Hong-zhi: Year 5, Month 10, Day 8

28 Oct 1492

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The retired Nan-jing Minister of Works Cheng Zong died. Zong (zi Yuan-yi) had his origins in Chang-shu County in Zhi-li...He was appointed as grand coordinator of Shaan-xi from where he went into mourning for his mother. Upon resumption of duty, he was appointed to soothe the yi in Yun-nan. Subsequently, he was appointed as grand coordinator of Yun-nan. He was promoted to vice minister of the right in the Ministry of Justice and was then transferred to vice minister of the left. After completing the required period in that post, he was promoted to Nan-jing Minister of Works. In the second year of the Hong-zhi reign (1489/90), he retired, and at this time he died. When the death was announced, sacrifices and a funeral in accordance with the precedents were conferred upon him.

Initially, Nang Han-nong, the daughter of Han Wa-fa (Alt: Han Die-fa) the pacification superintendent of Mu-bang, had married Tao-meng Si-wai, and they were sent to guard Meng-mi. This was because Meng-mi had precious stone mines and Mu-bang greatly prized them. However, at the beginning of the Jing-tai reign (1450-56), Nang Han-nong suddenly occupied Meng-mi in revolt and, using gold and precious stones, repeatedly sought contact with the Court, desiring the establishment of her own office. These requests were suppressed by the provincial officials and thus did not gain approval. During the Cheng-hua reign (1465-87), however, the provincial officials were covetous of bribes and allowed her envoy to enter. Thus, the envoy was able to entice the Grand Secretary Wan An with great valuables and Wan An strongly advocated the establishment of an office for her, and proposed the sending of a senior official to soothe and administer there. At the time, the Court officials were fearful of those who would express incorrupt political views, so no one dared accept the appointment.

Zong had just finished his mourning and he went there bearing [Wan] An's private instructions. When he arrived in Yun-nan, from the beginning he set forth arguments in support of Meng-mi. However, at that time, the Censor-in-Chief and Grand Coordinator Wu Cheng held that such should not be permitted. Zong was greatly angered and privately sent a person to reprimand Cheng, saying: "Do you not want to continue as grand coordinator?" Cheng subsequently did not dare speak. Zong then proceeded there together with the provincial officials. All those who came from Mu-bang to lay plaint were beaten and sent back, while the envoys who had been sent by Nang Han-nong were all banqueted and bountifully rewarded. He then crossed Mt. Nan alone and repeatedly met with them, even according her favour by allowing her to sit in his presence. Nang Han-nong surmised Zong's intention and deliberately omitted to mention Mu-bang's land, and instead made demands for other lands she had already occupied. Zong granted all of her requests. He subsequently memorialized that the land had been returned. Actually, not an inch of land had been returned to Mu-bang. At that time, all of the border people were angered and aggrieved; and Wu Cheng became so distressed by it that he died.

Zong was then appointed as grand coordinator of Yun-nan. He then became increasingly haughty and failed to carry out his duties. Whenever the native officials wanted to have dealings or exert influence on the administration, they did it through his son. The son was even more tyrannical and evil than his father and no-one dared question him. Shortly thereafter, the Meng-mi Pacification Office was established. Zong subsequently was promoted to vice minister in the Ministry of Justice. Previously, when Nang Han-nong rebelled against Mu-bang, she still feared China. Thus, she only occupied four parts in ten of its area. After Zong assisted her, she warred and slaughtered throughout all of Mu-bang, even going so far as to dig up the graves of Han Wa-fa's father and grandfather and taking their gold warrants and verification tallies. Han Wa-fa left his wife and children and went to Meng-nai. As a result, the various South-western yi all secretly looked with disdain upon China. Thus, Meng-yang became recalcitrant and oppressive and this required repeated years of yi pacification. Both old and young stopped transporting, and the young men died of miasmic pestilence. Even now, the problems continue. All these calamities began with Zong. The commentators say:

"Although Zong acted on [Wan] An's instructions, if at that time he had been capable of imposing the Great Precepts of Right Conduct to subdue Nang Han-nong's rebellion and demanding that she return the occupied lands, and only then granting her the office, that would have come close to what was needed. But, after all, he was greedy and weak, a person who did not dare utter a word and unceasingly favoured her as if fearing only that he would arouse her displeasure. This caused the endless calamities. Thus, the Yun-nan people, in recounting all the successive grand coordinators who have served in the region, were embarrassed when they had to mention Zong. Others have said that Zong was clever and able and gave his attention to his duties. Therefore, when prefect in Ji-an, his administration was able to gain the people's hearts, so that people went to the Court and requested his retention. It is indeed saddening that in his latter years he made such serious mistakes."

Xiao-zong: juan 68.2a-3a

Zhong-yang Yan-jiu yuan Ming Shi-lu, volume 54, page 1289/91

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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-zhi/year-5-month-10-day-8, accessed January 22, 2019