Apr 29, 2009

Bad Laws Make Outlaws of Great Men

During the rule of the Qin Dynasty (221 - 207 BC) which had unified the Empire for the first time through conquest of the warring states, brought about much tyranny and authoritarian rule on to its people with the enactment of harsh laws and punishments so that its people live constantly in fear as the slightest whisper of dissent and criticism of the ruling elites can cause imprisonment and hardship to entire families.

This tyranny and cruelty of its emperor ShihHuangDi coupled with the introduction of Legalism by the first adviser Li Su, Legalism was the opposing thought to Confucianism which is based on ethics and moral, the Legalist advocates the hold to power by all means relying above on force and terror, military might and the severest punishments possible. Li Su later became a victim of his own laws and was executed and his whole families and relations hunted down to the last person. His genes were entirely wiped out and this was during the rule of the Qin’s which he has served all his life.

Throughout history it has shown that the approach such as those of the Legalist can be brilliantly successful for its propagators for the short to medium run and thus the Qin's rule only lasted for less than 15 years.

With the enactment of many laws that severely punish dissenters and critics, the harsh laws of the Qins makes it impossible to live with as almost everyone is a lawbreaker and from such an oppressive climate rose the brigands, bandits and rebels that mushroom throughout all corners of the empire.

And 2 prominent personalities stood out from amongst, one of them of noble origin was Xiang Yu of Chu also known as Chu the Conqueror and the other is Liu Bang of peasant origin was forced to become an outlaw due to fear of the Qins laws. Liu Bang went on to establish the Han dynasty which brought about better times of peace and prosperity for many a part of the Han rule which lasted for 400 years (the second longest ruling dynasty of China).

Upon his conquest and victory in Xiang Yang (Changan – today Xian) the capital of Qin, Liu Bang abolished the harsh Qin’s Laws in a bonfire ceremony that made firewood out of the piles of written laws of the Legalist and proclaimed to the people that they can now go about their livelihood in peace and that they shall have a sound sleep without fear. He introduced basic laws to protect the people unlike laws of the Qin’s that is against the people.

Liu Bang became Emperor Gaodi and founder of the Han dynasty; he introduced Confucianism into the administration of government that laid a solid foundation for the Han dynasty which lasted for over 400 years.

As emperor he lived frugally and restricted spending while rebuilding the economy, land was returned to the people and slaves were freed, taxes was even lowered. Emperor Gaodi who came from humble beginnings was one of the great heroes of Chinese history.



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