The Progress of Pinyin

22 SEPT 93

Status report on the Communist latinization of Chinese, with implications for intelligence practices.


If the Communists have their way in China, the age-old characters of the Chinese language will finally join the Egyptian and Mayan hieroglyphics and the more recently buried Vietnamese ideographs in oblivion. Like Kemal Ataturk's a few decades ago, the Communists' effort to remold the nation includes a drive for drastic changes in a language ill suited to science and technology, to education of the masses, to the communications of a directed economy, to their international purposes. Much of the heritage that was dear to old China, obnoxious to the new, will also be buried with the old language: future generations of school children, taught from latinized textbooks, will not be able to read the undesirable ancient classics. The gentility of the cursive characters will be replaced by the classlessness of proletarian typefaces.

The language reform program of the Communists is a threepronged drive. The first spearhead, aimed at the simplification of Chinese characters, has made the most progress. Some 2,000 characters are now accepted in the simplified form and used in textbooks and newspapers. Even family surnames are now shortened, although when General Hsiao Hua of the Chinese People's Liberation Army began using the short form of his surname in public dispatches instead of the ample there was much comment among scholars of the old school.

A second aspect of the language reform is the promotion of the Peking dialect as putunghua, the "common tongue" or national language. The Nationalists had introduced a kuoyu or "national speech" that selected from both northern and southern pronunciations, adopting for example the pronunciation shui used south of the Yangtse for the Peking (then Peiping) jui, "auspicious." Now it is again jui in the putunghua officially accepted for use in schools, broadcasting, etc.

Picture: Evolution of Chinese Writing 

(From Tao-tai Hsia's China's Language Reforms, Yale Institute of Far Eastern Languages, New Haven, 1956, p. 106.)

(Refer to Hard Copy for Image)

The third drive, the most revolutionary, the most significant for intelligence, and the one with which this paper is concerned, is that for latinhua, latinization, and is officially known as Hanyu Pinyin Fangan, Program for the Chinese Language in Phonetics. Pinyin, "phonetics," has come to denote the particular system of representing spoken Chinese in Latin letters-determined by the arbitrary values, including tonal qualities, given them-that is now being propagandized by the regime. Ostensibly the system is intended only to provide an aid for learning the standard (Peking) pronunciation of Chinese characters, a purpose which has so far governed most of its uses. The long-range aim, however, seems to envisage the Chinese coming to use only Pinyin and eventually dropping the characters. Wu Yu-chang, chairman of the Chinese Language Reform Committee, who as a refugee in the Soviet Union in the early days saw the Pinyin system being developed by philologists and who feels confident that China's millions will some day be using it in their daily work, specified as much in 1955:

Traditional Chinese writing is the product of feudalism. It has become a tool for the oppression of the proletariat and a stumbling block to mass education. It is not suited for the modern era. China must replace its outmoded character system with Pinyin.

Intelligence-wise, the impact of Pinyin is already being felt. Biographic registers and other filing systems organized by character sequence or according to the Wade-Giles alphabet must recognize and convert the new. forms found in source materials. Plant names and trademarks.are appearing in Pinyin. Pinyin signs have been put up on public buildings, streets, railway stations, and road posts. There are indications that as soon as place names can be standardized Pinyin maps may be issued. Government organs have already announced "draft" lists of Pinyin provincial and county names.1


Development and Introduction of the System

The Latin alphabet used in Pinyin consists of the identical 26 letters used in English, except that the v is reserved merely for quotations from other languages and incidental special uses. Provision is made for an umlaut and other diacritical marks, but these are dropped in common usage. Several letters and diphthongs are pronounced quite differently than in English-c like "ts," q like "ch," x like "hs," z like "tz," zh like "dj." The chart following gives some examples of the wide variations between Pinyin and the Wade-Giles romanization accepted as official by the U.S. Government. The influence of Cyrillic is evident in the random samples listed at the end.

