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Debate on traditional and simplified Chinese characters


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The debate on traditional Chinese characters and simplified Chinese characters (simplified Chinese: or ; traditional Chinese: or ; Mandarin Pinyin: fnjin zhzhng or zhngjin zhzhng; Jyutping: faan4gaan2 zi1zang1 or zing3gaan2 zi1zang1[1] a.k.a. [2]) is an ongoing debate concerning Chinese orthography among users of Chinese characters. It has stirred up heated responses from supporters of both sides in mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, and among overseas Chinese communities with its implications of political ideology and cultural identity.[3] Simplified characters here exclusively refer to those characters simplified by the People's Republic of China, instead of the concept of character simplification as a whole. The effect of simplified characters on the language remains controversial decades after their introduction.

Contents
1 Split orthography: a problem? 2 Cultural legitimacy 2.1 Pro-Simplified characters 2.2 Pro-Traditional characters 3 Literacy 3.1 Pro-Simplified characters 3.2 Pro-Traditional characters 4 Simplification was meant to be a stepping stone 4.1 Pro-Traditional characters 5 Destruction of traditional Chinese culture 5.1 Pro-Simplified characters 5.2 Pro-Traditional characters 6 Disambiguation 6.1 Pro-Simplified characters 6.2 Pro-Traditional characters 7 Speed of writing 7.1 Pro-Simplified characters 7.2 Pro-Traditional characters 8 Phonetics 8.1 Pro-Simplified characters 8.2 Pro-Traditional characters 9 Radicals 9.1 Pro-Simplified characters 9.2 Pro-Traditional characters 10 Merger of characters 10.1 Pro-Simplified characters 10.2 Pro-Traditional characters 11 Aesthetics 11.1 Pro-Simplified characters 11.2 Pro-Traditional characters

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12 Symbolism conflict 12.1 Pro-Simplified characters 12.2 Pro-Traditional characters 13 Government Enforcement 13.1 Pro-Simplified characters 14 Late recognition of flawed process 14.1 Pro-Simplified characters 14.2 Pro-Traditional characters 15 Social 15.1 Pro-Simplified characters 15.2 Pro-Traditional characters 16 Political Implications 16.1 Pro-Simplified characters 16.2 Pro-Traditional characters 17 Ratio of current usage or pragmatism of the choice between the two systems 17.1 Pro-Simplified characters 17.2 Pro-Traditional characters 18 Developments in Recent Years 18.1 2007 18.2 2008 18.3 2009 19 See also 20 References

Split orthography: a problem?


The sheer difficulties posed by having two concurrent writing systems hinders communications between mainland China and other regions. For those who know both systems well, translating an entire document written using simplified characters to traditional characters, or vice versa, is a trivial but laborious task. For machine and computer translation, however, translation from simplified to traditional is not straightforward because there is not a one-to-one mapping of a simplified character to a traditional character. As a result a computer can be used for the bulk of the translation but will still need final checking by a human. The writer Ba Jin, in his essay "Thoughts: Reform of Chinese characters" (), urged caution in any reforms to the written Chinese language. He cited the inability of those educated in Hong Kong or Taiwan to read material published on the mainland, and vice versa, as a great disadvantage of simplified Chinese. He also cited the ability to communicate, not just with Chinese peoples of various regions, but also with people from across the Sinosphere countries such as Japan and Vietnam as a great advantage of the written Chinese language that should not be undermined by excessive simplification.[4] Others claim that it is not difficult for a person educated in one system to become familiarized with the other system quickly through exposure and experience. For computer automated translation, one simplified character may equate to many traditional characters, but not vice versa. Some knowledge of the context of the word usage is required for correct mapping, but it has been difficult for computers to work with word usage perfectly. As a result, direct computer mapping from simplified to traditional is not trivial and requires sophisticated programming. (This line of reasoning is used both by traditional Chinese advocates opposed to simplification, and simplified Chinese advocates opposed to the continued use of traditional characters.)

