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Compassion An Important Value Emperor of China is an incredible biography of the second emperor Kang-hsi 1661 - 1722 and his life as part of the last Chinese imperialistic dynasty the Qing Based on the writings of the emperor court records and later secondary sources the book follows the emperor through his struggles with opposition Manchurian and Han nobility his troubled relationships with his numerous sons his old age and his legacy By reading Kang-Hsis own words as he writes of such topics as hunting invention the Jesuits government and the introduction of Western science we learn about different aspects of his life including the different values beliefs and roles One value that is consistently evident throughout the book and is a large part of who he is and what the emperor stands for is his desire to be compassionate or as defined by Merriam Webster Dictionary sympathetic consciousness of others distress together with a desire to alleviate it This compassion is especially found in the second part of the book entitled Ruling which explores the Emperors world of action and common sense The emperors strong sense of compassion and ren or humaneness comes from his studies of Confucianism China 78 An example of this mercy and compassion especially in his dealings with crime and the death penalty is exemplified through this quote I have been merciful where possible For the ruler must always check carefully before executions and leave room for the hope that men will get better if they are given the time Emperor 31 During imperial China the supreme ruler or Son of Heaven as he was known played an integral part as the ruler of all the people in his kingdom through the divine authority that he was thought to have marking an incredible relationship between the ruler and Heaven giving him incredible power and prestige China 44 The emperor also acted as the priest of humanity performing
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