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 Government of the Han Dynasty

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Registration date : 2010-11-14

PostSubject: Government of the Han Dynasty   Sat Mar 12, 2011 8:35 am

The Han Dynasty (206 BCE 220 CE) of ancient China was the second imperial dynasty of China, following the Qin Dynasty (221206 BCE). It was divided into the periods of Western Han (206 BCE 9 CE) and Eastern Han (25220 CE), and briefly interrupted by the Xin Dynasty (923 CE) of Wang Mang. The capital of Western Han was Chang'an, and the capital of Eastern Han was Luoyang. The emperor headed the government, promulgating all written laws, serving as commander-in-chief of the armed forces, and presiding as the chief executive official. He appointed all government officials who earned a salary of 600 bushels of grain or more (though these salaries were largely paid in coin cash) with the help of advisors who reviewed each nominee. Near the beginning of the dynasty, semi-autonomous regional kings rivaled the emperor's authority. This autonomy was greatly diminished when the imperial court enacted reforms following the threats to central control like the Rebellion of the Seven States. The empress dowager could either be the emperor's actual or symbolic mother, and was in practice more powerful than the emperor, as she could override his decisions. The emperor's executive powers could also be practiced by any official upon whom he bestowed the Staff of Authority. These powers included the right to execute criminals without the imperial court's permission.

The highest officials in the central bureaucracy, who provided advisory, censorial, executive, and judicial roles in governing the empire, consisted of cabinet members known as the Excellencies, heads of large specialized ministries known as the Nine Ministers, and various metropolitan officials of the capital region.[note 1] Distinguished salary-ranks were granted to officials in the bureaucracy, nobles of the imperial family, concubines of the harem, and military officers of the armed forces.

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