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Cultural legitimacy
Pro-Simplified characters
Proponents say that the Chinese writing system has been changing for millennia: it has already passed through the Oracle Script, Bronzeware Script, Seal Script and Clerical Script stages. Moreover, some simplified characters are drawn from conventional abbreviated forms that have been in use for centuries such as the use of instead of ,[5] and some simplified characters are in fact restorations of ancient forms that had become more complicated over time. For instance, the character for "cloud" was originally , but the character was borrowed to write a homophonous word meaning "to say". To disambiguate the two uses of the character, the "rain" radical () was added on top when it meant "cloud", forming the current traditional character . The homophonous word meaning "to say", however, has become archaic in modern Chinese, though continues to be used for "cloud". The simplified version simply restores to its original use as "cloud".[5]

Pro-Traditional characters
While some simplified characters were adopted from conventional abbreviated forms that have existed for a long time, the vast majority of the changes made by PRC were "unnatural" such as the removal of the symbol for heart () from the word love () into the new character () without 'heart'. To many, the new 'heartless' love character is totally against Confucianism which emphasises filial piety and humanity.[6] Pro-Traditional commentators claim that the changes through the history are merely alteration in writing styles, not in the structure of the characters, especially after the Qin standardization. They also claim many other simplified characters were arbitrarily designed by the government of the PRC to pervert traditional Chinese culture for political reasons in order to carry out what the PRC viewed as modernization. Despite the fact that character simplification began in 1956 and had origins going back to the early 20th century before the founding of the PRC, and that character simplification was not a part of the Four Olds nor the Cultural Revolution (both starting in the mid 1960s), they claim character simplification, "Anti-Four Olds" and the Cultural Revolution were all treacherous acts of destruction of traditional Chinese culture. As a result of such "unnatural" evolution, many characteristics underlying various Chinese characters, including radicals, etymologies and phonetics were ignored and destroyed in their simplified form. One frequently-cited example of this argument is found in the character for "sage" or "holy", in simplified and in traditional. The simplified character removed the king radical (), replacing it with soil (). Supporters of simplification note that (literally meaning holy) is an ancient component used in characters like (literally meaning crazy), and that was used as a variant of before the Chinese Communist government even existed.[6]

Literacy
Pro-Simplified characters
Proponents feel that Simplified characters having fewer strokes makes it easier to learn.[7] Literacy rates have risen steadily in rural and urban areas since the simplification of the Chinese characters, while this trend was hardly seen during 30 years of KMT rule and 250 years of Manchurian rule before them, when the traditional writing system was dominant, though this rise in literacy may not necessarily be due to simplification alone. Although Taiwan, which uses Traditional Chinese characters, has a better literacy rate, proponents point out that with a population 50 times larger and landmass 260 times bigger, the illiteracy in mainland China is much more difficult to eradicate. In 2004, the only provinces of China where the illiteracy rates were lower than Taiwan's were Guangdong at 3.84%, and Guangxi at 3.79%.[8]
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The literacy rate in mainland China is higher than that of Taiwan when compared at the same GDP per capita. Literacy Rate ( Mainland )[9] 66.42 77.19 84.12 93.28 GDP per capita ( ppp, Mainland )[10] 325.021 795.912 2,372.14 GDP per capita ( ppp, Taiwan )[10] 7,907.18 22,392.91 Literacy Rate ( Taiwan )[11][12] 91.7 97

Year 1964 1982 1990 2000 -

Year 1988 2003

Pro-Traditional characters
The literacy rate of Taiwan and Hong Kong is higher than that of Mainland, compared for the same year.[13] Although the adoption of Simplified Chinese characters is correlated with increased literacy rates, correlation does not imply causation.[14][15] Aside from correlational arguments, the only other form of evidence offered in support of script reform success through character simplification is anecdotal.[14] The validity of statistics about literacy rates in mainland China is questionable.[16] The increase of literacy rates in mainland China is likely due to educational reform.[17]

