上有政策,下有对策

Pronounced: shàng yǒu zhèngcè, xià yǒu duìcè
Means: “The top has policy/directives; the bottom has countermeasures.”

This bureaucratic idiom describes how things work (or don’t work) within the long tradition of Chinese bureaucracy. Mary Ann at Shenzhen Noted explains: “There’s never direct confrontation, but constant unending non-cooperation in the most obsequiously annoying manner possible.”

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