Only the prefect can commit arson, his people can’t even light a lantern (只许州官放火, 不许百姓点灯)

只许州官放火, 不许百姓点灯
Zhǐ xǔ zhōuguān fànghuǒ, bù xǔ bǎixìng diǎndēng

Translation: A prefect is free to commit arson while forbidding his people to light a lantern.
Meaning: People with power can do what they like while controlling and limiting the freedom of others.

Story
The Chinese language is laden with homophones: Words that sound the same but carry different meanings. Traditionally people with power and influence often forbade others to use words that were homophonic with their….

Log in or register to continue reading.

By | 2014-12-16T16:54:42+00:00 January 4th, 2012|Learn Chinese, Proverbs and Sayings from the Chinese|Comments Off on Only the prefect can commit arson, his people can’t even light a lantern (只许州官放火, 不许百姓点灯)

About the Author: