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By Kwan Man Bun (auth.)

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Extra info for Beyond Market and Hierarchy: Patriotic Capitalism and the Jiuda Salt Refinery, 1914–1953

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Zhuang Yunkuan (1866–1932, holder of certificate 67 with ten shares) served as the chief censor (1914–1916) (Du suzhengshi) and headed the Audit Yuan (Shenjiyuan) from 1917 to 1927. In addition to Liang Qichao’s brief service as director-general of the Salt Administration in 1917, at least two divisional commissioners were also involved: Li Binshi in Changlu (1913–1914), Northeastern provinces (1915) and Liangzhe (1915); Luo Zhenfang in the Northeastern provinces (1913–1915) and Deng Xiaoke who reformed Sichuan’s salt administration system, as well as members of Jing Benbai’s Salt Administration Discussion Society: Chen Jingmin, Fang Jilin and Zuo Xiqin.

While vulunerable to power politics and the demands of the groups consortium, the efficacy of the revenue inspectorate as an insulated institution also declined as the country descended into political chaos. Provincial and local withholding began to appear in 1916 with Guangdong, Yunnan, and Sichuan under Nationalist control, followed by various provincial authorities as the central government disintegrated after the death of Yuan Shikai. Between 1914 and 1937, while the total amount of gabelle audited grew consistently through rate hikes and other reforms, tripling from 68 million yuan to 217 million, salt released under audit for domestic consumption hovered between 37 million dan (1914) and 48 million dan (1922).

By October 1915, the plant was ready for production. Battling Bureaucrats Jiuda’s battle, however, had only just begun. The return of Zhou Xuexi in March 1915 as Finance Minister exposed the transitive liability of the company’s network. 63 Henceforth, Jing continued his campaign as a private citizen, albeit a well-connected one, over issues that affected the company’s viability: the length of grace period and method of gabelle payment, franchise regulations, scientific determination of wastage rate, and whether the gabelle should be adjusted accordingly.

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