BBC: Netizens on Xi’s “If the Shoe Fits” Speech

On Saturday March 23, Xi Jinping delivered a lecture at Moscow State Institute of International Relations. (Xinhua)

Xi Jinping’s Moscow lecture rankled many netizens. (Xinhua)

The following article originally appeared March 23 on the BBC Chinese website.

While discussing the paths that nations take towards development in a speech delivered at Moscow State Institute of International Relations, Chinese president and CCP General-Secretary Xi Jinping said, “Only the wearer knows if the shoe fits his foot.” President Xi’s comments led Chinese microbloggers to comment at length.

On Tencent Weibo, user @叶海波 says, “If a country’s people lack freedom of speech, is speaking of shoes fitting their feet not a bit extravagant?”

Sina Weibo user @郑现莉 posts, “Of course, only the feet will know if the shoe is appropriate. Therefore, not only the subset of feet whose shoes fit should be heard while other voices are stifled, but all feet should be allowed to stand publicly and testify freely. Only this way will those with well-fitting shoes get accurate information to advance reform for all shoe-wearers. Otherwise, while the sound of praise is ringing, many feet will still suffer.”

A netizen going by @云卷云舒随风意 replies, “Yes, indeed. So, when I’m at a store shopping for shoes, I’ll first try them on. If they don’t fit, I’ll immediately abandon them, no matter what brand they are. If you want to stick to a certain brand, finding the correct size becomes a bit more difficult, does it not?

Screen Shot 2013-03-25 at 11.45.14 AMNetizen @我卖糕的2012 says, “If the shoe on one man’s foot doesn’t fit and he wants to exchange them, they’ll say he is not qualified to represent the people who feel the shoes fit well. He’ll say, if that’s the people’s decision, we must take account of their feelings. With that sentence, he will be judged.”

“If the shoe doesn’t fit, what’s to be done?”

Netizen @施济 thinks, “If the shoe doesn’t fit but is worn continually, this leads to the most suffering.”

User @梧桐老廖 quips, “You let your family wear comfortable shoes, while compelling ours to wear worn-out shoes of the wrong size.”

@天黑不白 raises a question, “But how will they know if this country’s people feel the shoe fits or not?”

@林朝海 asks “If the shoe doesn’t fit what is to be done? Give me a new pair, or cut my foot down to size?”

User @窈窕老淑女 wonders, “You want try a new pair of shoes to see if they fit? Anyway, everyone’s current shoes are chafing their feet.”

Via CDT Chinese. Translation by Josh Rudolph.