A Discussion of “Righteousness” (Part 1)
The Chinese character for righteousness (義) contains a wide range of meaning in regards to morality. It is also one of the core elements of traditional Chinese culture. When mentioning the character “righteousness,” people might first think of Romance of the Three Kingdoms, one of the Four Great Classical Novels of Chinese Literature. Although the novel chronicles the lives of feudal lords during the Three Kingdoms era, the interpretation of “righteousness” is expounded throughout the book. The stories of Zhuge Liang, who exemplified loyalty to the nation and trustworthiness, and the anecdotes of Guan Yu’s sense of justice have exerted tremendous influence for generations.
There is a story called “A Righteous Woman Repels an Army.” During the Spring and Autumn Period, the State of Qi attacked the State of Lu. In order to escape from the Qi army, a Lu woman was found running in the outskirts of the city. She carried a child in one arm, and dragged another child with her other hand. When a Qi soldier ran after her, she let go of the child in her arm, and kept the child she was holding in her hand. A soldier caught up to her and asked her, “Why did you let go of the child in your arm, and kept the child you held in your other hand?” She replied, “The child I held in my hand is my older brother’s son, the child in my arm is my son. I was not able to take both of them, so I let go of my son.” When the general from the Qi army heard her response, he asked, “Which one do you love more, your brother’s son or your own son?” The woman replied, “The love I have for my own child is a selfish kind of love. But I have a sense of righteousness toward my brother’s son. Although it hurts to let go of my own child, keeping my brother’s son is the right thing to do.” The Qi general stopped the attack on Lu. He said, “Even a woman from the State of Lu understands the meaning of righteousness. How can I attack a benevolent and righteous state like Lu?” He ordered his army to return to Qi. The woman’s own son was able to return home safely as well. When the Duke of Lu heard the story, he sent many gifts to the woman and bequeathed her the name of “Righteous Lady.”
There is an ancient saying, “I want to be both alive and righteous. When I’m unable to keep both, I shall give up my life and be righteous.” “Righteousness” enables one to tell right from wrong, be fair, rational, and moral. It is what keeps the society stable, and what keeps relations amongst people harmonious. However, since the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) took over China, it has destroyed the 5,000 years of traditional Chinese culture, and treated the Chinese people with “treachery” and “infidelity.” It has taught people to fight against and target each other, and to eliminate spiritual beliefs.
For example, although Peng Dehuai saved Mao Zedong’s life several times, Mao wanted to kill Peng because he criticized Mao at the Lushan Meeting. Pro-democracy activists, Zhang Baijun, Luo Longji, and Chu Anping, and hundreds of thousands of intellectuals who were encouraged by Mao to advise the CCP under the promise of “No beatings, no name-calling, and absolutely no retaliation,” were later labeled as “right wing” when they spoke some facts, and consequently tortured, insulted, and killed. During the Cultural Revolution, people lied, cheated, and betrayed their friends, family, and colleagues to protect themselves in order to survive. “Righteousness” no longer existed and morality declined rapidly.
After the “reform and opening-up policy,” the CCP promoted “money worship.” Without moral constraints, people pursued materialism, which created endless social problems. People came up with ruthless money making schemes and tricks to obtain personal gain.