Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10397/62620
Title: The life and career of Su Jian : re-examining the issue of civil officials taking charge of military affairs
Authors: Ng, PS 
Keywords: Civil officials in charge of military affairs
Civil officials with military skills
Civil-military relations
Emphasize the civil and de-emphasize the military
Su Jian
Issue Date: 2013
Publisher: Chinese University of Hong Kong, Institute of Chinese Studies
Source: Journal of Chinese studies, Jan. 2013, v. 56, p. 101-141 How to cite?
Journal: Journal of Chinese studies 
Abstract: This paper, based on the life and career history of Su Jian (1016-1076), examines the practice in the Northern Song for civil officials to be in charge of military affairs. As far as this author observes, a good number of modern scholars tend to interpret the civil-military relations in terms of the prominence that the government placed upon the civil and its efforts to de-emphasize the military. The life and the career history of Su Jian, however, shed new light on this political practice. When Su was serving in counties and prefectures as a civil official, he needed to handle not only the livelihood of his subjects as well as the civil administration; more importantly, he also had to manage military affairs because of the political instability caused by banditry and mutiny in the region. In other words, to ensure regional peace and order, any official in such a capacity would have to be militarily capable. In addition, Su's subsequent reassignment to the military was a clear indication that a crossover from the civil to the military was not an impossible move. In fact, by giving an additional military post, a civil official was charged with intensive involvements with local governance and territorial expansion. Su's service record offers itself for further discussion on the issue of civil-military relations, an issue that deserves to be re-examined, redefined, and reinterpreted. The paper also looks at Su's vehement resistance against foreign invasions and his death in the siege of Yongzhou, a territorial confrontation resulting from the expansion campaign promoted by Wang Anshi.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10397/62620
ISSN: 1016-4464
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