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Wang An-shih

Wang An-shih (wäng än-shûr) [key], 1021–86, Chinese Sung dynasty statesman. As a chief councilor (1069–74, 1075–76) he directed sweeping administrative and fiscal reforms that drew strong conservative opposition. His aim was to strengthen the central government, but the poor also benefited from reforms such as the graduated land tax, cheap government credit, and reduction of the forced labor levy. Wang revived government price and commodity controls, local police administration, and the militia system. Followers of Wang competed with conservative bureaucratic opponents for high office after his resignation.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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