Simplification was meant to be a stepping stone


Pro-Traditional characters
The earliest members of the Communist Party of China including intellectuals like Lu Xun were convinced alphabetization was necessary to improve literacy. The suggestion was that changes should begin with Simplified characters first, then eventually make way to an alphabet system. In fact, the members continued to pledge that an alphabet system was the "ultimate objective".[18] In 1936 Mao told American journalist Edgar Snow that the Latin alphabet was a good instrument to promote literacy.[19] At the height of Communist party victory in July 1950, the possibility of continuing with an alphabet system was dissolved when Mao Zedong brought up Chinese nationalism. He suggested Latin alphabets were "too foreign". The original plan of using alphabets to improve literacy has since faded.[18] The change from an alphabet reform to a simplified reform is considered a U-turn in Mao's policy.[20]

Destruction of traditional Chinese culture


Pro-Simplified characters
Some argue that Karlgren's quote (below) is possibly being misused and quoted out of context. At that time the concept of traditional and simplified characters did not exist, they were simply Chinese writing. Given the context, Karlgren may have meant abolition of Chinese characters, rather than specific modifications. If Karlgren was not specifically arguing against character simplification, then this is a misuse of his quote.

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Some argue that characters have not been replaced with an alphabet, and that character simplification began in 1956 and had origins going back to the early 20th century before the founding of the PRC, and that character simplification was not a part of the Four Olds nor the Cultural Revolution (both began in the mid 1960s). They also note that whether traditional characters were "destroyed" or not is a matter of opinion, others might say they were "modified".

Pro-Traditional characters
Sinologist Bernhard Karlgren suggested early in 1929 that "the day Chinese discard it (Chinese characters), they will surrender the very foundation of their culture."[18] Some users of traditional characters hold the view that the PRC's character simplification in itself was a destruction of traditional characters, and claim that character simplification, "Anti-Four Olds" and the Cultural Revolution were all treacherous acts of destruction of traditional Chinese culture. They claim that Mao began character simplification in 1956 and in the mid 1960s launched the Four Olds and the Cultural Revolution[21] to destroy "Old Chinese Culture", despite the fact that Mao had earlier raised the need to preserve Chinese culture and characters for Chinese nationalism,[18] when core Communist party members advocated to replace characters with an alphabet.

Disambiguation
Pro-Simplified characters
Proponents feel that some traditional characters are too similar in appearance, such as (sh) "book", (zhu) "daytime" and (hu) "drawing": the simplified forms are , , and , which look much more distinct.

Pro-Traditional characters
Opponents claim the reverse: simplifications make distinct characters more similar to each other in appearance, giving the "shape recognition" mechanism of the reading part of the brain ambiguous clues. An example is (w) "none", simplified into , which looks very similar to the existing character (tin) "sky". Also, (sh) "designate", and (mi) "without", are quite similar in their simplified forms and and can result in confusion in rapid handwriting (Another example of the same kind is (hu) "to live" and (hu) "talk," which in simplified are and and can be misinterpreted in rapid handwriting). Similarly, some simplified characters create more confusion. In traditional writing, (qin) "thousand", and (gn) "dry" are very different characters. In simplified writing, the same characters appear to be almost identical, being and , respectively.[22]

Speed of writing

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Pro-Simplified characters
Simplified characters have fewer strokes; for example, the common character (bin, meaning "side") has 18 strokes in traditional form, while its simplified form has only 5. Proponents of simplification claim this makes them easier to write.[7] Characters with more than 15 strokes are especially difficult to write.[23] IME is actually some sort of simplification of Chinese characters .[24]

Pro-Traditional characters

Opponents say that the speed advantage of simplified Chinese becomes less relevant in the computer age. With modern computing, entering Chinese characters is now dependent on the convenience of input method editors or IMEs. Some IMEs use phoneme-based input, such as pinyin romanization or bopomofo, while others are grapheme-based, such as cangjie and wubi. These have mainly sidelined the speed issues in handwritten Chinese, as traditional and simplified Chinese often have the same input speed, especially with phoneme-based IMEs. Furthermore, even when it comes to handwriting, a majority of people resort to semi-cursive script to reduce strokes and save time.

An extremely rare 50+ stroke character (brand of a noodle type) was not simplified.

