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A Judge in Ancient Times Held Himself Accountable to the Law

Jan. 19, 2023 |   By Xiang Shang

(Minghui.org) Li Li was a judge in the State of Jin in the Spring and Autumn Period (770 to 476 BC). Once when deciding a case, he misunderstood a statement his subordinates made and made a wrong judgment. As a result, an innocent person was sentenced to death.

When Li later reviewed the case file, he found some questionable points and realized that he had made a mistake. He regretted his mistake so much that he put himself on death row.

Duke Wen of Jin, who had implicit trust in Li, was in shock when he heard what Li had done to himself. He wanted to pardon Li and tried to talk him out of his decision. He said, “Officials of the imperial court hold different positions, and how they are punished for their wrongdoings should also be different. It was your subordinates who made the mistake in the first place, so it was not your fault.”

Li did not view things that way. He said to Duke Wen, “I am the person with judicial authority, and I’ve never offered my position to my subordinates. I am highly paid, and I’ve never shared my financial privileges with my subordinates, either. Now that I have made a wrong judgment and had an innocent person killed, how can I possibly shift my responsibility to my subordinates?”

Duke Wen cherished Li’s talents, and he really didn’t want to lose him, so he went on, hoping to persuade him otherwise, “Based on your logic, I am the monarch and I appointed you as a judge. If you think you are guilty, then shouldn’t I also be deemed guilty?”

Li replied, “A judge must follow the law in handling a case, and he should be punished for misjudging a case and pay with his life for having an innocent person killed. Your Lordship didn’t do anything wrong. You appointed me to be the chief judge with full authority because you believed that I would do my job conscientiously and I was good at handling difficult cases. Now that I’ve made a mistake and wrongly put someone to death, I should be sentenced to death, too.”

Li refused to accept the duke’s pardon and committed suicide with his own sword to uphold the dignity of the law.

Different cultures nurture different states of mind. Traditional Chinese culture was divinely inspired and stressed the harmony between man and nature. It enriched people’s Buddha nature and encouraged rational thinking and perseverance. Judge Li put an innocent person to death by mistake. He was burdened with guilt and killed himself to repent for his wrongdoing. His integrity encouraged future generations to uphold the sanctity of law and humanity.

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) promotes a degenerate culture that is directly opposed to traditional culture. It despises man’s Buddha nature, slanders Buddhas and Taoists, and destroys human nature. After decades of communist rule, many Chinese judges have been poisoned by the communist ideology of falsehoods, evilness, and class struggle.

As a child, I often heard adults talking about how the CCP judges “took bribes from both the plaintiffs and the defendants.” I was too young to understand those things then. Now, during the ongoing persecution of Falun Gong, we can see how the corrupt judges simply follow the CCP to rubber stamp the CCP policies to sentence innocent people.

There are two books that offer some clear understandings about what the CCP really is: Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party and The Ultimate Goal of Communism. In them, one can find the answers to the fundamental differences between the Party culture and traditional Chinese values.