China in 2 minutes a day
Top news and analysis delivered to your inbox

China calls for whole population to speak Mandarin

T
op society and culture news for April 4, 2017. Part of the daily SupChina news roundup "Chinese state media asks: Is there nepotism in the White House?"
3 months ago
Jeremy Goldkorn

China’s Ministry of Education and its National Language Committee have issued an announcement (in Chinese) calling for intensive work to spread the use of spoken Mandarin and standardized Chinese characters. Currently, about 70 percent of the population can speak Mandarin. In big cities, the figure is around 90 percent, but according to the announcement in some rural areas and among ethnic groups, the number is 40 percent or even lower. The BBC has a short report on the announcement that says the target is to have 80 percent of the population speaking Mandarin by 2020, but the original announcement does not actually mention that number.

The Ministry of Education says that ensuring that the use of Mandarin is thoroughly popularized is an important goal of the 13th five-year plan, and necessary to meet China’s development goals and to preserve social harmony and unity of the nation. The announcement also calls for the “scientific preservation” (科学保护 kēxué bǎohù) of the languages of ethnic minorities.


By Jeremy Goldkorn
Jeremy Goldkorn is co-founder of the Sinica Podcast and currently edits SupChina and its daily newsletter.
China in 2 minutes a day
Top news and analysis delivered to your inbox

More from SupChina

The Belt and Road: China’s ‘project of the century’
A short explainer on the history and planned development of Xi Jinping’s signature initiative — to put China at the center of a global network of transport, commerce, and infrastructure. Read more
Jun 20, 2017
Tuesday, June 20
Sunrise in Huangshan
Jun 20, 2017