On Political Systems (1)

Ancient China did not have legislative laws like that of the West,


By
Wu Siu Yan
12 April 2002


but everyone who aspired to be a public officer must know the teachings of Confucius. Public officers were selected by PUBLIC EXAMINATION and the subjects of examination were four,

  1. Analect of Confucius
  2. Analect of Man Chi (or Mencius), student of Confucius
  3. Great Learning
  4. Book of the Mean

Confucius : "If the people be led by laws, and uniformity sought to be given them by punishments, they will try to avoid the punishment, but have no sense of shame. If they be led by virtue, and uniformity sought to be given them by the rules of propriety, they will have the sense of shame, and moreover will become good."

The King would keep some who passed in the courts, but most would be sent out as Mandarins to govern the various provinces of China.

The Mandarin had to perform various tasks. Isabella L. Bird, in her book "Yangtze Valley and Beyond", said :

"It is said truly that on the Hsein or Fu magistrate (NOTE : village, small regional province) the work of at least six men devolves. He is at once tax commissioner, civil and criminal judge, coroner, treasurer, sheriff, and much besides, and he is supposed to have an exhaustive knowledge of everything within his bounds.

The Mandarins had no Laws to guide him in giving judgements, only the moral principles of Confucius, yet often, he could dispense justice, provided he was not corrupted by bribes,

LORD : And you shall take no bribe, for a bribe blinds the officials, and subverts the cause of those who are in the right. [Ex. 23:8]

LORD : You shall not follow a multitude to do evil; nor shall you bear witness in a suit, turning aside after a multitude, so as to pervert justice; nor shall you be partial to a poor man in his suit. [Ex. 23:2-3]

LORD : You shall do no injustice in judgment; you shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great, but in righteousness shall you judge your neighbour. [Lev. 19:15]

LORD : If any one sins in that he hears a public adjuration to testify and though he is a witness, whether he has seen or come to know the matter, yet does not speak, he shall bear his iniquity. [Lev. 5:1]

Therefore, we see that a political system based solely on Moral worked.


P.S. Some teachings of Confucius from "Analect of Confucius"

The Master said, "The accomplished scholar is not a utensil." Tsze-Kung asked what constituted the superior man. The Master said, "He acts before he speaks, and afterwards speaks according to his actions."

The Duke Ai asked, saying, "What should be done in order to secure the submission of the people?" The Master replied, "Advance the upright and set aside the crooked, then the people will submit. Advance the crooked and set aside the upright, then the people will not submit."

"To see what is right and not to do it is want of courage."

The Master said, "Those who are without virtue cannot abide long either in a condition of poverty and hardship, or in a condition of enjoyment. The virtuous rest in virtue; the wise desire virtue."

The Master said, "If the will be set on virtue, there will be no practice of wickedness."

"The superior man does not, even for the space of a single meal, act contrary to virtue. In moments of haste, he cleaves to it. In seasons of danger, he cleaves to it."

The Master said, "The superior man, in the world, does not set his mind either for anything, or against anything; what is right he will follow."

The Master said, "The superior man thinks of virtue; the small man thinks of comfort. The superior man thinks of the sanctions of law; the small man thinks of favors which he may receive."

The Master said: "He who acts with a constant view to his own advantage will be much murmured against."

The Master said, "The mind of the superior man is conversant with righteousness; the mind of the mean man is conversant with gain."

The Master said, "The reason why the ancients did not readily give utterance to their words, was that they feared lest their actions should not come up to them."

The Master said, "The cautious seldom err." The Master said, "The superior man wishes to be slow in his speech and earnest in his conduct."

The Master said, "Virtue is not left to stand alone. He who practices it will have neighbors."

The Master said, "At first, my way with men was to hear their words, and give them credit for their conduct. Now my way is to hear their words, and look at their conduct. It is from Yu that I have learned to make this change."

The Master said, "I have not seen a firm and unbending man." Some one replied, "There is Shan Ch'ang." "Ch'ang," said the Master, "is under the influence of his passions; how can he be pronounced firm and unbending?"

"What I do not wish men to do to me, I also wish not to do to men."

The Master said of Tsze-ch'an that he had four of the characteristics of a superior man - in his conduct of himself, he was humble; in serving his superior, he was respectful; in nourishing the people, he was kind; in ordering the people, he was just."

The Master said, "Man is born for uprightness. If a man lose his uprightness, and yet live, his escape from death is the effect of mere good fortune."


(*) Introduction to LORD's Political System

(*) Law of GOD and His Commandments
(*) Jesus' Sermon on the Mount
(*) Other Teachings of Jesus
(*) Hymn
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