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Tu Chên

Tu Chên 杜臻 (T. 肇余, 遇徐), a native of Hsiu-shui, Chekiang, was a chin-shih of 1658 who died between 1700 and 1705. Appointed a second-class Hanlin compiler, he became a reader of the Grand Secretariat and later vice-president of the Board of Civil Office. In 1683 he was ordered to proceed to Kwangtung and Fukien to supervise the rehabilitation of the coastal districts which had been depopulated for almost thirty years. The removal of the people inland for a distance of thirty to fifty li was suggested by Huang Wu [q.v.] in 1657 as a measure to starve out the naval forces under the rebel, Chêng Ch'êng-kung [q.v.]. The plan, which included the suspension of all trade and industries on the coast, was put into effect, and was more or less strictly enforced throughout the time that Chêng and his descendants controlled Formosa. In 1683, after the conquest of Formosa (see under Shih Lang), the rehabilitation of the depopulated coasts became an urgent matter which was supervised by officials sent from Peking. Chin Shihchien 金世鑑 (T. 萬含, 1647-1689) and a Manchu were entrusted with the work of rehabilitation in Kiangsu and Chekiang; Tu Chên and Hsi-chu 席柱 with the same task in Kwangtung and Fukien. The two last-mentioned set out on their mission in the winter of 1683, and concluded it about the middle of 1684. In Kwangtung 28,192 ch'ing (1 ch'ing = 16.44 acres) of land were reapportioned to a population of 31,300; and in Fukien, 31,018 ch'ing were divided among a population of about 40,800. In addition to repatriating the people on this land, the commissioners helped them to resume fishing, salt manufacturing and trading.

While in Kwangtung, Tu Chên enjoyed the whole-hearted co-operation of Governor-general Wu Hsing-tso 吳興祚 (T. 伯成 H. 留村, 1632-1698) who is known also for encouraging the resumption of foreign trade at Canton, and for sponsoring in 1685 the compilation of the atlas, 廣東輿圖, Kwangtung yü-t'u, 12 chüan (see Report of the Librarian of Congress, 1938, p. 229-30). Concerning his experiences in rehabilitation work, Tu Chên wrote a treatise entitled 閩粵巡視紀略 Min Yüeh hsün-shih chi-lüeh, 6 chüan. He also wrote a work about the coastal defenses, entitled 海防述略 Hai fang shu-lüeh, 1 chüan. While he was in Kwangtung in 1684 he was promoted to be president of the Board of Works.

Upon the death of his mother in 1686 Tu Chên went home, remaining in mourning until 1689 [778] when he was made president of the Board of Punishments. In this capacity he put a stop to the inhuman practice of jailors illegally appropriating coal designed to heat prisons in winter. Prior to this time many prisoners froze to death or died of disease. In 1691 he was made president of the Board of War, serving thus until 1699. He became president of the Board of Rites but retired in 1700 and died sometime before 1705. His collected poems in 10 chüan bear the title, 經緯堂詩集 Ching-wei t'ang shih-chi. When Emperor Shêng-tsu made his fifth tour of the South in 1705 he bestowed upon the Tu family a memorial tablet written in his own hand. On the same occasion a son of Tu Chên, named Tu T'ing-chu 杜庭珠 (T. 詒穀), then a student in the Imperial Academy, presented poems in praise of the Emperor. Six years later Tu Ying-chu was summoned to an Imperial audience and given a post in the Imperial printing establishment, the Wu ying-tien hsiu shu-ch'u 武英殿修書處. Later he was made magistrate of Wan-hsien, Szechwan. He and Tu Chao 杜詔 (T. 紫綸, 1666-1736) together compiled the 唐詩叩彈集 T'ang-shih k'ou-tan chi, an anthology of more than 1870 poems by authors of the middle and later T'ang period, including biographical sketches, critical notes and annotations.

[ 1/274/6a; 4/18/10b; Chu I-tsun [q.v.], Pu-shu t'ing chi, 66/1a; Kashing fu-chih (1878), 52/53b, 59a; Hsieh Kuo-chên 謝國楨, 清初東南沿海遷界考 Ch'ing-ch'u tung-nan Yen-hai ch'ienchieh kao (1934).]