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Here are all the words Chinese state media has banned

A
full translation of the style guide update from Xinhua, and why it matters.
3 weeks ago
The editors

Xinhua News Agency was established by the Chinese Communist Party in 1931 in a little house in Ruijin, Jiangxi Province. Until 1938, it was called the Red China News Agency 红色中华通讯社, but it has always had the same goal: to collect information for the Party and act as its voice. Despite its propagandist mission, Xinhua has produced some excellent journalists, such as Yang Jisheng 杨继绳, author of Tombstone, an excruciatingly detailed record of the Great Famine of 1958-1962.

Xinhua operates in a similar way to Western newswires such as Reuters: Thousands of journalists and editors across China and in 170 foreign bureaus churn out news articles, video, opinion pieces, and breaking news briefs, which are fed out to newspapers and websites across the country. But there are some key differences: Chinese newspapers and websites cannot only use Xinhua content for free; sometimes instructions from the authorities compel them to run Xinhua copy. So when Xinhua updates its style guide, it affects the way the news is written in numerous newspapers and websites across China.

In July, a WeChat post (in Chinese) appeared on the Media Tea Party [传媒茶话会 cháhuàhuì]  social media account titled:

Media people must read: Banned and sensitive words in Xinhua News Agency reports [latest edition]

The content of the post is Xinhua’s new, updated version of its style guide for editors and journalists. Xinhua has not published the style guide itself, but enough Chinese staffers at state media have circulated the post for us to be reasonably confident it comes from an official source.

The rules range from guidance on the proper way to talk about politically sensitive subjects — “Never indicate that Hong Kong and Macau are countries in any texts, maps, or diagrams” — to prohibitions on slang and vulgar language — “never publish the phrase green tea bitch.”

The rules include relics from media more than 10 years old, such as references to the singer Li Yuchun 李宇春, whose peak of popularity was around 2006. A political relic of the Hu Jintao era is dismissed: The style guide tells editors not to use the phrase Eight Honors and Eight Disgraces [践行八荣八耻], a slogan from the Hu Jintao era.

The updated rules include a rather comprehensive glossary of vulgar language and rude online slang, some of recent popularity, some dating back to a “hoax dictionary of legendary beasts” originally published in 2009.

Below is a full translation of Xinhua’s revised style guide (the original Chinese text is here).


