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Tianxia (All Under Heaven)

This term referred mainly to all the land under the name of the Son of Heaven and the right to rule on such land. The ancient Chinese held that the rule of senior officials was over their enfeoffed land, and that of dukes and princes was over feudal states. The rule of the Son of Heaven was over all the land. Literally, tianxia (天下) means “all under heaven.” It actually refers to all the territory embracing the enfeoffed land and feudal states under the rule or in the name of the Son of Heaven, as well as all the subjects and the right to rule. The term has later evolved to refer to the whole nation or the whole world.

CITATION
1

All land under heaven falls within the domain of the Son of Heaven; all those on this land are his subjects.

CITATION
2

When the Great Way prevails, the world belongs to all the people. People of virtue and competence are chosen to govern the country; honesty is valued and people live in harmony.

CITATION
3

The rise and fall of a nation is the concern of every individual.

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