ɡōnɡ shēnɡ mínɡ，lián shēnɡ wēi 公生明，廉生威
Fairness Fosters Discernment and Integrity Creates Authority.
Only by being fair can one distinguish between right and wrong; only with moral conduct can one establish authority. These mottoes were used as reminders by upright officials of the Ming and Qing dynasties. Gong (公) means fairness and opposing pursuit of selfish interest. Ming (明) means discernment, namely, the ability to distinguish right from wrong. Lian (廉) means free from corruption. Wei (威) means authority or credibility. Today, these teachings have remained important principles which office holders should abide by. They mean that governance should be exercised in a fair and just way and within the framework of laws and regulatory procedures of the state. Officials should lead by example, have moral integrity and be self-disciplined; they should put public interests above their own and not use their power to pursue personal gain.
Officials have a sense of awe towards me not because of my being strict with them, but because of my upright conduct. People accept my authority not because of my ability, but because of my fairness. If I am fair, people will not dare to disobey my order; if I am morally upright, officials will not dare to deceive me. Only by being fair can one distinguish between right and wrong; only with moral integrity can one establish authority. (Nian Fu: Mottoes for Officials, from a stone carving)