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  • Jul 26, 2014
  • Updated: 9:22am
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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

BIO

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.
goncalo
People's Daily = substandard journalism
ahseong
What journalism?
Gra
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.

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