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Hurt the feelings of the Chinese people

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伤害中国人民的感情 (shānghài Zhōngguórén de gǎnqíng): hurt the Chinese people’s feelings

Map of countries which have “hurt the Chinese people’s feelings.” (Arctosia)

A common invocation used by Chinese diplomats referring to the people’s suffering, often used when another country or organization offends Party officials. Meeting with the Dalai Lama is a classic way to hurt the feelings of the entire Chinese populace. For example, after President Obama met with the Dalai Lama in July 2011, the state-run newspaper People’s Daily complained:

To host the Dalai Lama at the same time China was celebrating the 60th anniversary of Tibet’s liberation hurt the feelings of all Chinese people, including the feelings of Tibetans.


In 2008, blogger FangK searched through the electronic archives of the People’s Daily between 1946 and 2006 and discovered that 19 countries and organizations had been accused of hurting the feelings of the Chinese people in its pages. Danwei later translated FangK’s study. Victor Mair considered the inverse at Language Log in 2011, comparing the frequency of hurt Chinese feelings to those of Russians, Japanese, Jews, and other national and ethnic groups.

Columnist Kai Pan considered these hurt feelings on the discontinued blog CNReview:

The very notion of an entire country’s people having their “feelings” collectively “hurt” is inherently idiotic. On one hand, there’s the idiocy of the government proactively claiming such on behalf of all the Chinese without actually consulting them. On the other hand, there’s the simple idiocy of “you hurt my feelings” being mistaken for a mature, rational response to any disagreement or criticism. [Source]

In October 2013, China accused Japan of disregarding the feelings of the Chinese people when Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe visited the controversial Yasukuni Shrine, which honors Japan’s war dead and class-A war criminals. Reacting to authorities’ recourse to the Chinese people’s feelings, a netizen made the following comment:

深山野鬼: Before we condemn Abe for visiting the Yasukuni Shrine and hurting the feelings of the Chinese people, isn’t it about time for us to examine ourselves and face up to our own history?


No matter how pained the Chinese people’s feelings, international relations still manage to stay intact. When democracy activist Hu Jia was awarded the EU Sakharov Prize in 2008, the Chinese ambassador to Brussels wrote, “If the European Parliament should award this prize to Hu Jia, that would inevitably hurt the Chinese people’s feelings once again and bring serious damage to China-EU relations.” To date, China-EU relations are still highly functional.