Chinese Studies Forum: Lecture 5 | Bai Juyi’s Political Journey and Choice

On the morning of April 27, 2019, the 5th session of IIAS Chinese Studies was held at Conference Room 205 of the Central Main Building of Tsinghua University.

Prof. Xie Siwei from the Chinese Department of Tsinghua University gave a lecture on the topic “Bai Juyi’s Political Journey and Choice”. Prof. Xie started with his own experience with Bai Juyi and led to the origin of the topic.

This lecture was divided into two parts, namely Bai Juyi’s three examinations during his political career and his career journey.

First of all, he elaborated the types of examinations in the Jinshi Course (Ritual Examination), Book Judgment and Diocese Course (Officer Examination) and Preparation Course (Talent and Maoming Examination) to showcase Bai Juyi’s talents.
Afterwards, he reviewed the job descriptions of three positions and the relationship with the emperor.

During the lecture, Prof. Xie vividly explained various anecdotes that occurred during Bai Juyi’s career, his own thoughts on official positions, his contribution to the court, and the influence of Bai Juyi’s family background on his political career. It covered “History as a Mirror”, “Qianxiang County Prisoner’s Statement”, “Jiade Yinzhong Program Two Pieces”, “First Grant Supplementary Book”, “To Tang Sheng”, “Two Pieces for Tang Qu”, “New Yuefu – Cai Shi Guan” and “Ce Lin”.

Finally, Prof. Xie elaborated on the reasons why the admonishment system was one of the important political models of the Tang Dynasty based on its functions and position and Bai Juyi’s political attitude as the official. The main literature cited included “The Six Codes of Tang Dynasty”, “Old Tang Book – Bai Juyi Biography”, “A Letter to Yuan Jiu”, “On He Lian Zhuang”, “Wei Village Retreat”, “Nasu”, “Sorrowful Travel”, “Leisure Travel” and “Ying Yi”.