This TV series (made in China) features Ming Dynasty’s founding emperor Zhu Yuan Zhang 朱元璋 as a no-nonsense ruler who rooted out corruption to a tee. But as with all MIC productions in recent years, this one had to be “educational” and “politically correct”. What better way than to portray a corruption-fighting Chinese emperor lifting the country from the gutter created by the Yuan Dynasty? Do watch it. It’s really quite entertaining.
Apparently, Justice Bao was not impactful enough. Why Zhu Yuan Zhang? Well, the real Zhu Yuan Zhang is known to be a control freak who employed draconian measures to force migration to depopulated regions. He also ruthlessly rooted out corruption and disloyalty, ordering massacres of communities that refused to submit.
Paranoid about uprisings and power struggles, Zhu created China’s first secret police, the 锦衣卫 to spy on his subjects. Suspects were treated mercilessly. Over 1,000 offences were punishable by death. Zhu also confiscated land and redistributed it to the peasants. China then was a strictly regimented and self-sufficient society with its doors closed to all barbarians at its borders. Trade was discouraged, merchants and traders were despised while farmers were supported with massive agricultural projects. The audience is persuaded to accept Zhu Yuan Zhang’s way as the best way to cure the country of its ills.
I didn’t watch the entire series, but they probably didn’t mention that Zhu also promoted Islam (China had more Muslims during the Ming Dynasty than any other dynasty) and he had 30,000 people executed because one man plotted against him. He also wanted all his consorts to be buried alive with him when he died. Emperors will be emperors. May China never suffer from imperial rule again.
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