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World Psychology: Psychology by Country · Psychology of Displaced Persons

Ziwo yixiang is the Chinese language translation for the Western psychology term "self image". In China, particularly in mainland China, a positive self image is regarded as an undesirable state. It might best be explained by saying that if someone is criticized for having a positive ziwo yixiang in China, that criticism might best be explained in English by saying that the person is regarded as being conceited. Obviously there has been some slippage in meaning between the two cultures.

The fundamental question at issue is whether it is appropriate for a person to hold a self evaluation that is both objective and positive. The secondary question then becomes whether ziwo yixiang really means "self image" - that is, to what extent the Chinese term as generally used conveys the meaning and intent of the original use of the English term.

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