Not Practicing Favoritism
(Clearwisdom.net) Su Zhang, also named Ruwen, lived during the Eastern Han Dynasty (25-220 AD), and was from Fufengpingling(what is now northwest of Chengyang City, Shaanxi Province). He had great knowledge and ability since childhood, and was commended for his virtue and fairness. He was the magistrate of Wuyaun County, but when the Emperor Shun took power, Su Zhang was promoted to provincial governor of Ji Prefecture.
One of Su Zhang's friends held the post of procurator of Qinghe County. When Su Zhang was on a supervisory inspection tour, he discovered crimes that his friend had committed. Su Zhang invited this procurator to dinner, and talked a lot about their friendship. The procurator said happily about their friendship, "Other people have one layer of sky, while I have two layers." He flattered Su Zhang this way and was joyful since he mistakenly believed that Su Zhang would protect and look after him, despite his crimes.
Su Zhang told him, “It is as a friend that I drink with you tonight, and it will be official business, as the provincial governor, when I handle cases according to law tomorrow.”
When handling cases the next day, Su Zhang brought the procurator to justice impartially, according to the law. All people within the prefecture saw that Su Zhang did not practice favoritism. The socialmorale was greatly improved as a result.
If a person has selfish motives, he will do mean and unrighteous things for wealth and sentimentality. Therefore, it is highly valued for government officials to have a clear distinction between work and private affairs, and to always be fair and impartial. Su Zhang's moral integrity and his not practicing favoritism were admired by others, and he was remembered because of it.