The following is an excerpt from the Analects by Confucius, titled The Secret of Politics:
Confucius’ disciple Zi-gong asked him: “What is politics?”
Confucius replied: “The key to politics is to make food plentiful(足食), keep enough soldiers(足兵) and earn the people’s trust(民信).”
Zi-gong thought about this, but decided it was too hard to do all three. He asked again: “If you had to give up one, which would you choose?”
Confucius replied: “I would give up the soldiers.”
Zi-gong asked again: “If you had to give up one more thing, which would you choose?”
Confucius thought for a minute and said: “I would give up food. If you believe, you can withstand hunger for a while and withstand the hardships of war, but if you lose trust you will immediately lose everything.”
The character 信 stands for trust, which is believing in another person. Of course there must be trust among the people, but Confucius teaches us that the trust between the people and their leaders is the most important. In fact, with trust and faith you can overcome anything. If you can respect and trust in your leaders, you can endure hunger and at times, even summon the strength to defeat your enemies with your bare hands.
An administration that has lost the hearts of the people will fail.