bào fǎ chǔ shì 抱法处势
Upholding Law by Means of Power
This expression means to uphold the law by means of power. This is a way of governance advocated by Hanfeizi (280?-233 BC). Law is what all people have to abide by, regulating people’s conduct as well as the judgment of right or wrong, good or evil. “Power” refers to the position and strength of the ruler. “Upholding law by means of power” requires the ruler to use his power to ensure that the law is enforced through reward and punishment so as to maintain social order and social values.
An ordinary ruler, not as good as Yao or Shun, yet not descending to the ways of Jie or Zhou, upholds the law by means of power to realize social stability. If he turns his back on the law and abnegates his power, society will fall into disorder. (Hanfeizi)