Phonetics
Pro-Simplified characters
Proponents: Chinese characters are most often made up of a pronunciation-indicating part (called the phonetic) and a part that indicates the general semantic domain (called the radical). During the process of simplification, there are some attempts to bring greater coherence to the system. For example, the shape of (yu), meaning "anxious", is not a good indicator of its pronunciation, because there are no clear radical and phonetic components. The simplified version is , a straightforward combination of the "heart" radical to the left (indicating emotion) and the phonetic (yu) to the right.

Pro-Traditional characters
Opponents point out that some simplified forms undermine the phonetics of the original characters, e.g. (pn, plate) has the phonetic component (bn) on top, but the simplified form is , whose upper part is now (zhu). (l, a family name) and (l, "furnace") shares the same component in their original forms, but they were inconsistently simplified into and respectively, so that now has the less helpful (h) as its phonetic. Some characters were radically stripped of all phonetic elements. An example of a traditional character simplified such that its phonetic element is totally removed is (gung, meaning "extensive"), of which the internal character (hung) is enclosed within a . Simplified, the character is written without its internal phonetic element: . Opponents say that such mergers make Classical Chinese texts in simplified Chinese characters difficult to understand. They discourage the proliferation of such homographs. Also, it makes Chinese much more easily mistranslated in foreign languages. In Mainland China, signs such as "dried goods" (Traditional Chinese: , Simplified Chinese: ) are often mistranslated into English as "fuck goods".[25][26] The reason is that the Traditional Chinese characters (dry), (to carry out, which also used in Mandarin to mean "fuck") and (to intervene) are all merged into to character in Simplified Chinese.[22] (For better illustration, there is a similar example in informal English usage in which 'yr' could mean 'year' or 'your'. The Chinese Government standardised the language using the Simplified form (like 'yr') to replace the Traditional characters and (like 'year' and 'your') and

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forbids the usage of the Traditional characters unless having previously received an official permit. [citation needed] By doing so, awkwardness and difficulty may be found when reading sentences like, 'Do you remember last yr yr roommate broke his leg?')

Radicals
Pro-Simplified characters
Proponents say that the radical system is imperfect in the first place. For example, (smile, laugh) uses the "bamboo" radical. The removal of the radical from the traditional word (electricity) is a sign that Chinese is moving into the modern era because (rain radical) symbolizes that electricity comes from lightning. However nowadays electricity can come from more sources than just lightning; thus proving that the simplification of to is a more realistic approach in developing a better Chinese for the modern world.

Pro-Traditional characters
Some argue that simplification results in a broken connection between characters, which makes it more difficult for students to expand their vocabulary in terms of perceiving both the meaning and pronunciation of a new character. For example, (din, fuss) is now , with a door radical that is not indicative of its meaning. Another instance is the simplification of (love) to , where the simplified version removes the radical (heart). The round of characters simplified by the Communist party was not systematic.[27] Extensive studies have been conducted among different age groups, especially children, to show that reducing the strokes loses the radical and phonetic relationships between the characters. This actually makes it more difficult for simplified character readers to distinguish the characters, since they now rely heavily on memorization.[27] Some traditional characters are very distinct. Such as electricity/lightning , rope and turtle . After the simplification process all three characters appear to have the same components even though they have no relationship at all. Respectively electricity , rope , turtle can be easily confused. The simplification of the word electricity/lightning to also took it out of the natural context. It no longer belongs with snow , thunder and clouds .

Merger of characters
Main article: Multiple association of converting Simplified Chinese to Traditional Chinese

Pro-Simplified characters
Classical Chinese mainly used one character to form one word, which made it very common that one character has multiple meanings and multiple pronunciation: "" means "sky" (), "heaven" (), "nature" (), "weather" (); "" means "length" (chng, ), "specialty" (chng, ), "grow" (zhng, ), "senior" (zhng, ), etc. And context is vital to determine the meaning of a certain character in Classical Chinese. After the early 1900s' Vernacular Chinese movement, words were mainly formed by multiple characters (mostly two), and one word usually has only one meaning: "" means "sky", "" means "heaven", "" means "nature", "" means "weather", "" means "length" , "" means "grow", etc. And context is unnecessary to determine the meaning of a certain word. So merger of characters with few meanings in identical or similar pronunciation, actually made no inconvenience when using Vernacular Chinese : "" (, f) means "hair", "" (, f) means "set off", " " (, g) means "grain", "" (g) means "hollow" , but reduce the characters needed to

