To begin, let us consider the prevailing East Asian mindset that typically goes into the consideration of areas of law and justice. It should be noted that East Asian thought typically includes a wide range of traditional philosophies combining a mix of Japanese, Korean, and Chinese ideas that span more than 2,500 years of history (Moody 166). The focus on this comparison with the West, however, will primarily deal with the Chinese influence, dating back as far as 221 Before the Common Era. In considering how issues related to law and justice related back to both the preimperial Confucian stage, in addition to the incorporation of Daoist traditions, one must consider both historical and philosophical teachings. Even during ancient times, penal codes were enforced as a sense of corrective justice, but Confucius espoused a system whereby the political emphasis in Eastern philosophy was to support a more elitist system where virtues of fairness were perceived to be the humane course of actions. Within this teaching, however, lied the incorporation of flexible standards that were to determine how opportunities and goods were to be distributive to the masses. This was referred to as distributive justice, which Confucian scholars taught was designed to eliminate the need for any type of corrective justice. In essence, the law is not to be applied equally to all classes of people, but the balance of power is to shift to the elite who then distributes justice to other as they see is best reflective of the times and the situations that society finds itself in.
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