Rebellions and Revolutions: China from the 1800s to the 1980s

By Jack Gray | Go to book overview

THE IMPERIAL EXAMINATION SYSTEM

The course of the examining process began with an examination at the xian (county) level, passing of which qualified the candidate to sit a prefectural test for acceptance on a short list of candidates who were then examined at the prefectural capital under the province's director of education. There was a quota for each xian for the number who could succeed in this test.

Graduates were called shengyuan (government students), but were more popularly known as xiucai (cultivated talents), and became officially members of the 'gentry', with the right to a stipend and to various privileges under the law.

Every three years examinations were held at provincial level under an examiner appointed by the Emperor. Graduates were called juren (recommended men); again, each xian (county) was given a quota.

Every three years two levels of examinations were held in the capital; the first produced a short list of candidates who, at the second level, were examined again under the personal supervision of the Emperor. Graduates were called jinshi (pre- sented scholars). There were in this case quotas by province.

The most distinguished metropolitan graduates were usually appointed to be members of the Hanlin Academy, the supreme institution of Chinese scholarship.

-lxvi-

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