The event was created by the United Nations Department of Public Information, seeking to celebrate multilingualism and cultural diversity as well as promote the equal use of its six official working languages across the organization.
The United Nations Chinese Language Day is celebrated on April 20 every year. This day was chosen as the date “to pay homage to Cangjie, a mythical figure who is believed to have invented Chinese characters around 5,000 years ago”.
The 2022 event, themed “Colorful Yunnan, Showcase of Global Development”, was co-hosted by the Permanent Mission of China in Vienna, the United Nations Information Service in Vienna and the Chinese provincial government. from Yunnan.
More than 200 delegates, including officials, scholars and representatives of international organizations, attended the opening ceremony of the event virtually.
Wang Qun, China’s permanent representative to the UN in Vienna, said at the ceremony that this year’s event aims to promote cultural exchanges and people-to-people ties and highlight the value of diversity and of solidarity. Wang added that Yunnan Province has beautiful natural landscapes, diverse cultures and green ecology, and provides a window into China’s high-grade development in recent years.
Ghada Waly, director-general of the United Nations Office at Vienna and executive director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, said at the ceremony that Chinese, as one of the official languages of the UN, plays an important role in multilateral diplomacy at the UN in Vienna and welcomed the focus of this year’s event on Yunnan and sustainable development.
The opening ceremony also featured ethnic song and dance performances by Yunnan artists.
Chinese is the most spoken language in the world. About 900 million Chinese converse in Beifanghua, the northern Chinese language variant on which High Chinese (Putonghua or Mandarin) is also based.
The written language is generalized and understood throughout China, but pronunciations, individual words, and idioms vary greatly between north and south. A Cantonese can understand a North Chinese without special training as little as the reverse.
Standard Chinese (Standard Mandarin), based on the Beijing dialect of Mandarin, was adopted in the 1930s and is now an official language of the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of China (Taiwan), one of four official languages of Singapore. , and one of the six official languages of the United Nations.
The written form, using the logograms known as Chinese characters, is shared by literate speakers of mutually unintelligible dialects.
Since the 1950s, simplified Chinese characters have been encouraged by the government of the People’s Republic of China, while Singapore officially adopted simplified characters in 1976.
The traditional characters remain in use in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau, and other countries with large overseas Chinese-speaking communities.
Permanent Mission of the People’s Republic of China to International Organizations in Vienna
UNIS United Nations Information Service