Year of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Philosophy (MPhil)



Principal Supervisor



China;China;History;Internal security;Ming dynasty, 1368-1644;Qing dynasty, 1644-1912;Social conditions.




中國歷代政府均視地方治安為重要的政治議題,治安議題也就成為治史者瞭解古代中國政治運作的一門路徑。過去有關「明清基層社會與治安」的研究,向為中外學者頗感興趣的課題。本文的重點是討論明清之際基層社會的治安管理情況,為此提出了四個既是獨立但又環環相扣的問題。有別於過往研究,本文將以捕役這類普遍存在於明清基層社會,而又備受現今學者忽略的基層公務員為切入點,首先重新梳理他們在明清之際出現的原因以及演變過程,解釋他們在明中後期才成為專門的治安人員,並釐清包括捕役在內的應捕人專責維持社會秩序。其次, 闡述捕役在基層社會中的職能,指出他們擁有頗大的治安和司法權力。接著討論捕役機制存在待遇差劣以及人手編排不足等制度性問題,因而促使捕役濫用職權,從而達到經濟和治安目的。至於捕役犯罪情節的內容和影響,本文摒棄傳統以小說內容入手的做法,改以多部判牘內有關捕役犯罪的真實個案着手,得出「誣良為盜」和「屈打成招」是他們最常見的犯罪行為的結論,這些罪行對基層社會的治安和司法運作造成重大問題。最後把焦點從治安人員轉移到管理這些群體的地方官員上,透過地方官員對待捕役的態度,反映官員在治安管理上的困難和理解。他們一方面面對統治者的治安要求,另一方面又受制度上及資源上的限制,所以只能以加重懲罰的高壓方法來提高捕役完成治安任務的可能和減低他們犯罪的機會。這種態度表層意義反映他們只視捕役為「治安工具」,更深層意義是揭示地方官員對治安管理的終極理解──完成治安任務。要言之,本文透過捕役以及管理這些治安人員的地方官員,帶出地方治安管理的政策和問題,以另一個角度,瞭解明清之際基層社會的治安情況和特色。study focuses on the social public order and management of the local society during the Ming-Qing transition. Four independent but related questionsare raised for discussions to achieve such aims. First of all, this thesis focuses onthe buyi (捕役, literally local constables). They were a type of grass-root civilservant which permeates the local society of the Ming-Qing period, but long beenignored by the modern historians. In order to understand how they becameindispensable public security staffs and to clarify their responsiblities, their rolesand deeds in the transition period between Ming and Qing, as well as theirtransformation process in the due course are discussed. Secondly, the functions ofbuyi in the local society are explored to point out the great power on security andjudicial aspect they had seized. After that the institutional issues including a lackof manpower and low remuneration level are discussed, as such issues had pushedthe buyi to misuse their power to seek for their own benefits. The third questionrelated to the criminal committed by the buyi. In this chapter the crimes of thebuyi are reconstructed from judicial casebooks rather than the late Ming novels.From such cases the most common crimes of those buyi are fallen into thecatergories of Accused on innocent person and Tortured for confessions . Suchcrimes were serious problem to the local judiciary as well as the social order. Atlast our focus is shifted from those local security staff to those local officials. Inorder to reveal the difficulties and understanding on maintaining local social orderfrom the viewpoint of officials, how they treated those buyi is thoroughlydiscussed. On one hand the officials had to obey the nationwide policies imposedto them by the imperial authority, on the other hand they were restricted by thelocal institutions and resources, therefore the officials could only raise the level ofpenalties so as to lower the possibility of those buyi to commit crimes, and also toimprove their willingness to fulfil their duty. Such difficulties of the officialsmade them to treat the buyi as tools for social order maintenance . Incidentally, itrevealed that the ultimate understanding of Ming-Qing local officials on socialorder maintenance was to accomplish on surface their missions of social orderissued from their seniors, other than establish solutions to uproot sources ofcrimes or to build an effective and uncorrupted force of local constables.To conclude, this thesis asks us to pay attention to the policies and issues onlocal social order of late imperial China by exploring the buyi and the localofficials whom managing them.


指導老師: 譚家齊博士;硏究論文呈交歷史系. ; 論文(哲學碩士)--香港浸會大學, 2018.


Includes bibliographical references.

Available for download on Saturday, August 01, 2020