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Chapter 255: Crown Prince, Why the Worried Look?
Minxin City isn’t far. After leaving the gates of the capital, it’s only about seven or eight li to the east. So, everyone wasn’t in a hurry; they set off leisurely.
After getting permission from Crown Prince Xia Tianqiong of the Great Xia Empire, they decided to start by exploring the capital and then head towards Minxin City. As they walked along the streets of the capital, Xia Tianqiong was greatly surprised.
Because he found that the capital was incredibly lively.
The flow of carriages and people was unending, with street stalls neatly arranged. There were hawkers everywhere, along with cheerful voices and laughter, giving the feeling of thriving prosperity.
In comparison, their Great Xia’s capital seemed a bit lacking! Wasn’t it said that Great Wu was declining, and its national power was weak, and it wasn’t doing well anymore? Why did it seem to be better than their Great Xia?
Keep in mind that their Great Xia was at its zenith right now. Even the Great Yan Dynasty, which was equally prosperous, was slightly less so than them, yet they were surpassed by the seemingly waning Great Wu Dynasty!
The members of the Great Xia delegation exchanged puzzled glances. The intelligence seemed to be wrong, differing from what they knew before.
The person in question was right there, so they tentatively asked, “Sir Lin, has your capital always been this lively?”
Lin Beifan modestly replied, “It’s just so-so, nothing compared to your Great Xia!”
“Sir Lin, you’re being too modest!”
Xia Tianqiong smiled and said, “I’ve just come from the capital of Great Xia. Honestly, our capital in Great Xia isn’t as lively as yours. It greatly surprised me! We’ve come to learn from Great Wu’s advanced management experience. Please enlighten us!”
“It’s really nothing much!” Lin Beifan laughed. “As long as you uphold justice and integrity, enforce the law strictly, combat crime, and protect the fundamental interests of the common people! Encourage production and trade, so that the people can earn money and have enough to eat. Naturally, things will improve!”
Everyone was speechless. Was there any difference between what he said and saying nothing at all? Who doesn’t know to do this? The issue lies in the measures and policies; that’s the key!
Seeing that they couldn’t extract any valuable information from Lin Beifan, Xia Tianqiong bent down and asked an elderly man who was both smoking dried tobacco and selling it.
“Old sir, has the capital always been this lively?”
The old man was a bit bewildered. He was in the middle of enjoying his smoke. Why were they asking him these questions? Couldn’t they see for themselves?
But seeing them dressed elegantly, exuding an air of nobility, he knew he couldn’t afford to offend them. He couldn’t slack off and promptly stood up.
Then, he noticed Lin Beifan, who was accompanying the group, and he was even more surprised. He respectfully bowed, “Lord Prefect, what brings you here…”
Lin Beifan smiled and introduced, “The person who’s asking you is none other than the current Crown Prince of the Great Xia Empire, Xia Tianqiong! And the people beside him are high-ranking officials from the Great Xia Empire. They’re here for a diplomatic visit and decided to tour the capital as well.”
The old man was greatly surprised, “Ah? He’s actually the Crown Prince of Great Xia…”
Xia Tianqiong continued to inquire, “Old sir, could you tell me about the situation in the capital?”
“Well…” The old man hesitated, looking at Lin Beifan.
Lin Beifan smiled and said, “Old sir, since His Highness is asking, please go ahead and tell us!”
“Yes, Lord Prefect!”
The old man stood up, though still slightly hunched, and said, “If we’re talking about before, the capital wasn’t like this. It was lively, but not to this extent. However, everything has changed since Sir Lin took office!”
“Oh?” The Great Xia group turned their heads to look at Lin Beifan, who smiled in response.
“Since last year, after Sir Lin took over as the Prefect of the capital and assumed control over all its affairs, everything has changed! Sir Lin rectified the administration, improved the judicial environment, favored us common folks in case trials, punished the powerful, so they dare not act recklessly. We commoners can stand tall, unafraid of being bullied!”
“So that’s how it is!” The old man continued, “After that, Sir Lin encouraged business development and opened up the street vendor economy! Look around, every street has been planned well, and everyone conducts their business within their designated area. As a result, many people have the opportunity to make money! As long as you’re not afraid of hard work, you can earn money. The capital has become so lively, and this is partially due to it!”
Everyone was surprised, and Xia Tianqiong asked further, “Is the effect of this street vendor economy really that good?”
From intelligence reports, he also knew that Great Wu’s capital had implemented the street vendor economy long ago, and it had indeed yielded some results. But at that time, he hadn’t thought much of it. Wasn’t it just setting up stalls to do business? At most, it meant adding some organization, but it was still the same products being sold. How could it significantly promote commerce?
Looking at it now, he might have been a bit presumptuous!
The old man shook his head, “This old man isn’t very clear about it! There are plenty of grand theories, but I don’t know. Anyway, since the capital opened up street vending, it has indeed become livelier, and everyone can make money! Just like me, I’m usually busy farming. When I have free time, I come here to sell dried tobacco, and I earn a few taels of silver. Ha ha!”
