Self defeating: Shang Yang died under his own evil law

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The idiom “to commit suicide” is commonly used nowadays. To find out its source, it should be from the historical records – biographies of Shang Jun. In the past 2400 years, this allusion has been used again and again, which shows that in China, even in human history, the story of self destruction has been repeated.

Shang Yang was a descendant of the Duke of the state of Wei, and derived from the Ji surname, so he was also called Wei Yang. In Shang Yang’s generation, because he was a collateral descendant, his family had been ruined, and he was exiled to a foreign country to be a disciple of the Prime Minister of the state of Wei. This man is not willing to stay with others for a long time. As a young man, he always studies hard. History calls him “the school of good criminal names”—— The study of Xing Ming is a legalist theory, following the path of Li Wei and Wu Qi, which is similar to but far from the words “rule of law” of later generations. In ancient China, Legalists did not protect the rights of ordinary people, but limited the power of the officials. On the contrary, they advocated the centralization of power by the officials, especially the monarchs, and deterred and managed the officials and the people with severe punishment. All the Legalists are mean and ungrateful, and Shang Yang is no exception.

Before his death, his hero uncle CuO told King Wei Hui that Shang Yang “had a young talent and could be appointed as a prime minister.” He also said to King Hui, “since the king doesn’t need gongsunyang, he must kill him. Don’t order him to leave the country.” King Hui thought that the old prime minister was seriously ill and said nonsense. He didn’t take it seriously. Shang Yang escaped and ran to the neighboring state of Qin. Soon, it won the great use of Qin Xiaogong. There is a wonderful description of how Shang Yang pleased Yu Guojun in historical records. After impressing Xiaogong with his words, Shang Yang said to Jing Jian, a favorite Minister of the state of Qin and his friend: “I said that you compared three generations with the way of the emperor, and you said:” for a long time, I can’t stay. And the virtuous monarchs, each with his own body, have become famous all over the world. Can an Neng city wait for hundreds of years to become emperor‘ Therefore, I speak of you with the art of strengthening the country, and you speak with great ears. However, it is difficult to compare virtue with Yin and Zhou. “It can be seen that Shang Yang did not want to establish a more humane system that would benefit more people for a long time. However, he introduced to the monarch that Yao, Shun and Yu had achieved the way of the emperor in the three generations. Qin Xiaogong was sleepy and said that Shang Yang was a liar because it was too difficult to do so, which required the efforts of several generations of emperors. He could not wait. So when Shang Yang visited Qin Xiaogong again, he wrote a” powerful medicine “prescription that had quick effects but big side effects.

This powerful medicine is Shang Yang’s reform. The starting point of Shang Yang’s reform was to establish the “prestige” of the government and win the trust of the people with generous rewards, which led to the famous story of “generous rewards for moving trees”, and to establish prestige, the harsh criminal law was adopted.

The main contents of Shang Yang’s reform are: enacting strict and clear laws; Reward military merit; Encourage farming and mulberry; Promote the county system. One of the contents has a very bad impact on future generations, that is, “suing traitors”, encouraging people to report to each other. Informants can be rewarded by the government, while those who do not report will sit down repeatedly. Other contents offended the vested interest groups of Qin State and put himself in a dangerous situation. He used the law to deprive the old nobles of their privileges. For example, he established his title based on his military achievements rather than his birth, and dared to cut the nobles. At the beginning of the reform, the crown prince broke the law. Shang Yang said, “if the law cannot be enforced, it must be committed on its own.” The prince should be punished according to the law. The prince is an heir and cannot be punished. So he punished the prince’s teachers, childe Qian and Gongsun Jia. The deterrent effect is obvious: “tomorrow, Qin people will follow orders. After ten years of traveling, Qin people said that there are no leftovers in the road, no thieves in the mountain, and enough people in the family. The people are brave in public war, afraid of private struggle, and rule the countryside.” -—— Shang Yang’s practice is hegemonic rather than kingly. Confucianism in previous dynasties did not agree with it, but it worked very well. It is not important whether the process and means are kind, civilized and reasonable. The important thing is to achieve the goal. The purpose is above all else. This “success study” has a far-reaching impact on Chinese people.

