Bai Juyi

Bai Juyi(772AD-846AD) was a noted realistic poet living during  the Tang Dynasty(618-907). His poems disclosed and satirized the guilt of vested interest to the masses; he was not satisfied with the dignitary, so he was elbowed out from the super stratum of society, demoted as an official, and ostracized far from the capital.

In the year 882, he was appointed as cishi(governor)of Hangzhou. At that time he observed that farmland in this area was often threaten by drought, while the officials there refused to allow the farmers to irrigate their crops with the water from West Lake. Finally, after geat effort and persistence, he successfully overcame resistance and censures, and he mobilized the folk there to built high the bank of West Lake higher. This innovative idea increased the water capacity of Hangzhou’s West Lake, effectively solving the the irrigation problem for hundreds of acres of farmland between Hangzhou and Haining. He also established a pragmatic rule stipulating that the floodgate for Westlake, big or small, should be never open for any other purpose other than irrigating the surrounding farmland. Another story represents the efficacy of his decisions. Once, when drinking water was urgently needed, it was obvious that something needed to be done.

Bai Juyi  organized the locals to dredge six wells that had been previously excavated by Li Bi, a Governor of Hangzhou during the reign of Emperor Tang Daizong, This provided much clean drinking water and it was distributed to Qiantangmen and Yongjinmen. This move greatly improved the drinking water conditions.. In year 824, Bai Juyi under orders from the government, left Hangzhou. The local people sadly saw him off, and moved by their  community action , he wrote a poem, "Leave the people of Hangzhou: Heavy tax enabled many to poverty, glebe to famine; a lake of water remained, hopes to relieve the harsh situation you suffer."

He felt sorry for the heavy tax burden imposed upon people and was upset for his inability to do more for the local people. In memory of Bai Juyi, the locals changed the name of Baisha causeway  in the southwest of Hangzhou city, to Baigong causeway, which has now become today’s Bai causeway for short.

Address: Gushan Road, Xihu District  (close to Ping Hu Qiu Yue) 西湖区孤山路