I can variously find references to this, e.g. on Tex Antoine's Wikipedia page, this article on Salon. However, I've not been able to verify this directly, with all the sources seemingly second-hand. None of them say "in this ancient Chinese book, this chapter this page, Confucius said [quote]". Even Wikipedia doesn't sound that confident, since it says "Also, Confucius did not really say that quote".

Did Confucius really say this? If so, where, and what was the original Chinese text?

  • Echo to @LangZhou's answer. I am a native Chinese speaker, Confucius never said such a thing or anything similar about rape, as far as I know.
    – Nobody
    Mar 26, 2020 at 4:00
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because there is no claim here - it was intended as a joke.
    – Oddthinking
    Mar 26, 2020 at 6:09
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    I'm not sure how a definitive statement that "Confucius did not really say that" would be considered as "doesn't sound that confident". It sounds very confident to me - confident that the quote is fake. Mar 26, 2020 at 9:08
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    First notice that the Salon article's only reference to Confucius is citing Antoine, so there is a really only one person who ever made the "claim": Antoine. Antoine is just using a common (racist) joke format. It was never intended to be a serious claim about the works of Confucius.
    – Oddthinking
    Mar 26, 2020 at 9:36
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    There must be thousands of "Confucius say..." quotes out there. They aren't supposed to be taken to mean that is what Confucius actually said: it's a framework. Mar 26, 2020 at 10:47

1 Answer 1


I am not an expert in Confucius, but as a Chinese, I am pretty sure this quote isn't from Confucius.

Why? Because such a sentence contradicts the social tradition of ancient China. When Confucius lived, which is about 2500 years ago, sex are social taboos, especially in Confucius's theory(actually distance and so-called 'caution' between genders are emphasized in this theory). From this aspect, Confucius would not likely mention anything relating to such taboos, not to mention 'rape'. To be frank, the concept 'rape' may didn't even exist back to that time.

However, it is true that Confucius has some theory about how people should react when in bad situations. He believed we should be calm and peaceful even facing difficulties, and never gave up faith.

For example, here is a quote from Lunyu Chapter 12, phrasing his student Yan Hui:

What a man was Hui! A dish of rice, a gourd of water, in a low alleyway; no man can bear such misery! Yet Hui never fell from mirth. What a man he was!


Actually this is a concept rooted in Chinese culture, which is “随遇而安” in Chinese.

But, please notice this concept is totally different from the quote in your question, rape is not a 'difficult situation', it's crime.

  • 1
    "But, please notice this concept is totally different from the quote in your question, rape is not a 'difficult situation', it's crime." They're not mutually exclusive. And you just said that the concept of rape didn't exist in that culture, so how could it have been a crime? Mar 26, 2020 at 5:01
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    This answer, although informative, would do better with citations
    – PC Luddite
    Mar 26, 2020 at 5:24
  • @Acccumulation Perhaps I didn't make it clear. The last sentence I said is how we regard rape in the modern ethic system, and it is used to prove that the concept I mentioned in the previous paragraphs doesn't apply to the case of rape. Also, in ancient Chinese scholar's perspectives, the 'difficult situation' normally refers to something such as hunger, exile, poverty, unsuccessful career etc., which are believed by many scholars that these disasters are posed to them by divine, rather than a concrete criminal.
    – Lang Zhou
    Mar 27, 2020 at 2:04

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