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Wan Huo Zi Fen

 

玩火自焚 (wán huǒ zì fén)

Wan Huo Zi Fen

 

During the Spring and Autumn Period (春秋 chūn qiū,770-476 BC), Zhou Xu (zhōu xū 州吁), the prince of the State of Wei (wèi guó 卫国) murdered his brother cruelly, himself then became the new emperor. However, his citizens were far from content with the new king since Zhou Xu was a tyrant, who relentlessly oppressed his people. Moreover, the ambitious and notorious ruler launched endless wars with other states, trying to divert the people’s attention and reduce their dissatisfaction with him so as to consolidate his dictatorship. The Duke of the State of Lu (lǔ guó鲁国) learnt about Zhou Xu’s usurpation of state power and his great desire to expand, he asked a senior official, “What do you think about Zhou Xu’s move? “The official answered, “He is dedicated to initiate wars and fights , bringing his people to the sea of disaster and misery. He won’t get their support. And he’s capricious, so few of his close friends follow him. He can never achieve his success. In addition, war is like fire. If one launches wars endlessly without restraint, he’ll eventually burn himself. ” Sure enough, before long, the people of Wei with the help of the State of Chen (chén guó 陈国) overthrew Zhou Xu and killed him in less than a year. Later, people use it to mean that those who do evil will finally ruin themselves.

春秋时期,卫国的王子州吁杀死了他的哥哥卫桓公,成为了卫国的国君。州吁是个暴君,他压迫百姓,到处侵略别的国家。他想利用战争来分散百姓的注意力,减少人们对他的不满,巩固他的专政统治。鲁国的君王知道州吁篡夺了王位,还想吞并其他国家,就问他手下的一名官员:“你认为州吁的目的能达到吗?”那位官员说道:“州吁到处打仗,给人民来了灾难。人民不会支持他。他这个人又反复无常,身边没有什么亲信。他不可能实现自己的野心。而且,战争就象火。无休止地打仗,最后,火会烧到自己身上。” 果然,不到一年,卫国人民就在陈国的帮助下推翻了州吁的统治,并处死了他。后来,人们用这个成语来比喻干害人的勾当,最后受害的还是自己。