Inner beauty means a fine disposition and moral character. It first appeared in Li Sao by Qu Yuan, referring to an inherited innate moral character which was further fostered in one’s early living environment. On this basis acquired competence develops, which is achieved when one, after gaining initial understanding of the principles of things, consciously improves his moral character through self-cultivation, and strengthens one’s abilities. Later this term is used to emphasize that an author should possess an inner fine disposition and moral character, and that noble and great literature can only derive from a noble and great character.
Armed with such moral qualities given me by birth, I continue to develop competence. (Qu Yuan: Li Sao)
In literary creation, one must have both moral standard and outstanding capabilities. Neither is dispensable. As ci lyrics give expression to emotions, one must focus on bringing out the inner beauty. (Wang Guowei: Poetic Remarks in the Human World – An Edition with Deletions)