• Sun
  • Dec 21, 2014
  • Updated: 10:10pm
PUBLISHED : Saturday, 25 May, 2013, 11:36am
UPDATED : Saturday, 25 May, 2013, 1:50pm

Outrage after People's Daily's 'Dishonest Americans' column goes viral


Amy Li began her journalism career as a crime news reporter in Queens, New York, in 2004. She joined Reuters in Beijing in 2008 as a multimedia editor. Amy taught journalism at Southwestern University of Finance and Economics in Chengdu before joining SCMP in Hong Kong in 2012. She is now an online news editor for SCMP.com. Amy can be reached at chunxiao.li@scmp.com, or follow her on Twitter @AmyLiSCMP

The People’s Daily, the mouthpiece of China’s Communist Party, has baffled and shocked people in China by launching a  “Dishonest Americans" Series, aiming  to “provide a more objective picture of what the US and Americans are really like.”

“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, ” explained its editor.

It’s not clear why the bilingual column, entitled “Immoral and Dishonest Americans” in Chinese, is called “Dishonest Americans” - with “immoral” taken out, in English. 

With three articles published from March to May,  the series remained largely unnoticed until earlier this week, when a huge debate began online after several prominent Chinese media outlets reported the column.

Lengthy and emotion-charged stories, some first person accounts, told of a New York City locksmith who demands US$800 for changing two locks, a payroll company that shuts down a client’s account before stealing its money, and a United Airlines staff who blocks a passenger from boarding an over-booked plane.

“Their [UA] manner is worst when dealing with Chinese passengers, who are usually timid and reticent outside of China,” concludes  the Daily, citing “research” done by its online reporters. 

The scathing criticism of "dishonest Americans" was greeted with overwhelming ridicule from readers.

“Why do our officials keep sending their wives and sons to this immoral and dishonest country?,” asked many.

“There are immoral and dishonest people in every country, ” said Wu Zuolai, a Beijing scholar, “But we all know how many immoral and dishonest governments there are in the world - and we don’t need a column to tell us.”

The People's Daily had vowed to destroy Apple’s "unparalleled arrogance" in March.The paper was later ridiculed over its new Beijing headquarters, which bore an unfortunate resemblance to a giant penis.

Tips and contributions are encouraged by the Daily. Send an email to us.editor@people.cn, and share your own stories of immoral and dishonest Americans.


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This article is now closed to comments

If any national newspaper in the West ran a piece entitled 'Immoral and dishonest Chinese' can you imagine the howls of indignation from People's Daily and the Chinese population? If a British or American newspaper ran such a story it would probably be prosecuted for inciting racial hatred, but not in HK or China where such things are not even regarded as racist. York Chow should read this and reflect on the double standards which make racism so prevalent in Chinese culture.
People's Daily is not a newspaper. They publish propaganda written by Party apparatchiks, not journalists, so they don't need to meet journalistic standards. Once you have the clarity of thought, then everything is more clear. To another commenter below, the problem with Mainland tourists are that they are mostly the beneficiaries of the corrupt, nepotistic etc system. They are the ones most unlikely to want things to change in the name of fairness since, if things change, they will no longer have the means to travel abroad and buy shiny things that make tinkle noises with corrupt funds stolen from Chinese people.
John Adams
Wonders never cease at the People's Daily
PS : I was in Beijing last week and noticed the giant prick - shaped building next to the TV company "open legs" tower that was burnt down by an over-zealous firework display.
I did not know that the prick- shaped building belonged to the People's Daily, but I did spontaneously think to myself:
a) that building looks for all the world like a giant prick
b) whatever kind of pricks would ever work in such a crazy-shaped building?
Now I know !
Sticks Evans
I would like to say that I love China and the Chinese people. I came from New York to Hong Kong after being betrayed by an ex-wife & 11 amoral lawyers and burying both my parents within 80 days.
China has given me a family in a wonderful woman, a son who is half Chinese and American and peace.
I understand that governments like China and America are oblidged to trash each other to try and manipulate their "subjects" but I will always have a fondness and appreciation for the people of China and Asia for their grace, honesty and compassion.
I have done projects in Mainland China and Asia and have met honest and dishonest people. But then coming from America this was nothing new to me.
I voted for a man who I felt would end the wars that serve no purpsoe other than Oil & Lithium and other minerals and yes China is supporting this in the background. So sad.
I cannot be hired as a medical worker in Hong Kong due to protectionism but I am learning all about discimination on a new level so that is a gift going fdorward.
I am so happy to see so many people reject China's propaganda and America's too.
Thank you for a ray of hope to the other commentors.
China does not need to trash America. America will do damage to itself until it stops pretending to be a place it was a long time ago. It needs to take stock and join the world comminituy instead of trying to bully it. China should just go about its business and not lend any energy to the American argument
But then the story is about internet users (a good source of public opinion in China) ridiculing the People's Daily for it's dishonest Americans story. And it's a fact that internet users also earlier ridiculed the paper for it's John Thomas-shaped building. People's Daily = ridiculous. As simple as that.
It's all ok...the more Chinese people that get visas to visit other countries, the more they'll realize what a morally bankrupt, corrupt, unaccountable, nepotistic government they themselves have. It's happening in big numbers already and it'll get bigger.
An interesting new worldwide book/ebook that explains America is "What Foreigners Need To Know About America From A To Z: How to understand crazy American culture, people, government, business, language and more.” It paints a truthful picture of America for those who will benefit from a better understanding. Endorsed by ambassadors, educators, and editors, it also informs those who want to learn more about the last remaining superpower and how we compare to other nations on many issues, particularly China. www.AmericaAtoZ.com

Who are these people w vested interests in misleading the Chinese public? Wonder if they are also the same interest groups that are trying to desperately hang on to their power and fruits of unjust enrichment...good to have them more and more exposed!
Well, at least they chose the proper symbol for their head-quarters.
It is the same in evey country, mostly good people, and then some bad apples. Keep in mind, for each bad case you hear about, thousands of times, people are more than happy to help or to be fair and honest, no matter who it is, or what country you are in, or from. If we keep a positive attitude, than this will help you see the world friendlier. I have been to US, UK, Germany, Mexico, China, France, Canada, HK and Japan, People are actually more alike then you think.




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