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The Confucian tradition which began during the Han dynasty 202 BCE-220 CE strongly stressed that all of society including the government could be run according to the principles of the family The family was the moral and political model for all organizations The commonly used phrase blood is thicker than water holds true in China The biological bond between parents and children could not be matched by any other relationship Master Kung the first Confucius master recognized five fundamental relationships in society These relationships are between state and citizen between father and son between husband and wife between elder brother and younger brother and between friends Of the five relationships Chinese people placed the most emphasis on the father-son relationship This emphasis celebrated the idea of filial piety Filial piety came to be the most powerful force to maintain the order of society The family and filial piety were the basis for all of Chinese society and government This is illustrated in the Book of Filially through the views of Master Kung According to Chinese tradition filial piety was the primary duty of all Chinese Being a filial son meant complete obedience to ones parents during their lifetime and--as they grew older--taking the best possible care of them After their death the eldest son was required to perform ritual sacrifices at their gravesite or in the ancestral temple A son could also express his devotion to his parents by passing the Civil Service examinations winning prestige for the whole family Most important of all a son had to make sure that the family line would be continued Dying without a son therefore was one of the worst offenses against the concept of filial piety If a marriage remained barren it was a sons duty to take a second wife or adopt a child in order to continue the family Since Chinese women became part of their husbands family through marriage filial conduct for
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