Ming Dynasty: Reborn as Zhu Yunwen
Ming Dynasty: Reborn as Zhu Yunwen Chapter 14

Chapter 14: Great Ming Security Bureau.

Reforms are never an overnight process. Zhu Yunwen was familiar with Marxist-Leninist principles and understood the importance of “seeking truth from facts.” Simply transplanting the experiences and mindset of future generations to the Ming dynasty would only result in resistance and an unsatisfactory outcome.

For now, setting aside commercial matters, the construction of the court was of utmost importance. Despite the apparent stability of the court, hidden currents were constantly surging, and a significant portion of these undercurrents originated from the influential nobility groups.

These noble factions were often composed of the second generation of the nobility, exerting considerable influence within the court.

Unfortunately, the majority of the first-generation nobility were essentially exterminated by Zhu Yuanzhang, and only a few managed to survive. Tang He, the Duke of Xinguo, survived, but he passed away from illness three years ago.

Geng Bingwen, the Marquis of Changxing, is still alive, but he is already sixty-four years old and primarily a skilled defensive general. While his loyalty is not a major concern, his age makes him unfit for the rigors of battle and unable to deter the ambitions of the younger generation.

For the past few days, Zhu Yunwen has been studying the reform of the Five Army Commandery. Without transforming the military structure, it will be difficult to realize the dream of a strong army.

The dilemma of having commanders who lack military knowledge and soldiers who do not recognize their leaders greatly undermines the combat effectiveness of the army.

Zhu Yunwen’s gaze is fixed on the position of the Left Army Commandery in the organizational chart, where there is a name: Li Jinglong.

Zhu Yunwen despises Li Jinglong because, in history, Li Jinglong was a complete imbecile and traitor.

During the Jingnan Rebellion, Emperor Jianwen appointed Li Jinglong as the Grand General and entrusted him with leading a force of five hundred thousand troops to attack the nine gates of Beiping. As Commander Qü Neng was about to breach the Zhangye Gate, Li Jinglong, fearing that Qü Neng would steal the credit, ordered a retreat, resulting in a defeat.

Later in the Battle of Baigou River, Li Jinglong suffered a major defeat, abandoning all his troops, and fleeing back alone to Nanjing.

Not to mention, during Zhu Di’s assault on Nanjing, Li Jinglong acted as a treacherous traitor and, together with the King of Gu, Zhu Hui, opened the Jinchuan Gate of Nanjing, allowing Zhu Di to easily conquer the city.

Zhu Yunwen is well aware of this period in history.

Although Li Jinglong had not betrayed Zhu Yunwen at this time, Zhu Yunwen did not like him at all for being a fool, an idiot, and a potential traitor.

If Zhu Yunwen had not just ascended to the throne and reigned for a short period, he might have even considered killing Li Jinglong.

Shuangxi knocked on the door.

Zhu Yunwen walked out of the side hall, and Shuangxi respectfully handed him a memorial, saying softly, “Your Majesty, Duke of Wei has sent a confidential report.”

Zhu Yunwen opened the confidential report and read it carefully. When he came across the words “Front Army Left Commander Li Zengzhi has left the city and headed straight to Yangzhou Prefecture,” his gaze slightly hardened, emanating a chilling aura.

“Where is the King of Yan?” Zhu Yunwen asked.

Shuangxi quickly replied, “He has passed Huai’an and should be approaching Gaoyou soon.”

Just south of Gaoyou[1]Gaoyou (simplified Chinese: 高邮; traditional Chinese: 高郵; pinyin: Gāoyóu), is a county-level city under the administration … Continue reading is Yangzhou Prefecture.

A cold smile crept onto Zhu Yunwen’s lips. He hadn’t even had the chance to meet Zhu Di yet, and these military officials and nobles had already taken the initiative to make contact. Did they really think he was blind?

Li Zengzhi was nothing to worry about, but behind him stood Li Jinglong, who held considerable power.

Indeed, the influence of Li Wenzhong still lingers, and there are close connections between Li Jinglong and Li Wenzhong’s former subordinates. Moreover, Li Jinglong holds the title of Marquis of Cao. Unless he commits a significant offense, it won’t be easy to take action against him.

As an emperor, one must consider methods, reasons, and implications before making decisions. It’s not as simple as speaking a few words to resolve a person’s fate.

As powerful as Zhu Yuanzhang was, he still came up with a pile of excuses when he killed Hu Weiyong.

After careful consideration, Zhu Yunwen burned the confidential report and said to Shuangxi, “Some people’s appetites are never satisfied. They always want to eat more without considering whether their stomachs can digest it all.”

