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Unless otherwise specified, the descriptions of sources in this section are extracted from Pierre-Etienne Will and collaborators,Official Handbooks and Anthologies of Imperial China: A Descriptive and Critical Bibliography (Leiden: Brill, forthcoming).
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TitleJuguan guaguo lu 居官寡過錄[How an Official Earns Few Demerits]
Topic4.1 Magistrates handbooks: General
Historical periodEarly Qing (1644-1796)
AuthorPanjiao yeren 盤嶠野人
CollectionGuanzhen shu jicheng 官箴書集成
Number of volume5
Publication typeWoodblock
CommentRem.: The title implies that the advice provided in the work makes it possible to be a good official (liangli 良吏), therefore to “earn few demerits” (guaguo). To help readers achieve this goal, the work provides a wide range of information for new magistrates in the form of anecdotes, advice, and references to the lives and words of exemplary officials. The revised ed. has no mulu, but each entry is preceded by a title summarizing its content. The two eds. are differently organized. In the 1775 ed. (with mulu), the entries providing the usual advice to new magistrates all the way from the time of appointment at the capital are distributed among the four chapters; they include entries on how to deal with underlings, the populace, and the literati, on the places and people to visit and the required procedures and protocol for doing so, on the necessary documentation related to the assumption of office, on techniques for tax collection, punishment, crime prevention and prosecution, on suppression of banditry, and so forth; in j. 1-2 there is a mix of unsigned entries (presumably due to the author) and texts attributed to a number of authors from various periods (for part of them the official position, courtesy name, name, and place of origin are indicated, but there is no date); j. 3-4 are entirely composed of quotations from various authors—j. 3 on judicial matters (one notes several quotations from Li Yu, obviously culled from the Zizhi xinshu [q.v.]), and j. 4 on fiscal and economic matters. In his short introduction to the 6-juan revised ed., Li Yuanchun states that old and new regulations do not always fit, which is why he has added entries of his own [marked with the character bu 補, of which there are indeed a fairly large number] and suppressed some useless regulations; notes have also been added in the upper margin, some apparently updating the text. The unsigned paragraphs providing advice for new magistrates and on the various domains of local administration are all in j. 1-2; the section on judicial administration in j. 2 features some quotations from other authors. J. 3-5 are entirely composed of administrative texts (like proclamations, correspondences, etc.) borrowed from other authors, covering such topics as controlling clerks, accepting gifts, protecting the populace from harassment, extortion, and pettifogging, managing natural disasters, promoting education, and prohibiting heterodox religions (in j. 3); the production, transportation, and sale of grain and salt, land usage, the collection of customary fees by officials, and the financing of public works projects (in j. 4); and military issues (in j. 5). J. 6 is entirely composed of judicial sentences, most of which deal with homicide, sexual crimes, and other serious forms of wrongdoing.
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