Politics and society

  • For the physically disabled, never use offensive terms such as one-eyed person [独眼龙 dúyǎnlóng], the blind [瞎子 xiāzǐ], the deaf [聋子 lóngzǐ], idiot [傻子 shǎzǐ], and retarded [弱智 ruòzhì]. Instead, use the sight-impaired [盲人 mángrén], the hearing impaired [聋人 lóngrén], the mentally disabled [智力障碍者 zhìlìzhàngàizhě], etc.
  • When reporting on facts, especially products, avoid using phrases that sound definitive and extreme, such as the best [最佳 zuìjiā], the most famous [最著名 zuìzhùmíng], or the most advanced [最先进 zuìxiānjìn].
  • When reporting on medical products, do not use phrases such as best effect [疗效最佳 liáoxiàozuìjiā], radical cure [根治 gēnzhì], safe precaution [安全预防 ānquányùfáng], safe and no side effects [安全无副作用 ānquánwúfùzuòyòng], and cure rate [治愈率 zhìyùlǜ].
  • In press releases, never use phrases such as movie king [影帝 yǐngdì], movie queen [影后 yǐnghòu], superstar [巨星 jùxīng], king of [天王 tiānwáng], dream guy [男神 nánshén], and dream girl [女神 nǚshén]. Acceptable phrases are famous actor [著名演员 zhùmíngyǎnyuán], famous artist [著名艺术家 zhùmíngyìshùjiā], etc.
  • For news coverage on officials from various levels participating in different activities, use the word in person [亲自 qīnzì] carefully. Except for important meetings hosted by the CPC Central Committee and the State Council, never use grand opening [隆重召开 lóngzhòngzhàokāi] to describe general conferences.
  • Never use boss [老板 lǎobǎn] to describe leading cadres of the Party or people in charge of state-owned enterprises.
  • Generally do not emphasize a certain group of people or an identity in news reporting. For instance, when reporting on disasters, do not use sentences like “There is a student from Peking University among the victims. Others are ordinary people.”
  • Do not use the phrase practice Eight Honors and Eight Disgraces [践行八荣八耻 jiànxíngbāróngbāchǐ] anymore. Call it fulfill the socialist concept of honor and disgrace [践行社会主义荣辱观 jiànxíngshèhuìzhǔyìróngrǔguān].
  • Dirty words such as wa sāi 哇噻 [roughly equivalent to “Oh, my God!”] and mā de 妈的 [“Damn!”] are banned from news reporting. Also do not use abbreviations that are common online, such as PK [from the online gaming term “player kill,” in other words, to thoroughly beat a competitor], TMD [abbreviation of 他妈的 tā mā de, an abbreviated, slightly cleaner form of “f**k your mother”], although new media are allowed to use PK. In recent years, online fans of celebrities use nicknames that do not follow Chinese language rules, such as corn [玉米 yù mǐ, for fans of singer Li Yuchun 李宇春], steel threads [纲丝 gāng sī, for fans of cross-talking comedian Guo Degang 郭德纲], and cold jelly noodles [凉粉 liáng fěn, for fans of 张靓颖 Zhāng Jìngyǐng]. If you cannot avoid such words because of the need for a reference in a report, use quotation marks.
  • News media and websites are strictly banned from using 38 vulgar phrases:
      • 装逼 zhuāng bī being pretentious. 装 means pretend, 逼 in Chinese slang usually refers to vagina. In this context, 逼 means class or ability. 装逼 can be translated to “pretending to have class.”
      • 草泥马 cǎonímǎ — f**k your mother. A pun on 操你妈 cāo nǐ mā; for the origin of this phrase and its connection to llamas and alpacas, see this article on “Hoax dictionary entries about legendary obscene beasts.”
      • 特么的 tè me de — an abbreviated, slightly cleaner form of “f**k your mother.” An internet variation on 他妈的 tā mā de.
      • 撕逼 sī bī — originally “catfight,” but the usage of the phrase has extended to any disputes with two parties involved; literally means “torn vagina.”
      • 玛拉戈壁 mǎ lā gēbì — “mother’s vagina.” A pun on 妈了个逼 mā le gè bī.
      • 爆菊 bào jú — slang for anal sex.
      • JB — “penis.” Slang form of 鸡巴 jībā.
      • 呆逼 dāi bī — “idiot”; literally means “retarded vagina.”
      • 本屌 běn diǎo — a self-deprecating word used by men who describe themselves as losers, often in a sarcastic way. The word literally means “this penis” and is a derivation of 屌丝 diǎosī or “loser” that literally means penis thread.
      • 齐B短裙 qí B duǎn qún — an ultra-short miniskirt, literally a “level-with-vagina miniskirt” [see “Gandie” on this page for origin].
      • 法克鱿 fǎ kè yóu — a Chinese rendering of “f**k you” — see hoax dictionary entries about legendary obscene beasts for origin.
      • 丢你老母 diū nǐ lǎomǔ — Cantonese for “f**k your mother.”
      • 达菲鸡 dá fēi jī — “masturbate,” a pun on 打飞机 dǎ fēijī. See hoax dictionary entries about legendary obscene beasts for origin.
      • 装13 zhuāng shísān — Shanghainese slang for 装逼 or “being pretentious.”
      • 逼格 bī gé — “the ability to be pretentious.”
      • 蛋疼 dàn téng — “ball ache”; literally “egg pain,” used to describe a feeling of frustration.
      • 傻逼 shǎ bī — “idiot”; literally “stupid vagina.”
      • 绿茶婊 lǜchá biǎo — “green tea bitch,” used to describe a girl who seems innocent and charming but is actually calculating and manipulative.
      • 你妈的 Nǐ mā de — “your mother.”
      • 表砸 Biǎo zá — “bitch,” a pun on 婊子 biǎo zi.
      • 屌爆了diǎo bàole — “exploded penis,” similar to the American slang “dope.”
      • 买了个婊 mǎile gè biǎo — “damn”; literally “bought a bitch,” a near pun on “mother’s vagina.”
      • 已撸 yǐ lū — “have masturbated”; literally “already rubbed,” now often used to mean a satisfying activity like shopping or watching a movie that has been completed.
      • 吉跋猫 jíbá māo — “pubic hair,” a pun on 鸡巴毛 jībā máo. See hoax dictionary entries about legendary obscene beasts for origin.
      • 妈蛋 mā dàn — “damn”; literally means “mother’s balls.”
      • 逗比 dòu bǐ — a neutral word to describe someone who is funny and a bit silly.
      • 我靠 wǒ kào — “damn,” a euphemism for “f**k” 我操 wǒ cāo.
      • 碧莲 bì lián — literally “green lotus,” usually used in the phrase 要碧莲 yào bì lián to describe someone who has no shame.
      • 碧池 bì chí — a Chinese rendering of “bitch,” literally “green pool.”
      • 然并卵 rán bìng luǎn — a feeling of resignation or disappointment, derived from 然而并没有什么卵用 rán’ér bìng méiyǒu shénme luǎn yòng, which literally means “however, there are no ovaries to use.”
      • 日了狗 rìle gǒu — f**k the dog, equivalent of “damn.”
      • 屁民 pì mín — “shitizen”; in other words, ordinary people who are powerless.
      • 吃翔 chī xiáng — “eat s**t.”
      • XX狗 XX gǒu — “XX dog”; any insult formed by attaching the word dog to any phrase.
      • 淫家 yín jiā — “winner”; literally a lewd person, a pun on 赢家 yíngjiā or “winner.”
      • 你妹 nǐ mèi — “your sister” is a slightly more polite version of “your mother” [你妈的 nǐ mā de].
      • 浮尸国 fúshī guó — literally “country of floating corpses,” a derogatory term for “India” referring to dead bodies found floating in the Ganges River.
      • 滚粗 gǔn cū — roughly “get the f**k out of here.”

