This article discusses topics about Xi-Chang, researching that emperors of Ming Dynasty established special units other than legitimate judicial system in order to consolidate their power. First, in Hongwu fifteen years (1382), the Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang ( 1328-1398) set up Jinyi-wei (Secret Service of the Imperial Court), a special unit of imperial bodyguard, who took charge of the emperor’s security. However, because the emperor was very depending on them, he granted them detective and arresting rights. During the rule of Emperor Zhu Di (1360-1424), concerning that the operation of Jinyi-wei was mainly outside of the palace and that the former left officials of Jianwen Emperor (1377~?) might rebel, in Yongle eighteen years (1420), Zhu Di set up another special unit –Dong Chang, which was formed by eunuchs in palace. Although Dong Chang didn’t own the legitimate judicial rights, they were granted rights to search, interrogate and torture; they could also intervene the judicial trials. Dong Chang was at a higher position than Jinyi-wei.
During the Chenghua period, due to the rebellion “Li Zilong the enchanter,” Hsien-tsung of Ming Dynasty established a new special unit-Xi Chang. Led by eunuch Wang-zhi, Xi Chang owned the equal rights with Jinyi-wei and Dong Chang and could supervise the two of them. After the establishment of Xi Chang, it caused abundant chaos to politics and the whole society. Xi Chang was founded and disestablish twice during the process, and it was repealed in March in Chenghua eighteen years (1428).
This article intends to research the origin of Xi Chang’s establishment, its duty, how it worked, the meaning of its short existence, and its influence on the public order, judicial system and the whole society in Ming Dynasty.
Key words: Jinyi-wei, Dong Chang, Xi Chang, Hsien tsung of Ming, Wang Zhi