Many scholars have pointed out that in China’s autocratic monarchy society, the bureaucratic class has a counter effect on the emperors, and they checked and balanced the emperors. This check and balance actually exist, but its effect is very limited. The Confucian bureaucratic class often advised the emperor to act according to the Confucian standard of the benevolent king, but if the emperor did not listen to this advice, the bureaucratic class had no way. Because the real Confucianists never dare to offend the emperor’s authority, let alone strike a rebellion. They knew that the world would be in chaos without the emperor, so what they could do when the emperor didn’t listen to advice was to end his own life, die a hero’s death and complete their mission.
In “Romance of Three Kingdoms”, when Liu Bei entered Sichuan, Liu Zhang adopted Zhang Song’s suggestion and wanted to accept Liu Bei, so, “the next day, Liu Zhang mounted his horse to ride out to Elm Tree Bridge. Then a messenger reported to him: “Wang Lei has suspended himself, head downwards, at the city gate. He holds a written remonstrance in one hand and in the other a knife. And he says that if you heed him not, he will cut the rope and die at your feet.”
Liu Zhang went to the gate, took the writing, and read:
“Good medicine is bitter in the mouth but good for the disease; faithful words offend the ear but are good for the conduct. Of old King Huai of Chu listened not to Qu Yuan, but attended the meeting at Wu Pass and was captured by the state of Qin. Sir, you are thoughtlessly leaving your place to go to welcome Liu Bei, but I fear there is a way out and none in. Could you but behead Zhang Song in the marketplace and have nothing to do with this league with Liu Bei? It would be for the happiness of old and young and assure the safety of yourself.”
Anger rose in Liu Zhang’s breast as he read.
“Why do you insult me when I go to meet a kind man I feel as if I were about to enjoy the delight of seeing brother?”
At this time, Wang Lei gave a great cry, severed the rope, and fell to the ground battered and dead.”This is the real Confucianism. He would rather kill himself than hurt the emperor.①
Confucianism is the most reasonable theory of the secular society, and the monarchy is the most reasonable system of the secular society, but any reasonable system can not restrain the greed and degeneration of human nature. Since the emperor who reigns in the world and holds the power of life and death is so majestic and imperious, it is naturally everyone’s ultimate dream, so it is common for brothers and sisters to fight at each other’s throats, dog-eat-dog in court.