A Virtuous Official Prays on His Knees to Stop a Flood
(Minghui.org) Luo Zhonglin took office as the county commissioner of Zhouzhi, which is today's Shaanxi Province, in the sixteenth year of the Shunzhi era (1659 AD). Kangxi, the longest reigning emperor of the Qing Dynasty (1644 – 1912 AD), came to power in 1662.
That summer, the Shaanxi area experienced torrential rains. The Wei River overflowed on the southern bank and was about to flood Zhouzhi, the county seat. Luo fasted, bathed, and prayed on his knees in the rain. The rain stopped. The current changed direction and went northward a couple of miles. The county seat was spared from flooding.
Simplified Tax Laws End Bribery
In the eighth year of the Shunzhi era (1651 AD), Luo Zhonglin was promoted to head the prefecture of Changzhou, which is today's Jiangsu Province.
A number of counties in his jurisdiction were heavily taxed. The tax laws were overly complex, which allowed bureaucrats to extort money from residents. Luo simplified the tax code and cut government red tape. The transparent rules and regulations left no room for greedy officials to take bribes.
Each of the subordinate counties would usually hand over 3,000 gold coins to the officials in charge of transportation along the canal.
“If there is an extra profit of as much as 3,000 gold coins in each county, wouldn't this come out of the pockets of taxpayers?” He issued strict orders to prohibit this practice. None of the officials dared to take bribes any longer.
The following year, Luo's prefecture was hit hard by floods. He opened up government food warehouses and persuaded wealthy families to provide relief. No one in his jurisdiction had to leave town and become a refugee.
A year later, drought spread the area. Luo put on coarse clothes and straw sandals. He marched on the parched land and prayed for rainfall. Asking for forgiveness from heaven, with tears streaming down his cheeks, he blamed himself for his lack of virtue, which had brought hardship to the people.
Adapted from History of Qing Dynasty, Volume 476, Biography 263, Honest Officials 1.