Law  

  • Do not disclose real names of people such as criminal suspects, teenagers, pregnant women who have received intrauterine insemination, people with mental disorders, women who are forced to become prostitutes, HIV-positive people, and people with a history of drug use.
  • For people accused of crimes, always call them suspects [犯罪嫌疑人 fànzuìxiányírén] rather than criminals [罪犯 zuìfàn] before they are pronounced guilty.
  • Plaintiffs [原告 yuángào] and defendants [被告 bèigào] are equal in courts in terms of legal status. Do not write a sentence like “The plaintiff puts someone in the dock.”
  • Say The Party committee suggested an official be removed from his or her position [某某党委建议给予某某撤职、开除等处分], instead of The Party committee decided to remove an official from his or her position [某某党委决定给某政府干部行政上撤职、开除等处分].
  • Vice-chairperson of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress [全国人大常委会副委员长 quánguóréndàchángwěihuìfùwěiyuánzhǎng] cannot be called vice-chairperson of the NPC [全国人大副委员长 quánguóréndàfùwěiyuánzhǎng]. Deputy director of the Standing Committee of the Provincial People’s Congress [省人大常委会副主任 shěngréndàchángwěihuìfùzhǔrèn] cannot be called deputy director of the Provincial People’s Congress [省人大副主任 shěngréndàfùzhǔrèn]. Members of the Standing Committee of the people’s congresses at all levels can not be called Standing Committee of the people’s congresses [人大常委 réndàchángwěi].
  • For research institutes affiliated with the State Council, departments directly under it, or any other related organizations, write their names in full rather than calling them the State Council for short.
  • The name of a chairman of a village committee cannot be abbreviated to village head [村长 cūnzhǎng]. Village director [村主任 cūnzhǔrèn] is acceptable. College student cadres can be called village officials [村官 cūnguān]. Otherwise, only use village cadre [村干部 cūngànbù].
  • When reporting on crimes, never use a person’s social identity or place of birth to label a thief or a rapist. For example, if a thief used to be a factory worker, do not use factory worker thief [工人小偷 gōngrén xiǎotōu]. If a professor is accused of a crime, do not use professor criminal [教授罪犯 jiāoshòu zuìfàn]. Do not use phrases such as Henan thief [河南小偷 hénán xiǎotōu] or Anhui farmer gangster [安徽农民歹徒 ānhuī nóngmín dǎitú].
  • Chief or deputy executive officers of the Audit Commission in agencies of the State Council can be called auditor-general [审计长 shěnjìzhǎng] or deputy auditor-general [副审计长 fùshěnjìzhǎng]. They should not be called director-general [署长 shǔzhǎng] or deputy director-general [副署长 fùshǔzhǎng].
  • Chief prosecutors in procuratorates on various levels should not be called presidents of procuratorates [检察院院长 jiǎncháyuànyuànzhǎng].
  • It’s inappropriate to use terms such as secretary of xx province provincial Party committee [中共XX省省委书记 zhōnggòng XX shěngshěngwěishūjì] or secretary of xx city municipal Party committee [XX市市委书记 XX shìshìwěishūjì]. Use secretary of the provincial Party committee of xx [中共XX省委书记 zhōnggòng XX shěngwěishūjì] or secretary of the municipal Party committee of xx [XX市委书记 XX shìwěishūjì].
  • Generally avoid using the phrase non-Party person [非党人士 fēidǎngrénshì]. Under a specific circumstance, if it is necessary to emphasize one’s identity as a Democratic Party member, use non-Communist person [非中共人士 fēizhōnggòngrénshì].
  • Except for expressions to describe a particular historical period, never use upper class in minorities [少数民族上层人士 shǎoshùmínzúshàngcéngrénshì].

Religion and ethnicity

  • Do not use offensive terms that are passed on from the old society to describe ethnic minorities. Do not use Huihui “回回” or Manzi “蛮子” for people of the Hui ethnic group. For Mongolian people, do not use Mengzu 蒙族,use Menguzu 蒙古族 . Do not use Weizu 维族 for Weiwuerzu 维吾尔族 for Uyghurs, do not use Xianzu 鲜族 for Chaoxianzu 朝鲜族 for Koreans, etc.
  • Do not use insulting expressions in colloquial language or professional terms that involves a mention of a certain ethnic group. For instance, do not use Mongolian doctors [蒙古大夫 ménggǔ dàifū] to refer to quack doctors [庸医 yōngyī]. Do not use Mongolians to refer to people with mongolism [先天愚型 xiāntiānyúxíng].
  • Branches of minorities cannot be called ethnic groups. They can only be called xx people [XX人 XX rén], such as Mosuo people [摩梭人 mósuōrén], Sani people [撒尼人 sānírén], and Chuanqing people [穿青人 chuānqīngrén].
  • Do not confuse ancient and modern names. For example, Goguryeo [高句丽 gāojùlì ] cannot be called Goryeo [高丽 gāolì]. Kazakh [哈萨克族 hāsàkèzú] and Uzbek [乌孜别克族 wūzībiékèzú] cannot be called Turk [突厥族 tūjuézú] or the Turks [突厥人 tūjuérén].
  • Muhammad [穆罕默德 mùhǎnmòdé] usually refers to the prophet of Islam. For some names, including Muhammad, add their last names to avoid misunderstanding.
  • Do not confuse religion and ethnicity. Use Muslim to describe people who believe in Islam [伊斯兰教 yīsīlán jiào]. Never say the Hui [回族 huízú] is Islam or Islam is the Hui.
  • For coverage on Islam [伊斯兰教 yīsīlán jiào], never bring up any content related to pigs.
  • For livestock consumed by Muslims, only use the word slaughter [宰 zǎi] and never use kill [杀 shā].

Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, territory, and sovereignty

  • Hong Kong and Macau are special administrative regions of China [中国特别行政区 zhōngguó tè bié hángzhèngqū]. Never indicate that Hong Kong and Macau are countries [国家 guójiā] in any texts, maps, or diagrams. Especially when they are mentioned with other countries, be aware to use countries and regions [国家和地区 guójiāhédìqū].
  • Never mention Hong Kong or Macau with China simultaneously, such as China and Hong Kong [中港 zhōnggǎng] or China and Macau [中澳 zhōngào].
  • The counterpart to Taiwan is motherland mainland [祖国大陆 zǔguódàlù] or mainland [大陆 dàlù]. The counterpart to Hong Kong and Macau is inland [内地 nèidì]. They cannot be mixed up.
  • Do not say tourists from Hong Kong, Macau, or Taiwan travel to China [港澳台游客来华旅游 gǎngàotái yóukè láihuá lǚyóu]. Instead, say tourists from Hong Kong, Macau, or Taiwan travel to mainland [港澳台游客来内地旅游 gǎngàotái yóukè láinèidì lǚyóu ].
  • Party leaders’ trips to Hong Kong and Macau can only be called inspection [视察 shìchá], not foreign visit [出访 chūfǎng].
  • When introducing Hong Kong or Macau as a member of any international organization such as the World Trade Organization or the World Meteorological Organization, they should be called members [成员 chéngyuán] rather than member states [成员国 chéngyuánguó].
  • When it comes to the International Olympic Committee or any sports-related events, teams from Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan should be referred to in accordance with the regulations by the organization. The PRC Chinese Olympics Committee [中国奥林匹克委员会 zhōng guóàolínpǐkèwěiyuánhuì] can be abbreviated as 中国奥委会 [zhōngguóàowěihuì] in Chinese. Olympics Committee of Hong Kong China [中国香港奥林匹克委员会 zhōngguóxiānggǎngàolínpǐkèwěiyuánhuì] can be abbreviated as 中国香港奥委会 in Chinese. Chinese national team [中国国家队 zhōngguóguójiāduì] can be shortened to national team [国家队 guójiāduì]. Team of Hong Kong China [中国香港队 zhōngguóxiānggǎngduì] can be shortened to Hong Kong team [香港队 xiānggǎngduì].
  • Differentiate residents in Hong Kong or Macau [香港澳门居民 xiānggǎng àomén jūmín] from fellow countrymen living in Hong Kong or Macau [香港澳门同胞 xiānggǎng àomén tóngbāo]. The former concept refers to all residents in these two regions, including permanent and non-permanent ones. The latter concept refers to members of the great family of the Chinese nation [中华民族大家庭成员 zhōnghuámínzú dàjiātíng chéngyuán].
  • Differentiate national frontier [国境 guójìng] and customs boundary [关境 guānjìng]. National territory means an area of land under the jurisdiction of a state. From this perspective, Hong Kong and Macau is part of Chinese territory. Customs boundary refers to an area of land under the same Custom Law and tariff system. Hong Kong and Macau are separate territories of China, which should be deemed as overseas [境外 jìngwài] in terms of customs boundary. People from mainland China travelling to Hong Kong or Macau should be counted as leaving the country, but not going abroad.
  • Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan business should be listed as domestic business and be regulated separately. Any transit lines between mainland China and the three regions should be called Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan routes [港澳台航线 gǎngàotáihángxiàn], or International/Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan routes [国际/港澳台航线 guójì/gǎngàotáihángxiàn]. For mobile phone service, roaming services in these three regions should be called Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan roaming [港澳台漫游 gǎngàotáimànyóu], International/Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan roaming [国际/港澳台漫游 guójì/gǎngàotáimànyóu], cross-border roaming [跨境漫游 kuàjìngmànyóu], or regional roaming [区域漫游 qūyùmànyóu].
  • Do not refer to a Hong Kong company or Taiwan company as foreign company [外国企业 wàiguó qǐyè].
  • Agreements signed between mainland China and Hong Kong or Macau can not be referred to as treaties [条约 tiáoyuē]. It can be referred to as protocol [协议 xiéyì] or arrangement [安排 ānpái]. Words that are used to describe relations between two countries can not be used between mainland China and Hong Kong or Macau.
