Property declaration in Han Dynasty: the informant can get half of the defendant’s property

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Tibetan shepherd map

In order to implement the property declaration policy, Emperor Wu of the Han Dynasty issued a “suing order”, encouraging those who concealed their property to report, and distributing half of the defendant’s property to the informant as a reward. In the process of implementation, the “order of appeal” has caused great social contradictions.

The Bodhisattva magnanimity moved Emperor Wu of Han Dynasty

While the vast majority of the rich were unwilling to cooperate with the financial policy of Emperor Hanwu, sheep breeders took the initiative to contribute their property

Due to war and various other reasons, great financial difficulties occurred during the period of Emperor Wu of the Han Dynasty. Therefore, Emperor Wu of Han Dynasty formulated many fiscal policies to solve this problem. In particular, the “accounting order”, which imposes an asset tax on the wealthy, requires business and handicraft operators to declare their stored goods and assets, and imposes an asset tax of 12% and 6% on them respectively.

In order to implement this policy, Emperor Wu of the Han Dynasty issued a “suing order” to encourage those who concealed their property to report, and distributed half of the defendant’s property to the informant as a reward. During the implementation of the “suing order”, a lot of social contradictions were caused, which in itself showed that the situation of concealing property and resisting to pay new taxes was very serious at that time.

While the vast majority of the rich are unwilling to cooperate with the financial policy of Emperor Hanwu, there is such a rich man, whose attitude is opposite to that of others. He not only does not hide his property, but also takes the initiative to contribute his property to respond to Emperor Hanwu and hopes to tide over the difficulties with the court.

This person who is willing to contribute his property is called Bu Shi. Who is the person of Bu type? He was a rich man living in Henan at that time. He became rich by raising sheep. He is very good at raising sheep. Bu Shi first proposed to contribute his family property when Emperor Wu of the Han Dynasty was fighting with the Huns in full swing. Bu Shi said that he was willing to contribute half of his family property to subsidize military spending. Emperor Wu of the Han Dynasty felt very strange when he heard this for the first time, so he sent someone to ask the divination style. Do you want to be an official, or do you want to apologize? Bu Shi said that I don’t want to be an official, and I don’t need to complain about any wrongs. I just want to make a little contribution to the elimination of the Huns. Emperor Wu of the Han Dynasty told gongsunhong, the prime minister at that time. Gongsunhong said, “this is not human!” This is not human nature. It’s human nature to desperately protect your property. Gongsunhong said that there must be some purpose for the Bodhisattva to do this, and suggested Emperor Wu of the Han Dynasty to put this person aside first.

For many years, Emperor Wu of Han Dynasty almost forgot this person. But in those years, the imperial court had to deal with the war against the Xiongnu and settle the domestic poor at the same time. The financial situation became more and more tense, and the National Treasury was almost empty. This time, Bu Shi didn’t tell Emperor Hanwu, but directly took 200000 yuan to go to the governor of Henan Province and let the governor of Henan Province take the money to settle the migrant poor. Afterwards, the governor of Henan Province reported the list of rich people who helped the government settle down the poor to Emperor Wu of the Han Dynasty. Emperor Wu of Han Dynasty recognized the name Bu Shi immediately after looking at the list. He remembered that he once wanted to donate property to the imperial court.

Emperor Wu of the Han Dynasty was very moved, because compared with the Bu style, at that time, the vast majority of the rich people in society scrambled to hide their property for fear of being plundered by the imperial court. There are very few people who have expressed their willingness to contribute their property to the imperial court and put it into practice like this. So Emperor Wu of the Han Dynasty decided to reward the Bodhisattva and set an example for the whole society. He immediately gave the Bodhisattva 120000. But Bu Shi didn’t take the money, so he donated it to the State Treasury again.

In this way, Emperor Wu of the Han Dynasty felt more and more that Bu Shi was kind. Bu Shi donated money because he really wanted to help the court solve problems, rather than for another purpose. So Emperor Hanwu said to Bu Shi, you are so good at herding sheep. Why don’t you manage the sheep in the royal forest garden for me. Bu Shi was very happy to take office, and became the “imperial shepherd” of Emperor Hanwu. He fattened and bred Emperor Hanwu’s sheep very well. Emperor Hanwu expressed his appreciation, and the Bu Shi told Emperor Hanwu about the shepherd’s Sutra, saying that the truth of managing sheep and people is the same. Emperor Wu of the Han Dynasty felt that this man was a genius, so he slowly put Bu Shi on an official career and began to let him become an official.

