Legal equality becomes possible only when taxpayers are treated as individuals with respect to the law, which means that the law ignores group membership, focusing on facts. In China this trend first appeared during the post-aristocratic Han dynasty. Recent scholarship on Han legal texts suggests that bureaucratic practice, while not perfect, corresponded reasonably well with theory, and period writers reflect an awareness of the radical novelty of their system in relation to the past. Early Han laws were translated into French and English in the 1730s. These laws, regarded as exemplary since Song times, repealed older practices such as guilt by association, mutilation, or entrapment. The old laws were based on the notion that group membership was a significant factor in assigning guilt. The Han laws, like bureaucratic appointment, focused on individuals and so it was assumed that criminals could be rehabilitated and that guilt must be determined individually in light of the facts. The notion of individual moral conscience informing these laws appears in several Han period engravings. Some imply that an individual’s judgment is superior to the government’s, which is fallible. Others presume a sharp distinction between public and private interest. Lying deep between the lines of Han period laws is the notion that every person possesses a private region that is of no legitimate concern to the government, including a person’s group membership or personal preferences. The final section examines both Classical and Song period writings and institutions informed by an argument for the value of privacy vis-à-vis government authority.