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China, a History


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Bee Cha
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« Reply #75 on: October 07, 2007, 06:33:47 am »

Government

The bureacratic system of the Han Dynasty can be divided into two system, the central and the local. As for the central bureaucrats in the capital, it was organized into a head cabinet of officials called the Three Lords and Nine Ministers (三公九卿). This cabinet was led by the Prime Minister (丞相), who was included as one of the three lords. Officials were graded by rank and salary, were appointed to posts based on the merit of their skills rather than aristocratic clan affiliation, and were subject to dismissal, demotion, and transfer to different administrative regions.[1] The local official during the former Han Dynasty was different from that of the later Han Dynasty. As for the former Han, there were two administered levels, the county (郡) and the xian (縣). In the former Han Dynasty the xian was a subdivision or sub-prefecture of a county. During the Han period, there were about 1,180 of these xian, or sub-prefectures. The entire Han Empire was heavily dependent upon its county governors (郡太守), as they could decide military policy, economic regulations, and legal matters in the county they presided over. According to historians Ebrey, Walthall, and Palais:

They collected taxes, judged lawsuits, commanded troops to suppress uprisings, undertook public works such as flood control, chose their own subordinates, and recommended local men to the central government for appointments.

The main tax exacted on the population during Han times was a poll tax, fixed at a rate of 120 government-issued coins for adults. For adults there was also the addition of mandatory labor service for one month out of the year. Besides the poll tax, there was also the land tax administered by county and commandery officials. This was set by the government at a relatively low rate of one-thirtieth of the collected harvest.
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