Tian gao, Huangdi yuan
Tian gao, Huangdi yuan (Chinese: 天高皇帝远, p Tiān gāo, huángdì yuǎn) is a Chinese proverb typically translated "Heaven is high and the emperor is far away". The saying is thought to have come from Zhejiang province in the Yuan Dynasty.
Connections between the Chinese Central Government in Beijing and the people has historically been weak, with much regional autonomy and little loyalty. The proverb has thus come to generally mean that central authorities have little influence over local affairs, and it is often used in reference to corruption.
The saying, as it is considered in China, has multiple meanings. Often it involves something minor such as walking on the grass when no one is watching, ignoring a command because the father is far away, cutting timber when not permitted, or ignoring the one-child policy. It is also used to describe a lawless place far from the authorities.
The original variation is also still heard: shan gao, huangdi yuan, meaning "the mountains are high and the emperor is far away".
- Chinese proverbs in Wikiquote
- My China Connection" Heaven is high and the emperor is far away".
- Samovar, Larry (2009). Communication Between Cultures. Cengage. p. 70. ISBN 0495567442.
- Fairbrother, Gregory (2003). Toward critical patriotism: student resistance to political education in Hong Kong and China. Hong Kong University Press. p. 3. ISBN 9789622096233.
- Ringmar, Erik (2005). The mechanics of modernity in Europe and East Asia: the institutional origins of social change and stagnation. Psychology Press. p. 160. ISBN 9780203338582.
- Zhao, Suisheng (2006). Debating political reform in China: rule of law vs. democratization. M.E. Sharpe. p. 24. ISBN 9780765641373.
- Haft, Jeremy (2007). All the tea in China: how to buy, sell, and make money on the mainland. Penguin. p. 49. ISBN 9781591841593.
- Kane, D. (2006). The Chinese Language: Its History and Current Usage. Tuttle Publishing. p. 175. ISBN 9780804838535. Retrieved 2015-02-26.
- Dartmouth College. "Chinese Proverbs".