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Home Qunshu Zhiyao 360 Law and Statute

On The Subject Of Administration

The Governing Principles of Ancient China - Qunshu Zhiyao 360

Law and Statute

Try using benevolent means first before enforcing the law. Try using education to transform people first before using penalties to punish them. This is the order of importance in the governing of a country.

Scroll 50: Yuan Zi Zheng Shu

The legal system is neither bestowed by heaven nor born out of the earth. It is created by human beings to regulate and restrict their behavior. If we can get to the root of the problems, we will not make petty mistakes. If we can master the principles, we will not be trapped in doubts. If a ruler is able to handle a task competently, he will not reproach or criticize others for their inability to do the same. If the ruler is unable to accomplish a task, he will not demand others to accomplish the task for him. What he does not want others to do, he must first forbid himself to do the same. Therefore, a ruler must lead by example, and when legislators are able to follow and abide by the prohibitions that they have established, the populace will certainly become law-abiding.

Scroll 35: Wen Zi

King Cheng of Zhou dynasty said: “To my officials at all levels: You are expected to manage your work dutifully. You should be careful with any orders that you issue, and once an order has been issued, it must be carried out and cannot be changed at will. Be fair-minded and let go of personal interests or grievances. If you can do so, people will definitely trust and follow you.”

Scroll 2: Shang Shu

Shang Shu said: “It is better to be faulted for not following the usual investigation procedures than to make a mistake and putting innocent people to death.”

Scroll 17: Han Shu, Vol. 5

Confucius said: “In hearing lawsuits, I am no better than anyone else. What is imperative is to make it so that there are no lawsuits.”

Scroll 9: Lun Yu