Will of the People
This term refers to the evaluative judgment or view of the people in a country or region, on an issue, phenomenon or incident which touches on their common interest and which has broad societal meaning. Ancient Chinese often took the “mandate of heaven” to be the basis and highest concept for the legitimacy of political authority and for policymaking, but in fact they often regarded the”will of the people” to be the principal source, content, and manifestation of the”mandate of heaven.” They also considered it to be the fundamental principle of a country’s governance, and thought that having or losing the will of the people determined the rise or fall of a country and political power as well as the development of state affairs. It is the core of the Chinese concept of the people as the foundation of the state. All enlightened Chinese statesmen past and present have regarded the “will of the people” to be the most important factor in governance.
(A country is like a tree.) Its root is the will of the people, which determines the growth and lushness of its leaves. (Houfu, from Bamboo Slips of the Warring States Period)
Heaven loves the people and accedes to their wishes. (The Book of History)
When the power of the state waxes, it is because it accords with the will of the people; when the power of the state wanes, it is because it goes against the will of the people. (Guanzi)