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Encyclopedia > To burn the classics and to bury the scholars

To burn the classics and to bury the scholars (焚书坑儒) refers to a policy in the Qin Dynasty. According to Records of the Grand Historian, after Qin Shi Huang unified China for the first time, his prime minister Li Si suggested to suppress the Freedom of speech (入则心非,出则巷议,夸主以为名,异取以为高,率群下以造谤) and unify thoughts and political opinions. Since 213 BC, all classics books of Hundred Schools of Thought except Li Si's own school, Legalism, were subject to be burned. In addition, more than 460 scholars were buried alive at 212 BC. The Qin Dynasty (秦朝 Pinyin Qín, Wade-Giles Chin; 221 BC - 207 BC) was preceded by the Zhou Dynasty and followed by the Han Dynasty in China. ... The Records of the Grand Historian or the Records of the Grand Historian of China (Chinese: 史記; pinyin: ; Wade-Giles: Shih-chi; literally Historical Records) was the magnum opus of Sima Qian, in which he recounted Chinese history from the time of the mythical Yellow Emperor until his own time. ... Qin Shi Huang (秦始皇) (November or December 260 BC-September 10, 210 BC), personal name Zheng, was king of the Chinese State of Qin from 247 BC to 221 BC, and then the first emperor of a unified China from 221 BC to 210 BC, ruling under the name First Emperor. ... Li Si (Chinese: 李斯; pinyin: ; Wade-Giles: Li Ssu) (ca. ... A public demonstration Freedom of speech is often regarded as an integral concept in modern liberal democracies, where it is understood to outlaw censorship. ... The Hundred Schools of Thought (諸子百家 Pinyin: zhÅ« zǐ bÇŽi jiā) was an era of great cultural and intellectual expansion in China that lasted from 770 BCE to 222 BCE. Coinciding with the Spring and Autumn and Warring States periods, and also known as the Golden Age of Chinese thought... Legalism has several meanings. ...


The quick fall of Qing Dynasty was attributed to this policy. Confucianism was revived in the following Han Dynasty, but many other schools disappeared since then. This policy eventually became a Chinese Four character idiom to descirbe policies against educated people. Confucianism (儒家, Pinyin rújiā, literally The School of the Scholars; or, less accurately, 孔教 kŏng jiào, The Religion of Kong) is an East Asian ethical and philosophical system originally developed from the teachings of Confucius. ... Han commanderies and kingdoms AD 2. ...


Zhang Jie, a famous poet in the Tang Dynasty, wrote a poem refers to this policy: The Tang Dynasty (唐朝 pinyin: tángcháo) (June 18, 618 – June 4, 907) followed the Sui Dynasty and preceded the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period in China. ...

  • Chinese:
    • 坑灰未冷山东乱
    • 刘项原来不读书
  • Translation:
    • Even before the ashes in the burning pit became cold, riots started in Shandong already;
    • It turned out that Liu Bang and Xiang Yu were both uneducated.

 
 

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