After the death of Qin Xiaogong, the crown prince who was insulted by Shang Yang ascended the throne for King Huiwen of Qin. Shang Yang’s good days were over. The grand master Fu, who had been sentenced by him, reported Shang Yang’s rebellion to the emperor—— The crime of insurrection is a big basket, which can be filled with anything. It is the best weapon against political enemies. King Huiwen of Qin didn’t know that Shang Yang did that for the sake of the power of Qin. However, the goal of enriching the country and strengthening the army of Qin has been achieved, and Shang Yang has little value. Besides, he has to appease the old nobles and avenge himself—— Therefore, Shang Yang must die.

Shang Yang repeated the old trick of escaping from the state of Wei. However, he was not so lucky this time. Before fleeing the border of the state of Qin, he wanted to stay in a hotel. The shopkeeper said that the merchant had orders. The people who stayed in the hotel had no certificates. The main culprit was the hotel. Rejected the escaped prisoner. Shang Yang sighed and said, “well, I am here for the sake of law!” This is the reason why we should die. Later, he fled to the state of Wei. The state of Wei hated that he had defeated the state of Wei. Instead of refusing to take him in, he sent him back to the state of Qin. He was killed in Mianchi by the army of the state of Qin. The king of Qin ordered the car to split his body for public display.

If Shang Yang staged a tragedy, then Xu Xianchun staged a farce twothousand years later.

Xuxianchun is the grandson of Princess Jiashan, the daughter of emperor Jiajing of the Ming Dynasty. His grandfather is a son-in-law, a typical Royal relative. After becoming a scholar in Zhongwu, he joined the royal guards as an officer. Wujin scholars are far less valuable than Wenjin scholars, and the royal guards are an important place to arrange for Xun GUI’s children. The history of the Ming Dynasty says: “Heng is led by the commander of Xun Qi, and the benefactor sends his salary to the impermanent member.” Because the royal guards are the private arms of the emperor, they can arrest anyone without the prior consent of the Ministry of punishment. The suspects can be imprisoned in Imperial prison, that is, the prison, or they can not be tried in public- Such an organization will inevitably evolve into a spy agency with great power and everyone will turn pale at the news. During the apocalypse, WeiZhongxian was in power. He took refuge under WeiZhongxian and was promoted to the commander of the royal guards. He can be regarded as the second or third leader of the royal guards. When he became the spy leader, he followed the orders of Duke Wei and became the main thugs persecuting “Donglin Party members”. Yang Lian, zuoguangdou, zhoushunchang, Huang zunsu, Wang Zhicai and Xia Zhiling all died at his hands.

After emperor Chongzhen ascended the throne, there was a climax of rehabilitation for the wronged Donglin Party members. Of course, Xuxianchun will be promoted to the front stage as a “sacrifice” to calm the people’s anger and appease the families of the wronged dead. During the public trial of Xuxianchun by the Ministry of justice, Huang zunsu’s son, Huangzongxi, walked out of the audience and stabbed Xuxianchun with an awl to make his blood flow—— In order to be “politically correct”, the senior members of the Ministry of punishment, who should have maintained the order of the court, also let Huang Zongxi do this. Although Xuxianchun admitted that he had participated in the persecution, he moved out of the “eight discussions” in the laws of the dynasty, stating that his grandmother was a princess and could avoid death—— However, in order to clean up the mess caused by WeiZhongxian and his brother Tianqi emperor and establish the prestige of the new deal, Chongzhen did not care about the grandson of his aunt Princess Jiashan. Finally, Xuxianchun was beheaded.

Shang Yang was the one who formulated the “evil law” and Xu Xianchun was the one who implemented the “evil law”. Both of them eventually died under the “evil law”.

One thought on “Self defeating: Shang Yang died under his own evil law

  1. Having read this I believed it was very enlightening. I appreciate you finding the time and energy to put this article together. I once again find myself personally spending a significant amount of time both reading and commenting. But so what, it was still worth it!

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