Imperial Commissioner (China)

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Imperial Commissioner (Chinese: 欽差大臣) was a high ranking government official or military general commissioned by the emperor of China during the late Ming (1368–1644) and Qing (1644–1911) dynasties. His power was just below that of the emperor, such that he could command viceroys and provincial governors by imperial edict.


Main responsibilities

Negotiations with foreign powers, for example Lin Zexu, Qishan and Shen Baozhen) as well as treaty ratification as exemplified by Qiying, Yixin, Prince Gong and Li Hongzhang.

Manage aid and unite local government in response to large-scale natural disasters.

Subsidiary responsibilities

Military recruitment and transport. Examples include Tan Lun, Hong Chengchou, Xiang Rong, Zuo Zongtang and Yuan Shikai

List of Imperial Commissioners (middle and late Ming dynasty)

Imperial Commissioners received a sword of office from the emperor.

1555 Tan Lun wokou suppression

1564 Yan Song (Ming dynasty)

1640 Hong Chengchou against the Qing

List of Imperial Commissioners (late Qing)

1838 Lin Zexu (First Opium War)

1840 Qishan (Qing dynasty)

1842 Qiying

1850 Lin Zexu (Taiping Rebellion)

1852 Ye Mingchen

1852 Xiang Rong

1858 Qiying

1860 Yixin, Prince Gong

1871 Shen Baozhen

1875 Zuo Zongtang

1885 Zuo Zongtang

1895 Li Hongzhang

1896 Li Hongzhang

1911 Zhao Erxun

1911 Yuan Shikai

See also