously escort the envoys back to China. After this, the envoys and merchants were stopped from coming and the thoughts of the kings of the various countries have not been reaching me. Only Annam, Champa, Cambodia, Siam and Greater Ryukyu have continued to come to Court and offer tribute as before. The king and prime minister of Greater Ryukyu have both sent their sons to receive education in China. The envoys of all fan countries have been treated with respect when they come to China and I have not been mean in my treatment of the foreign countries. However, I do not know what is in their hearts. Now I wish to send an envoy to instruct the country of Java, but I am afraid that San-fo-qi will intercept him. I have heard that San-fo-qi is subject to Java (爪哇統屬). You, Minister of Rites, should record my wishes and send a despatch to the king of the country of Siam, ordering him to send someone to transmit it to Java for its advice." Thus, the Ministry of Rites wrote a despatch to the king of the country of Siam, noting: "Since there has been Heaven and Earth, there has been division between ruler and subject, greater and lesser. China's relationship with the yi in the four directions has, since ancient times, also been governed by ritual. Initially, after our dynasty had unified all, there were no fan who did not come to Court. Who would have thought that Hu Wei-yong would have engaged in rebellion or that San-fo-qi would have sown discord, deceived our envoys and engaged in guile! But who does not know that the king and the prime minister of Greater Ryukyu have sent their sons and younger brothers to receive our Chinese education, that the Emperor gave them winter and summer clothing and that when they were ill he sent doctors to examine them. The Emperor's heart is greatly imbued with both benevolence and righteousness. The Emperor employs benevolence and righteousness in his treatment of the various fan countries. How could San-fo-qi and the other countries turn their backs on Heaven's grace and discard the ruler-subject relationship? They occupy a petty piece of land and want to contend with China. If the Emperor is angered, he can send a general with 100,000 men to cross the seas and mete out punishment. It would be as easy as turning the palm. How terribly unthinking they are! The Emperor has said: `Annam, Champa, Cambodia, Siam and Greater Ryukyu all fulfil their tributary functions. Only San-fo-qi obstructs our culture. The wise concern themselves with the future and the valiant move towards virtue. But San-fo-qi, this petty country, supports evil people. Of all the countries, it can be said that this one least fears calamity!' You king of Siam are still able to carry out the duties of a subject. Thus the Emperor would especially appreciate it if you would pass this on to Java, so that it can inform San-fo-qi of the Great Precepts of Right Conduct. San-fo-qi is a subject of Java and will trust its words. If they are able to change their ways and follow the correct path, then together with all the countries, they will be treated with propriety like before, and will not have to be filled with apprehension."

Tai-zu: juan 254.6a-7a

Zhong-yang Yan-jiu yuan Ming Shi-lu, volume 8, page 3671/73

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Preferred form of citation for this entry:

Geoff Wade, translator, Southeast Asia in the Ming Shi-lu: an open access resource, Singapore: Asia Research Institute and the Singapore E-Press, National University of Singapore, http://epress.nus.edu.sg/msl/reign/hong-wu/year-30-month-8-day-27, accessed November 15, 2019