In the Han Dynasty, the system of selecting talents by “promoting filial piety and probity” every year began with Emperor Wu of the Han Dynasty

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Ju Xiaolian

There was no imperial examination system in the Han Dynasty. How to recommend talents to the imperial court? “Filial piety and probity” is a very important way. The so-called “filial piety and probity” is the abbreviation of “filial piety to parents and elders, honesty and integrity”. At home, they are filial sons, and outside, they are honest and able officials.

This system began with Emperor Wu of the Han Dynasty. Dongzhongshu suggested that in the first year of Yuanguang (134 B.C.), an imperial edict was issued to the prefectures and states to appoint one filial person and one incorruptible person each year, which was combined as “filial piety and probity”. These people served as Lang officials in the imperial palace for several years, and then they were assigned to local posts. Gradually, it was recommended once a year. Under this system, the national elite concentrated in the imperial palace. There are few indicators of filial piety and probity. Only one county with 200000 households is recommended every year. According to the average household size of five people, the probability of a filial piety and probity is one in a million. Many officials of the Han Dynasty were born in Xiaolian.

The imperial court likes filial sons, so it provides a market for those who pretend to be filial. In the Eastern Han Dynasty, chen fan, a famous minister, was appointed the governor of Le’an. The local government recommended a filial son, Zhaoxuan. Unlike ordinary people, zhaoxiaozi has been filial for up to three years, but he has been filial for 20 years, becoming a super moral model. Chen fan asked about the daily life of the eldest filial son during his filial piety, but he learned that he had five children during this period, so he was furious: you dirty thing, give me punishment, “sleep in the grave, hide it, and nurture it”, and the false filial son was imprisoned.

Filial piety is not allowed to have children? This is inhumane, of course, but Zhao Xuan is not a kind person. He pretends to be a dutiful son and wants to win fame and wealth. Who would have thought that too much force would backfire. If you can’t do it, don’t pretend. This is the eternal truth of life.

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