HaiRui (1514 – 1587), born in Qiongshan, Hainan Province, was a Chinese official in the Ming Dynasty. In China, he is remembered as a statesman for his honesty and integrity in office. He has been praised as “海青天” (Hai Qing Tian).
HaiRui was raised by his mother. His father died when he was three.
HaiRui was unsuccessful in the official examinations. His official career only began when he was 36, with a humble position as clerk of eduction in Fujian Province. He gained a reputation for his uncompromising adherence to upright morality, scrupulous honesty, poverty and fairness. This won him widespread popular support but made him many enemies in the bureaucracy. Eventually he submitted a memorial impeaching the Jiajing Emperor himself in 1565 and was imprisoned. He was released after the Emperor died in early 1567.
HaiRui was reappointed under the Longqing Emperor. He was soon forced to resign in 1570 after complaints were made over his overzealous handling of land-tenure issues. He was disappointed and retired to his hometown for the next 15 years. In 1585, he was brought back to the Empire’s “auxiliary capital” of Nanjing to serve under the Wanli Emperor. HaiRui was promoted to censor-in-chief of Nanjing a year later, but passed away in office in the third year of service at the age of 74.
The HaiRui Tomb was originally built in 1589 during the Ming Dynasty, and some of the constructions in the tomb garden remain intact. Today, it is a key cultural relic preservation of Hainan Province.
The HaiRui Tomb is located on 39 Qiuhai Avenue, Longhua, Haikou, Hainan Island, China, 570311. The entrance fee is 10 yuan.
The HaiRui Tomb has become a famous scenic spot in Haikou and is a place worthy of a visit. You will be greeted by the exuberant coconut palms, pines and sweet lotus, which make the tomb garden tranquil, simple. You can view the amazing architecture and also learn more about HaiRui.
I visited the HaiRui Tomb with my wife on 23 December 2014. We spent about 3 hours touring around the tomb garden. I am posting the photographs that we snapped during the visit in this blog. I hope you will enjoy viewing them and at the same time get to know a little about this great statesman.
The Exhibition Hall displays some materials about HaiRui and his handwritings and carved stone. These will help deepen you in the understanding of this outstanding official in Chinese history.
The passage to the HaiRui Tomb is about 100 meter long. Exuberant coconut trees, pines, bamboo and cypresses shield the cemetery all year round. Many stone sculptures of tiger, sheep, horse, lion and man stand along both sides of this path leading to the tomb.
Walking forward along the passage way, you can see a stone tortoise carrying a stele on its back.
The stories, cultural relics and antiques related to the life experience of HaiRui are exhibited in the Pavilion of Breeze.
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