The Three Bureaus (sansi, 三司) traditionally refer to the Bureau of Salt and Iron Monopoly, Tax Bureau, and Census bureau that originated during the Song dynasty. However the Three Bureaus have been used to refer to different institutions at different points in Chinese history. In the Eastern Han (25-220), it included posts such as Defender-in-Chief ( taiwei ), Minister of Education ( situ ), and Minister of Works (sikong). In the Tang dynasty (618-907), it referred to the Censorate ( yushitai ), the Chancellery ( menxia sheng ), and the Palace Secretariat ( zhongshu sheng ). During the Ming dynasty, it referred to three provincial level institutions: the regional military commission, the Provincial Administration Commission, and the Provincial Surveillance Commission.
The bureaus of Salt and Iron, Tax, and Census were created during the Northern Song dynasty (960-1126). They were known as the State Finance Commission. Emperor Taizu of Song removed the household revenue section from the Imperial Secretariat (shangshu sheng) and split it into the three bureaus, collectively led by a state finance commissioner (sansishi) and a vice state finance commissioner (sansi fushi). Each bureau was also headed by their own respective commissioners. During the reform era of New Policies (Song dynasty) (1069-1076) led by Wang Anshi, the Three Bureaus were controlled by a Finance Planning Commission (zhizhi sansi tiaoli si) under the Imperial Secretariat ( shangshu sheng ). This organization was abolished during the Ming dynasty and replaced with the Ministry of Revenue.
Three Bureaus and their sections (Song dynasty):
Wang Anshi ; Chinese: 王安石; December 8, 1021 – May 21, 1086), courtesy name Jiefu, was a Chinese economist, philosopher, poet, and politician during the Song dynasty. He served as chancellor and attempted major and controversial socioeconomic reforms known as the New Policies. These reforms constituted the core concepts of the Song-Dynasty Reformists, in contrast to their rivals, the Conservatives, led by the Chancellor Sima Guang.
Külüg Khan, born Khayishan, also known by the temple name Wuzong, Prince of Huaining (懷寧王) in 1304-1307, was an emperor of the Yuan dynasty of China. Apart from Emperor of China, he is regarded as the seventh Great Khan of the Mongol Empire, although it was only nominal due to the division of the empire. His name means "warrior Khan" or "fine horse Khan" in the Mongolian language.
The Three Ducal Ministers, also translated as the Three Dukes, Three Excellencies, or the Three Lords, was the collective name for the three highest officials in ancient China. These posts were abolished by Cao Cao in 208 AD and replaced with the position of Imperial Chancellor.
The Salt Industry Commission was an organization created in 758, during the decline of Tang dynasty China, used to raise tax revenue from the state monopoly of the salt trade, or salt gabelle. The Commission sold salt to private merchants at a price that included a low but cumulatively substantial tax, which was passed on by the merchants at the point of sale. This basic mechanism of an indirect tax collected by private merchants supervised by government officials endured to the mid-20th century. The salt tax enabled a weak government to sustain itself; the government need control only the few regions that produced salt. Plans to end the government monopoly on salt by 2016 were announced in 2014.
Flying cash, or Feipiao, was a type of paper negotiable instrument used during China's Tang dynasty invented by merchants but adopted by the state. Its name came from their ability to transfer cash across vast distances without physically transporting it. It is a precursor to true banknotes which appeared during the Song dynasty.
The Zhongshu Sheng, also known as the Palace Secretariat or Central Secretariat, was one of the departments of the Three Departments and Six Ministries government structure in imperial China from Cao Wei (220–266) until the early Ming dynasty. As one of the Three Departments, the Zhongshu Sheng was primarily a policy-formulating agency responsible for proposing and drafting all imperial decrees, but its actual function varied at different times.
The Three Departments and Six Ministries system was the primary administrative structure in imperial China from the Sui dynasty (581–618) to the Yuan dynasty (1271–1368). It was also used by Balhae (698–926) and Goryeo (918–1392) in Manchuria, Korea and Vietnam.
The Nine Ministers or Nine Chamberlains was the collective name for nine high officials in the imperial government of the Han dynasty, who each headed one of the Nine Courts and were subordinates to the Three Councillors of State.
