Bao Zheng

Bao Zheng

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Bao Zheng

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Bao Zheng (包拯) (999–1062) was a much-praised official who served during the reign of Emperor Renzong of Northern Song Dynasty in ancient China. Culturally, Bao Zheng today is respected as the symbol of justice in China. Throughout history, his largely fictionalized stories have appeared in a variety of different literary and dramatic genres, and has enjoyed sustained popularity.

Life and career

Bao Zheng was born into a scholar family in Hefei, Anhui province. At the age of 29, he passed the highest-level Imperial examination and became qualified as a Jinshi. He was a magistrate in Bian (Kaifeng), the capital of the Song dynasty.

After passing the imperial examination in 1027, Bao deferred embarking on his official career for a decade in order to care for his elderly parents and faithfully observe proper mourning rites after their deaths. From 1037 until his death in 1062, Bao successively held several offices at the imperial court and in provincial locations. In his lifetime, Bao was renowned for his filial piety, his stern demeanor, and his intolerance of injustice and corruption. Due to his fame and the strength of his reputation, Bao's name became synonymous with the idealized "honest and upright official" (qingguan 清官), and quickly became a popular subject of early vernacular drama and literature. Bao was also associated with the Buddhist god Yama and the "Infernal Bureaucracy" of the Eastern Marchmount, on account of his supposed...
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