Often in a game, some of your opponent's pieces will cause much trouble if they are allowed to come close to your palace. The natural thing to do would be to prevent that and this is when this tactic is used.
When you obstruct your opponent's pieces, you try to break up any links that they have, throwing them into a state of disharmony or just simply cause them to be disorganized such that they cannot threaten you or allow you a chance to gain tempo/material/position.
Any combination of your own chess pieces may be used, but the linked cannons are perhaps the mostly used combination.
And if anybody has a better term, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org , and email me soon; I do not wish to do this too many times...Life is too short to be spent on such unnecessary details when I have many mahjong games to attend to.
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