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learn in modern life.[28]

Pro-Traditional characters
Simplified Chinese characters frequently include merged characters, which opponents view as baseless and arbitrary: (hu, "behind") and (hu, "queen") are both simplified into . Likewise, (zh, a measure word) and (zh, "only") are merged into ; (f, "happening") and (f, "hair") are merged into ; (g, "crop") and (g, "valley") are merged into , and so on. On 3 September 1993, the Board of Language Usage & Applications of China permitted and re-introduced the usage of the character and released a new policy of Resolution for the Complication in Using Character and Its Usage Re-introduction ( ). The movement was an attempt in trying to resolve the controversy caused by the conflict between the lawful mergers of characters of and and the name usage of former Vice Premier Zhu Rongji. According to earlier Chinese laws regarding Chinese Language Simplification, character should have always been written as ; however, Zhu Rongji insisted on writing when it came down to writing his name because he was originally named in the character but not . Thus, the Board later re-introduced the character. Pro-traditional characters supporters often use this example in against the use of Simplified Chinese, especially when it comes down to mergers of characters in names of historical heroes, scholars, philosophers, and political figures. They also complain about the trouble in flight reservations alike when travelling in and out of Mainland China due to the mergers of characters.[29] Professor Wang, at Beijing University of Education, also the Vice President of Chinese Language Association, and an official of Ministry of Education of China, agreed and criticised that some characters were oversimplified during the simplification campaign, and thus more difficult to learn, apply, and use. Wang particularly pointed at merged characters borne with these problems.[30]

Aesthetics
Pro-Simplified characters
Traditional Chinese Character look very well in large size calligraphy but a number of very complex characters are much harder to identify when smaller fonts are used and complex character components can merge together. Simplified Chinese characters look more appealing when small fonts are used. It is much harder to see details and individual components in characters with a large number of strokes when small fonts are used. It is especially an issue if the quality of print is low. The recognition issue applies to some OCR software as well.[citation needed] Such software handles easier hanzi with fewer details. About 30% of simplified Chinese characters match simplified kanji (see shinjitai).[31] This makes it easier for people who know simplified characters to be able to read and understand Japanese kanji. For example, the character (country) is written the same way in Japanese () although in traditional Chinese it is .

Pro-Traditional characters
Traditional Chinese Characters are often used as the de facto standard characters set in Chinese calligraphy in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau and even in the People's Republic of China (mainland China), presumably because of its aesthetic value or partly thereof.[32] This is one of the very few exceptions that the PRC government permits the use of traditional Chinese Character in mainland China.

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Symbolism conflict
Pro-Simplified characters
The source of texts in simplified characters is far from belonging to mainland China only, as overseas communities now produce newspapers in both scripts, some continue in traditional and some new choose simplified. Chinese newspapers in Singapore and Malaysia mainly publish in simplified. Besides, simplified characters are often used when targeting the population of the PRC.[citation needed] It's no longer the case that everything in simplified Chinese is made in mainland China. A number of websites offer an easy switch between the 2 versions, the major multilingual non-Chinese news web-sites offer the Chinese version in the simplified Chinese script.[citation needed] Simplified Chinese characters were not entirely developed by the PRC as some of the simplified characters were taken from Japanese Shinjitai. This assures that simplified characters cannot be treated as "communist" because they weren't just developed by the PRC and it isn't just the PRC that are using it now. Generally traditional character users may have a political sensitivity based on which script is used.[33]

