The Negative Roles Played by Representative from the Legalist School in the Chinese History

Li Jian

PureInsight | January 30, 2006

[] During the Spring and Autumn & Warring States Periods (approximately from 722 to 221 B.C.), various schools of thought emerged in the Chinese society. They established various doctrines, created a rich and colorful ancient culture with the good and bad intermingling, good and bad people jumbled together. Amongst them, the most evil one was the Legalist School, represented by Han Feizi (韓非子), Li Si (李斯) and Shang Yang (商鞅). [Note: The Legalist School (法家) was one of the nine schools of learning in ancient China, stressing law and punishment.] In the tide of progress, they did not speak up for morality and virtue. Instead they involved themselves in conspiracy and crafty plots, wielded political trickery, and promoted draconian laws, harsh and despotic rules that are now inherited by the Chinese Communist Party, the biggest and most comprehensive evil in the entire world since the beginning of time. As the curtain is about to fall in the theatre of the great battle between good and evil in human history, it is time to deal with it and completely eliminate it.

(1) Shang Yang (商鞅) Spun a Cocoon Around Himself

Shang Yang had held the Legalists in high esteem since he was young and was very proficient in the penal laws. When the King of Qin was preparing to severely curb the power of the overlords, he sought out talented people in the whole land. Shang Yang secured an audience with the King of Qin through Jin Jian, a favorite official of the King.

At the beginning of the meeting, Shang Yang first used the benevolent doctrines of the Five Emperors and Three Kings to impress the King, but the King showed no interest. When he understood that the King was trying to establish his own name in a hurry, Shang Yang used the doctrines of Five Aggressions to impress the King. The King liked what he heard and gave Shang Yang an important position. After that, Shang Yang began to alter the laws drastically. It is known in history as the famous "Shang Yang Law Reform."

The new laws of Shang Yang were clear and severe. All the households nationwide were organized into groups of five and ten families. If one family committed a crime, the other nine families had to report it to the authorities, otherwise all the families would be implicated. There were many severe punishments and measures against different things. No one dared to comment on the new laws, and furthermore no one dared to commit any crime. The society exhibited extraordinary stability. That was not because the citizens had elevated their morality or virtue. It was due to the fear of the harsh new laws.

One year, Shang Yang advised the King of Qin to attack the State of Wei. Shang Yang sent someone to convey a letter to Prince Ang of Wei. In the letter, he lied to Prince Ang and said that he hoped to meet with the prince to have a drink of wine and seal an oath of alliance. Prince Ang believed Shang Yang, and met with him. After the two took an oath of alliance and were drinking wine, the troops of Shang Yang who had been hiding ambushed the prince, captured him, and took the opportunity to rout the Wei army. From that, one can see that Shang Yang was sinister, deceitful and perfidious, and would act unscrupulously as long as he achieved his goal.

Shang Yang was the Prime minister of Qin for ten years. He antagonized many people. Zhao Liang warned him, "Using a minor official to meet the King is in itself not upright. As the Prime minister, you've neglected the citizens but spent a lot of money building the imperial court, and that is not the correct path for having accomplishments ands establishing a lasting legacy. Torturing the personal tutor of the crown prince and utilizing the draconian laws against the populace will result in retribution. If you still covet wealth, are unwilling to relinquish your power, and instead continue to suppress the people, when the King of Qin expires, you will face dire consequences. You should instead advise the King of Qin to elevate some of the recluses to high positions, observe the etiquette of the court, and respect righteous and just people. In that case, you will be assured of security. Otherwise you will meet calamities in the near future!" Shang Yang ignored the advice of Zhao Liang. Five months later, the King of Qin passed away and the crown prince ascended the throne. The new king immediately ordered the arrest of Shang Yang.

Shang Yang escaped to a remote outpost and tried to spend the night at a local inn. The innkeeper did not know he was Shang Yang and said, "The laws of Shang Yang stipulate that I cannot allow anyone to stay in my inn without proper papers. Failing such, I will be charged with committing a crime!" Shang Yang said after a long sigh, "Oh! The law is too excessive! How could it reach this extent?!" So he had to flee all the way to the State of Wei that night. The people of Wei hated him for having deceived Prince Ang and causing the defeat of the Wei army. Initially they refused to take him in. Then they were afraid of antagonizing the State of Qin. So they captured him and sent him back to the State of Qin. When it was known that Shang Yang had been sent back to Qin, the new King of Qin sent troops to attack Shang Yang and killed him in the State of Zheng. King of Qin punished Shang Yang by using five horses to tear him apart and subsequently executed his entire family.

