Understanding the policy of “No rabbit left, Slaughtered the hounds” practiced on subordinates.

Understanding the policy of “No rabbit left, Slaughtered the hounds” practiced on subordinates.

by tonytran2015 (Melbourne, Australia).

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#Phạm Lãi, #Văn Chủng, #Việt Thường, #Việt,

This is the Oriental name for a policy practiced by treacherous tyrants on their subordinates.

It means a hunter raises hound dogs for hunting clever rabbits. When there are no more rabbit to hunt he will slaughter his dogs in cold blood for food.

1. The proverbial phrase “No rabbit left, Slaughtered the hounds”.

This proverbial phrase has a very old history dating back to the Warring period of the Zhou empire (in the period of 476BC-221BC).

History by SimaQian recorded that after resigning from his position of power (commander of the army) in the Viet kingdom, Pham Lai [1,2,3] wrote a letter to his former colleague Van Chung who were still serving the king:

“After flying birds have been exhausted good bows will get ruined. After the clever rabbits have died, those hound dogs hunting them will get slaughtered. This Viet king (you are serving) has long neck, bird beak, (that kind of people) only collaborates in hardship but does not want to share glory. Why have not you resigned?”

Van Chung received the letter, understood it but it was too late for him. Even being faultless he still got executed by king of Viet Thuong.

Theo Sử ký, khi bỏ sang Tề, trong thư Phạm Lãi gửi cho Văn Chủng có đoạn viết:

“Phi điểu tận, lương cung tàng. Giảo thố tử, tẩu cẩu phanh. Việt vương vi nhân trường cảnh điểu uế, khả dữ cộng hoạn nạn, bất khả dữ cộng lạc. Tử hà bất khứ?”

Dịch nghĩa:

Chim bay mất hết, cung tốt được cất đi. Thỏ khôn chết, chó săn bị nấu. Việt vương là người cao cổ, miệng chim, chỉ có chung hoạn nạn mà không thể chung vui. Thầy sao còn chưa lui về?

Cũng từ đó mà có thành ngữ “Thỏ tử cẩu phanh”, dùng để ám chỉ thói đời đen bạc, lấy oán trả ân, các vị vua hung bạo bất nhân, khi đã lập quốc thành công rồi thì trở mặt giết hại các công thần.


Any tyrant will fear that some of his subordinates may excel him and may throw him out. So the tyrant may kill all worthy subordinates after their tasks had been done.

The English equivalence is “useful idiots [4] have done their works”.

2. Who practiced it.

2a- King Câu Tiển of the ancient kingdom of Viet practiced it, as described above.

Map of Ancient China 500 BC
Author: Hugo Lopez – Wikimedia Commons user: Yug, Original file https://commons.m.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Chinese_plain_5c._BC-vi.svg#mw-jump-to-license, from https://vi.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xu%C3%A2n_Thu. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

2b- Emperor Gaozu of Han, (Hán Cao Tổ, 漢高祖; 256 BC – 1 June 195 BC) Founder of the Han Empire practiced it against his most able general Han Xin (Hàn Tín; 韩信; 韓信; Hán Xìn; 229 BC – 196 BC).[5]

2c- Stalin practiced it in his great purge in 1930’s [6]:

Soviet famine of 1932-33 (known as the Holodomor in Ukraine) in which at least five million died.
“Great Terror” in the 1930s. 750,000 members … who … might oppose him were executed.

Robert Conquest, in his book The Great Terror: A Reassessment (40th anniversary Edition, ISBN-13: 978-0195317008, ISBN-10: 0195317009), …

1930-36 7 million

1937-38 3 million

1939-53 10 million


[1]. https://vi.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ph%E1%BA%A1m_L%C3%A3ihttps://

[2]. https://vi.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vi%E1%BB%87t_(n%C6%B0%E1%BB%9Bc)

[3]. https://vi.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xu%C3%A2n_Thu

[4]. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Useful_idiot

[5]. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Han_Xin

[6]. https://historyofrussia.org/stalin-killed-how-many-people/




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