Beggar-thy-neighbor policy (以邻为壑政策 yǐ lín wéi hè zhèng cè) refers to the policies that a country implemented to alleviate its economic difficulties which consequently worsens the economic problems of other countries.
Part 1: Breakdown of Words
- The phrase (以…为 yǐ … wéi) means “use A. as B”, as in “make concessions in order to gain advantages” (以退为进 yǐ tuì wéi jìn).
- “邻” (lín) as in “neighbor” (邻居 lín jū), “neighboring country” (邻国 lín guó), or “adjacent” (邻近 lín jìn). The character 邻 (lín) means neighbor. The character (壑 hè) means puddle or hole.
- “壑” (hè) as in “gully” (沟壑 gōu hè), or “low-lying humid terrain” (壑谷 hè gǔ).
- “以邻为壑” (yǐ lín wéi hè) is a Chinese idiom which literally means that a country’s neighbor is used as a big puddle where the floods of this country are drained, i.e., someone tries to remedy his own problems by making other’s situation worse.