  • For judicial connection and judicial aid, do not use terms from international law, such as mainland China exchanges judicial assistance with Hong Kong and Macau according to civil proceedings concerning foreign affairs. Do not use terms like judicial assistance between China and foreign countries [中外司法协助 zhōngwàisīfǎxiézhù], international judicial assistance [国际司法协助 guójìsīfǎxiézhù], or judicial assistance between China and Hong Kong or Macau [中港澳司法协助 zhōnggǎngàosīfǎxiézhù]. Use regional judicial assistance [区际司法协助 qūjìsīfǎxiézhù] or judicial assistance between mainland China and Hong Kong or Macau [内地与香港澳门司法协助 nèidìyǔxiānggǎngàoménsīfǎxiézhù]. When it comes to conflicts in jurisdiction, laws or regulations, use standard wording such as conflicts in jurisdiction [管辖权冲突 guǎnxiáquánchōngtū] or conflicts in laws [法律冲突 fǎlǜchōngtū]. Do not use terms like infringement of judicial sovereignty [侵犯司法主权 qīnfànsīfǎzhǔquán]. Do not say extradite suspects or criminals [引渡犯罪嫌疑人或罪犯 yǐndùfànzuìxiányírénhuòzuìfàn], say transfer suspects or criminals [移交或遣返犯罪嫌疑人或罪犯 yíjiāohuòqiǎnfǎnfànzuìxiányírénhuòzuìfàn].
  • Do not call Hong Kong and Macau’s return to the motherland as transfer of sovereignty [主权移交 zhǔquányíjiāo]. It should be described as the Chinese government resumed its sovereignty in Hong Kong and Macau [中国政府对香港、澳门恢复行使主权 zhōngguó zhèngfǔ duì xiānggǎng 、àomén huīfù hángshǐ zhǔquán] or handover of government [政权交接 zhèngquánjiāojiē]. Hong Kong and Macau before their returns to mainland China were under colonial rule [受殖民统治 shòu zhímín tǒngzhì]. They were not colonies [殖民地 zhímíndì].
  • Avoid using phrases such as integration [融合 rónghé] or unify [一体化 yītǐhuà] of mainland China and Hong Kong or Macau, or urban integration [同城化 tóngchénghuà] of Shenzhen and Hong Kong, or urban integration of Zhuhai and Macau. Avoid anything that is against the “one country, two systems” policy [一国两制 yīguóliǎngzhì].
  • Governmental agencies and institutional arrangement in Hong Kong and Macau should be expressed according to the Basic Law. For example, chief executive of the Hong Kong special administrative region of China [香港特别行政区行政长官 xiānggǎngtèbiéxíngzhèngqūxíngzhèngzhǎngguān] cannot be called chief executive of the government of the Hong Kong special administrative region of China [香港特别行政区政府行政长官 xiānggǎngtèbiéxíngzhèngqūzhèngfǔxíngzhèngzhǎngguān]. The Legislative Council of the Macau special administrative region of China [澳门特别行政区立法会 ào ménlìtèbiéxíngzhèngqūlìfǎhuì] cannot be called The Legislative Council of the government of the Macau special administrative region of China [澳门特别行政区政府立法会 ào ménlìtèbiéxíngzhèngqūzhèngfǔlìfǎhu]. Political systems in Hong Kong and Macau are administration-led. They cannot be described as separation of powers [三权分立 sānquánfènlì].
  • Avoid using self-praising phrases to describe anti-China parties in Hong Kong and Macau. For example, umbrella movement [雨伞运动 yǔsǎnyùndòng] should be called illegal occupy central [非法占中 fēifǎzhànzhōng].
  • For leading parties in Taiwan after October 1, 1949, they should be called Taiwan authorities [台湾当局 táiwāndāngjú] or Taiwan part [台湾方面 táiwānfāngmiàn]. Avoid using any flags, badges or songs that are related to Republic of China. For presidential elections [总统选举 zǒngtǒngxuǎnjǔ] in Taiwan, they can be called leader elections in the region of Taiwan [台湾地区领导人选举 táiwāndìqūlǐngdǎorénxuǎnjǔ], or they can be abbreviated as Taiwan elections [台湾大选 táiwāndàxuǎn].
  • Never use the word Taiwan government [台湾政府 táiwānzhèngfǔ].
  • Never use any job titles in Taiwan that include words like national [国家 guójiā], central [中央 zhōngyāng ] and nationwide [全国 quánguó].
  • Presidential Palace [总统府 zǒngtǒngfǔ] should be called office building of Taiwan authorities [台湾当局领导人办公场所 táiwāndāngjúlǐngdǎorénbàngōngchǎngsuǒ]. Executive Yuan [行政院 hángzhèngyuàn] should be called office building of administration agencies in Taiwan [台湾地区行政管理机构办公场所 táiwāndìqūxíngzhèngguǎnlǐjīgòubàngōngchǎngsuǒ]. Memorial hall of the father of the nation [国父纪念馆 guófùjìniànguǎn] should be called Taipei Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall [台北中山纪念馆 táiběizhōngshānjìniànguǎn].
  • The word government [政府 zhèngfǔ] can be used for administrative agencies below the provincial, municipal or level. Quotation marks are not necessary for Taiwan Provincial Government [台湾省政府 táiwānshěngzhèngfǔ] or Taipei Municipal Government [台北市政府 táiběishìzhèngfǔ].
