AuthorChang Wejen
The Tsinghua China Law Review offers the following explanation
written by Prof. CHANG Wejen, for his own piece
Chinese Jurisprudence and the Development of the Chinese Legal
System (of our Spring 2010 issue).
In my article, I stated that both Laozi and Zhuangzi wanted sages
exterminated and human intellect discarded. (pp. 243, 247).
It has since been pointed out to me that my use of the word
“exterminate” is inappropriate, for Laozi and Zhuangzi, sages
themselves, could never have advocated extermination of sages.
For the phrases “jue sheng (㔍൓)” in Laozi and Zhuangzi,
renowned translators of Chinese classics used different English
words, for instance, “Exterminate the sages” by D.C. Lau (Lao Tzu,
Penguin Classics, 1963, p. 75), “Get rid of the wise men” by Ling
Yutang and Blakney (The Sayings of Lao Tzu, reprinted by
Confucius Publishing Co., Taipei, 1988, p. 38), and “renounce our
sageness” by James Legge (Tao Te Ching and The Writings of
Chuang-tzu reprinted by Ch’eng-Wen Publishing Co., Taipei, 1969,
p.110). I agree with Lau because his translation is closest to the basic
meaning of the Chinese.
Of course Laozi and Zhuangzi did not advocate physically
exterminating the sages, although a careful reading of their works
reveals that in their thinking there were two kinds of sages the true
ones who genuinely wanted to save the world from chaos, and the
false ones who actually helped create the chaos and they wanted
the false ones suppressed (their cacophony silenced). “To
exterminate” was a figurative expression. It reminds me an
interesting event.
In 1994 at a faculty luncheon at NYU Law School, after
Professor Jerome Cohen finished a talk, Professor Frank Upham
asked me to make a comment. I demurred. “Come on,” Upham
insisted, “I know you have something to say.” Uncomfortable in such

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT