|Three Departments and Six Ministries|
|Chinese||三 省 六 部|
|Vietnamese||Tam tỉnh lục bộ|
|Hangul||삼 성 육 부|
The Three Departments and Six Ministries (
The Three Departments were the top-level offices of the administration. They were the Secretariat, responsible for drafting policy, the Chancellery, responsible for reviewing policy, and the Department of State Affairs, responsible for implementing policy. The former two were loosely joined as the Secretariat-Chancellery during the late Tang dynasty, Song dynasty and Goryeo.
The Six Ministries (also translated as Six Boards) were direct administrative organs of the state. They were the Ministries of Personnel, Rites, War, Justice, Works, and Revenue. They were under the Department of State Affairs until the Yuan dynasty.
The Three Departments were abolished by the Ming dynasty, but the Six Ministries continued under the Ming and Qing, as well as in Vietnam and Korea.
| Emperor |
( 皇帝 , huángdì)
| Chancellery |
( t 門 下 省 , s 门 下 省 ,Ménxiàshěng)
| Department of State Affairs |
( t 尚 書 省 , s 尚 书 省 ,Shàngshūshěng)
| Secretariat |
( t 中 書 省 , s 中 书 省 ,Zhōngshūshěng)
| Ministry of Personnel |
( 吏部 , Lìbù)
| Ministry of Revenue |
( t 戶部 , s 户部 ,Hùbù)
| Ministry of Rites |
( t 禮部 , s 礼部 ,Lǐbù)
| Ministry of War |
( 兵部 , Bīngbù)
| Ministry of Justice |
( 刑部 , Xíngbù)
| Ministry of Works |
( 工部 , Gōngbù)
Before the institution of the Three Departments and Six Ministries, the central administrative structure of the Qin and Han dynasties was the Three Lords and Nine Ministers ( 三 公 九 卿 , Sāngōng Jiǔqīng) system. Nonetheless, even then, offices which fulfilled the same functions as the later three departments were already in existence.
The Department of State Affairs was first devised during the Qin dynasty (221–206 BCE), originally in an archival role. During the reign of Emperor Wu in the Western Han dynasty (206 BCE – 9 CE), the Secretariat's office was also instituted, as a channel of communications between the Emperor's advisors and the government as a whole. By the Eastern Han dynasty (25–220 CE), an office of advisors and reviewers had also been set up.
By the time of the Cao Wei state (220–265 CE), the emperor Cao Pi made use of this base of advisers to officially institute the Secretariat to balance against the powerful Department of State Affairs. This was the first office known as the 'Secretariat' to fulfil functions similar to its later form, drafting imperial edicts.
The office of the Chancellery, as a review mechanism, was first instituted during the Jin dynasty (265–420 CE) and carried on throughout the Northern and Southern Dynasties period (420–589 CE), where it often became the most powerful office in the central government.
Traditionally, these departments were also translated as "Boards". Each was headed by a Minister or Secretary (Chinese :尚書; pinyin :shàngshū; Manchu :
Beneath each Ministry were many Bureaus ( 司 , sī), bodies responsible for grassroots administration.
Aside from the "Three Departments", there were three others equal in status to them, but they are rarely involved in the administration of the state.
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Zhongshu Sheng, commonly translated as the Secretariat, Central Secretariat or Imperial Secretariat, was one department in the Three Departments and Six Ministries government structure officially established beginning in the Sui dynasty in the history of China. As one of the three departments, it was the main policy-formulating agency that was responsible for proposing and drafting all imperial decrees. The Song dynasty modified that tripartite division of executive agencies in the central government. Under the Song, as also under the Liao and Jin dynasties, those organs exercised much of the executive authority for the emperor.
The Nine Ministers was the collective name for nine high officials in the imperial government of the Han dynasty, who each headed a specialised ministry and were subordinates to the Three Councillors of State.
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Cui Zao (崔造), courtesy name Xuanzai (玄宰), was an official of the Chinese dynasty Tang Dynasty, serving briefly as a chancellor during the reign of Emperor Dezong. During his chancellorship, he tried to reform the taxation system, but his reforms were opposed by Han Huang and soon reversed.
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The Yuan dynasty was a vast empire founded by Mongol leader Kublai Khan in China. During its existence, its territory was divided into the Central Region (腹裏) governed by the Central Secretariat and places under control of various provinces (行省) or Branch Secretariats (行中書省), as well as the region under the Bureau of Buddhist and Tibetan Affairs. In addition, the Yuan emperors held nominal suzerainty over the western Mongol khanates, but in reality none of them were governed by the Yuan dynasty due to the division of the Mongol Empire.
The Department of State Affairs or Shangshu Sheng (尚書省) was one department in the Three Departments and Six Ministries government structure officially established since the Sui dynasty in the history of China. As one of the three departments, it was the highest executive institution of the imperial government since the Sui dynasty. Developing from the Shangshu Tai (尚書臺) in the Eastern Han dynasty, the name Sheng (省) was inherited even though the institution was now removed from the Imperial Court. The head of the Department is Shangshu Ling (尚書令). The Director was known as chancellor but was often absent. The Right and Left Deputy Directors (尚書左僕射、尚書右僕射) actually shouldered the duties. Beneath the Deputy Directors were the Right and Left Assistant Clerks (尚書左丞、尚書右丞) who had the Right and Left Excellency (左、右司郎中) to assist with their daily work and were in charge of the Six Ministries. The general office of the Department of State Affairs was called the Dou Sheng (都省).
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