Wade-Giles    Pinyin     English Phonetic Approximation     
  cha zha  jah
  ch'a cha  chah 
  chia jia jeeah 
  ch'ia qia  cheeah 
  chih zhi  jihr 
  ch'ih  chi  cheeh 
  chin  jin  jean 
  ch'in  qin  chean 
  chou  zhou  joe 
  ch'ou  chou  cho 
  chu  zhu  joo 
  ch'u  chu  choo 
  chu umlaut ju  jooh 
  ch'u umlaut qu  chooh 
  hsi  xi  she 
  i  yi  yee 
  jan ran  run 
  kai  gai  guy 
  k'ai  kai  kye 
  pang  bang  bahng 
  p'ang  pang  pahng 
  ta  da  dah 
  t'a  ta  tah 
  tsa  za  jah 
  ts'a  ca  chah 
  tzu  zi  jzu 
  tz'u  ci  tsuh 
Wade Giles Finals Pinyin English Phonetic Approximation
  lien  lian  len 
  lung long  loong 
  ch'iung ch'iong  choong 
  hsieh xie  sheh 
  mieh mie  meh 
Romanized Cyrillic  Pinyin Wade-Giles
  zhan  zhang  chang 
  zhen' zhen  chen 
  tsan zang  tsang 
  tszen zeng  tseng 
  chen' chen  ch'en 
  chzhan zhang  ch'ang 


The Russians, as a matter of fact, took an early initiative in latinizing Chinese2 and participated in developing precursors of the Pinyin. In 1928 the Chinese Scientific Research Institute, then part of the Communist Academy in Moscow, proposed that a Latin alphabet, rather than the more difficult Cyrillic, be used for Chinese. In 1929 Chu Ch'iu-pai, a Chinese Communist leader studying in the Soviet Union, and the Russian philologist Kolokov devised a Latin-letter system for Chinese. In 1931 a conference in Vladivostok attended by Wu Yu-chang, Lin Po-ch'u, Hsiao San, Wang Hsiao-pao, and Soviet scholars E. H. Draizhova and B. Ya. Starogyd drafted a 28-letter latinhua alphabet.3

With the founding of the People's Republic in 1949 the language problem fell first to a semi-official Chinese Written Language Association and then in 1952 to an official Chinese Written Language Research Committee, which in 1954 was reorganized as the present Chinese Language Reform Committee under the State Council. National conferences held in Peking in October 1955 and February 1956 drafted the Pinyin program, and it was finally approved by the National People's Congress in February 1958.

The Congress prescribed that Pinyin "should initially be used experimentally in normal, middle, and elementary schools in in order to gain experience" and "should also be gradually introduced in the publishing field in order to perfect it through use."4  The Ministry of Education directed that instruction be started with the 1958 fall semester, and 50,000,000 people are said to have learned Pinyin that year.5 An experimental Pinyin newspaper, the Hanyu Pinyinbao, edited jointly by the Reform Committee and the Journalism Department of the People's University, began publication on October 12. Wan-jung Hsien in Shansi Province was designated an "experimental farm" to test the use of the new writing and by November 1959 had introduced Pinyin textbooks and was publishing its own Pinyin newspaper.6

In January 1959 a Peking meeting of librarians from institutions of higher learning and the Chinese Academy of Sciences called for adopting a uniform filing system based on pinyin. The T'ai-yuan board of education has ordered experimental use of Pinyin as the basis for all files of student cards, library books, etc.7  Since January 1960 the anti-illiteracy campaign has shifted to promoting the use of Pinyin. In Shansi over 1,200,000 people joined Pinyin study groups, and there was a similar response in Kirin province. The program is now being pursued in 18 provinces, municipalities, and autonomous regions where putunghua is spoken. Visual aids and other devices for teaching Pinyin are sold in all New China Bookstores. In addition to wall charts and flash cards, these include a series of six graded textbooks, dictionaries, and phonograph records.8 The standard keyboards of typewriter and teletype machines, the Gregg Shorthand system, the Braille system for the blind, international semaphore signals, etc., have been adapted to Pinyin. Young Pioneers in many parts of China are said to write their letters exclusively in the new alphabet.9