  • For pro-independence party [台独 táidú] or Taiwan Solidarity Union [台湾团结联盟 táiwāntuánjiéliánméng], they can not be shortened as Taiwan Union [台联 táilián]. They can be called Taiwan Union Party [台联党 táiliándǎng] instead.
  • Quotation marks are not necessary for job positions in parties such as the Kuomintang Party, Democratic Progressive Party or People First Party. For any interactions between the Kuomintang Party and the Communist Party, do not use cooperations between the Kuomintang Party and the Communist Party [国共合作 guógònghézuò]. For People First Party or New Party, do not add Taiwan [台湾 táiwān] in front of them.
  • Usually do not add quotations marks to nongovernmental organizations in Taiwan.
  • For Taiwan’s nongovernmental organizations that have China [中国 zhōngguó ] or Chunghwa [中华 zhōnghuá] in their names, such as China Airlines [中华航空 zhōnghuáhángkōng] or Chunghwa Telecom [中华电信 zhōnghuádiànxìn], put Taiwan [台湾 táiwān] in front of their names.
  • For non-official trips carried out by Taiwan people, use their civil identities to introduce them.
  • For universities or cultural institutions that share same names of those in China, such as Tsinghua University [清华大学 qīnghuádàxué] or the Palace Museum [故宫博物院 gùgōng bówùyuàn], put Taiwan [台湾 táiwān] or Taipei [台北 táiběi] in front of their names.
  • Don’t use word state-run [国立 guólì] for any universities or institutions.
  • Kinmen and Matzu administrative regions are under the ruling of Fujian Province, thus they can not be called Taiwan Kinmen county or Taiwan Lianjiang County. Geographically speaking, Kinmen and Matzu are offshore islands that belong to Fujian. They should not be called offshore islands of Taiwan [台湾离岛 táiwānlídǎo].
  • Use quotation marks to describe official documents by the Taiwan authorities.
  • Do not call laws of the People’s Republic of China mainland China laws [大陆法律 dàlùfǎlǜ]. For laws enacted in Taiwan region, they should be called relevant regulations of Taiwan region [台湾地区有关规定 táiwāndìqūyǒuguānguīdìng]. For any laws issued by the Taiwan authorities, use quotation marks and refer to them as alleged.
  • Affairs regarding cross-Strait relations are domestic affairs of China. Never use terms from the International Law, such as passport [护照 hùzhào], document authentication [文书认证 wénshūrènzhèng], extradite [引渡 yǐndù] or smuggle [偷渡 tōudù]. Terms can be used are travel document [旅行证件 lǚ xíngzhèngjiàn], document verification [文书查证 wénshūcházhèng], mutual judicial cooperation [司法合作 sīfǎhézuò], mutual judicial aid [司法互助 sīfǎhùzhù], repatriate [遣返 qiǎnfǎn], and 私渡.
  • In international situations, do not call China mainland China [大陆 dàlù]. Call Taiwan China Taiwan. Do not pair Taiwan with other countries.
  • For any international organizations that allow entities that are not independent sovereign states to be members, Taiwan or Taipei should be referred to as China Taiwan or China Taipei.
  • Official name for Taiwan region in WTO is Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu [台湾、澎湖、金门、马祖单独关税区 táiwān、pénghú 、jīnmén 、mǎzǔ dāndúguānshuìqū], or Separate Customs Territory of Chinese Taipei [中国台北单独关税区 zhōngguótáiběidāndúguānshuìqū].
  • For any cross-Strait activities, never use phrases like China, Hong Kong and Taiwan, or China, Macau and Taiwan or China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan.
  • Taiwanese investments in mainland China cannot be called China-foreign joint ventures [中外合资 zhōngwàihézī].
  • Taiwan is a province of China. But in consideration of Taiwan people’s feelings, use Taiwan region [台湾地区 táiwāndìqū] or Taiwan [台湾 táiwān] instead of Taiwan Province [台湾省 táiwānshěng].
  • Use quotation marks for any political terms related to pro-independence [台独 táidú], such as independence of Taiwan [台湾独立 táiwāndúlì], self-determination of Taiwan residents [台湾住民自决 táiwānzhùmínzìjué], sovereignty independence of Taiwan [台湾主权独立 táiwānzhǔquándúlì], de-sinicization [去中国化 qùzhōngguóhuà], legal independence [法理台独 fǎlǐ táidú], or Sunflower Movement [太阳花学运 tài yáng huāxuéyùn].
  • For political terms about de-sinicization [去中国化 qùzhōngguóhuà] in the field of education and culture in Taiwan, treat them respectively in the context.
  • Invasion and colonial ruling of the Netherlands and Japan in Taiwan cannot be abbreviated as Netherlandish ruling [荷治 hézhì] or Japanese ruling [日治 rìzhì]