Liu Yan, courtesy name Shi'an, was a Chinese economist and politician during the Tang dynasty who served briefly as chancellor during the reign of Emperor Daizong – but who was more known for his reforms in the Tang salt monopoly and food transportation systems, credited with allowing the Tang economy to recover after the disastrous An Lushan Rebellion. In 780, during the reign of Emperor Daizong's son Emperor Dezong, after the chancellor Yang Yan made a series of false accusations against him, he was first demoted and then executed.
Wang Ya, courtesy name Guangjin (廣津), formally Duke of Dai (代公), was an official of the Chinese Tang dynasty, serving as a chancellor during the reigns of Emperor Xianzong and Emperor Xianzong's grandson Emperor Wenzong. During Emperor Wenzong's reign, he became involved in a major power struggle between imperial officials and eunuchs known as the Ganlu Incident, and he was killed by the eunuchs along with three other chancellors, Li Xun, Jia Su, and Shu Yuanyu.
The New Policies, also known as Xining Reforms, Xifeng Reforms or Wang Anshi Reforms (王安石变法), were a series of reforms initiated by the Northern Song dynasty politician Wang Anshi when he served as minister under Emperor Shenzong from 1069–1076. The policies were in force until the emperor's death, then repealed, then enacted again and were a focus of court politics until the end of the Northern Song. In some ways, it continued the policies of the aborted Qingli Reforms from two decades earlier.
Taxation in premodern China varied greatly over time. The most important source of state revenue was the tax on agriculture, or land tax. During some dynasties, the government also imposed monopolies that became important sources of revenue. The monopoly on salt was especially lucrative and stable. Commercial taxes were generally quite low, except in times of war. Other means of state revenues were inflation, forced labor, and expropriation of rich merchants and landowners. Below is a chart of the sources of state revenue in Imperial China.
The history of canals in China connecting its major rivers and centers of agriculture and population extends from the legendary exploits of Yu the Great in his attempts control the flooding of the Yellow River to the present infrastructure projects of the People's Republic of China. From the Spring and Autumn period onward, the canals of China were used for army transportation and supply, as well as colonization of new territories. From the Qin to the Qing, China's canal network was also essential to imperial taxation-in-kind. Control of shipbuilding and internal tariffs were also administered along the canals.
Xiechi Lake, also called Yuncheng yanchi is the largest natural lake in Shanxi in Northern China. It is a saline lake used for production of salt.
Salt, salt production, and salt taxes played key roles in Chinese history, economic development, and relations between state and society. The lure of salt profits led to technological innovation and new ways to organize capital. Debate over government salt policies brought forth conflicting attitudes toward the nature of government, private wealth, the relation between the rich and the poor, while the administration of these salt policies was a practical test of a government's competence.
The Shangshu Sheng, sometimes translated as the Department of State Affairs or the Imperial Secretariat, was one of the departments of the Three Departments and Six Ministries government structure. It was the primary executive institution of imperial China, head of the Six Ministries, the Nine Courts, and the Three Directorates. The Six Ministries consisted of the Ministry of Personnel, the Ministry of Revenue, the Ministry of Rites, the Ministry of War, the Ministry of Justice, and the Ministry of Works. The Department of State of Affairs existed in one form or another from the Han dynasty until the Yuan dynasty (1271–1368), but was never re-established in the following Ming dynasty.
The Menxia Sheng, sometimes translated as the Chancellery, was one of the departments of the Three Departments and Six Ministries government structure of imperial China. It advised the emperor and the Zhongshu Sheng, and reviewed edicts and commands. As the least important of the three departments, it existed in name only by the Song dynasty while its functions were delegated to the other two departments. In 1129 the Chancellery was merged with the Central Secretariat.
The Ministry or Board of Revenue was one of the Six Ministries under the Department of State Affairs in imperial China.
The Ministry of Works or of Public Works was one of the Six Ministries under the Department of State Affairs in imperial China.
The administration of territory in dynastic China is the history of practices involved in governing the land from the Qin dynasty to the Qing dynasty (1636–1912).