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Fitting shoe

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合鞋 (hé xié) fitting shoe

File:Rebelpeppershoe.png
“Follow my watch swinging back and forth. Soon you will be able to put on this shoe.” (Rebel Pepper)

"Fitting shoe" (合鞋 hé xié) is yet another homonym for "harmonious" (和谐 héxié). This phrase has its roots in a speech delivered by President Xi Jinping that met much netizen ridicule.

While on his first trip abroad as China's president, Xi Jinping delivered a speech at Moscow State Institute of International Relations on March 23, 2013. In his speech [zh] (transcript) [zh], Xi called for cooperation between Russia and China, emphasizing the two nations' shared interests in peace and stability. Xi also countered international criticism of a country's developmental path with the following words:

“Only the wearer of a shoe will know whether or not that shoe fits his foot." Whether or not the path that a country takes towards development is suitable or not, only the citizens of that country have the right to decide.

“鞋子合不合脚,自己穿了才知道”。一个国家的发展道路合不合适,只有这个国家的人民才最有发言权。

Netizens quickly took Xi to task for his words, drawing attention to the fact that they—the citizens of China—had little say in their country's path towards development. China Digital Times translated netizen comments relayed by BBC Chinese:

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?”

在腾讯微博上,网友“叶海波”说,“一国人民连说话都缺乏自由,谈鞋子合脚是不是过于奢侈了。”

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

署名“施济”的网友则认为,“不合脚的鞋子,还要坚持穿,这才是最痛苦的。”

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.”

至于网友“梧桐老廖”更批评说,“你让你的家属在那边穿合脚舒适的好鞋子,却强迫我们穿不合脚的破鞋。”。

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

一位网友“天黑不白”则提出问题说,“可是他怎么知道:这个国家的人民觉得鞋子合适呢?”

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.”

网友“窈窕老淑女”则问道,“想穿一下新鞋试一试?看看合不合脚?反正全国人民觉得现在的鞋子很咯脚。”

Blogger Wuyue Sanren posted the following soon-to-be deleted comment to his Sina Weibo microgblog:

@五岳散人: My take on the shoe-and-foot question: Whoever buys the shoes has the last word. The common people pay taxes, so they have the right to say whether or not the shoe fits, as well as the style they want. A well-chosen pair of shoes also comes with a warranty and the privilege to exchange or return the items. The shoes themselves don’t have the qualifications to say whether they fit or not. Shoes that do aren’t shoes, they’re shackles.

@五岳散人:关于鞋与脚的问题我是这么想的:谁花钱买鞋谁说了算,老百姓纳税了,有权表达鞋是不是合脚,以及鞋子的款式。选好了鞋子还要有三包服务,也要有退换货的权利。鞋子本身没有说自己是不是合脚的资格,有这个资格的不是鞋子,往往都是脚镣