China launches campaign to increase use of Mandarin

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China has launched a campaign to have 85% of its citizens use Mandarin, the country’s national language, by 2025.

The Chinese government recently issued an order calling for the campaign.

The movement is likely to endanger dialects and the country’s languages ​​under greater pressure. These include Cantonese and Hokkien, as well as Tibetan, Mongolian and Uyghur minority languages.

The ordinance specifies that the use of Mandarin, known in Chinese as “putonghua” or “common language”, remains “unbalanced and inadequate. “The government said the national language needs to be improved to meet the demands of a modern economy.

In the past, critics have protested against changes to the education system as well as job requirements that have diminished the importance of minority languages. Critics have said that such efforts appear to be an attempt to rid themselves of cultures that do not correspond to the majority Chinese Han ethnic group.

Along with the 2025 target, government policy aims to make Mandarin predominantly universal by 2035. This means it seeks to include people from rural areas as well as ethnic minorities.

A protest against government attempts to increase the use of Mandarin was held in Inner Mongolia last year. The protest came after officials replaced the Mongolian language with Mandarin as the official language of instruction.

The ruling Communist Party in China denounced the protests as a form of separatism and decided to end them quickly.

The language campaign includes legal requirements. A document explaining the policy demanded increased supervision to “ensure that the common national language spoken and written is used as the official language of government agencies.” The document adds that Mandarin should also be used “as the base language of schools, news and publications, radio, film and television, public services and other areas.”

The policy also calls on officials to “to improve the international status and Chinese influence ”in education, international organizations and at global gatherings.

The Chinese government has sought to increase the teaching of Mandarin through its global Confucius network Institutes. Critics have denounced the efforts as an attempt to push party policy and block discussions on sensitive topics, such as China’s human rights record.

I am Bryan Lynn.

The Associated Press reported this story. Bryan Lynn adapted the report for VOA Learning English. Ashley Thompson was the editor.

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Words in this story

dialect – not. a form of language that people speak in a particular part of a country

inadequate – adj. not good enough or of too poor quality

to replace – v. start using something else instead of the thing currently in use

compliance – not. behavior that is the same as how most others behave

to improve – v. improve something

status – not. your position in relation to others

institute – not. an organization where people do a particular type of scientific, educational, or social work


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