• Tue
  • Sep 23, 2014
  • Updated: 8:04pm
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

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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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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