During the Spring and Autumn period in China, there was a state called Wei, whose ruler, duke Huan, was murdered by his younger brother Zhou Yu and a minister named Shi Hou.
As a usurper, Zhou Yu soon found that he was unable to attach the people to himself. His accomplice, Shi Hou said: " All people of Wei respect my father. Why not ask him for advice?"
So he went to his father, Shi Que, a retired minister, and asked him how to establish the prince in the State.
Shi Que who wanted to uphold justice for duke Huan said, "It may be done by his going and having an audience of the king."
"But how can this audience be obtained?"
Thinking his words sensible, Zhou Yu and Shi Hou went to Chen in the following day, but neither of them knew that Shi Que had sent information to Chen, saying, "The State of Wei is narrow and small, and I am aged and can do nothing. These two men are the real murderers of my prince, and I venture to ask that you will instantly take the proper measures with them."
As a result, no sooner had Zhou Yu and Shi Hou arrived than the duke of Chen arrested them and requested Wei to send and manage the rest.
Two months later, Wei sent a minister Chou who put Zhou Yu to death, but hesitated about how to deal with Shi Hou. Learning of this, Shi Que sent his his servant who put his son to death in the capital of Chen.
The historian who recorded this incident made comment on Shi Que:" Shi Que was a minister without blemish. He had justice prevailed even at the sacrifice of blood relations. And did he not thus afford an illustration of the saying "To forsake family loyalty for righteousness"?"
Background and Writer Comment:
This idiom story is from "Zuo Zhuan".
The idiom of Forsake Family Loyalty For Righteousness--Da Yi Mie Qin is now used to describe someone who uphold justice even at the sacrifice of blood relations.