The 4-juan- long text is based on an earlier compilation called Songxingtong 宋刑統 "Penal law system of the Song dynasty 宋 (960-1279)" that had been compiled on imperial order by Dou Yi 竇儀 (914-966) and others in 963. Fu Lin transformed the text of this book into verses with parallel structures to allow it a broader publicity. Fu had also written a commentary on his own compilation that has unfortunately not survived.
The whole text is divided into eight stanzas or rhyme groups (ba yun 八韻). The second part explains the use of eight key words in judicial terminology (mingli bazi 名例八字: yi 以, zhun 准, jie 皆, ge 各, ji 及, qi 其, ji 即 and ruo 若). Of particular importance are familiar relationships that are explained over the whole rhapsody. Another important aspect is atonement (shuzui 贖罪). The book explains:
|笞||chi||beating with the bamboo cane|
|杖||zhang||beating with the heavy stick|
|流||liu||exilation to the border regions|
|鬬殺||dousha||murder in a brawl|
|議親||yiqin||relatives of the imperial house|
|議故||yigu||old [retainers, followers] of the emperor|
|議功||yigong||persons with outstanding achievements|
|議貴||yigui||people in high social positions|
|議勤||yiqin||persons of diligence|
|議賓||yibin||guests of the state|
|謀大逆||mou dani||plotting great sedition|
|大不敬||da bujing||great irreverence|
|不孝||buxiao||lack of filial piety|
|不睦||bumu||discord in the neighbourhood|
The text furthermore speaks of voluntary surrender (zishou 自首), aggravating or lessening punishment (jian-jia 加减), forced analogies (bifu 比附), distinction of plotters and collaborators (shoucong 首從), jurisdictional areas (guanxia 管轄) or redeeming pledges (shoushu 收贖). The author stresses the fact that it was not easy to apply laws in practice, but all codes and precedent cases had to be used with caution.
It seems that the book was circulating in separate versions, but none of these editions has survived. Miao Quansun 繆荃孫 (1844-1919) published it in 1910 in his collection Ouxiang lingshi 藕香零拾 as a facsimile of a manuscript copy owned by the Tieqintongjian Hall 鐵琴銅劍樓. The whole text is also preserved in the commentaries Xingtongfu jie 刑統賦解 (Master Xi 郤某 and Wang Liang 王亮, ca. 1090), Cujie Xingtongfu 粗解刑統賦 by Meng Kui 孟奎 (1352), Bieben Xingtongfu 别本刑統賦 (anonymous) and Xingtongfu shu 刑統賦疏 by Shen Zhongwei 沈仲緯 (c. 1340) that are all to be found in the series Zhenbilou congshu 枕碧樓叢書, published in 1913. The latter is a careful annotation that quotes from the commented law code Tanglü shuyi 唐律疏議 and adds several Yuan-period verdicts to clarify statements in the Xingtongfu. Of a whole number of nine or ten commentaries, only those four have survived. In 1990 a modern edition was published by the Zhongguo Shudian 中國書店 in the series Haiwangcun guji congkan 海王邨古籍叢刊. The text is also included in the series Gezhi congshu 格致叢書.