17 ancient Chinese advices for Edi Rama

17 ancient Chinese advices for Edi Rama

This article has been written for Albanian Free Press newspaper and www.albanianfreepress.al 

By Eduard Zaloshnja

In the second century B.C, Liu An, king of Huainan, asked the scholars of his court to prepare a book on governing, philosophy and the world in general. They wrote a book called “Huainanzi”, a 900 page book which was translated into English. Below, I’ve included some of the advices appearing in this book toward any government leader, in this case, Edi Rama:

1.If a ruler does not promote those people who work for the best interest of the public, but instead of them, hires friends or political allies, then he would be promoting people with suspicious or strange skills, while officials who have a conscience would remain on the shadow. In this case, public works would go for the worst in all the state’s structures and officials with skills would suffer.

  1. If a ruler is in constant conflict with his subordinates, then senior officials would be constantly worried to hold on to their posts, fulfilling every whim of the ruler, in order to protect themselves. This would scare off capable officials in cases when they want to offer advices that may not be liked by the ruler.
  2. If the ruler participates in endless activities, some important ones and some not so important, governance would encounter problems. However big the ruler’s knowledge is, they cannot be enough to govern the state on his own. The ruler cannot solve every big or small problem of the state.
  3. When officials suck up to their superiors, while they may make mistakes, it is impossible for them to be held accountable. When those who commit criminal offenses are not punished and other officials would become passive and the situation becomes disruptive, those who would be able to adjust the situation would be unable to do anything. The ruler would be bombarded with compliments, while the illuminati would be unable to illuminate the situation.
  4. When common people do not have a roof over their head, an illuminated ruler must not enjoy big houses and luxury offices.
  5. A ruler must smell the difficulties before they are materialized. He should be prepared for extraordinary situations before they happen and take care of the day to day state business, and not indulge in personal pleasures. He needs to be just, determined, he must have a clean conscience, be incorruptible and have skills. When he promotes or discharges his subordinates, he needs to think of the public’s interests and not his whims. He needs to be composed and balanced when taking such decisions.
  6. A ruler must not say anything without thinking in advance about what he’s going to say. The same goes for his action. He needs to carefully choose what’s best for the public, before following a particular line of action.
  7. The things which are forbidden for common people, must also be forbidden for the ruler. If the ruler is corrupt and manipulates society, his failure one day is certain.
  8. The state is kept on its feet by humanism and justice. If these two elements are lacking, the day will come when it will fail.
  9. At a time of crisis, those who are in power never get enough of this power. The people who are in power reduce the benefits of the public and introduce more punitive measures against it. Common people work hard, but their efforts do not pay off.
  10. The ruler needs to be unbiased when it comes to applying the law upon those whom he likes or whom he doesn’t like. He must not support corrupted people or embrace lies.
  11. When the right people are found to run the state’s affairs, executing them is not difficult. When a ruler appoints people who deserve their post, things in the country go well.
  12. When the ruler is sincere and just, honest officials are zealous in their work, while the corrupt hide everywhere they can. Otherwise, unscrupulous officials attain their objectives, while the most honest ones hide.
  13. In a well-governed country, those who draft policies, need to take into account the laws of the country; those who implement policies need to be rigorously monitored. Superiors need to assess the performance of their subordinates, in order for them to do an efficient job. Commendations should not extend beyond reality and actions should be restricted within the boundaries of the law.
  14. In a badly governed country, those who boast a lot, do less for their country. Meanwhile, those who are faithful to their duty, are unfairly punished. Under these circumstances, the ruler governs in darkness and does not have a good grasp of the country’s affairs. Capable people do not dare to make proposals, while the servile are always whispering in the ruler’s ears. Under these circumstances, cliques and fractions dominate, making the ruler carry out initiatives which do not help suffering people.
  15. The ruler should rely on human experience when planning. His personal preferences must not decide about favors granted to this one or that one. His grudges should not decide punishments. This is the only way he will win dignity and his laws and orders may be considered by people as just.
  16. A country does not fail due to the lack of a ruler, but due to the lack of the rule of law.

Note: The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Albanian Free Press’ editorial policy