Picture: Cross-word Learning Aid

(Refer to Hard Copy for Image)

In July 1960 the Shansi Nung-min Pao (Shansi Farmer) was converted to the use of Pinyin, changing its title to Shanxi Pinyinbao.10 In Peking, the press now supplements the traditional Chinese characters in its mastheads with Pinyin, the well-known People's Daily appearing unfamiliarly as Renmin Ribao, the old L'Impartial as Dagongbao.11  In a list of names appearing on page 3 of the August 25, 1960, issue of Kuangming Jih-pao, Pinyin was inserted after characters whose pronunciation might be in doubt: the characters for (Chang) I-yuan (1728-3354-3283) were followed by the Pinyin (Zhang) Yiyuan, that for Chi (8042), a rare Chinese surname, by Qi, that for Tai (0086/3141), a national minority in Yunnan Province, which is often mispronounced without vocalization, by the Pinyin Dai.

English-speaking foreigners wishing to learn Chinese through the medium of Pinyin are given assistance in a "Language Corner" of China Reconstructs, organ of the China Welfare Institute. Abroad, the Soviet Union, whose press immediately hailed the introduction of Pinyin,12 makes it a required course for all students specializing in Chinese studies at Moscow University and uses it in Boarding School No. 11 and other schools teaching Chinese.13  In North Korea, the full text of the Chinese Pinyin program as proclaimed in 1958 was carried by Korean Linguistics, issued by the Korean Academy of Sciences. In March 1960 a Japanese goodwill mission under Zenmaro Toki, Chairman of the National Language Commission of Japan, visited China to study the language reform program.14  In India and Pakistan, however, Moslems are reported angry at the Pinyin plot to wipe out the cultural heritage of the Moslems in Sinkiang.15

Picture: Pinyin Felicitations From a Soviet Scholar On the Decennial of the Republic

(Refer to Hard Copy for Image)

Pinyin in Science and Technology

The Chinese Academy of Sciences has created a special committee to study the application of Pinyin to the field of Chinese science. Junior researchers organized Pinyin classes in the science center at Chung-kuan Ts'un near Peking, beginning in June 1958 with an enrollment of over 600.16 It is expected that Pinyin will facilitate the machine translation of scientific articles. Pinyin words have been proposed that often approximate foreign words in use in the different sciences.17  Scientific and technical periodicals carry such Pinyin titles as Kexue Tongbao (Science Bulletin), and Kexue Xinwen (Science News).18  Although Scientia Sinica still uses its old Latin title, it lists the names of its editorial committee in Pinyin.19

In November 1959 the Geographical Transliteration Committee of the State Bureau of Surveying and Cartography announced draft regulations for the transliteration of minority nationality place names into Pinyin.20   Pinyin spellings for the provinces and regions of China have been standardized according to the chart on page A46. Moreover, committees are at work standardizing Pinyin spellings of geographical names for the entire world.21 These groups face the problem of whether to pinyinize geographical designations according to the local pronunciation or according to international usage, whether Paris for example is properly Pah-ri' or Pair'-iss. One writer contended that Dublin should be listed as Baliakeli, Pinyin for the Gaelic Baile Atha Cliath.22

 Anhwei  Anhui  Kwangsi  Guangxi 
 Chekiang  Zhejiang   Kwangtung  Guangdong
 Fukien  Fujian  Liaoning  Liaoning
 Heilungkiang  Heilongjiang   Ninghsia  Ningxia
 Honan  Henan  Shansi  Shanxi
 Hopei  Hebei  Shensi  Shanxi
 Hunan  Hunan  Shantung  Shandong
 Hupeh  Hubei  Sinkiang  Xinj iang
 Nei-meng-ku   Neimenggu  Szechwan  Sichuan
 Kansu  Gansu    
 Kirin  Jilin  Taiwan  Taiwan
 Kiangsi  Jiangxi  Tibet   Xizang
 Kiangsu  Jiangsu  Tsinghai  Qinghai
 Kweichow  Guizhou  Yunnan  Yunnan


