The most prominent form of love in the Confucian tradition is familial love, which is also central to ethical conduct and good character. Yet many scholars have identified a conflict between a thoroughgoing commitment to family and ethical impartiality. This paper explores Confucian responses to the demands of impartiality. This is timely because the Confucian family-centric approach to society, and its relevance in contemporary China and beyond, has been questioned. Various defenses of Confucian thought have been offered, including impartiality is, in fact, an important value in the classical texts; public institutions from outside the tradition could be introduced to formalize and strengthen impartiality and are compatible with traditional social values; and the defense of alternative regulative ideals internal to the tradition, which are accorded priority over impartiality. I assess the merits of these responses, before exploring an alternative line of argument: that Confucian familial attachments can sometimes achieve that at which impartiality aims, but without appealing to impartiality as a foundational moral ideal. Such an approach to ethics has its limits but shows promise in the regulation of everyday social life in localized communities. More importantly, this shows how the Confucian tradition of familial ethics can engage in a critical dialogue with ethics in the tradition of liberal individualism.