Li Yuming, director of the Language and Words Information Administration Department of the Education Ministry, said authorities would "handle gingerly" and "would not work against the will of the people" in deciding whether to adjust the writing of the Chinese characters.
44 Chinese characters are at the heart of the controversy which has been raging since the second half of August. The website for the Ministry of Education released a statement saying that an examination had been made of 8300 characters in creating the Song typeface of the ‘General-use Chinese Character Table’, under the precondition of a single, standardized form. The 44 amended Chinese characters comprise approximately 0.57% of all the characters in the ‘Printed General-use Chinese Character Table.’ They are shown above.
After eight years of effort, the ministry unveiled a list of 8,300 standardized Chinese characters in common usage to solicit public opinion. The revision aims to regulate ways of writing characters.
Ministry officials and language experts said the controversial revisions concerned 44 characters in the Song type face used for print in publications, which were used in computers and printers.
Many citizens, including language teachers, voiced objections to the ministry’s decision on the grounds the changes would cause confusion.
Li, who is also the deputy director of the State Language Work Committee, said the authorities would carefully study every suggestion.
China View reminds us that as an ideographic language, the Chinese written history is 3,400 years old — one of the oldest in the world.
Today, there are two ways of writing Chinese characters: traditional Chinese characters usually containing many strokes are still in use in Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan; and simplified Chinese characters that have been used on the Chinese mainland since the People’s Republic of China was founded.