Pinyin in Communications

The Ministry of Posts and Telegraphs promptly issued an order for the adoption of the newly promulgated system in the postal and telegraphic service. The text of the order with an explanation of the regulations governing the use of Pinyin is given in the September 30, 1958, issue of Wen-tzu Kai-ko.23

Pinyin traffic was initiated on a trial basis on October 1, 1958, National Anniversary Day, to and from Peking, Shanghai, and Chungking. The Shanghai Post and Telecommunication Bureau implemented the order of the Ministry by issuing a notice announcing acceptance of Pinyin messages as of October 1, 1958, at all post and telecommunication bureaus.

Wen-tzu Kai-ko (No. 8) of August 1958 carried a model Pinyin message for bank transfers, by which for example the Yuan County Merchandising Company, with account number 2401 at the Provincial Bank, could effect a telegraphic transfer of 10,000 yuan to the provincial authorities. Under the old method the telegram would have read, "(2401) (10,000) (0337-4905-0361-0674-0448-3387) (0064-1874-1421)," with 24 message units and requiring four processing steps.   In Pinyin it is simply "(2401) (10,000) Y. X. Gonsi lirun. Jing Qiaoxao," with only 13 units in clear text requiring no processing. Bank messages could be further simplified by abbreviating the Pinyin words for currency units--w for wan (10,000), q for qian (thousand), b for bai (hundred), y for yuan (dollar), j for jiao (dime), and f for fen (cent).

The national railways are making wide use of Pinyin. The main railway station in the capital has the sign Beijing Zhan (Peking Station) across its front entrance. Inside is a Junren Houcheshi (Military Personnel Waiting Room). The post office in Peking is marked Beijingshi Youju. On October 1, 1959, the Ministry of Railways ordered the serial markings on all rolling stock changed to Pinyin.   Open freight cars now use the designator C in place of the old phonetic "x," closed cars P, and coaches RZ. Locomotives are designated DK, ET, and JF (Jiefang).24

Discussing the use of Pinyin in railway dispatch work, the staff of the Shanghai Railway Bureau made suggestions for short forms to use for railway traffic. Thus n could be used for nien (year), y for yue (month), r for ri (day), 5c for wuci (fifth train), fr for fahuoren (shipper), sr for shouhuoren (consignee), t for ton, d for dan (picul), etc. It was also suggested that the last letter of a doubtful word be doubled; for example, since "bu" in the message "40t shengtie bufa" could mean either 40 tons of wrought iron reshipped or not shipped, the latter meaning could be indicated by writing "40t shengtie buufa." 25

On July 1, 1958, railway telegraph offices in the Tsingtao, Weihsien, and Chefoo stations began using Pinyin. In the Tsinan railway bureau over 200 cadres are said to be studying Pinyin part or full time, and it is claimed that eighty percent of the Nanking railway office staff are learning to use Pinyin in their operations.

Communication publications bear titles in Pinyin along with the traditional characters. A common one in every city is the Dianhua Haobu (telephone book). Some communications journals are Luxingjia (Traveller), Tiedao Zhoukan (Railway Weekly), and Wuxiandian (Wireless). The latter carries Pinyin sectional headings--Aihaozhe Xiaozhizuo (Innovations of the Hobbyists), Dajiatan (Everybody's Comments), Shijie Zhi Chuang (Window of the World), Weishemma (Why?), Kankan Xiangxiang (Look and Think), Wuxiandian Wenda (Questions and Answers on Radio), and Duzhe-Zhuozhe-Bianzhe (Reader-Writer-Editor).26


