In the Qiangben tang huibian ed. the chapter captions indicate that the material consists of Chen’s drafts (遺稿) arranged by a fellow countryman, Xu Jiansheng 徐建生, while at the end of j. 2 in the 1918 ed. it is his younger brother Chen Weiren who is said to have “recorded” (謹錄) the work. The text is a mix of administrative pieces (correspondence, reports, proclamations, judicial decisions, and more) and records of various affairs narrated in the first person, equivalent to a sort of autobiography. Some entries are provided with footnotes by the author or by others. J. 1 includes entries from the 7 years, beginning in 1894 according to the prefaces (in fact 1893), that Chen spent as a department magistrate and prefect in Guizhou, in Kaizhou 開州 and several other places (see below); it provides much information on local customs, including poppy cultivation and the opium problem. J. 2 is devoted to the other posts he held in his career (see below), with a number of texts dealing with financial problems and salt administration. Chen appears to have been a kind of old-style model official, efficient and close to the people, uncompromising with and intimidating to his colleagues, and in frequent conflict with superiors (there is a detailed entry on his disputes with Duanfang 端方, the reform-minded Liang-Jiang governor-general, in 1907). The prefaces, including Chen’s own, insist on the example offered to future officials by this record of a model official of the former regime; Zhang Jian’s pref. says that Chen’s narrative is a “mirror” of the overthrow of the Qing.