  • Do not call Taiwan residents citizens [公民 gōngmín]. Call them the Taiwanese public [台湾民众 táiwānmínzhòng], Taiwan people [台湾人民 táiwānrénmín] or fellow countrymen in Taiwan [台湾同胞 táiwāntóngbāo].
  • Never call China mainland China [中国大陆 zhōngguódàlù] or mainland [大陆 dàlù] when Taiwan is not in the context.
  • Never call governments of the People’s Republic of China mainland governments [大陆政府 dàlùzhèngfǔ]. Do not put mainland in front of any institutions affiliated with the central government.
  • Normally do not use phrases before or after liberation [解放前后 jiěfàngqiánhòu] or before or after the establishment of new China [新中囯成立前后 xīnzhōngguóchénglìqiánhòu]. Say before and after the birth of the People’s Republic of China [中华人民共和国成立前后 zhōnghuárénmíngònghéguóchénglìqiánhòu] or before or after 1949 [一九四九年前后 yījiǔsìjiǔniánqiánhòu].
  • For central leaders participating in activities related to Taiwan, use different titles in different situations. For example, for activities between parties, use their party titles.
  • Full name of China Affairs Office is Taiwan Office of the CPC Central Committee [中共中央台湾工作办公室 zhōnggòngzhōngyāngtáiwāngōngzuòbàngōngshì]. Full name of Taiwan Affairs Office should be called Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council [国务院台湾事务办公室 guówùyuàntáiwānshìwùbàngōngshì].
  • Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits [海峡两岸关系协会 hǎixiáliǎngànguānxìxiéhuì] can be abbreviated as Straits Association [海协会 hǎixiéhuì]. Don’t add mainland China ahead of the title. Taiwan Straits Exchange Foundation [台湾海峡交流基金会 táiwānhǎixiájiāoliújījīnhuì] can be shortened as Straits Foundation [海基会 hǎijīhuì] or Taiwan Straits Foundation [台湾海基会 táiwānhǎijīhuì]. Leader of Straits Association can be called president [会长 huìzhǎng], and leader of Straits Foundation can be called chairman of the board [董事长 dǒngshìzhǎng]. These two organizations together can be called Two Associations [两会 liǎnghuì] or Two Associations Across the Taiwan Straits [两岸两会 liǎngànliǎnghuì]. Do not call them white gloves [白手套 báishǒ tào].
  • Communications between Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council and Taiwan’s mainland Affairs Council can not be described as official contacts [官方接触 guānfāngjiēchù].
  • For 1992 Consensus, do not say “based on 1992 Consensus, both sides recognize that there is only on China, but they can have different interpretations of the definition of China.” [九二共识、一中各表 jiǔèrgòngshí 、yīzhōnggèbiǎo] Do not add quotation marks to One China Principle [一个中国原则 yīgèzhōngguóyuánzé], One China Policy [一个中国政策 yīgèzhōngguózhèngcè], and One China frame [一个中国框架 yīgèzhōngguókuàngjià]. Add quotation marks to “One China, Two systems” system [一国两制 yīguóliǎngzhì].
  • For Taiwan people who travel to mainland China and Taiwan through other countries such as Japan or the U.S., do not say they come back to mainland China through a third country [经第三国回大陆 jīngdìsānguóhuídàlù] or they come back to Taiwan through a third country [经第三国回台 jīngdìsānguóhuítái]. It should be called through other countries [经其他国家 jīngqítāguójiā].
  • Do not call southern Fujian dialect used by Taiwan people Taiwanese language [台语 táiyǔ]. Do not use the term Taiwanese language in any publications or under any circumstances. Do not call singers from Taiwan Taiwanese language singer [台语歌星 táiyǔgēxīng]. They can be called southern Fujian dialect singer from Taiwan [台湾闽南语歌星 táiwānmǐnnányǔgēxīng]. Use quotation marks for Taiwanese language singer. For language used in cross-Strait communication, say 两岸汉语 rather than 两岸华语.
  • Do not call ethnic minorities in Taiwan indigenous people [原住民 yuánzhùmín]. They can be collectively referred to as ethnic minorities in Taiwan or be separately referred to in their specific names.
  • Always use quotation marks for the phrase Mini Three Links [小三通 xiǎosāntōng] used by the Taiwan part, or it should be called direct links between coastal areas in Fujian Province, and the islands of Kinmen and Matsu [福建沿海与金门、马祖地区直接往来 fújiànyánhǎiyǔjīnmén 、mǎzǔdìqū zhíjiēwǎnglái].
  • Nansha Islands [南沙群岛 nánshāqúndǎo] shouldn’t be called Spratly Islands [斯普拉特利群岛 sīpǔlātèlìqúndǎo].
  • Diaoyu Islands [钓鱼岛 diàoyúdǎo] shouldn’t be called Senkaku Islands [尖阁群岛 jiāngéqúndǎo].
  • Do not say separatist forces in Xinjiang [新疆分裂势力 xīnjiāngfènlièshìlì] pro-independence advocates in Xinjiang [疆独 jiāngdú].