Shuangxi lowered his head, not daring to speak.

“Never mind, let them be. What are those Kings and princes in the capital busy with?” Zhu Yunwen asked.

Shuangxi quickly responded, “Your Majesty, the princes haven’t been particularly active these days, although Prince Gaoyang, Zhu Gaoxu, has been a bit more conspicuous. He has been seen frequenting some entertainment venues with Li Zengzhi.”

“Heh, unable to withstand a little loneliness even during the mourning period. It seems that Zhu Gaoxu also has his shortcomings…” Zhu Yunchuan chuckled lightly.

If a person cannot even control their own desires, their achievements will inevitably not last long.

Achieving greatness requires willpower, wisdom, capability, and also self-discipline, knowing what one should and should not do!


Shuangxi hesitated.

“But what?”

Zhu Yunwen asked.

Shuangxi quickly knelt and said, “Your Majesty, it’s just a rumor I heard…”

“Speak up, I won’t blame you,” Zhu Yunwen reassured.

Shuangxi said, “Your Majesty, I have heard that the King of Ning has a close interaction with the Duke of Cao, and they have been getting drunk together in the King of Qiyang’s residence in recent days. However, I cannot confirm the truth of these rumors.”

Zhu Yunwen chuckled and asked, “What else have you heard?”

Shuangxi said with unease, “I have also heard that the King of Ning is skilled at making connections and has close ties with influential military figures…”

Zhu Yunwen waved his hand and said, “Investigate who told you this information and apprehend them for interrogation.”


Shuangxi looked at Zhu Yunwen in surprise.

Zhu Yunwen looked at Shuangxi with a somewhat cold gaze and said, “You are my eyes and ears. What you hear and see is often what others want you to hear and see. Go and investigate. Someone wants to divert my attention to the King of Ning. Find out who is so clever!”

Shuangxi broke out in a cold sweat and remained kneeling.

“It seems that it’s time to reinstate the Jinyiwei (Embroidered Uniform Guard)[2]The Embroidered Uniform Guard (traditional Chinese: 錦衣衞; simplified Chinese: 锦衣卫; pinyin: Jǐnyīwèi; lit. ‘brocade-clad guard’) … Continue reading,” Zhu Yunwen sighed inwardly.

He cannot rely solely on the Five Military Commandery or the Grand Secretariat to know everything. These individuals all have their own personal interests and networks. If someone deliberately conceals information, he would only be a deaf and blind person sitting in the depths of the palace.

The Jinyiwei was created by Zhu Yuanzhang. It was originally known as the Gongwei(Guarding and Escort) Bureau, later transformed into the Imperial Guards office, overseeing the emperor’s ceremonial guards and attendants. In the fifteenth year of the Hongwu reign, Zhu Yuanzhang disbanded the Office of Imperial Guards and reestablished it as the Jinyiwei.

During the early Ming dynasty, The main authority of the Jinyiwei was to be responsible for the direct escorting of the emperor, performing guard duties, and conducting patrols and apprehensions, They were directly responsible to the Emperor. The Jinyiwei had the power to arrest any individuals, including members of the imperial family and high-ranking officials,. Furthermore, they had the ability to conduct interrogations without the involvement of the three judicial offices.

During the Hongwu era, the Jinyiwei dressed in “flying fish” uniforms, was a nightmare for many ministers.

A Sentence in “Ming History, Study of Law”, proves the terrifying nature of the Jinyiwei: “Case of Hu Weiyong, Lan Yu, Implicated and persecuted up to forty thousand people.”

This kind of mass persecution was largely a result of the actions carried out by the Jinyiwei, and of course, it was related to the paranoid nature of Zhu Yuanzhang and his tacit approval.

In the twentieth year of the Hongwu era, Zhu Yuanzhang abolished the Jinyiwei. However, after Zhu Di ascended to the throne, the Jinyiwei was reinstated and, along with the notorious “Eastern Depot,” became one of the most feared organizations in the Ming Dynasty.

Zhu Yunwen was well aware that the ministers would undoubtedly oppose the reinstatement of the Jinyiwei. They were weary and afraid of those dark and oppressive days. However, Zhu Yunwen also refused to be without obedient ears and eyes.

Relying solely on the Five Military Commandery, Grand Secretariat, and the Imperial Censor, it is highly likely that other voices may not be heard.

Zhu Yunwen doesn’t advocate violence, but he needs an institution similar to the Jinyiwei to gather information and provide more detailed intelligence for him.

