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jinglüeshi 經略使, regulatory commissioner

Jun 13, 2016 © Ulrich Theobald

Regulatory commissioners (jinglüeshi 經略使) were high military officials during during the Tang 唐 (618-907) and Song 宋 (960-1279) periods. The office was created in 628 for the supervision of garrisons in the border regions and often concurrently occupied by military commissioners (jiedushi 節度使). The first regulatory commissioner of the Song dynasty was Zhang Qixian 張齊賢, who was Counsellor-in-chief and in 1002 dispatched to supervise the border garrisons in the northwest to the Western Xia empire 西夏 (1038-1227). He had to care for the regular training and the supplies of the garrisons with horses.

In the same year Qian Ruoshui 錢若水 was regulatory commissioner of Bingzhou 幷州 and Daizhou 代州, also in the same region. In 1039 Xia Song 夏竦 was regulatory commissioner for the circuits of Jingyuan 涇原 and Qinfeng 秦鳳, and Fan Yong 范雍 that of Luting 鄜延 and Huanqing 環慶. All were only temporarily appointed with the duty to strengthen the defense measures in the northwestern region. The first commissioner to the southwest was dispatched in 1052, when the native chieftain Nong Zhigao 儂智高 rose in rebellion. The central government appointed two pacification commissioners (anfushi 安撫使) for the circuits Guangnan-Dong 廣南東 and Guangnan-Xi 廣南西 which both concurrently bore the title of regulatory commissioner. In 1136, when a rebel proclaimed a Qi dynasty 齊, a regulatory commissioner was sent to the circuit of Jinghu-Bei 荊湖北, close to Xiangyang 襄陽.

The Western Xia for themselves also appointed to regulatory commissioners, one responsible for the western, and one for the eastern parts of their empire. The Jin empire 金 (1115-1234) adopted the precedent of the Song and appointed commissioners just temporarily. Only when the assails of the Mongols threatened the empire, the regulatory commissioners became permanently responsible for organizing local defense.

The Mongols themselves used the office rarely. In the early Yuan period 元 (1279-1368) Shi Tianze 史天澤 was regulatory commissioner of the circuit of Henan 河南. In 1358 Vice-Counsellor (zhongshu canzheng 中書參政) Buyan Buqa 普顏不花 toured southern China as regulatory commissioner.

The Ming 明 (1368-1644) and Qing 清 (1644-1911) dynasties used the title occasionally for grand ministers (dachen 大臣) dispatched to supervise military affairs or military campaigns. The title Grand Minister Commander (jinglüe dachen 經略大臣) was not used during the 19th century but became fashionable again during the Republican period and was used by the Beiyang Government 北洋政府 in the old sense for military supervisors over several provinces. Cao Kun 曹錕, for instance, was regulatory commissioner for Sichuan, Guangdong, Hunan and Jiangxi, and Zhang Zuolin 張作霖 for Mongolia and Turkestan.

Sources:
Chen Zhen 陳振, Wu Yao 伍躍 (1992). "Jinglüeshi 經略使", in Zhongguo da baike quanshu 中國大百科全書, Zhongguo lishi 中國歷史 (Beijing/Shanghai: Zhongguo da baike quanshu chubanshe), Vol. 1, 490.
Li Bingzhong 李秉忠, Wei Canjin 衛燦金, Lin Conglong 林從龍, ed. (1990). Jianming wenshi zhishi cidian 簡明文史知識詞典 (Xi'an: Shaanxi renmin chubanshe), 434.
Li Jingwen 李景文 (1998). "Jinglüeshi 經略使", in Tang Jiahong 唐嘉弘, ed. Zhongguo gudai dianzhang zhidu da cidian 中國古代典章制度大辭典 (Zhengzhou: Zhongzhou guji chubanshe), 404.
Yang Qingwang 楊慶旺, Ha Hua 哈鏵, ed. (1987). Zhongguo jinshi zhishi cidian 中國軍事知識辭典 (Beijing: Huaxia chubanshe), 575.