Stories from Ancient China: Implementing the Law with Kindness
(Minghui.org) The following two stories are taken from the ancient Chinese book Weizheng Shanbao Shilei, which can be translated as Rewarded for Good Deeds in Government Affairs (为政善报事类). The book is a collection of stories compiled under the editorship of Ye Liu. The book is divided into 10 volumes and is a collection of about 112 stories.
Enforcing the Law with Kindness
Wang Wengru, a court official in the Han Dynasty (206 BCE-220 CE) was responsible for arresting bandits in Wei County. Before Wang's time, if the bandits were executed, their family members and relatives would suffer the same fate. Even the elderly and children were not spared.
In many counties, thousands of people were killed just because they were associated with lawbreakers.
However, when Wang was in charge of law enforcement, he only had the bandits executed, while innocent family members and relatives were released.
“It was said that if you can free a thousand people, your descendants would receive blessings and be granted higher positions,” Wang said. “Now that I have helped so many people survive, my descendants will prosper.”
In fact, Wang's granddaughter was made an Empress, and his son and several grandchildren were granted titles of nobility.
Teach Righteousness—Not Punishment
Zhuo Mao was head of Mi County during the Han Dynasty, and the public viewed him as a merciful man. He always used examples that showed high morality to educate people, and he never used sharp words to hurt them. Therefore, he was respected by local officials and the public.
Zhuo Mao used to say: “The law is a general outline to restrain people's behavior. But propriety and righteousness is more in line with humanity. So you won't complain if I use propriety and righteousness to educate you, and then you wouldn't complain or think about doing bad deeds. You can't do anything about it if I use the law to punish you, but that can't change your heart.”
After years of educating people with kindness, the county became more peaceful and stable.
A plague of locust destroyed all of the crops in other counties one year; however, not a single locust could be found in Mi County.
Because of his great wisdom and kindness, Zhuo was praised and promoted.