• Mon
  • Dec 22, 2014
  • Updated: 1:32pm
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

Dai Muff
It's symbolic. The People's Daily stands up for the Chinese people.
People's Daily = substandard journalism
What journalism?
With trivial state "mouthpiece" articles like this, no wonder China has such a poor image abroad and it's projection of soft power is such a mess.
Maybe if it could fund an editorial bureau abroad instead of relying on " 'Google Translate' research", there is still hope.
Trying to bring in a "balance" here. I have searched the Chinese site but there is only one article with the heading "The Dishonest Americans Series", so in fact there is no "Series" anyway, the heading was there.
The story, (in fact the whole article only discuss one story without naming other similar story), was just about a disgruntled customer facing one incidence. The story could have come from any nationality and I can see the same thing happens to other people including us. If the story is true, there would be not much defense about the "poor service".
I think in a sense it was not about the service as such, rather, the "attitude" was on trial.
Anyway, it was just one story, 3 articles including the original incidence and its followups. The sentiments expressed in this 'Blog' is a little out of place. (Although, some views shared here are not necessarily wrong, but the original article was a little 'flawed'.)
Also, I had tried to look for the original “Immoral and Dishonest Americans” in Chinese but failed to find this anywhere. "Without integrity" was the closet I had found, maybe that was it?
There are always the good ones and the 'bad apples', slamming each other is not a good way.
I personally find the Chinese press a little 'naive', they fail to "think in the language of the other culture", so they play this game poorly.
I don't mind the article at all, shoddy writing and whatnot. **** for tat. You guys should read how they write about Chinese in the West in (in regional, all-white circulation tabloids)
"The paper was later ridiculed over its new Beijing headquarters, which bore an unfortunate resemblance to a giant ****."
A substantive argument if ever there was one. If you are unable to engage someone on the facts, then find something inconsequential [the shape of a building means nothing to a sightless person and means nothing to an argument].
I am not sure about that. I have met Maters and PhD students who have traveled abroad or wholive abroad and most still tpout the Party line, especially on issues of national soverignty, Tibet, etc. I am truly never amazed, yet I do pity them, unable to realize that their opinion is not even their own.
You should go back and study English again .....
Racism is based on Race, this is either hypocritcal, xenophobic, anti-american or even misguided nationalism etc...
An intelligent person would see thru this, and know that this is political rhetoric and is part of a campaign. If ur really smart you might even say they fear American influence and culturalism. After all, if it was just an attack on one company, like Apple, u cant say it is racially motivated.
But I see from your many comments u r just a hothead full of air.




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