Zizhi Tongjian (History as a Mirror) recorded several stories about Emperor Taizong of the Tang Dynasty. When one compares the ancient stories with China’s current situation, one may well reflect on why China is now on a moral downslide.
Promoting Those Who Are Capable and Virtuous–or Friends and Relatives
After Li Shimin, Prince Qin of the Tang Dynasty, succeeded to the throne as Emperor, people who worked for him complained that they had served Prince Qin for many years but had not been promoted. Emperor Taizong told them, “The Emperor must lead and rule unselfishly. We work for the people. We have to consider how the people will benefit when we set up administrations, and we must therefore choose capable and virtuous people to run the offices. How can we promote our subordinates without considering whether they are capable and meet the requirements?” Those who had complained were moved by Emperor Taizong’s words and continued to serve him with their best efforts.
Nowadays, however, Chinese Communist Party (CCP) government officials behave very differently. From the Party’s top leadership to the officials at all levels, it is true nearly everywhere in China that if one gets to the top, all his friends and relations are promoted with him.
About 20 years ago, several elderly people were chatting together outside. I overheard their conversation. One said, “The man who just passed by is Mayor Li’s eldest son. His wife works in the Finance Bureau. You’re lucky is your father is a government official! Neither of Mayor Li’s sons can work because of poor health, but they have nice apartments and good jobs. They don’t need to go to work but they get salary raises anyway.”
He then said to another person, “You see, although your son graduated with a post-graduate degree, he still cannot find a job. It’s all because of you, his father! You were only a minor office chief without any power.”
Another person said, “I heard that the son of the city’s deputy Party secretary also has a good job even though he is mentally deficient.”
Abiding by Principles–or Requiring Absolute Obedience
While Emperor Taizong was in power, some officials extorted funds and accepted bribes. He was concerned about this and sent someone pretending to be dishonest to test the officials.
When one official accepted a roll of silk as a bribe, Taizong wanted to sentence the official to death. Minister Pei Ju advised him, “An official who accepts bribes has indeed committed a capital crime. However, the way that your Majesty is sending people to bribe and tempt officials to fall does not comply with the ancient teaching: ‘Govern by moral force and keep order among them by ritual.’”
Taizong was pleased with this response. In front of all the civil and military ministers he said, “As an official, Pei Ju can insist on following the principles and did not simply obey the emperor’s will. If everyone can do the same, would there be any need to be concerned about governing the country well? ”
A Party leader or a government official, on the other hand, cannot be reasoned with for whatever bad things he or she may have done. If you criticize him or her, you will be labelled “anti-Party.” You might lose your job, be imprisoned, or be killed. Under the CCP, one must be absolutely obedient to senior officials to protect oneself. This is one way people lose their sense of justice.
Delegating Power–or Monopolizing Power
One day Emperor Taizong asked Fang Xuanling and Xiao Yu, “How would you compare Emperor Wen of the Sui Dynasty and me?” Fang Xuanling and Xiao Yu said, “Emperor Wen governed the country with diligence. He discussed the issues with his officials. He worked so long and hard that his guards had to bring his meals to him. Although he did not have compassionate characteristics, he was a diligent Emperor.”
Emperor Taizong said, “You see only one aspect of the situation. Emperor Wen of the Sui Dynasty made decisions on everything personally instead of relying on his officials.
“The world is so big and there are so many things to deal with. A person could work himself to death but still not deal with everything well by himself! His officials knew how he ruled his empire, and they all waited for his decision. They kept their own thoughts to themselves and did not dare to speak up. That was why the Sui Dynasty only lasted for two generations.
“I don’t operate that way. I find talented people from all over the country and give them positions in the government. I put them in power to deal with the country’s issues, and I have them report their progress to me. I reward them for good achievements and penalize them for failures. Who would not do their best in this situation? This way I don’t have to worry about whether this country can be ruled well.”
Emperor Taizong respected talented people. He gave them chances to use their talents by rewarding or penalizing them according to their achievements. This really motivated them.
Since 1949, the top Party leaders have monopolized power and ruled China by force. When one government official withdrew from the CCP, he told a Falun Gong practitioner, “The government officials are now very corrupt and have no morals or abilities. If you have connections with the head of the unit or bribe him, you will get promoted. Otherwise, no matter how capable you are, you will not be promoted. The There is no hope for China if the CCP doesn’t collapse. There is too much corruption in the system.”
Considering the Good of Others–or Only of Oneself
One day when Emperor Taizong was discussing with his officials how to stop thieves, one recommended enacting harsh laws. Taizong said, “People steal because the government taxes them heavily and they have to do a lot of work for the government. Not only that, government officials are very greedy.
“If the people live in poverty, they will steal without considering whether or not it is shameful. We should stop unnecessary spending, save costs and reduce expenses, and promote honest officials. That way people will have enough food and clothing, and they will not need to steal. Why do we need to harsh laws?”
And sure enough, within a few years the dynasty enjoyed a peaceful and prosperous period, during which no one picked up money lost on the street. A person could leave his doors open all night without worrying.
Nowadays in China, corrupt officials are everywhere, and even the police collude with gangsters. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Workers are laid off, and farmers are being forced to relocate and lose their farmland. When they try to go to the government to see justice, the government officials send agents to intercept them. A few years ago, a survey by the Ministry of Public Security reported that there was a mass disturbance every seven minutes.
Accepting Good Advice–or Ignorantly Doing Wrong
Emperor Taizong often said to the people around him, “A person needs to look into a mirror to see his image. An Emperor depends on his honest ministers to learn about his mistakes. If an Emperor does not allow his ministers to speak openly and stays presumptuous and opinionated, and if his ministers only follow his will to flatter him, the Emperor will eventually lose his country and his ministers will not be able to protect themselves either!
“Yu Shiji flattered Emperor Yang of the Sui Dynasty in order to keep his position. As a result, the Emperor was killed later and Yu Shiji was also killed. You should remember this lesson. You must speak out and tell me whether I am doing the right thing.”
Emperor Taizong often told his ministers, “People say that the Emperor is a most dignified, powerful and noble person who is afraid of nothing. I am not that way. I fear God’s examination and fear my ministers’ looking up to me. Even though I’m diligent, I’m still am afraid of not being able to conform to God’s will and people’s wishes.”
He also said, “I like Yao’s, Shun’s, Zhou’s, and Confucius’s principles of governing a country. To me, they are as important as wings are to a bird, or water to a fish. If I lose them, I lose everything. I cannot abandon them for even a moment.”
Emperor Taizong always felt that being in accordance with God’s will and the people’s wishes was of utmost importance. God therefore helped him, and the people respected him. Because he worshiped the heavens and god, and ran the country with virtue and honesty, he fulfilled his mission and established a prosperous Tang Dynasty. He was supported and respected by the people.
The CCP has persecuted Falun Gong practitioners for almost 15 years. Tens of millions of practitioners have been tortured, and many died or became disabled. Some were killed for their organs, which were removed while they were still alive.
The CCP promotes atheism and encourages class struggle. Chinese traditional civilization has been destroyed. The people who are brainwashed by the Party do not believe in the existence of Buddha, Taos, or God, and they do not fear retribution. They are corrupt and don’t realize they are committing bad deeds – they are unknowingly destroying themselves.