In 361 BC Qin Xiaogong (lit. Duke Xiao of Qin) ascended the Qin throne. Shang Yang left his position in Wei to become a minister in Qin, where his changes to the state's legal system, which built upon Li Kui's Book of Law, propelled the Qin to prosperity. Qin later went on to conquer all of China, uniting the country for the first time and ushering in the Qin dynasty.
Shang Yang introduced two sets of changes to the Qin state. The first, in 356 BC, were as follows:
- Li Kui's Book of Law was implemented, with the important addition of a rule providing punishment equal to that of the perpetrator for those aware of a crime but failing to inform the government.
- The assignment of lands to soldiers based upon military success. The military was also divided in to twenty military ranks.
- As manpower was short in the Qin, Shang Yang encouraged the cultivation of new or wastelands, and favoured agriculture over commerce.
- Shang Yang burnt Confucian books in an effort to curb the philosophy's influence.
He is credited by Han Feizi with the creation of two theories;
- Ding Fa (定法; fixing the standards)
- Yi Min (一民; treating the people as one)
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