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The Art of Being GovernedEveryday Politics in Late Imperial China$
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Michael Szonyi

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780691197241

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691197241.001.0001

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A Family Reunion Silences a Bully

A Family Reunion Silences a Bully

New Social Relations Between Soldiers and their Kin

(p.64) Chapter Two A Family Reunion Silences a Bully
The Art of Being Governed

Michael Szonyi

Princeton University Press

This chapter talks about the Ye family of Fuqing, whose most famous member, Grand Secretary Ye Xianggao, has provided an account of how his family tried to restore contact with their soldier-kin on the northern frontier. Registration as a military household entailed more than simply providing soldiers to serve in the army. It carried valuable tax exemptions. It exposed the household to potential threats and blackmail from their neighbours. The chapter also talks about distinct regulatory regimes that affected everyday life for military households. There was the civilian household registration regime, access to which insulated a family from conscription at the cost of higher corvée exactions. There was the original conscription system, whereby family members in the home village were vulnerable to conscription. And there was the reformed conscription system after the localization policy was put in place, which effectively insulated the family from conscription and enabled them to reduce their corvée obligations.

Keywords:   Ye family, Fuqing, Ye Xianggao, soldier-kin, army, tax exemption, regulatory regime, conscription, corvée obligations

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