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Traditional Chinese
Simplified Chinese
Literal meaningTerrace of Imperial Scribes/historians
Ming, Qing
Literal meaningMetropolitan/Chief/General Inspection Court
Vietnamese name
Vietnamese alphabetĐô sát viện
Chữ Hán都察院

The Censorate was a high-level supervisory agency in Imperial China, first established during the Qin dynasty (221–207 BC).[1]

The Censorate was a highly effective agency during the Mongol-led Yuan dynasty (1271–1368). During the Ming dynasty (1368–1644), the Censorate was a branch of the centralized bureaucracy, paralleling the Six Ministries and the five Chief Military Commissions, and was directly responsible to the emperor.[2] The investigating censors were "the eyes and ears" of the emperor and checked administrators at each level to prevent corruption and malfeasance, a common feature of that period. Popular stories told of righteous censors revealing corruption as well as censors who accepted bribes. Generally speaking, they were feared and disliked, and had to move around constantly to perform their duties.

Internal structure

The Censorate was divided into three branches ().


Đô sát viện ấn (都察院印), the Great Seal of the Censorate of the Nguyễn dynasty.

During the Nguyễn dynasty a representative from the censorate served as a member of a government commission formed to create inscriptions for the 1 mạch cash coins.[3]

See also



  1. ^ Xue, Deshu; Qi, Xiuqian. "Research on Supervision System in Ancient China and Its Contemporary Reference" (PDF). Advances in Social Science, Education and Humanities Research. 319: 415.
  2. ^ Hucker (1958), p. 49
  3. ^ François Thierry de Crussol (蒂埃里) (2011). "The Confucian Message on Vietnamese Coins, A closer look at the Nguyễn dynasty's large coins with moral maxims », Numismatic Chronicle, 2011, pp. 367-406". Retrieved August 22, 2019.