Pro-Traditional characters
Cultural nationalists proclaimed that simplified characters are the creation of the CCP, therefore it is socialist or communist, whereas traditional characters represent capitalism or nationalism. The political symbolism makes it difficult for the CCP to restrict traditional characters. Especially in the Special Administrative Regions, where the temporary solution is seen as the One country two system.[34] Hong Kong and Macau are perceived as capitalist.[35] Another association made is that simplified characters represent the conservative forces of social state. Whereas traditional characters represent the pre-Revolutionary China, one with Confucian literature, history and the newest and most modern Chinese life in Hong Kong, Taiwan and overseas.[36]

Government Enforcement
Pro-Simplified characters
The mainland Chinese government have also enforced a law, where a fine of 1000 yuan (=US$147.06) can be imposed if traditional characters are used in place of the legally sanctioned simplified characters.[36][37]

Late recognition of flawed process


Pro-Simplified characters
Some note that the below paragraph merely states that there will be no more large scale simplification schemes, and that the KMT's proposed simplification in the 1930s was not carried out. It does not present evidence to support, or even argue, that there is a "late recognition of flawed process".
[citation needed]

Pro-Traditional characters
On May 20, 1980 the Committee of Script Reform publicized via New China News Agency in the

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People's Daily and Guangming Ribao that they would recommend revision of the Second-round simplified Chinese character. After lengthy consultation, the SCCSS was set up, and recommended a list of simplified characters. By 1986 the group was terminated, and the characters withdrawn, since it failed to win support by the State Council. The conference stated that no more large scale simplification schemes on the order of the first and second schemes would ever be attempted.[38] In comparison the first major public withdrawal by the Communist party came 50 years after the first withdrawal by Kuomintang. In 1934/1935, KMT attempted to simplify just 324 characters in the "First Set of Simplified characters".[39] It was thought of as a continual step toward alphabetization.[19] They used the three principles of (1) adopt existing ones and do not create new ones. (2) select those that circulate relatively widely in society. (3) do not simplify characters that originally did not have too many strokes.[19] Still, characters by the KMT never reached the public.[39]

Social
Pro-Simplified characters
Proponents argue that many minds link simplified characters with the idea of communism and traditional characters with anticommunism or at least "non-communism". Thus the political implications and affiliations of the writing systems are seen by some as the emotional impetus for the debate. This view interprets most of the back-and-forth debate on the merits of the system, ultimately, as rationalizations.[citation needed]

Pro-Traditional characters
Some teachers in areas where traditional Chinese characters are used often scold students who use simplified characters, even to the extent of calling them "uneducated". This, in addition to other matters, has enforced a prejudice held by some traditional Chinese character users that traditional Chinese is for the educated and cultured, while simplified Chinese is for the illiterate, dumb, even the barbaric. In Taiwan, simplified characters have been regarded as "Communist" and are studiously avoided.[40]

Political Implications
Pro-Simplified characters
Those who use simplified characters counter that their traditional counterparts politicise a strictly linguistic issue.[citation needed]

Pro-Traditional characters
The simplified characters have been referred to by Taiwan and refugees from China as a "Communist plot", a deliberate attempt to cut off traditional Chinese culture and values.[41] Simplified characters were banned in Taiwan.[42] According to the Taiwan Affairs Office run by the Communist Party of China, the ban was only lifted in 2003.[42] Simplified characters are also branded in Taiwan as "bandit characters" (, literally gangster characters).[43] In the past it was a variation only learned by specialists doing intelligence work at the height of the Communist China era.[41] Over time, many immigrants who left the PRC quickly learned traditional characters and have found simplified character materials from the PRC to be propagandistic.[41] Splitting simplified characters and traditional characters allow the Communist party to selectively censor. An example is the sex trade book Whispers and Moans serialized in Hong Kong's Literary

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Century magazine during 2000 and 2001. The book was sold out in Hong Kong including a popular Japanese version. Beijing's Central Bureau of Censorship claimed the book about sex industries contained too many "unhealthy words". The book conflicted with mainland's Marriage Law of 2002, which claim topics outside marriage as "controversial" or "spiritual pollution". They were able to censor this book by the simplified characters edition in 2003 without affecting other regions.[44]

