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Chinese Idiom : 五十步笑百步 (中英)

Summary:  五十步笑百步The pot calling the kettle black, usually imply to criticize someone for a fault that one has oneself.

五十步笑百步The pot calling the kettle black



One day, King Hui of Liang met Mencius and said: "What a mess the political state of our neighboring countries is in! When they govern their states, they never think of the people.” 


“But when there is a flood in Henei, I move the victims of the calamity to Hedong. When there is a calamity in Hedong, I move the people there to Henei. I also allocate them food for calamity relief. I have really done my best to govern my country." 


As Mencius heard this, he nodded in agreement. 


King Hui of Liang went on to say: "Yet my population has not increased and our neighboring countries' population has not decreased. Tell me, what exactly is the reason?" 


Mencius thought this over and replied: "Your Majesty likes wars. Please allow me to use war as an analogy.On the battlefield, the sound of fighting shakes the heavens. The two armies are locked in a stalemate, but there is surely to be either victory or defeat. The defeated soldiers, throwing away their helmets and armor, flee for their lives. Some of them flee 50 steps and then stop, while others flee 100 steps and stop. Then, those who flee 50 steps laugh at those who flee 100 steps for their cowardice. Your Majesty, do you think it is right to laugh?" 


Upon hearing this, King Hui struck the table and said: "Of course not. No matter whether they flee 50 steps or 100 steps, they are deserters just the same." 

孟子笑着说道: “大王,既然您明白这个道理,那么您也就不要希望您的百姓会比邻国多了。 

Mencius smiled and said: "Your Majesty, since you understand this truth, you can’t expect your population to be larger than that of your neighboring countries."




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