Confucius said of Zichan: “He had four essential qualities of a leader: in his private conduct he was courteous; in serving his superiors he was respectful; in caring for the people he was generous; in employing the people for public service he was just.”
Confucius said: “Yan Pingzhong was a master of the art of social interaction: no matter how long he knew someone, he always maintained the same level of scrupulous courtesy.”
Confucius often cited historical role models for his disciples to study and follow. Zichan was an illustrious minister of the state of Zheng and Yan Ping a famous high-level official of the state of Qiu.
Under the feudal system that was in place at the time, the common people had the obligation to work for the state whenever called upon as laborers in major construction projects as well as conscripts in the army. Not surprisingly, this practice was open to abuse among less scrupulous rulers and ministers and could lead to high levels of discontentment among the general population.