Chinese history

Satisfactory Essays
Chapter 35 from Chinese Civilization presents the intense debate between Wang Anshi and Sima Guang in terms of a series of reforming policies conducted by Wang. Essentially, the debate is denominational: Sima, an advocator of Confucius, represents the conservatives, and Wang represents innovationists. Wang and Sima were in fact good friends and both were erudite central government officials, yet they held very different political stand. Sima highly emphasizes the conservative Confucius philosophy, and Wang is a progressive and strive to reform economic policies. The article begins with Sima’s narrative record, presenting their argument specifically on whether government officials should accept gifts during sacrifice and elevated to the argument on whether central fiscal administration is effective. The article then includes a letter Sima sent to Wang and Wang’s reply. They both provide very convincing argument with historical reference. However, they are drastically different in their style and approach. Personally, I think that the nature of the Wang’s reform is the right thing. Nevertheless, his stubborn and Sima pointed out that “the country is currentl short of funds and disasters occur repeatedly”. Therefore, officials should turn down gifts to set an example. Wang countered that not accepting gifts would “damage the prestige of the government” Wang further stated that “the country is short of funds is because the government has not found someone good at finance.” Sima on the other hand believed that “The things produced by Heaven or earth are finite. They are owned either by the people or government”; in other words, financial expert could do nothing but impose heave tax on people to raise funds for the government. Both Sima and Wang offered logical and convincing argument with historical reference.

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