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Bao, Judge. Bao Ch’eng (or Zheng) (999-1062 C.E.) was a Chinese magistrate who was famous for treating all classes fairly and showing no favoritism to the wealthy and powerful. After his death he became a figure of folklore and then heroic folktales and fiction. “Wenzhu Zhuren,” the pseudonym of the Chinese author Shih Yü-k'un, wrote a serialized libretto “The Cases of Judge Bao” (1865?) which starred a fictionalized version of Bao Ch’eng. The libretto was later published as a novel, with twenty-three unauthorized sequels following by authors, through 1922.

Centuries ago, in China, Judge Bao is a magistrate of the greatest rectitude and integrity. He is incorruptible and immune to bribery. He is always stern and grave, rarely smiling and seeming to lack any sense of humor. He has the power to investigate, judge, and punish. He is respected even in Hell. He has a magic pillow on which he will lay his head and communicate with the underworld. He is a cunning and astute detective who is capable of subterfuge and even torture if it will gain him the confession he needs to punish the guilty. His enemies vary from corrupt high officials to the ghosts of animals. Bao is assisted by a variety of Nüxia/Wüxia, who carry out Bao’s legwork.

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