Catch Phrase | 道德绑架(dàodé bǎngjià)

Writer: Debra Li  |  Editor: Stephanie Yang  |  From: Shenzhen Daily  |  Updated: 2020-05-14


Literally, “道德” means “moral,” and “绑架” means “kidnapping.” This Chinese term means “to use moral values to pressure others into doing the thing you want them to do, often against their own will.” This is as if you’ve “kidnapped” someone’s moral values and use them as a “hostage” to obtain concessions, and can be roughly translated as “moral blackmail.” The most common example is that people would demand the rich and famous to donate an extremely large sum to the victims of a natural disaster, despite the fact that they themselves have done nothing to help out.


A: 新冠肺炎疫情期间给武汉捐款,这个明星才捐了五万块。

Xīnguān fèiyán yìqíng qījiān gěi wǔhàn juān-kuǎn, zhège míngxīng cái juān le wǔwàn kuài。

This showbiz star donated only 50,000 yuan to help Wuhan fight the COVID-19 outbreak.

B: 捐款是自愿行为,五万也不少,还是不要道德绑架比较好。

Juānkuǎn shì zìyuàn xíngwéi,wǔwàn yě

bùshǎo, háishì búyào dàodé bǎngjià bǐjiào hǎo。

Donations should be made out of one’s own will, and 50,000 yuan is not such a small sum. It’s better not to use moral blackmail on others.