An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History and Literature

Kangjilu 康濟錄

Jun 10, 2012 © Ulrich Theobald

(Qinding) Kangjilu (欽定)康濟錄 "(Imperially endorsed) Book on saving and supporting [the people]" is a book on disaster relief compiled during the mid-Qing period 清 (1644-1911) by Lu Zengyu 陸曾禹 (18th cent.) from Renhe 仁和, Zhejiang. The 4-juan long book was finished in 1740 and printed in the imperial printing shop, to be distributed and copied in the various provinces for use by the local governors.

The Kangjilu is based on Lu's draft Jiujipu 救饑譜 "Notes on relieving famine", from which he extracted the most important parts and presented the result to the throne, which received it with greatest delight. The Qianlong Emperor 乾隆帝 (r. 1736-1795) bestowed it the title of Kangjilu and ordered to have it printed on imperial commission.

Each of the four juan consists of an own chapter. The first chapter is a general introduction describing the methods of disaster relief in earlier ages. The three other chapters provide concrete instructions to meet problems with the supply of grain to the population after natural disasters occurred. Lu Cengyu stressed that earlier dynasties had a lot of general regulations, but no concrete rules for engaging famine. These were to be found in the word of the ancient philosophers and the sage kings of the distant past.

The core part of the book are the chapters 2 to 4 which describe measures to forestall famine, measures in face of famine, and measures to be taken in the aftermath. Precautionary measures begin in an instruction of the peasants to stockpile and to plant mulberry trees for their own need, as it was already made in the imperial edicts of the Nongsang zaling 農桑雜令 "Various orders concerning fields and mulberry trees" during the Yuan period 元 (1279-1368). A second important precaution was a well-functioning irrigation system that would lower the risk of draught. Canals are compared with the blood vessels of humans.

Each community was to set up granaries (shecang 社倉) in which the grain reserves from good harvest years were to be stored. The granaries were to be protected by the community against theft and robbery. The local magistrates were to see after it that these granaries were opened to the suffering people in cases of need, and at the same time were to control grain prices and to adjust these with the help of grain reserves thrown on the market. Lu Cengyu stressed the last two points with great emphasis because in practice it was often the case that local magistrates either refused to open the granaries or gambled with the grain prices.

If famine occurred, there were many methods suggested, from praying to Heaven for assistance, to more practical aspects like identifying the number of suffering persons (to forestall unjustified payments), credits from the provincial or the national treasury (guotang 國帑), the prohibition to export grain from the afflicted area, price control, the opening of public kitchens (zhouchang 粥廠), the restriction of migration, adhorting the rich to donate, tax reductions, state-induced employment measures, or lending of seeds and draught animals to the peasants. Concerning the local administration, it was important that reports on famine were instantly submitted to the provincial governors so that these were allowed to react in time.

The last measures to be taken were in the framework of "reconstruction" (shanhou 善後). These include, for instance, credits to peasant to rebuy (shuhui 贖回) their women and children. Of equal importance was to reward local magistrates or rich donators for their exemplary behaviour. Granaries had to be refilled and the people to be admonished to go back to their normal lifes and produce grain and clothing for the years to come.

The last part of the book includes some further informations on field allotment, the production of seedlings, the granary system, field kitchens, as well as some older writings on disaster relief.

The book was enlarged by four appendixes compiled by Ni Guolian 倪國璉 (d. 1743), courtesy name Zizhen 子珍, Huichou 穗疇, Xikun 西崑, or Zizhen 紫珍, style Suichou 穟疇, or Jiachou 稼疇, from Renhe. His collected poems are called Chunjitang shiji 春及堂詩集.

The Kangjilu is the first large book on disaster relief written since the Southern Song period 南宋 (1127-1279), when Dong Wei 董煟 (d. 1217) had written his Jiuhuang huomin shu 救荒活民書. It served as the base of Yang Jingren's 楊景仁 book Choujipian 籌濟篇 from 1824 and provided immense help for Deng Tuo's 鄧拓 (1912-1966) history of disaster relief, the Zhongguo jiuhuang shi 中國救荒史, published in 1937.

Table 1. Contents of the Kangjilu 康濟錄
1 前代救援之典 Statutes for disaster relief in earlier ages
2 先事之政 Precautions to prevent famine
3 臨事之政 Measures in face of famine
4 事後之政 Reconstruction and measures after famine
附錄之一 Suppl. 1
摘要備觀 Important source materials
歷朝田制 Field systems through the ages
養種法 Raising and planting
明季倉糧考 The granary system of the Ming dynasty
救荒全法 Jiuhuang quanfa by 董煟 Dong Wei
荒政叢言疏 Huangzheng congyan shu by 林希元 Li Xinyuan
河南賑荒事實 Henan zhenhuang shishi by 鍾化民 Zhong Huamin
救荒活民書 Jiuhuang huomin shu by 張光大 Zhang Guangda
荒政要覽 Huangzheng yaolan by 俞汝為 Yu Ruwei
勸農書 Quannongshu by 袁黃 Yuan Huang
救荒活民補遺 Jiuhuang huomin buyi by 朱熊 Zhu Xiong
荒政考 Huangzhengkao by 屠隆 Tu Long
農政全書 Nongzheng quanshu by 徐光啓 Xu Guangqi
先憂集 Xianyouji by 陳芳生 Chen Fangsheng (comp.)
荒政叢書 Huangzheng congshu by 俞森 Yu Sen (comp.)
招來啇米八則 Zhaolai shangmi ba ze by 蔡懋徳 Cai Maode
擘畫屋舍安泊流民事 Bohuawushe anbo liumin shi by 富弼 Fu Bi
附錄之二 Suppl. 2
賑粥須知 Basics on porridge kitchens
附錄之三 Suppl. 3
捕蝗必覽 Overview of pest control
附錄之四 Suppl. 4
社倉條約 Rules for community granaries
Li Wenhai 李文海 (2003). "Kangjilu de xixiang jiazhi yu shehui zuoyong 《康濟錄》的思想價值與社會作用", Qingshi yanjiu 清史研究, 2003 (2).
Sun Xinmei 孫新梅 (2012). "Qinding Kangjilu de bianzuan tese 《欽定康濟錄》的編纂特色", Lantai shijie 蘭台世界, 2012 (2).
Sun Xinmei 孫新梅 (2016). "Qinding Kangjilu wenxian zhengyin yuanze, fangfa he wenxianxue jiazhi 《欽定康濟錄》文獻征引原則、方法和文獻學價值", Jintu xuekan 晉圖學刊, 2016 (2).
Ye Shichang 葉世昌, Hua Linfu 華林甫 (1994), "Kangjilu 康濟錄", in Zhou Gucheng 周谷城 (ed.), Zhongguo xueshu mingzhu tiyao 中國學術名著提要, Vol. Jingji 經濟 (Shanghai: Fudan daxue chubanshe), p. 399.