China has launched a campaign to get 85% of Chinese citizens to use Mandarin, the country’s national language, by 2025.
The present use of Mandarin, known in China as “putonghua” or “common tongue,” is believed to be inadequate to meet the demands of a modern economy.
Along with the 2025 goal, the government’s policy further aims to make Mandarin universal by 2035, requiring people in rural areas as well as ethnic minorities to speak the language. It seeks Mandarin to be used “as the basic language of schools, news and publications, radio, film and television, public services and other fields.”
The language campaign demands strengthened supervision to “ensure that the national common spoken and written language is used as the official language of government agencies,” and calls on officials to “enhance the international status and influence of Chinese” in education, international organizations and at worldwide gatherings.
Many believe that this move is likely to put threatened dialects and languages in the country, such as Cantonese and Hokkien, as well as the minority languages of Tibetan, Mongolian and Uyghur, under greater pressure. Critics have protested changes to the education system as well as certain employment prerequisites that lessen the importance of minority languages.
What do you think about this move? Do you think a unified language can boost a nation's economic progress? Let us know in the comments!
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