Traditional Chinese culture places great value on a person’s virtue. Many ancient texts implore their readers to cultivate a kind character and to do good in order to receive blessings and avoid misfortune.
In his book of disciplines, Zhu Yongchun, a Ming dynasty scholar, warns that “When one’s virtue does not match his status, misfortune is inevitable.”
Zhu believed that a person had to be morally upright in order to enjoy good fortune in life. He drew an analogy between a person’s life and a building; he saw virtue as the foundation of the building, upon which fame, power, and wealth could be built.
Building a house without a solid foundation is dangerous, as it will eventually collapse. Zhu thought the same about a person’s life: if someone tried to accumulate fame, power, and wealth without a solid foundation of virtue, misfortune was bound to happen and this person would lose everything.
Have you ever wondered why some singers or actors disappear after a brief moment of popularity, why some people quickly lose all their money after winning the lottery, or why some high ranking officials fall from grace faster than when they rose to power?
These are all examples of people’s virtue not being able to support their status. Everyone talks about the rise and fall of these people with great interest, but few truly know why these windfalls ultimately ended in misfortune.
But if what Zhu said is indeed true? Not having virtue is just as dangerous as walking on stilts at the edge of a cliff: one is bound to fall sooner or later.
Virtueless Imperial Court Officials Fall from Power
Chinese history holds many examples of where high-ranking officials of the imperial court fell because they lacked virtue and abused the power given to them.
For example, the secret police officer Lai Juncheng of the Tang Dynasty once had the complete trust of the emperor to investigate imperial court officials.
With this power, Lai and his men fabricated evidence to frame and falsely accuse many loyal officials. He was also known to have invented many torture methods and devices to get the accused to confess. Lai’s power and cruelty made him the most feared and hated official of the time.
However, he would soon receive his comeuppance after his plot to frame the emperor’s daughter failed. He was executed for his treachery and had his corpse skinned and removed of its organs.
Official Yan Song of the Ming Dynasty repeated Lai’s mistake. After becoming an official of the imperial court, Yan quickly formed his own clique within the government body. By getting rid of those who disagreed with him, Yan gained control over the government, with the emperor devoting himself to the practice of Taoism.
Yan and his son used their power to make money and killed many innocent people. After losing the emperor’s trust, Yan’s son was decapitated. Yan was stripped of his power, became homeless, and died shortly after.
We see the same tragedy repeating itself over and over again throughout history. The times and the characters may be different, but the storyline remains unchanged.
Similar Cases Unfolding in China Today
After the Chinese Communist regime launched the persecution of Falun Gong, a spiritual practice of body and mind, some party officials have closely followed the persecution policies and actively participated in the campaign. They have harassed, arrested, detained, tortured, falsely accused, sentenced, and even killed countless innocent practitioners.
Officials of the Central Committee of the Communist Party such as Zhou Yongkang, Bo Xilai, Li Dongsheng, Zhou Benshun have become the driving force in the execution of the persecution and minions of Jiang Zemin, the then-leader of the Communist Party.
They took bribes and became more and more corrupt in executing Jiang’s directives. Though they were powerful, they lacked virtue and morals. They indeed quickly secured promotions for relentlessly persecuting Falun Gong, but they soon fell one by one.
Lack of Virtue Results in Fatal Consequences
Some party officials faced more severe consequences than just losing their power. Director Li Fuguo of the Caofeidian District Police Department in Tangshan City was promoted to director in 2013 for leading the local effort in persecuting practitioners since 2006.
But in less than three years after he was appointed director, Li Fuguo was diagnosed with leukemia and died within two months, at age 47.
Li Fuguo was the head of the district’s Domestic Security Division from 2006 to 2013 and participated in almost every single case involving Falun Gong practitioners. As soon as he was appointed deputy director, he arrested practitioner Ms. Li Enying and detained her at the Shijiazhuang Forced Labor Camp. She was tortured to the brink of death at the camp and passed away less than two weeks after being released on medical parole.
To trick another local practitioner into letting them in, Li Fuguo and a group of his men pretended to be customers at Mr. Zheng Xiangxin’s shop in 2012. They arrested him and ransacked his home on the same day. Mr. Zheng was sentenced to 10 years in prison for his beliefs and was tortured while imprisoned.
Mr. Zheng’s skull was fractured while he was being beaten and he ended up with a concussion. As a result, he is now blind in both eyes and experiences confusion. He cannot think clearly and suffers from incontinence.
Li Fuguo has caused the misfortune of many practitioners and their families within his jurisdiction. His lack of virtue led to his death soon after he became director.
A person with little virtue may get ahead and seem to be winning at times, but they won’t stay in that position for long. One cannot rely on inside connections, schemes, or brutality to hold up their status.
Some people may say that they were merely carrying out their duties and it was their job. However, as the ancient sages have said, “Framing an innocent man is no different than killing him with a knife.”
When the party officials carry out their duties in torturing innocent citizens to death for their belief, when military doctors harvest organs from living Falun Gong practitioners – how are their actions any different than murder?
Everyone who has been involved in the persecution of Falun Gong will not be able to get away—they will be held responsible for the crimes they’ve committed. It is only fair for a murderer to repay the life he’s taken and the harm he’s done to others.
Building a Solid Foundation of Virtue
How can one avoid not having enough virtue and staying away from misfortune? It’s simple—by valuing virtue and doing good deeds.
Many wise men have given similar advice: “If one has virtue, one will receive gains,” “To improve virtue as to improve one’s fate,” “One builds a solid foundation for good things in life by valuing virtue,” “High virtue high hope;” “A family of good people will have abundant blessings,” and so on.
Blessings can only come from virtue and kindness. One who does good and accumulates virtue will have good fortune. And only when a person is righteous, honest, and kind can he support the heavy weight of fame, power, and wealth.