During the Spring and Autumn Period (春秋时期,770-476 BC), there was a man named Chong Er (重耳) who was persecuted by his own State of Jin (晋). He escaped and found refuge in the State of Chu (楚). One day during a banquet for Chong Er, suddenly King Cheng asked him, “If one day you return to the State of Jin and become its ruler, then how will you repay me?”  Finally, Chong Er answered with a smile, “If I am lucky enough, with your blessing to become its ruler, I hope we two States are friends. If we have to have a war one day, I would for sure retreat three She (one She equals 15km) as a condition to avoid conflict. If you were still not reconciled, then we would have to fight.”

Four years later, Chong Er returned and became the ruler of the State of Jin. In 632 B.C., troops from the two kingdoms confronted each other in a battle. To keep his promise, Chong Er ordered his troops to retreat three She before fighting. Later, this set phrase, “retreating three She(退避三舍,tuì bì sān shè)as a condition for peace” became popular to express the idea of giving way to somebody in order to avoid a conflict.

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