Eastern Depot

Eastern Depot

Eastern Depot's emblem
Agency overview
Formed 1420

Dong Chang (traditional Chinese: 東廠; simplified Chinese: 东厂; pinyin: Dōng Chǎng; Wade–Giles: Tung Ch'ang), translated as Eastern Depot, was a Ming dynasty spy and secret police agency run by eunuchs. It was created by the Yongle Emperor.[1]


After the Yongle Emperor usurped the throne in 1402 from his nephew, the Jianwen Emperor, he attempted to retain the officials who served in Jianwen's court, but some of them opposed him. In 1420, in order to suppress political opposition, Yongle decided to create the Eastern Depot (named as such because it was located east of the imperial palace), a spy and secret police agency run by eunuchs. They were responsible for spying on officials of any rank, including military officers, scholars, rebels and the general populace. The Eastern Depot would investigate and arrest suspects, and then hand them over to the Jinyiwei for interrogation. In the late Ming dynasty, the Eastern Depot had its own tactical forces and prisons, and became so powerful that even officials were ordered to kowtow to the Depot's leaders.[2]

Famous Eastern Depot Chief


  1. Cambridge History of China, Vol 7: The Ming Dynasty, 1368–1644, Part 1 (edited by Frederick W. Mote and Twitchett), February 1988. ISBN 978-0-521-24332-2.
  2. "Origin of Dong Chang".
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