(2) Han Fei (李斯), a Proponent of the "Human Nature of Hate"

In traditional Chinese philosophy, human nature is a major topic. Confucius and Mencius consider that human nature stems from heaven, and his nature is compassionate. Because "to know his nature is the criterion of understanding heaven," the belief in the goodness of human nature is the starting point of the ideologies of Confucianism. The opposing school of thought is Legalists led by Han Fei.

Han Fei considered the human nature to be evil because of the relationship of profit or gain amongst the humans. Believing that "A public person is involved in public affairs, hence he follows in the desire for wealth; the craftsman is involved in making coffins, hence he desires people to die early," he felt that everything is decided because of personal benefits to the parties involved. He preached that since human nature is evil, there is no way human beings can be persuaded to change by moral code or education, and only power, authority, and punishment can be used to rule people.

Han Fei reckoned that, as the population of the world increased, people would start to fight for their own benefit. There would be too many people with bad natures, and only more advanced laws, force and power could curb the evil-natured people. Only by using cruel torture to rule by law and suppress the populace could society be protected from turmoil. He said that in administering the nation, the government cannot depend on the citizens to serve the nation, and power and influence coupled with cruel torture must be used to force people to behave in a certain way. Han Fei did not believe that the power of benevolent persuasion, instead he believed in brute force and power. Because of that, he advocated punishment and rejected the notion that people should be kindhearted.

Han Fei wrote many essays totaling more than one hundred thousand words. Someone passed his book to Yin Zheng, the ruler of the State of Qin. The King read the book and felt it conformed to his own ideas. He sighed and said, "If I have the opportunity to meet the author to discuss things with him, I will have no regrets even if I have to die for it." Li Si, an official of the royal court, told the King that Han Fei was in the State of Han. Because of that, the King immediately attacked the State of Han.

King An Yu of the State of Han sent Han Fei as an envoy to the State of Qin. So the King of Qin finally met Han Fei in person. It was possibly a case of "birds of a feather, flock together!" When the two met, it appeared that they had known each other for a long time. The King thought highly of Han Fei. But Li Si and anther official Yao Jia were afraid that Han Fei might jeopardize their positions at the court and slandered Han Fei in front of the King. The King ordered Han Fei's arrest. When Li Si received the order, he instructed someone to deliver poison to Han Fei in prison and ordered Han Fei to commit suicide. Han Fei ended up dead alone in a foreign land.

The second Emperor of Qin, Hu Hai, was also greatly influenced by Han Fei's doctrine. He used Han Fei's original words as an excuse to partake in the suppression of the citizens. He didn't want to follow the role models of the legendary Chinese Emperors, Yao, Shun and Yu. Instead he believed that the emperor was a son of Heaven and should not be laboring for the common people. Hence he acted irrationally and rashly. He extensively renovated the royal palace, and caused a lot of misery for the people. His brutal and tyrannical reign was short as a rebellion broke out and put an end to the Qin Dynasty.

(3) Li Si (李斯) Had the Aspirations of a Hamster

Li Si and Han Fei were both students of Xun Kuang. After Li Si completed his studies, he bade farewell to his tutor, saying, "The greatest insult a person can suffer is to be lowly, and the greatest sorrow is to be poverty-stricken. To criticize society and look down upon tangible benefits while occupying a lowly position and living in poverty is not something that a true gentleman should do." Those words were his own summary of his life. His only aim in life was to pursue high positions and material gain. To achieve those aims, he exhausted all his energy and thought, and tried to achieve them by fair or foul means!

"Jian Zhu Ke Shu" by Li Si is an important historical work in China. In it, Li Si not only emphasizes the importance of utilizing talented foreigners to the advantage of the State of Qin, but also specially stressed that the foreigners who went to the State of Qin to seek posts would willingly pledge loyalty to the King of Qin. How then did he treat Han Fei, a classmate that he had once admired tremendously? According to the account in "Shi Ji - Biography of Han Fei," to protect his own position, Li Si slandered Han Fei in front of the King. The argument he used was exactly opposite of what he himself had written earlier. He changed his tune, and said that the foreigners would not be loyal to the King because of their natural affinity to their homelands. Li Si persuaded Emperor Qin to kill Han Fei to prevent him from collaborating with other States to oppose the State of Qin later on. From that, one can see that while Li Si was totally immersed in jealousy, he still was clear-headed enough to fulfill his mission of getting rid of people who might compete with him later on. After the King ordered Han Fei to be arrested and sent to prison, sensing that the king had not made up his mind about what to do with Han Fei, Li Si poisoned Han Fei in prison. Sure enough, the King quickly regretted his rash decision to arrest Han Fei. But by then, Han Fei had died, and Li Si had already achieved his aim.