In consideration of the significant resistance faced in directly restoring the Jin Yi Wei, Zhu Yunwen decided to establish a new department under his direct control, responsible for various intelligence investigations within the Ming Empire. This department will be named the “Great Ming Security Bureau(大明安全局).”

Zhu Yunwen establishes the Great Ming Security Bureau, It’s only a reorganization of the emperor’s personal guard and its application. This does not require approval from the Grand Secretariat and the Six Ministries. However, to prevent panic among the Grand Secretariat and court officials, Zhu Yunwen issues a decree with the following general idea:

The Great Ming Security Bureau is primarily responsible for Combatting actions that pose a threat to the security of the Ming Dynasty, Engaging in covert operations against enemies, Safeguarding national security, and Maintaining social and political stability.

As for gathering intelligence, investigating military situations, and gathering information, these activities are also carried out in the interest of the security of the Ming Dynasty.

To prevent the excessive power and arbitrary actions of the Great Ming Security Bureau, Zhu Yunwen issued an order stating that the bureau is not allowed to arrest, detain, or interrogate any government officials without his or the Grand Secretariat’s permission.

In other words, the Great Ming Security Bureau has the authority to conduct investigations and take action, but it does not have the power to arrest or interrogate individuals. If the need for interrogation arises, it must be done in collaboration with the Three Judicial Offices. The bureau cannot independently carry out interrogations

Compared to the Jinyiwei, the Great Ming Security Bureau has indeed had its fangs removed.

Even if the Grand Secretariat wanted to oppose, they couldn’t voice their opposition. Some officials in the court expressed concerns and were preparing to submit memorials to voice their opposition. However, before the memorials could be submitted, they were confiscated by the Grand Secretariat and they might even be destroyed tomorrow.

The Emperor has given face to the Grand Secretariat and the central government. The Grand Secretariat and the central government also need to take care of the Emperor’s dignity, don’t they?

Even Fang Xiaoru, who advocated civil governance, did not utter a word of dissent regarding the establishment of the Great Ming Security Bureau.

In essence, the Great Ming Security Bureau and Jinyiwei are not different; both are independent intelligence and security agencies responsible to the Emperor.

But in terms of characteristics, Jinyiwei was like a wild and untamed wolf that would pounce on anyone it saw, relentlessly biting and attacking. It would continue biting one person after another. On the other hand, the Great Ming Security Bureau is different. It is more like a horse held by a rein. While it can neigh and run freely, it ultimately will not bite anyone.

Fang Xiaoru does not oppose the existence of such an institution because he understands it is a means for the emperor to maintain his rule.

If the higher-ups do not speak up, the voices of those below will be futile.

On the tenth day of July in the thirty-first year of the Hongwu era, Zhu Yunwen issued a clear decree to establish the Great Ming Security Bureau.

The Great Ming Security Bureau stepped onto the stage of Ming history, becoming a blunt yet formidable sword in the hands of Zhu Yunwen. Though it may not appear sharp, it is unstoppable!

On July 16th, outside the city of Yangzhou.

Zhu Di looked at Li Zengzhi, who was approaching from a distance. With a smile on his face, he turned to Qiu Fu beside him and said, “These people still have their uses.”

Qiu Fu glanced at Li Zengzhi and smiled, saying, “Your Highness’s words are absolutely right.”

As they approached closer, Li Zengzhi dismounted from his horse and shouted loudly, “Li Zengzhi, the Left Commander of the Front Army, pays respects to the King of Yan.”

Zhu Di quickly dismounted and called out, “Commander Li, please rise quickly. After traveling for over a month, it is comforting to see family here in Yangzhou Prefecture.”

Li Zengzhi, seeing Zhu Di’s approachable demeanor and referring to him as family, couldn’t help but smile. He quickly extended his invitation, saying, “Uncle, I have made arrangements in the city. Please come with me and take some rest before continuing your journey to the capital.”

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1 Gaoyou (simplified Chinese高邮traditional Chinese高郵pinyinGāoyóu), is a county-level city under the administration of YangzhouJiangsu province, China, located in the Yangtze River Delta on the north side of the Yangtze River.
2 The Embroidered Uniform Guard (traditional Chinese: 錦衣衞; simplified Chinese: 锦衣卫; pinyinJǐnyīwèilit. ‘brocade-clad guard’) was the imperial secret police that served the emperors of the Ming dynasty in China.[1][2] The guard was founded by the Hongwu Emperor in 1368 to serve as his personal bodyguards. In 1369 it became an imperial military body. They were given the authority to overrule judicial proceedings in prosecutions with full autonomy in arresting, interrogating and punishing anyone, including nobles and the emperor’s relatives.

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