wéi zhèng yǐ dé 为政以德
Governance Based on Virtue
Governance of a state should be guided by virtue. Confucius expounded this philosophy – which his followers in later eras promoted – on the basis of the approach advocated by the rulers in the Western Zhou Dynasty that prized high moral values and the virtue of being cautious in meting out punishment. Governance based on virtue stands in contrast to rule by use of harsh punishment as a deterrent. It does not, however, exclude the use of punishment, but rather highlights the decisive role of virtue in governance, and regards moral edification both as the fundamental principle and the essential means for achieving good governance.
Governance based on virtue is like the North Star taking its place in the sky, while all the other stars revolve around it. (The Analects)