民无信不立 – Chinese philosophy and culture

mín wú xìn bú lì 民无信不立

Without People’s Trust the State Will Not Survive.

若是得不到百姓的信任,国家政权就不会稳固。中国人自古重“信”(诚信、信任);孔子把它放在了官民关系上,并提到了事关政权稳固与否的高度。其意为:国家或国家的治理者要对百姓讲诚信,不倚仗权势而妄为,以使百姓信任自己,而百姓对自己也因此讲诚信。这是政权建立、坚固的基础和保障。它也是“民惟邦本”思想的引申表达。

Without the trust of the people, the government will not be stable. Chinese people have since antiquity put high value on “trust” (good faith). Confucius applied it to the relationship between officials and the people and saw it as a crucial factor in the stability of the state. What this means is that the government or the ruler should be honest in dealing with the people, not acting recklessly with force or power, so that the people will trust the authorities and act in good faith in regard to them. This is the solid basis and guarantee of state power. It is also an extension of the notion of “the people being the foundation of the state.”

引例 Citations:

◎子贡问政,子曰:“足食,足兵,民信之矣。”子贡曰:“必不得已而去,于斯三者何先?”曰:“去兵。”子贡曰:“必不得已而去,于斯二者何先?”曰:“去食。自古皆有死,民无信不立。”(《论语·颜渊》)

(子贡问怎样治理国家。孔子说,“粮食充足,军备充足,老百姓信任统治者。”子贡说:“如果不得不去掉一项,那么在三项中先去掉哪一项呢?”孔子说:“去掉军备。”子贡说:“如果不得不再去掉一项,那么这两项中去掉哪一项呢?”孔子说:“去掉粮食。自古以来人总是要死的,如果老百姓对统治者不信任,那么国家就不能存在了。”)

Zigong asked about what was needed in governance. Confucius said, “Enough food, enough weapons and people’s trust of the ruler.” Zigong said, “If you had no choice but to forgo one thing, which of those three should be first?” Confucius said, “Forgo weapons.” Zigong said, “If you had no choice but to forgo one thing, which of those two should be first?” Confucius said, “Forgo food. Since ancient times there has always been death, but if the people have no trust, the state does not survive.” (The Analects)

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