Pinyin in Military Usage

On June 10, 1960, the General Political Department of the Chinese People's Liberation Army directed the armed services to implement an April 22nd decree of the Party Central Committee that Pinyin be universally adopted in training; the armed forces must be unified, it said, and this can be accomplished only if a common language is used. All instructors, educational and dramatic personnel, interpreters, and motion picture workers were ordered to become conversant with the new system.27

Even earlier, however, at a Second Cultural Work Conference of the armed forces held in Peking in November 1959, Deputy Director Liu Han of the propaganda section had reported considerable progress in the use of Pinyin in the armed forces: the Shen-yang Military District had early in 1958 ordered all its subordinate military units and training institutions to use Pinyin; the Navy had adopted it in July for visual communications like semaphore and flash signals; most military schools were using it. Troops from Fukien, Kwangtung, Kwangsi, Chekiang, and Kiangsu, who usually have strong local accents, were beginning to learn correct Chinese through the phonetic writing.28

In 1960 a concerted effort was being made to teach recruits Pinyin, thereby simultaneously improving their vocabulary and pronunciation. It is said to require usually some 30 to 40 hours of instruction. Book I of an anti-illiteracy textbook series being published by the Army's General Political Department is written in Pinyin, and other military publications transliterate their titles and difficult words in the text.29 Illiterate recruits for communication battalions from Kwangtung province and the Kwangsi Chuang Autonomous Region are said to have learned Pinyin in three or four months with the help of teaching aids like "Pinyin poker" and "military terminology contests," and training in radio operation could therefore be reduced from a year to six months and still yield a five-fold improvement in transmissions.30 At a Third National Demonstration Conference on teaching putunghua held in Peking during August 1960, several Army units were cited for their excellence in Pinyin semaphore signalling.



(Please Refer to Hard Copy for Image)

Pinyin in Commerce and Literature

Advertisements in the mainland press now carry, such Pinyin phrases as Meidu Dianchi Chang Zhi, "Beautiful Capital Battery Works." In August 1959 Shanghai merchants were ordered to use Pinyin in their signs. A box of shoe polish has on its cover Matou xieyou Di 2 Huaxueshe (Horse Head shoe polish made by No. 2 Chemical Works). Other trademarks are Bailusi Pijiu (White Crane Beer) and Hanqiao Pai (Han River Bridge Shoes). China's latest luxury sedan (with a scented mahogany dashboard and silk floor rugs) is called Hongqi (Red Flag). The picul is now dan and the catty jin (.5 kilogram).
Some familiar names for theaters and parks in Peking are now written in advertisements and signs as Xin Zhongguo (New China), Dahua (Great China), Zhongshan Gungyuan (Chang-shan Park), Beihai (Imperial Palace Lake), Shoudu (Capital), Erhtong (Children's). China's largest domestic book distributor, the New China Bookstore, is rendered Xinhua Shudian, its international counterpart Guozi Shudian.31 English-language news dispatches are beginning to use Pinyin titles without translating them, for example that of Red Flag, organ of the Central Committee of the Communist Party, which is cited simply as Hongqi in the transmissions of the New China News Agency.



It can thus be seen that the replacement of the old writing with the new phonetic alphabet, although it is not being accomplished overnight, is making substantial progress under the steady pushing of the regime, and that after less than three years we in intelligence are beginning to feel its effects. It would be premature to say that we should be giving active consideration to the adoption of Pinyin ourselves in Chinese gazeteers, maps, biographic registers, alphabetical files, language training, and standard nomenclature; aside from the still experimental status of some phases of the Communist program and our uncertainty about the rapidity of its future progress, the new system would be a hindrance in processing material concerning or obtained through the Chinese on Taiwan and elsewhere in the anti-Communist diaspora. But we should at least be keeping up with the Communists in our familiarity with the Pinyin forms, and as we set up new systems we should design them with an eye to convertibility to Pinyin. Otherwise we may find ourselves stuck, in a decade or two, with passing the bulk of our material through a superfluous routine of conversions into and out of the then antiquated and artificial Wade-Giles. We have succeeded in remaining for more than eleven years the frightened ostrich with respect to a single Communist rendering, Peking, but we should not try it for a whole language.