As he spoke, he seemed a bit proud.
“But the biggest change was after the New Year!” the old man continued.
“After the New Year?” Everyone was astonished.
“Since after the New Year, the development has really taken off!”
The old man’s eyes shone as he said, “Across from the capital, in Minxin City, many shops and workshops have opened, and a large number of workers have been recruited! The government-run cement factories also need a lot of workers to produce cement! The wages offered are very generous, making people envious! If it weren’t for me being old and having fields to tend to, I’d want to go there and make a living too!”
“And as a result of this, more people in the capital are engaged in business! Doing business requires manpower, so more people are needed! In short, everyone has a job, everyone is making money, and life is getting better and better!”
“This… this…” the Great Xia delegation was extremely shocked.
The old man bowed to Lin Beifan, respectfully saying, “All of this was brought about by Sir Lin. Thank you for bringing us a good life and new hope!”
Lin Beifan smiled and said, “This is what I should do. Serving as an official for a term, benefiting the people in the region!”
“Sir Lin, do you smoke dried tobacco? This old man will give you a few taels!”
“No need, I don’t smoke.”
The Great Xia delegation asked a few more people and received similar answers. Since Lin Beifan became the Prefect, overseeing everything in the capital, people’s lives had been getting better and better. Especially after the New Year, Minxin City began to operate, and its development had been advancing by leaps and bounds, changing day by day.
Thus, everyone greatly admired Lin Beifan.
“Sir Lin, you’re incredible!”
“Not long after becoming the Prefect, you’ve brought about such significant changes. I’m impressed!”
“No wonder you’re favored by the Empress!”
Lin Beifan humbly responded, stating that it was nothing.
Crown Prince Xia Tianqiong urged, “Now, let’s go see Minxin City. I can’t wait any longer!”
In less than the time it takes to burn half an incense stick, they arrived at Minxin City.
Before them stood a majestic and magnificent city, towering high!
“Was this really built within three months?”
They had already heard about how magnificent and grand this newly constructed city was, but seeing it with their own eyes was still incredibly shocking. Even the city walls were almost on par with any city in the capital!
“It’s guaranteed to be real. Everyone, please come inside!” Lin Beifan smiled and invited them in.
As they walked into the city, they were once again astonished. Rows of houses were neatly arranged, and the roads were wide and flat, clean and tidy. It was bustling with carriages, pedestrians in a hurry, and numerous shops with constant vendors’ calls. It felt even more lively and prosperous than the capital!
“Is this… really a newly built city?”
“A city that’s been around for less than half a year, why is it so lively and bustling?”
“Could this be a miracle?”
Everyone was wide-eyed and tongue-tied, just like someone entering a grand garden for the first time, everything seemed fresh.
Their gazes involuntarily turned to Lin Beifan, who was calmly standing there, as if he were a deity. To build a city capable of accommodating millions of people in just three months was already astonishing. However, the fact that the city was not only constructed but also efficiently operational in just a month was beyond the reach of ordinary people.
“Sir Lin, how did you do it? How can you make a new city burst with such vibrant vitality?” A senior courtier from Great Xia asked with great admiration.
Xia Tianqiong and others perked up, eager to listen.
Lin Beifan smiled slightly, “Actually, it’s very simple. All you need to do is attract investment, encourage commerce, provide jobs for everyone, and ensure that everyone has the means to earn a living!”
Hearing this, everyone was speechless. Who didn’t understand this common sense? The real issue was how to implement it! Couldn’t he explain it more clearly and practically? It was as if he was implying that our intelligence was lacking!
Realizing they couldn’t extract anything useful, they ended up asking passing pedestrians, finally obtaining some more specific answers.
Indeed, Lin Beifan encouraged commerce, but it was mainly through tax reductions. The tax incentives were substantial, with the maximum exemption lasting for five years and then a three-year halved taxation period. No other country had dared to implement such measures; being exempt from taxes for even a year or two was considered a significant concession.
Furthermore, Minxin City heavily developed the cement industry, which provided numerous job opportunities. In addition to launching the street vendor economy, they also introduced a night market economy, further boosting commercial development.
With these various measures in place, Minxin City’s development was progressing rapidly.
The day’s journey quickly came to an end. After returning, the Great Xia delegation remained deeply impressed.
“This trip was definitely worth it!”
“We’ve learned a lot. Who would have thought that a city could be managed and operated in this way! We can definitely learn from this, haha!”
“Our Great Xia was already powerful, won’t we become even stronger now?”
“Minister Zhao’s words are absolutely right, haha!”
Everyone enthusiastically discussed, as if they had glimpsed a brighter future.
However, at this moment, they noticed Crown Prince Xia Tianqiong was furrowing his brows, lost in thought. So, someone who didn’t understand asked, “Crown Prince, why do you have a worried expression?”