Beggar-thy-neighbor policy (以邻为壑政策)

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 ( yǐ … wéi) means “use A. as B”, as in “make concessions in order to gain advantages” (以退为进 yǐ tuì wéi jìn). 
  • ” (lín) as in “neighbor” (邻居 lín jū), “neighboring country” (邻国 lín guó), or “adjacent” (邻近 lín jìn). The character (lín) means neighbor. The character ( hè) means puddle or hole.
  • ” (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.
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