Reward Good and Punish Evil
Ancient Chinese believe that if the state and society are to be well-governed, what is good must be loved and what is evil must be despised in order to create a positive social environment. Good and evil should be identified and rewards and punishments should be meted out in accordance with the law. In ancient times, the good meant being reasonable, meritorious and law-abiding, whereas the evil meant being unreasonable, lawbreaking and committing crimes. Rewards and punishments were important means for running the military and the state, and were important powers exercised by rulers. Rewards and punishments are demonstrative in nature. Rewards are given to encourage the good while punishments are meted out to punish the evil. Therefore, rewards and punishments must be meted out appropriately to the right persons in accordance with regulations. Only this will create a healthy and uplifting social atmosphere. Rewards and punishments help people to develop integrity and tell good from evil.
With the good rewarded and the evil punished, the state will surely be well governed. (Mozi)
Esteem good people, put talents to good use, reward those who have performed meritorious deeds, and punish those who break the law… These are all expressions of loving what is good and punishing evil. This must be practiced in order to govern the country well, and this holds true for both now and the ancient times. (Xunzi)
A sage king establishes the rule of law, gives out enough rewards to encourage good deeds, and metes out enough punishments to suppress violence… Then good things will grow like vegetation in spring, and misconduct will wither and die like vegetation in autumn. (Hanfeizi)