1 A list published on June 15, 1958, by the Peking Wen-tzu Kai-ko (Language Reform) carried this explanation: "A total of 2,128 names of places on the county level and above are contained in this list; including those on Taiwan. The basis for this list is the publication A Draft Gazetteer of the Administrative Division of the Chinese People's Republic published by the Ministry of Interior in December 1955 and revised according to various State Council directives on administrative changes in China issued up to September 1957." The Wen-tzu Kai-ko (Wenzi Gaige in Pinyin) is the official organ of the Chinese Language Reform Committee of the State Council.

2 Not that they pioneered the alphabetization.   The possibilities were considered as early as the 16th and 17th centuries by philologists of other nations. The Manchu government gave some thought to an alphabet in 1894 when echoes of the Meiji Restoration in Japan reached the mainland. During the Literary Renaissance in China after World War I, Dr. Hu Shih and others introduced Pai-hua (colloquial Chinese) and a system of phonetics which enjoyed some popularity. In 1926 official sanction was given to the alphabetization of Chinese when the National Language Romanization Research Committee organized by Dr. Lin Yu-tsang and others introduced the Gwoyeu Romatzyh system, which in 1932 was replaced by the Gwoin Chaxngyong Tsyhhuey system promulgated by the Nationalist government. Abroad, the English literary world has long accepted the Wade-Giles system, later modifled to become the official U.S. standard, and the newer Yale University system. Missionaries working in Fukien, Taiwan, and Kwangtung have also introduced roman alphabets for previously unwritten local dialects.

3 Wen-tzu Kai-ko No. 21, 1959.

4 The Congress specified that the Pinyin should be applied also to the minority languages used in frontier provinces like Tsinghai and Sinkiang, both those hitherto lacking any written form and those of the Uighurs, Kazaks, Sibos, and Moslems that used the Arabic alphabet. Reporting on progress in this application, the Jen-min Jih-pao of February 10, 1960, wrote that "the plan for standardizing new terms approved by a recent meeting of philologists [in Sinkiang] provides for directly borrowing new terms from the Chinese language . . . Many terms found in Party directives, resolutions, and policy statements have now become common to all nationalities. . . . [This practice] will promote cultural exchange among the nationalities, socialist construction, and the unity of nationalities."

5 Peking, Jen-min Jih-pao, March 20, 1959.

6 Peking, NCNA, May 10, 1960.

7 Wen-tzu Kai-ko Nos. 5 and 20, 1959.

8 Jen-min Jih-pao, April 2, 1960. 

9 Wen-tzu Kai-ko No. 12, 1958.

10 Kuang-ming Jih-pao, July 7, 1960.

11 Other new names in the capital are Congren Ribao (Daily Worker), Beijing Ribao (Peking Daily News), and Guangming Ribao (Kuangming Daily News). In Shanghai there is Xinwen Ribao (Daily News) and Jiefang Ribao (Liberation Daily) ; in Canton, Guangzhou Ribao (Kuang-chou Daily News), Yangcheng Wanbao (Canton Evening News), and Nanfang Ribao (Southern Daily News). Further afield are Qingdao Ribao (Tsingtao Daily News), Harbin Ribao (Harbin Daily News), Qinghai Ribao (Tsinghai Daily News), Xizang Ribao (Tibet Daily News), Neimenggu Ribao (Inner Mongolia Daily News), and Yili Ribao (Ili Daily News of Sinkiang).

12 In 1958 articles on the Pinyin system were carried by Izvestia, March 23rd; Krasnaya Zvezda, June 24th; Sovietskaya Moldavia, June 12th; Moskva Pravda, March 13th; Problemy Vostokovedeniya, No. 2; and Sovremennyy Vostok, No. 8.