Ratio of current usage or pragmatism of the choice between the two systems
Pro-Simplified characters
Despite the promotion of traditional Chinese characters, they are still used by only some 50 million people, including those in Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Macau, Hong Kong and many overseas communities.[45] Simplified Chinese has come to dominate the written form of Chinese used nearly all over the world.[46] In the wake of the mainland's rise over the past 20 years, simplified characters now prevail in overseas Chinese communities in countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore. This places traditional Chinese, which is used by just over 30 million people around the worldmostly in Taiwan and Hong Kongin danger of being marginalized. [47]

Pro-Traditional characters
The high ratio achieved by Simplified characters are by force. Red guards ransacked homes, persecuting teachers and took part in other violent activities.[48] One example is the faculties at Nankai University who were beaten and publicly reviled. Some were murdered. Many faculty families were left homeless.[49] In 1966 universities were even shut down to allow students to participate in the Cultural revolution. Traditional literature were also halted.[50] In just one month between November 9 and December 7, 1966 Red guard member Tan Hou-lan () burned 2,700 traditional books.[51]

Developments in Recent Years


In recent years, the official Campaign of Simplification of Chinese Language has caused many highly controversial discussions in the general public to higher level of the government in Mainland, Taiwan, Hong Kong and amongst some international organisations.

2007
In an effort to address the pressing need for a common language, World Health Organization published a book named International Standard Terminologies on Traditional Medicine in the Western Pacific Region in October 2007. The purpose of preparing and publishing the book is to translate the terminologies in the field of traditional Chinese medicine between English and Chinese. However, WHO has chosen to print the book in Traditional Chinese characters but not Simplified Chinese. It is believed by many that it has been the first time in history that Mainland China Government has 'accepted' any international organisations releasing any publications printed in Traditional Chinese characters without opposition, since the start of Chinese Language Simplification Campaign.[52][53] In November 2007, scholars and representatives from Japan, Korea, Mainland China, and Taiwan came to Beijing and joined the Eighth Annual International Conference of Chinese Language Study. The conference was conducted and hosted by the National Office of International Promotion of Chinese Language and

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Board of Language Usage & Applications of the Ministry of Education of China. Immediately after, Korean media reported that the scholars and representatives reached a few conclusions after long discussion in the conference. One of those conclusions was that scholars would be using Traditional Chinese characters to standardise 5000 common Chinese characters across the countries and would continue to allow the use of Simplified Chinese characters if there happened to have one across those different areas. However, Chinese officials claimed that they did not reach such an agreement but would like to see the harmonious coexistence of Traditional and Simplified Chinese. Still, to many, that was the approval from Chinese Government because they were no longer absolutely opposed to the use of Traditional Chinese.[54][55]

2008
In March 2008, a well-known Mainland author, Gan Wang, published a review article on his personal blog about the possibility of the re-introduction of Traditional Chinese, What About Abolishing Simplified Chinese within the Next 50 Years?.[56] The article then caused a heated debate in many public forums. Later in the Mainland Lianghui Meeting 2008, 21 Members of Lianghui proposed a bill to re-introduce Traditional Chinese education in primary school curricula to secure the place of core Chinese culture from eroding over generations. The proposal was then rejected by the Minister of Education. The Minister explained, 'Our nation has its fundamental governing principles. [One of them, by law, is] to promote the usage of Simplified Chinese and Mandarin. This is the basic condition Thus, we will not consider re-introducing Traditional Chinese education in our primary school curricula.'[57][58][59][60] On 5 July 2008, on his visit to famous Taiwanese writer Koarn Hack Tarn's home, Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou promised that he would not introduce the usage of Simplified Chinese into the territories just because of the local newly passed policy to let Mainland tourists visit Taiwan but to provide side-by-side translation so that Mainland visitors could appreciate the aesthetic nature of Traditional Chinese. And he also told journalists that he wished all Chinese people would eventually be using Traditional Chinese in the near future.[59] In Taiwan and Hong Kong, it is not rare for people to use Simplified Chinese in informal writings. Although a very small portion of people support the introduction of Simplified Chinese education, the majority of people are strongly against teaching Simplified Chinese in schools. In these areas, it is unnoticeable of any trends of using Simplified Chinese in personal blog, public forums, news journals, magazines, and other mass media. While in Mainland China, not only has the number of pro-Traditional Chinese scholars, professionals, lecturers, and teachers been steadily increasing but also a trend of using Traditional Chinese in artworks, advertisements, personal signatures etc. has been observed more often in the general public as well. Some people even actively engage in reading books, plays, and poems printed in Traditional Chinese characters. Voices of official permit of co-existence of Simplified and Traditional Chinese or full re-introduction of Traditional Chinese alike are getting louder and more common in Mainland China.[61]

