Family-state / Country
Family-state referred to the land owned by feudal lords and officials in ancient China. The land of a feudal lord was called “state” and the land of an official was called “family.” In ancient China, family, clan, and country shared common structural features, all founded on the basis of blood relationships. This is the so-called “commensurability of family and state.” Family-state later referred to the entire territory of a country. In modern times, the term is also used to denote a polity encompassing a territory, a people, and a government.
A man of virtue and talent should be aware of potential danger in time of peace, keep in mind possible peril in time of security, and be vigilant of turmoil in time of order. Then he can keep himself safe and his country preserved. (The Book of Changes)
People often say, “State and family are all under heaven.” The root of all under heaven is in the state. The root of a state is in the family. (Mencius)
The term, literally meaning the state and the body, has three meanings. First, it refers to the important ministers who help the sovereign ruler govern the state. Figuratively, the term suggests that the state is a human body and the ministers are the major components of the body. Second, it refers to the constitution and laws of a state. Third, it means national polity or dignity.
Ministers are like the arms and legs of the sovereign ruler. They constitute the major components of the country. (Fan Ning: Annotations on Guliang’s Commentary on The Spring and Autumn Annals)
The national legal system is well enacted, and the laws and regulations are orderly implemented. (Yao Ying: A Letter to General Lu)
Selected from Key Concepts in Chinese Thought and Culture published by Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press.