The Han Emperors’ Dilemma: War, Taxes, and a Brave Plea

Mark Elvin, Jessica Rawson, Jonathan D. Spence

The Han Emperors struggled between a policy of waging war against the Hsiung Nu or passive defense with diplomacy. [ p 27 The Pattern of the Chinese Past by Mark Elvin. A dated 1973 book but still the best book on the history of the social and economic development of pre- modern China].

The struggle was due to the enormous costs for waging wars in the far western regions.

The taxes imposed on the people to raise funds for warfare was too much for them to bear.

Here we have an eloquent appeal to the Han Emperor not to raise taxes.

It’s by a senior adviser by the name of Chao Tso/ Chao Cuo in Hanyu pinyin.

Their sense of dedication is amazing considering that they can be executed if the petition is not favoured by the Emperor.

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