Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period/Ch'ên P'êng-nien

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CH'ÊN P'êng-nien 陳鵬年 (T. 北溟 and 滄洲) Jan. 10, 1664–1723, Feb. 9, official, was a native of Hsiang-t'an, Hunan. In his youth his family retired to the mountains to avoid disturbances following the revolt of Wu San-kuei [q. v.]. There he engaged in the study of the classics. When the family returned to Hsiang-t'an he took the examinations, finally receiving his chin-shih degree in Peking in 1691. Five years later he was appointed magistrate of Hsi-an, Chekiang, and then of Shan-yang, Kiangsu. He achieved a reputation as a model official with the appellation "Ch'ên Ch'ing-t'ien" 陳青天 (Ch'ên of the Clear Sky) because of his honesty, frugality, and good sense. When he was prefect of Nanking (1703–05) his superior, Ašan (阿山, d. 1714), governor-general of Kiangsu, motivated by jealousy, falsely accused him of bribery in connection with revenue and taxation, and of impropriety in establishing lecture-halls on sites that had previously been utilized for houses of prostitution. Although sentenced to die, he was granted imperial pardon. Convinced of his innocence, the emperor summoned him to Peking where he was placed on the commission to edit the anthology of Sung, Chin, Yüan, and Ming poetry, 四朝詩 Ssŭ-ch'ao shih, which was printed in 1709 in 312 chüan.

In 1708 he was appointed prefect of Soochow and in the following year, acting-financial commissioner of Kiangsu. Gali [q. v.], governor-general of Kiangsu, accused him in 1711 of treason for a poem, entitled 虎邱 Hu-ch'iu, which he had written concerning a hillock of that name located seven li northwest of Soochow. This accusation was likewise disallowed by the emperor who again summoned him to Peking. This time (1719–1722) he served on the editorial board that compiled the phrase dictionary, Fên-lei tzŭ chin (see under Ho Ch'o). Later he was ordered to assist Chang P'êng-ko [q. v.] in a survey of the Grand Canal, and in 1721 was made director-general of Yellow River Conservancy in Honan, which post he held until his death in 1723. He was canonized as K'o-ch'in 恪勤. His collected prose works, 道榮堂文集 Tao-Jung-t'ang wên-chi, in 6 chüan, and his verse, Tao jung-t'ang (詩)-chi in 10 chüan, were printed, together with his nien-p'u, in 1762. An edition of his collected works, entitled Ch'ên K'o-ch'in chi, in 39 chüan, is listed in the Imperial Catalogue (see under Chi Yün). A treatise on public administration, 歷仕政略 Li shih chêng lüeh, in 1 chüan, and rules and regulations for river conservancy, 河工條約 Ho-kung t'iao-yüeh, also in 1 chüan, were both written shortly before his death.


[1/283/6b; 3/164/1a; 23/16/1a; 湖南文徵 Hunan wên-chêng 32/1, 61/59; Ssŭ-k'u (see under Chi Yün) 184/2b; Hsiang-t'an-hsien chih (1889) chüan 8, sec. 4/81a.]

C. P. Wong