International relations

  • For some international organizations whose members are either nations or regions, call them members [成员 chéngyuán] instead of member nations [成员囯 chéngyuánguó]. For example, avoid using WTO member nations [世界贸易组织成员国 shìjièmàoyìzǔzhīchéngyuánguó] and APEC number nations [亚太经合组织成员国 yàtàijīnghézǔzhīchéngyuánguó]. Use WTO members [世界贸易组织成员 shìjièmàoyìzǔzhīchéngyuán], APEC members [亚太经合组织成员 yàtàijīnghézǔzhīchéngyuán], and APEC member economies [亚太经合组织成员经济体 yàtàijīnghézǔzhīchéngyuánjīngjìtǐ]. Say APEC Economic Leaders Meeting [亚太经合组织领导人非正式会议 yàtàijīnghézǔzhīlǐngdǎorénfēizhèngshìhuìyì] rather than APEC Summit [亚太经合组织峰会 yàtàijīnghézǔzhīfēnghuì]. The Taiwan side in APEC should be referred to as Chinese Taipei [中国台北 zhōngguótáiběi]. Be careful with Chinese translation. We say Chinese Taipei, and the Taiwan side calls itself Chunghwa Taipei [中华台北 zhōnghuátáiběi]. It should never be called China Taiwan [中国台湾 zhōngguótáiwān] or Taiwan [台湾 táiwān].
  • Do not use North Korea to refer to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. Or it can be abbreviated as North Korea. 不得使用“北朝鲜[英文North Korea]”来称呼“朝鲜民主主义人民共和国”,可直接使用简称“朝鲜”。In English, use the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea or its abbreviation, DPRK.
  • Avoid using Muslim country [穆斯林国家 mùsīlínguójiā] or Muslim world [穆斯林世界 mùsīlínshìjiè]. Say Islamic country [伊斯兰国家 yīsīlánguójiā] or Islamic World [伊斯兰世界 yīsīlánshìjiè]. Show respect to how countries define themselves. For example, Indonesia doesn’t call itself an Islamic country [伊斯兰国家 yīsīlánshìjiè].
  • When reporting on Darfur, do not use the term Arab militia [阿拉伯民兵 ālābómínbīng]. Use militia [民兵武装 mínbīngwǔzhuāng] or armed forces clan [部族武装 bùzúwǔzhuāng].
  • When reporting on crimes or armed conflicts, usually do not emphasize skin color, race, or gender of a specific suspect or anyone involved in conflicts. For example, avoid using phrases such as black gangster [黑人歹徒 hēiréndǎitú].
  • Do not call the area that lies south of the Sahara black Africa [黑非洲 hēifēizhōu]. Call it Africa south of the Sahara [撒哈拉沙漠以南非洲 sāhālāshāmòyǐnánfēizhōu].
  • In public reports, do not use phrases such as Islamic fundamentalism [伊斯兰原教旨主义 yīsīlányuánjiāozhǐzhǔyì] or Islamic fundamentalist [伊斯兰原教旨主义者 yīsīlányuánjiāozhǐzhǔyìzhě]. They can be replaced by religious radicalism [宗教激进主义 zōngjiāojījìnzhǔyì]. If it’s necessary, use Islamic radical organizations or members [伊斯兰激进组织成员 yīsīlánjījìnzǔzhīchéngyuán]. Do not use radical Islamic organizations or members [激进伊斯兰组织成员 jījìnyīsīlánzǔzhīchéngyuán].
  • For coverage on Arabs or the Middle East, never use words such as crusade [十字军东征 shízìjūndōngzhēng].
  • When reporting casualties in international wars, do not use shoot dead [击毙 jībì] or be shot to death [被击毙 bèijībì]. Do not use sacrifice to death [牺牲 xīshēng]. Acceptable phrases are beat to death [打死 dǎsǐ], etc.
  • Do not call Hamas a terrorist group [恐怖组织 kǒngbùzǔzhī] or extremist group [极端组织 jíduānzǔzhī].
  • Never use former Soviet Union [前苏联 qiánsūlián], just use Soviet Union [苏联 sūlián].
  • Do not call civil armed forces in eastern Ukraine [乌克兰东部民间武装 wūkèlán dōngbù mínjiānwǔzhuāng] pro-Russia armed forces in Ukraine [乌克兰亲俄武装 wūkèlán qīnéwǔzhuāng], Ukraine militia [乌克兰民兵武装 wūkèlán mínbīngwǔzhuāng], or Ukraine separatists [乌克兰分裂分子 wūkèlán fènlièfènzǐ].
  • Do not use strategy [战略 zhànlüè] to describe One Belt, One Road. Use initiative [倡议 chàngyì].
By The editors
Jeremy Goldkorn, Lucas Niewenhuis, Jia Guo, Jiayun Feng, and Sky Canaves.
China in 2 minutes a day
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