2009
In early 2009, the ROC (Taiwan) government launched a campaign to obtain World Heritage status for Traditional Chinese characters in a bid to preserve them for the future.[62] During Lianghui Meeting 2009, Member of Lianghui, Mr Pan Qing-Lin proposed a bill to abolish Simplified Characters successively and reintroduce Traditional Characters step by step within the next 10 years. He explained his three major reasons for the proposal in terms of the destruction of the scientific and aesthetic aspects of Chinese characters, the enhancement in technology diminishing the fast handwriting advantage of Simplified Characters, and the potential benefit for Taiwan unification progress. He also believes that the name used in Taiwan for Traditional Characters, Orthodox Characters, is very meaningful indeed. Furthermore, he explicitly supports Taiwan's Campaign for World Heritage Status for Orthodox Characters
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and feels the pressure on Mainland Chinese Government from the Campaign.[63] In addition, another Member of Lianghui, Ms Chen Jun followed Pan's moves and called for Mainland Chinese Government's supports for the Campaign. Along with the support for the Campaign, Ms Chen suggested the introduction of Traditional Characters education into the primary and secondary education. She expected the introduction of Traditional Characters education would increase and improve schoolchildren's and teenagers' passion for and understanding of traditional Chinese culture and language.[64] Again, like the similar proposals in the previous year of Lianghui Meeting, these proposals caused heated public debates across Chinese communities around the globe and got rejected by the Mainland Government. On 11 March 2009, shortly after the Lianghui Meeting of 2009, famous Swedish linguist, member of the Swedish Academy and the Committee of Nobel Prize in Literature, Professor Gran Malmqvist (Chinese: ) commented in his interview,'"Grid Characters" (Chinese Characters) are the most developed language in the world. Simplified Chinese Characters used in Mainland China will eventually be replaced by Traditional Chinese Characters. I am very confident of that.' He also believes in which sacrifices should be made for reintroducing Traditional Characters.[65] In April, Mr Lee Yu-Ming, the undersecretary of the Board of Language Usage & Applications, confirmed to the media that Mainland Government would release a new measure regarding usage of Chinese characters within a year. Under the new policy, a new Table of Standardised Characters would be created to restrict people from using any non-standard characters. Mr Lee estimated the Table would consist of more than 8000 characters. He emphasised that the new policy would not permit anyone from using non-standard characters, especially for their names. People would have to use those characters straight from the Table. The undersecretary also pointed out that the Government would not reintroduce Traditional Chinese after serious considerations.[66] However, probably for the very first time, experts and officials from the Board admitted some Simplified Characters had been over-simplified and made imperfectly, and consequently, more difficult to learn, apply, and use. Hence, the newly created Table would provide an opportunity to redress the problems.[67] In addition, these professionals agreed the priceless values of the informative nature of and the cultural inheritance borne within Traditional Characters and the necessity of being able to recognise them.[68] In order to form better evaluations of the suggestion of reintroduction of Traditional Characters, the officials invited 91 senior students to sit for an exam testing the knowledge of Traditional Characters. These students are potential teachers with outstanding GPA in majors of Ancient Chinese Language and Ancient Chinese Literature from Beijing Normal University. Only 3 students passed. These officials then concluded the suggestion of reintroduction of Traditional Characters would cost a lot. However, they agreed the policy of Knowing Traditional; Using Simplified would be a feasible policy.[69]

See also
History of China Timeline of Chinese history Sino-Tibetan languages

References
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