February 17, 2004


We've heard that China is moving in the direction of a market economy, but this item from today's English edition of the People's Daily is an example of capitolism gone wild:

The Chinese government began standardizing the written Chinese language in 1952, and today, the ancient, complex characters are Beijing used mainly in Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan.

[Update: This article is also off base in suggesting that the use of abbreviated Chinese characters in the Ming dynasty is news. Many of the simplified characters made official in Mainland China are variants widely used in handwriting and in informal contexts, such as signs in shops and markets, for centuries. This comment by Wolfgang Behr points out that the short form of "10,000" goes all the way back to the Oracle Bone inscriptions!]

Posted by Bill Poser at February 17, 2004 12:52 PM