Emperor Wu of the Han Dynasty wanted to encourage more people to serve the country by giving the divination

The result was that “the world should not respond”, and Emperor Wu of the Han Dynasty was angry and deprived of the titles of 106 princes

In the fifth year of Yuanding (112 BC), Bu Shi did another thing that made Emperor Wu of Han Dynasty feel very happy. This year, Emperor Wu of the Han Dynasty sent a large number of troops to carry out military strikes against South Vietnam in order to pacify South Vietnam. The battle on the front line was very fierce. Although the Han Army had an advantage in strength, the soldiers were not satisfied with the soil and water in the south, and the army also suffered a lot of losses. At this time, Bu Shi was already the Prime Minister of a feudal state at that time. Bu Shi wrote to Emperor Wu of the Han Dynasty, “please go to South Vietnam with your father and son and those who study boats together.” (Zizhi Tongjian volume 20) that is, he was willing to lead his son and the people of Qi who knew how to row to the front line of South Vietnam to serve the country, and even willing to die there.

Emperor Wu of the Han Dynasty was very happy after seeing this letter. Of course, he won’t really let Bu Shi go to the front, and it’s useless to go. However, Emperor Wu of the Han Dynasty believed that the Buddhist spirit of dying for the country was worth encouraging. Therefore, because of this letter, Emperor Wu of the Han Dynasty granted the Bu style title of “marquis in the Guannei area”, which is already a very high title, only one level lower than the official marquis. Add dozens of Jin of gold and ten hectares of fertile land to announce the world. Emperor Wu of the Han Dynasty wanted to encourage more people to take the initiative to serve the country, especially those who had marquis by accumulating military achievements in the past. These people were all veterans of marching and fighting. If they could learn the Bu style spirit, actively respond to the call and rush to the battlefield, the situation on the front line would be much better. Did Emperor Hanwu achieve the desired goal? The result is “the world should not”! No one responded at all, and it was cold!

In September of this year, the Marquis wanted to offer “gold”. When the emperor offered sacrifices to the ancestral temple, all the princes had to contribute a certain amount of gold. Emperor Wu of the Han Dynasty ordered the relevant departments to strictly examine these gold, and those who contributed gold and were not good enough would be severely punished, and those who were serious would be deprived of their titles. As a result, 106 princes were deprived of their titles at once. This is a lesson that Emperor Wu of the Han Dynasty taught them. This is the end if these people do not actively cooperate with national policies.

As for the Bu style, Emperor Wu of Han Dynasty continued to promote him and soon made him an imperial doctor, which was equivalent to the position of deputy prime minister. But it was also after Bu Shi became a censor doctor that the “honeymoon period” between him and Emperor Wu of the Han Dynasty came to an end. What’s going on?

The Bu style of “rocket promotion” fell out of favor

After Bu Shi became a censor, he began to criticize Emperor Wu of the Han Dynasty and was eventually dismissed

After Bu Shi arrived at the position of censor doctor, I don’t know what happened. He didn’t do what made Emperor Hanwu happy as before, and began to criticize Emperor Hanwu. What did he criticize Emperor Hanwu? In order to increase financial revenue, Emperor Wu of the Han Dynasty incorporated salt and iron, two necessities of life and production, into the official monopoly system, and did not allow private ownership. As a result, salt and iron were of high price and low quality. Bu Shi first criticized the official policy of salt and iron. In addition, although Bu Shi initially gained the trust of Emperor Hanwu by donating property to Emperor Hanwu, at this time, he also criticized the imposition of asset tax by Emperor Hanwu, saying that it actually increased operating costs and raised prices. How did Emperor Hanwu react? “The reason is displeased divination.” (Shi Ji Ping Zhun Shu) I didn’t like this divination form much since then. So Bu Shi only stayed in the position of censor doctor for about a year and was dismissed. But the reason why Emperor Wu of Han Dynasty dismissed Bu Shi was very interesting. Of course, he didn’t say that he was dismissed because he raised opinions, but that Bu Shi “didn’t study articles”, didn’t understand articles, and couldn’t write articles, so he was dismissed.

Bu Shi joined the ranks of court ministers by supporting the policies of Emperor Wu of Han Dynasty. Whether he wanted money or war, Bu Shi expressed unconditional support, so he had the opportunity to rise from a folk shepherd to a senior official like the censor doctor, that is, the Deputy Prime Minister. But once he became a censor, he began to oppose the financial policy of Emperor Wu of the Han Dynasty. He opposed at least three important policies of Emperor Wu of the Han Dynasty, one was the monopoly of salt and iron, the other was to calculate the order, and the third was to lose even. These are the three most important policies of Emperor Wu of the Han Dynasty, which were opposed one by one.

There is a view that the performance of Bu Shi seems contradictory, but it is also easy to understand. Why? Before Bu Shi, he contributed his property to Emperor Wu of Han Dynasty in order to make some contributions to the country, and his consciousness was relatively high. He opposed the financial policies of Emperor Hanwu because he did see the negative effects of these policies. This just shows that Bu Shi is a very simple person. There is no contradiction in doing what he wants to do and saying what he wants to say.

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