Tomb of Hai Rui

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Hai Rui (1514 - 1587), born in Hainan Province, was an official in the Ming Dynasty. He is famed as a statesman for his honesty and performance of his duty as well as his clean life. After his death, people chose the location in obedience to his spirit from 'heaven'.

One typical story illustrates his honesty. After seeing the emperor wink at the corruption of court officials, he prepared a coffin for his death and said farewell to his wife. Then he went to the emperor, expressing his criticism and advice. His words were not accepted but cost him his court position and he was jailed. After his release, he returned to his hometown and helped with irrigation projects. At the age of 72, he was employed again by the court to work in Nanjing, and passed away in the third year of his service.

His integrity also gained people's recognition. When he worked for the court, he was needy and could not pay for servants. He wrote articles or inscriptions for others in order to earn money. This was quite uncommon because in Chinese feudal society, most officials had servants and lived a rich life. After his death when people helped clear up his mementoes, they were surprised to find only eight taels of silver and a few clothes.

On the day they buried Hai Rui, their admired official, all the people ceased their own matters to attend the funeral, crying and grieving. When the coffin was carried to the very spot where the present tomb is situated, the rope of the coffin broke and people believed this was the place that Hai Rui chose for himself. Thus the Tomb of Hai Rui was built on that spot.

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