- 東洋史研究 (ISSN:03869059)
- vol.73, no.4, pp.577-610, 2015-03
Many instances of illegal activities are recorded in the Song historical literature. These involved not only unlawful trafficking in items that were government monopolies, but also transregional operations of organized crime across districts and administrative units. These organized groups of burglars and/or bandits, were called qundao 群盜or junzei 軍賊. The gradual increase in the scale and number of crimes and the better organization of these groups caused significant social unrest in the Song. Deeply concerned, the dynasty answered by improving the law enforcement system to arrest these criminals and developed a mechanism to maintain the security of local communities at the neighborhood level. Strict measures were taken against burglary and banditry, and several rural areas were named top priority areas (zhongfa difen 重法地分), where an all-out crackdown was carried out. These legal measures were collectively called Daozei zhongfa 盜賊重法. The Daozei zhongfa was in effect for 43 years during the late Northern Song period. It started with the institution of the Wocang Zhongfa 窩藏重法 in 1065 (the second year of the Zhiping 治平 era) under the reign of Emperor Yingzong 英宗, and was followed by the Jiedao Zhongfa 劫盜重法 introduced the next year. What was groundbreaking about the Wocang zhongfa was that it was security legislation aimed not at the criminals themselves, but at collaborators and acts of support, such as harboring criminals (wocang 窩藏), providing renegades hideouts and offer necessary services and goods. The law was intended to destroy criminal organizations by clamping down on those who helped them. Wocang zhongfa punished the family members of the criminals. The Jiedao zhongfa stipulated that the authorities could punish those criminals more heavily than preceding punitive laws. Both these laws were indeed harsh. However the jurisdiction of the new legislation, Daozei zhongfa, was very limited from the time of its promulgation. Its maximum geographic range was reached in 1086, the first year of the Yuanyou 元祐 era of Emperor Zhezong 哲宗. However, even at that time it never extended beyond Kaifeng 開封, the capital city of the dynasty, and some other main prefectures and counties along the transport network in the middle and lower reaches of the Yellow River and the Huai River which were linked to Kaifeng nor beyond the mountainous area of Fujian. As time went on, the burglars and bandits became stronger and more daring, and the situation worsened. The Daozei zhongfa was tested by this reality and its effectiveness was increasingly questioned. The Song authorities' response wavered. On the one hand, the central government as a temporary measure expanded the legislation's jurisdiction beyond the original areas, and also repeatedly attempted to appy the Wocang zhonfa as a nationwide legal norm. The zhongfa difen were quickly abolished in 1108, the second year of the Daguan 大觀 era under Emperor Huizong 徽宗. The aforementioned context was the underlying cause, but the law had become more and more inconsistent and most of the Wocang-related regulations in the legislation were incorporated in the general laws (海行法) of the Chiling geshi 敕令格式. In the Southern Song the general laws also included an article on family collective responsibility and a provision providing rewards from confiscated property. This fact indicates that these measures were then reckoned effective to combat the problem of wocang. It also means that the regulations that were in the beginning a stopgap measure in the interim legislation of zhongfa finally became formal components of universal law. Put into historical perspective, this legal environment of the Song dynasty proved to have paved the way for the appearance of the Qiang qie daozei wozhu li 强竊盜賊窩主例 of the following Yuan dynasty and the Daozei wozhu fa 盜賊窩主法 of the later Ming dynasty.