In "Jian Zhu Ke Shu," Li Si professed loyalty towards the King of Qin, but he actually did not have the slightest loyalty to the King. The King of Qin eventually conquered all the other warring states, founded the Qin Dynasty, and became the Emperor of all China. After his death, Li Si and Zhao Gao blocked the news of his death, and falsified the emperor's edicts, ordering the deaths of the emperor's two older sons Fu Su and Meng Tian and putting the younger son Hu Hai on the throne. It was the beginning of the end of the Qin Dynasty. As the prime minister, Li Si played a key role

Li Si supported Emperor Hu Hai's incessant drive to lead a luxurious life, oppress and exploit the people, and persecute the court officials. The emperor became hated by all people in the land. Rebellions broke out everywhere in China, with the most famous one being led by two farmers, Cheng Shi and Liu Guan. As the rebel army was approaching the capital city of Xian Yang, the Emperor began to feel nervous and questioned Li Si's advice, Li Si used extraordinary eloquence to appease the emperor and protect his own position. He told the Emperor, "An Emperor cannot be serving everyone on earth, but must let the world serve you. How can this be achieved? You must be extra vigilant towards everyone and use cruel torture to punish them." He cited an example. "To sprinkle ashes on the road is actually a minor misdemeanor, but Shang Yang punished the perpetrator with cruel torture and handed down corporal punishment. When the people noticed that such a small mistake could lead to such a severe punishment, they will then serve you attentively."

Li Si further advised Emperor Hu Hai to be self-indulgent and enjoy life to the fullest. He shamelessly assured the Emperor that only then can an emperor be considered a wise and able monarch. In addition, he told the emperor that the emperor must never limit and restraint himself by following a moral standard, intense emotions or advice from the court officials. Li Si advised the Emperor to restrict everything but not to be restricted by anything himself.

After listening to Li Si's advice, Hu Hai forgot about his doubts and intensified his plunder and suppression of the people. Those officials who blackmailed and extorted the people were considered to be "brilliant," those who cruelly tortured and killed the people were considered "loyal." Cries of discontent were heard everywhere. The rebel army gained immense support. Finally the Qin Dynasty collapsed totally. Therefore, Si Ma Qian (Author of the Historical Records - Shi Ji) said that Li Si was in effect disloyal to Qin Dynasty. That was indeed an incisive statement. Li Si was only protecting his own position. He was not concerned with the actual state of the Qin Dynasty.

Those who partake in foul deeds invite self-destruction. Li Si fell victim to Zhao Gao who was even more deceitful, cunning and treacherous than him and died in the hands of Zhao Gao. His family was executed as well. That was the retribution that Li Si had invited upon himself!


The Chinese nation had always revered justice, morality and virtue. The Chinese emperors had always been taught to follow the code of conduct of a ruler and rule benevolently. Confucian ideology that stresses kindness, righteousness, courtesy, wisdom and trustworthiness had guided mainstream Chinese society for thousands of years. But the Legalists were exactly opposite of such ideologies. Since the May 4th Movement in China in 1919, some Chinese academics have praised the Legalists highly, and considered benevolence and morality as "soft knives" that have been killing people. After the evil Communist doctrine penetrated China, it provided the evil people with the theoretical basis to completely wipe out traditional Chinese precepts of benevolence, morality and virtue. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) inherited the vilest and the most evil Legalist school of thought that the Chinese nation has ever experienced and cloaked itself in the evil Marxist-Leninist ideologies on top of it. It has established a party culture that promotes "falsehood, wickedness, and conflicts." They have been brainwashing and hurting the Chinese people for decades. The CCP is anti-humanity, anti-nature, anti-divinity and has committed crimes too numerous to record!

From the conduct throughout the life of Li Si, in the advice he gave to the two Qin Dynasty emperors and everything else that he had preached, we can see that the Legalists, in pursuing self-interests and clamoring for position, disregard affection, friendship, public opinion, and do not care about the interests of others, not even others' lives. Instead, they concentrate on carrying out their brutal methods to accomplish their selfish goals. Because of that, the Emperor of Qin, Shang Yang, Li Si and King Cao Cao, who is well known for his motto of "I'd rather have let down every single person in the whole world than have one person let me down," have become the role models for Chairman Mao and the other CCP leaders to emulate.

The Legalists committed too many evil deeds and were all punished by Heaven in the end. The CCP and all those who subscribe to the Legalist principles will meet with the same fate.

The CCP has committed countless serious crimes that will bring retribution. It will be annihilated by gods. In this historical moment right before the closing of the curtain of the great drama on the human world, it is necessary for us to wipe out the Legalist principles and culture from the human civilization, return to the true traditional culture, restore the humble respect for nature and deep reverence to gods and Buddhas, put emphasis on morality and virtue, recover our humanity and conscience, and rebuild the Chinese civilization based on respect for humanity and common love for all things.

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