Professor Puk is currently Associate Professor in the Department of History, and Research Fellow of the Research Centre for Contemporary Chinese Culture at the Institute of Chinese Studies. He holds a bachelor's degree from The Chinese University of Hong Kong, a Master of Philosophy from the Hong Kong Baptist University and has completed a Doctor of Philosophy at the Faculty of Oriental Studies, University of Oxford. His main research interest is the socio-economic history of Ming-Qing China. In his PhD thesis, he studies the Ming salt certificate and explored the rise and fall of the public credit market in China. His recent research output includes The Rise and Fall of a Public Debt Market in 16th-Century China: The Story of the Ming Salt Certificate (2016).
Professor Puk's lecture explored the famous case of the "return" of the woman Yang in Macheng in the 1730s. Married to Tu Rusong, the woman Yang was founded missing. The Yangs accused the Tus of murdering Yang, and the Tus contended that the woman had eloped or been kidnapped. Later, a corpse was found on a riverbank. The Yangs were convinced that the corpse was the woman Yang, but Tang Yingqiu, the county magistrate, ruled that the corpse was a male. However, the two officials succeeding Tang believed that the corpse was indeed the woman Yang, and Tang had accepted bribes from the Tus and had the corpse tempered with and falsified as a male. After five years of repeated trials and judicial torture, Tang was convicted and sentenced to death. Just before the execution, the woman Yang was found alive, being hidden at her brother's home all those years. Tang not only survived but was also rehabilitated. This lecture reconstructed this intriguing, if gruesome, case, and explored its significance in the study of Chinese legal and social history.