The shame that come from any infringement of a social obligation or merely a rule of etiquette, would be one that would prevent people from committing crimes rather than the fear of punishment that would result.
So much so that the Confucian dynastic law is probably the only in history to have anticipated punishments for crime victims because of their denunciation of crimes, even finally found and giving rise to the criminal penalties for the offense. For example, the wife exposing her husband or her husband’s family was punished by three years’ imprisonment and 100 strokes of thick bamboo, and this assuming that the charges are proven (if they were not, the complainant was performed by strangulation).
Confucian thought promoted by the government such as that of the sovereign, virtuous men and sages who by their conduct contribute to educate the people.
Punishment are not completely in vain, but must be limited to the masses.
And even in their application, it will take into account social and moral considerations. Respect rites, loyalty to the emperor and filial piety called benevolence of the sovereign and Mandarin while violation of these standards can only aggravate their sentences. This is the “royal road” of the government, the government of men.
But at the time when Confucian ideas make their way, at li 礼 rites of Confucius, opposes the fa 法 laws legalists. For legalistic, man is not born naturally good, but it is the study of society and the stress that leads to justice and decency. Therefore no question of government by man, but by the company of government repression and to correct what is wrong with the individual. In other words, it is the law that places itself above all, it is so unique in the Chinese tradition the supreme norm.
The vagaries of Chinese history, especially during the Qin dynasty, the two currents will successively take over on each other. They will compete throughout Chinese history, even if the trend is that Confucianism wins most often.