13 Russian words are also transliterated into Pinyin for the convenience of the Chinese: Kenimuningong for Kremlin Palace, Nijita Henuxiaolu for Nikita Khrushchev, Liening for Lenin, Kitayi for China, Kamuunizimu for Communism, situjiante for student, wugigieli for teacher, maliqike for child. (Wen-tzu Kai-ko Nos. 12 and 22, 1959.)

14 Tokyo, Akahata, March 23, 1960.

15 New York Times, February 28, 1960.

16 Wen-tzu Kai-ko, August 30, 1958.

17 In chemistry, zirkon for zirconium, krogenin for cryogenium, karat for carat, karbakol for carbacholum, krom for chromium, kasin for quassin, kinamin for quinamine, etc. In medicine, naomoyan for meningitis, guanlie huanong for swelling of the joints, fixing for acute, manzing for contagious, etc. Some space-age terms are xingii feixing (interplanetary travel), yuzhou huojian (space rocket), yuanzineng feiji (atomic airplane), qianshui kechuan (submarine passenger ship), jiatong (communications).

18 Others are Diqiu Wuli Xuezao (Acta Geophysica Sinica), Qixianxue Yibao (Meteorological Translation Journal), Dizhi Yu Kantan (Geology and Prospecting), Wuli Yibao (Physics Translation Journal), Dian Shilie (Electricity World). These Pinyin titles are now used in Moscow's Referativnyy Zhurnal (Journal of Abstracts). Referativnyy Zhurnal - Khimiya, No. 16 for 1960, for example, carried #65998 Zaozhi Gongye and #66017 Huaxue Tongbao.

19 Some of these men are Ma Da You (Maa Dah-you), Qian Xue Sen (H. S. Tsien), Ye Du Pei (Chu Thay Yap), and Zhang Xi Jun (H. C. Chang). The unsystematic old names in parentheses point up the potential value of Pinyin in providing a standard system of romanization for the storage and retrieval of biographic data.

20 In brief summary as follows (from the Peking Ti-li Chih-shih, "Geographical Knowledge," No. 11, 1959)

  1. All Han place names should be transliterated according to the Hanyu Program for Pinyin. For example, instead of the Chuang pronunciation Guangsai, the Peking pronunciation Guangxi should be used for the Kwangsi Chuang Autonomous Region.

  2. If the pronunciation of a place name is not the same in Han and a minority language, the Pinyin transliteration should generally follow the Han pronunciation. But the pronunciation of the minority nationality may be accepted in special cases. For example, use Urumqi instead of Wu-lu-mu-ch'i and Xishuangbanna instead of Sipsuangbanna.

  3. Use Han place names such as Bailingmiao, but add the native name, Bat Halga, below.

  4. Where more than one minority language is prevalent, use the officially accepted language. For example, in Sinkiang use the Uighur Tashkurgan instead of the Tadjik Warshide.

  5. Use the dominant minority pronunciation instead of the local minority pronunciation. For example, in the Xishuangbanna Dai nationality area in Yunnan province, a river is locally called Namkinli, but in the standard Dal Yunjinghong language it is the Namkindi. The latter should be adopted. For a certain town in Inner Mongolia the name Huh Hot should be used instead of the local pronunciations Hoh Hot, Goh Got, and Hohe Hota.

