Definition of Chinese wall in English:

Chinese wall


  • An insurmountable barrier, especially to the passage of information.

    ‘they should take responsibility for those decisions, not hide behind some fake Chinese wall’
    • ‘In practice, it is almost impossible to maintain a Chinese wall between a liaison conducted by a minister and his official persona.’
    • ‘The risk of leakage must be real, not fanciful or theoretical: the crucial issue is whether the Chinese wall will work to prevent the confidential information being inadvertently disclosed.’
    • ‘These are not cases of Chinese walls between analysts and bankers being too thin or transparent: contrary to everything investors were told, there were no Chinese walls.’
    • ‘Congress has held two hearings this year on the deterioration of the so-called Chinese walls that are supposed to eliminate conflicts of interest among analysts and bankers, and plans to hold more.’
    • ‘Did the former First Minister maintain Chinese walls between his business account, into which the money for subletting his constituency office was deposited, and his private bank accounts?’
    • ‘So what you're expecting, and what you'd assume the government is expecting, are Chinese walls that really do work between wholesale and retail divisions.’
    • ‘Among analysts, there is more awareness today about appearing to respect Chinese walls, in addition to actually staying within them.’
    • ‘This article examines the legal aspects of managing conflict of duties in situations where a Bank uses Chinese walls to segregate confidential and material information obtained from clients.’
    • ‘‘You can set up all sorts of internal controls and safeguards, but I just don't believe that Chinese walls work,’ he says.’
    • ‘Privacy advocates are mistrustful of such Chinese walls: believing that the benefits of data sharing are too tempting for corporate and federal interests to resist.’
    • ‘Indeed, there has been a dangerous thinning of so-called Chinese walls within investment banks to which even regulators have paid scant attention until lately.’
    • ‘Some clients feel uneasy about conflicts of interest at the investment banks, particularly the strength of Chinese walls and the importance of hedge-fund clients.’
    • ‘According to one company chief executive this was almost inevitable given the ‘small world Scotland’ nature of the market and the need to be seen to maintain Chinese walls between clients.’
    • ‘Accountants protest that impenetrable Chinese walls exist between audit departments and consulting arms serving the same client.’
    • ‘With that increased strength we can jointly put up a Chinese wall before the BJP.’
    • ‘But whether the analysts do it behind, in front or even on top of the Chinese wall, nothing can beat doing your own research.’
    • ‘The period for maintaining polite fictions and Chinese walls has expired.’
    • ‘Capital, as Marx predicted, has battered down all walls, Chinese walls included.’
    • ‘For the most part, the CEOs we contacted say that in their experience, the Chinese wall remained intact in one respect: confidential information that bankers shared with analysts on upcoming deals was not leaked.’
    • ‘The firms have agreed to rebuild the Chinese walls of years past, but research and investment banking won't be completely separated.’


Early 20th century: with allusion to the Great Wall of China.