Imperial guards - Jin Yi Wei

Imperial guards

In China's thousands of years of feudal dynasty, in order to stabilize their rule, the feudal monarch came up with many ways to achieve the purpose of centralized rule and eliminate hidden dangers. Among them, the most famous is the imperial guards founded by Zhu Yuanzhang, the founding emperor of the Ming Dynasty.

The Imperial Guards was originally the Royal Guard, and was later trained as a special organization by Zhu Yuanzhang. The Imperial Guards was the exclusive military and political intelligence collection agency of the Ming Dynasty. It was formerly the "Guard Department" set up by Zhu Yuanzhang, the emperor of the Ming Dynasty, and later renamed the "Pro military governor office". It was in charge of Yiluan department(An inner guard in Ming Dynasty), which was in charge of the emperor's honor guard and bodyguard. The imperial guards are directly responsible to the emperor. They can arrest and interrogate any relatives and officials of the imperial court. Because the imperial guards have too much power, it is inevitable that they will be tortured for quick success. Zhu Yuanzhang weakened some powers of the imperial guards. During Zhu Di's reign, the power of the imperial guards began to grow again, and the officials in the court were panic stricken.

At first, the imperial guards were mainly selected from the army. They had to be of military origin. And according to the requirements of emperor Hongwu, only those who have made military achievements can run for the election, and then select those who have a delicate mind to join the imperial guards. The emperor chose a reliable person as the leader of the imperial guards. There were not many imperial guards in Zhu Yuanzhang's period, only a few thousand. In addition to military merit and reliability, there are also checks on relatives in the selection conditions of imperial guards. It is required that the candidate has no criminal record and his relatives have no illegal behavior. Therefore, the imperial guards in the early stage had strong business ability and excellent force, and they were also good at investigating and handling cases. In the middle and late Ming Dynasty, the imperial guards began to adopt a hereditary system. After each generation of imperial guards left office, his son would take over. If his son was too young, he could wait until he was an adult and let his brother of enough age take over. If there were no candidates, the imperial court would make other arrangements.

During the reign of emperor Chengzu of Ming Dynasty, Zhu Di, who usurped the throne and became emperor, faced with great pressure of public opinion from both inside and outside the court, restored the imperial guards and handed over the whole power of imperial management of imperial prison to Beizhen Fusi(A judicial department of the Ming Dynasty). The power of the imperial guards has been expanding and become the most dependent organ of the emperor. Later, Zhu Di thought that the imperial guards' dispatch outside the palace was not convenient enough. With his trust in eunuchs, he set up the East Hall in the palace. On the one hand, it also played a role in monitoring and controlling the imperial guards. Until the end of the Ming Dynasty, the imperial guards were replaced by the "Luan Yi guards" of the Qing Dynasty.