Illustrious History of Shangbao Villa
Nataliia Litvinova, 2021-02-22

Shangbao Village is located 5500 meters northwest of Huangdian Town Government in Lanxi, at the southern base of scenic Sanfeng Mountain.

 

Bao Zheng was a Chinese politician in the Song Dynasty (960-1279), and since then he has been honored as a cultural symbol of justice in Chinese society. The Bao family in Shangbao are the descendants of Bao Zheng. During the Song Dynasty, in addition to Bao Zheng, there were three famous officials from the Bao family—Bao Ke, Bao An, and Bao Min—all of whom were known for their diligence, honesty, and justice. In the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), there was another official named Bao Dehuai who was known for being self-disciplined, upright, and kind to local people. 

 

In 1091, one ancestor of the Bao family given the honorary title Puji Gong (literally meaning Popular Relief’s Sir) was appointed to be the official in charge of education in Jinhua. Attracted by the beautiful mountains and rivers of Lanxi, Puji Gong and his family settled here and have remained for the 922 years since. Bao Ke, Bao An, and Bao Min were the grandsons of Puji Gong. During their tenure, they were well received by the people due to their hard work, self-discipline, and care. 

There were many stories about how Bao Dehuai cared for the people during his tenure as central supervisor and procurator. These two stories are quoted from local chronicles: 

 

The first story illustrates Bao’s loyalty and honesty: “While working in the capital city, a man working with Bao Dehuai was going to be put in jail. It was sudden, and his son was still a child. Before being sent to prison, he hid his assets of gold inside a bundle of firewood and secretly put them in the care of Bao Dehuai; nobody knew about it except him and Bao. A few months later, that official died in prison. Bao called that man’s son and his fellow villagers in the capital city and showed them the gold. It was still sealed, sound, and safe. The people all praised Bao for his loyalty.”

 

The second story emphasizes Bao’s correction of a miscarriage of justice: “During the tenure of the procurator in Henan Province, someone was killed when going out at night. One man was framed by one of the officials and tortured, but he refused to confess. Bao Dehuai inspected and found that the man was innocent after further investigation. In the end, that man was acquitted.”

 

Bao Zheng’s pursuit of justice is well-known all over the country. In order to honor the ancestors’ honesty and integrity, Shangbao Village built a park to promote honest government and set up an “honest government” exhibition inside the ancestral hall of the Bao family. Nowadays, Shangbao Village has become the demonstration village of honest government culture in Zhejiang Province and the anti-government-corruption cultural education base in Lanxi.

 

At the same time, the construction of a new socialist countryside in Shangbao Village is also booming. The culture of honest government in Shangbao Village is like a breath of fresh air, influencing not only the villagers but also tourists. (By Liu Xin, translated by Li Ziyi, edited by Kendra Fiddler)