See all those languages up there? We translate Global Voices stories to make the world's citizen media available to everyone.

Learn more about Lingua Translation  »

China's ‘Dishonest Americans’ Newspaper Series Hits at US Businesses

China’s top official newspaper The People’s Daily is taking aim at the United States with a newly unveiled column initially called “The Dishonest American Series”, in what appears to be the latest media campaign to target US enterprises.

The column, which is published in English and Chinese, was later renamed as “Americans You Don't Know Of”, an apparent move by the paper to tone down the indecorous wording. Written by the paper’s Chinese news staff in New York, the series so far includes six articles lashing out at practices from greedy corporate culture to companies’ disdain for customers. The English version of the column has retained the original title.

In an editor's note, the paper indicated that the column aimed to help the Chinese foster a better understanding of America and its people:

A screenshot of People's Daily's column: The Dishonest Americans

A screenshot of People's Daily's column: The Dishonest Americans Series

From editor: Most Chinese people think that Americans are honest, reliable, and righteous. But once you live in the country for a while, you may discover the descriptions above are a bit misleading. Today’s topic, “The Dishonest Americans Series”, does not refer to all Americans. We want to unveil some incidents and Americans we have encountered, so to provide a more objective picture of what the US and Americans are really like.

The US arm of the People’s Daily launched the column in March 2013, but public attention was brought to the column only recently when a number of news portals reposted the newest installment, which described a Chinese passenger’s run-in with airport staff in New York and United Airlines’ refusal to refund him after he wasn't allowed to board a plane to China.The airline company has faced curt criticism from passengers for its alleged poor service and frequent flight cancellations.

United Airlines has issued an apology that the passenger said was “insincere”, according to the article.

In China Hollywood movies and American high-tech products enjoy enormous popularity.

According to a 2012 poll by GALLUP, a US-based consulting firm, China tops the world's list of immigrants who want to move to the US. It appears China is seeking to edge out America's influence by unleashing periodic media criticism toward its businesses.

In March 2013, Chinese state media accused Apple of discriminating against its China customers, forcing Apple CEO Tim Cook to issue an apology after a week-long media blitz to bash the technology giant.

Such moves were often met with online backlash, as was the case of the column by the People's Daily.

Lei Yi, a prominent Chinese historian weighed in, writing [zh] on the popular microbloging service Sina Weibo sarcastically:

三十年前,我们被教育说美国人民生活在水深火热之中,但美国人民是好的,等待我们去解放。三十年后,我们教育说,美国人“无德无信”

Thirty years ago, we were educated that Americans all lived in extreme misery, but American people were good, they were waiting to be liberated by us. Thirty years later, we are educated that Americans are dishonest and not reliable.

Ding Laifeng, a former subeditor for a magazine, had [zh] the following ironic remarks:

 【人民网专栏:无德无信美国人】至于你信不信,我反正信了。美帝官员普遍贪污,将老婆子女送到其他国家享受美好 生活,自己在国内包二奶嫖幼女,这还不是无德吗?!美帝政府口口声声为人民服务,但苛捐杂税盘剥人民,自己吃特供小灶却让百姓吃地沟油毒大米,这还不是无 信吗?!怒赞人民网么么哒!

“People's Daily column: Dishonest Americans” I don't know if you believe it, I do. American officials are widely corrupt, they send their children to other countries to enjoy good lives, they themselves have mistresses and rape young girls, isn't this dishonest?! The US government keeps on saying they are for the people, but they impose different taxes and loot others, they have special supply of food but let common people consume swill-cooked oil and poisonous rice, isn't this unreliable!? I have to angrily give thumbs-up to People's Daily!!

Xie Ming, a Weibo user from Shanghai, alluded [zh] to the fact that many high-ranking officials send their children overseas:

孙立平老师说得在理:别讲什么宏大理论,你们把自己的孩子向什么地方送,就把自己的人民朝什么方向带,就可以了。

Professor Sun Liping has a good point: Don't talk any grand theory, wherever you send your children, you are leading your people toward that direction, that's it.

Lei Xiaomao, an agricultural scientist residing in the US, wrote [zh]:

从懂事开始在中国和美国学习,工作和生活各24年,位觉得无德无信的在那个国家都存在,只是程度的问题。客观地讲,国内无德无信的人大大的超过美国人,尤其是干部和商人,官商勾结,狼狈为奸,几乎到了无官不贪的地步,大官大贪,小官小贪。十年前我企图海归近2年, 可以写一部百万字的上当受骗记

I've been living and studying in China and US for 24 years respectively after I began to understand this world, dishonest and unreliable people exist in every nation, it's only a matter of degree. Objectively speaking, dishonest and unreliable people in China far exceed those in the States, especially officials and business people, they collude with each other and to a point where practically no officials are clean, high-ranking officials commit corruption big time, lower-ranking officials commit small corruption. Ten years ago, I had been intended to go back to China for two years, I could write an entry of 10,000 words about my experience of being tricked and fooled.

Changchun Qiche lamented [zh]:

美国人无德无信是个例,所以需要挖掘。中国人特别是官员,无德无信是常例,有德有信才稀奇,才需要报道。

Americans’ dishonesty and unreliability are isolated cases, so it's worth digging into. Chinese, especially official, dishonesty and unreliability are the norm, their honesty and reliability are rare, hence they are worth to be reported.

Receive great stories from around the world directly in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the best of Global Voices
* = required field
Email Frequency



No thanks, show me the site