21 Some of the draft transliterations in Yameilijia (the Americas) are Baxi for Brazil, Jianada for Canada, Guba for Cuba, Moxige for Mexico, Banama for Panama, and Bilu for Peru. In Afeilijia (Africa) : Kamailong for Cameroons, Jiana for Ghana, Qieniya for Kenya, Gangguo for Congo, Madajiasijia for Madagascar, Molugge for Morocco, Aiji for Egypt, Duoge for Togo, Sanggeiba for Zanzibar, and Aerjiliya for Algeria. In Yaxiya (Asia) : Jianpusai for Cambodia, Xilan for Ceylon, Chaoxian for Korea, Feilubin for the Philippines, Yindunixiya for Indonesia, Riben for Japan, Taiguo for Thailand, and Yuenan for Vietnam. In Ouluoba (Europe): Bilishi for Belgium, Deyizhi for Germany, Xila for Greece, Falanxi for France, Yidali for Italy, Nansilafu for Yugoslavia, Heland for the Netherlands, Aodili for Austria, Ruidian for Sweden, and the east European Baojialiya for Bulgaria, Jiekesiluofako for Czechoslovakia, Xiongyali for Hungary, Polan for Poland, Luomaniya for Rumania, and Aerbaniya for Albania. Some geographical designations in Sulian (the Soviet Union) are Mosko for Moskva, Gruzia for Grusinskaya, Hasak for Kazakhskaya, Baioros for Belorusskaya, and Oros for Rossiyskaya.

22 Wen-tzu Kai-ko No. 4, 1959.

23 In summary:

  1. Pursuant to the decision of the fifth session of the First National People's Congress made on February 11, 1958, telegraph messages may be transmitted in Pinyin.

  2. The 26 letters of the Pinyin alphabet will be used. A y may be inserted before a u to indicate an umlaut.

  3. Pinyin may be used for all categories of domestic messages.            

  4. Pinyin messages in secret code may be transmitted only by military and government organizations and organizations granted permission by the government.

  5. Only messages written in approved Pinyin and clear text will be accepted for telegraphic transmission.

  6. Designations of telegraph offices and message rates will be those now in current use.

  7. Pinyin telegrams may be addressed to telegraph registration numbers, youxiang (post office boxes), or dianhua haoma (telephone numbers). To expedite delivery, the names and addresses of senders and recipients should be backstopped in characters.

  8. Pinyin messages may be transmitted in single or connected words. Conversion into characters will be done on request.

  9. Five letters or fewer constitute a Pinyin unit and the fee is three cents per unit.

  10. Pinyin messages will not be accepted for international traffic; including Hong Kong and Macao.

A supplement to the regulations points out that the official Pinyin spelling of Chinese characters is given in a "Chart of Common Pinyin" issued by the Language Reform Publishing House in May 1958. The supplement also declares that the transmission of domestic messages in secret code is governed by Telegraph Regulation No. 39 and that messages in Pinyin must carry the notation "HY" (Hanyu) to indicate that the message is not in a foreign or minority nationality language. (Wen-tzu Kai-ko No. 11, 1958.)

24 Wen-tzu Kai-ko No. 22, 1959.

25 Wen-tzu Kai-ko No. 2, 1959.

26 Peking, Wu-hsien-tien (Wireless), September 19, 1959.

27 Jen-min Jih-pao, June 11, 1960

28 Wen-tzu Kai-ko No. 23, 1959.

29 The Pinyin titles of some important military publications are Jiefangjun Bao (Liberation Army News), Jiefangjun Huabao (Liberation Army Pictorial News), Jiefangjun Zhanshi (Liberation Army Soldier), Jiefangjun Wenyi (Liberation Army Literature and Art) , and Hangkong Zhishi (Aeronautical Knowledge). A few military terms are junfu (uniform), junguan (officer), junhao (insignia), junhuo (ammunition), and junji (discipline). A short item entitled "Jiefangjun Baoweizhe Women" (The People's Liberation Army is Defending Us) reads: Jiefangjun shushu shouli nazhe qiang, bupa fengchu yuda; bupa hurrede taiyang. Tamen ririyeye baowei zuguo, gonggu, guafang. (The People's Liberation Army, rifle in hand, is not afraid of the wind, rain or fiery sun. Day and night, it defends the homeland and strengthens national defense).   (From Wen-tzu Kai-ko Nos. 19 and 23, 1959.)

30 Kuang-ming Jih-pao, May 26, 1960.

31 Peking Review, June 16, 1959.


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Historical Document
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