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Xi Jinping's "shoe theory" meets criticism on Weibo

“Shoe theory” was reportedly one of the top search hits on Baidu.com, China’s popular search engine on March 24. Raised by President Xi Jinping in his speech delivered at Moscow State Institute of International Relations on March 23, this analogy of China’s “against-meddling” policy clearly is not understood the same way by the Chinese who see it rather as an assertion of the continuation of the current policies on the part of the Communist Party of China ( CPC ), which, apparently, did not make many too happy, judging by their Weibo reaction.

Xi’s original remark, “whether the shoe fits or not, only the wearer him(her)self knows”, was dubbed “shoe theory” by a Russian student in an interview. “Shoe” is meant to stand for a country’s domestic affairs and policies in the context of Xi's speech. It might sound novel to the Russians, but not to the Chinese. On Sina Weibo, a new round of censorship battle was waged against the harsh comments on this “shoe theory”, even when many are in codes.

Does this shoe fit? Photo: weibo.com

Opinion No.1:  The wearer does not actually get a say.

Weibo user Luo Yi, @罗毅loyis, relayed a message from facebook, which is banned in China, on his Weibo, “When did we have the right to express whether the shoe fits or not? It is the privilege of the powers that be. What we want is to decide what kind of shoe fits with our votes.”

To many, it is "a luxury" to discuss whether the “shoe” fits or not when they do not even have the freedom to speak freely. Zheng Xianli, @郑现莉, a journalist at Oriental Weekly, a newspaper based in Hefei, Anhui Province (安徽省合肥市) said, “For sure the feet know the best whether the shoes fit or not. If so, then all feet should be allowed to say it out loud freely. To allow only those who consider the shoes fit to speak and silence the rest is not right.”

A Sina-verified Weibo bigwig, web commentator @五岳散人 (Wuyue Sanren) said, “In my opinion, whoever pays for the shoes should have the say. The Chinese taxpayers should have the right to say whether the shoes fit or not. They should also have the right to choose the design of the shoes. Once they made their choice, they should enjoy the “three guarantees” (repair, replacement and compensation for faulty products).”


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