ABC-5's new Asianovela aims to stress the values oftransparency and incorruptibility among government officials. Judge Bao,a Mandarin period drama that began airing last November 12 on ABC-5, tells thestory of the legendary Bao Zheng (999-1062), who was a much-praised judgeduring the Song Dynasty. Because of his renowned fairness, he remains apowerful icon in Chinese popular culture to this day, especially for thedisenfranchised who seek justice. He is often portrayed with a black face and awhite crescent-shaped birthmark on his forehead, suggesting the impartiality anduprightness of an ancient Chinese official.
Bao was born into a cultured and scholarly family in Anhui, China. At the ageof 29, he passed the highest level of the Imperial Exams and was qualified toserve as a magistrate in Kaifei, the capital city of the Song Dynasty.
He was well known and respected for his uncompromising principles againstcorruption especially among government officials. He never yielded to pressure, noteven to the "royal" father-in-law. He also had conflicts with other powerfulmembers of the Imperial Court, including Prime Minister Song Yang. He once had30 high officials demoted or dismissed for corruption and bribery.
There are many legends and stories about Bao and his witty approach to solvingmysteries and tough cases.
For the November 19 episode, Qin Xianglian came with her children to thecapital city of Kaifeng to look for her husband Chen Shimei. They had beenmarried for 10 years when Chen bid goodbye to his parents, wife and childrenbefore setting off to take the Imperial Examinations and, eventually, marryingroyalty (the Emperor's daughter).
At the palace, Chen refused to see her and the children forfear that this would compromise his position and favorable future. The wife'spleas and the children's tears all failed to move his hardened heart. With allher hopes shattered, Xianglian confided her woes to Judge Bao.
Bao, famous for his impartial and incorruptible character, was filled with ragewith the crimes of the emperor's son-in-law. He invited Chen over to his placefor a meeting and after failing to persuade him to make amends, Bao had himarrested.
The legend of Judge Bao airs weeknights onABC-5 after Sentro.
The news alarmed the emperor and his daughter, Chen's second wife. They offeredBao three hundred teals of silver to withdraw the case, but the morally uprightjudge bravely put Chen to death.