One-third of Chinese do not speak Putonghua, says Education Ministry

One-third of Chinese do not speak Putonghua, says Education Ministry

As many as three in 10 of China’s 1.3 billion population are unable to communicate in Putonghua, China’s Education Ministry said during an annual event to promote the official language.

“Thirty per cent of our nation’s population does not speak Putonghua, and out of the 70 per cent of population who possess Putonghua skills, only one in ten can speak Putonghua articulately and fluently,” the Education Ministry revealed in statement published on its official website last week.

That could mean that at least 400 million citizens remain unable to communicate in the language that was made official back in 1955.

“[This shows] the mission to promote Putonghua still faces tremendous difficulties,” the ministry said on the 17th anniversary of its first annual event to promote Putonghua.

Standard Putonghua is based on the traditional dialect used in Beijing, and is modified from a northern Han dialect, one of China’s seven major dialects used by ethnic Han Chinese. Notable traditional examples include Cantonese, Hokkien, and Wu.

Other minority ethnic cultures in China also have their own dialects, which in various degrees differ from Putonghua.

The People’s Republic of China government first established Putonghua as the official language with the aim of easing communication barriers between the country’s diverse cultures and their different dialects. Since that time it has effectively driven the use of Putonghua in classrooms and the civil service, but many citizens still use their local tone in their daily lives.

“Putonghua as an official dialect is playing an increasing role in maintaining society’s coordinated operation and enhancing social welfare,” the ministry’s statement said.

As part of the effort to promote the official language, advertisements urging the public to use Putonghua have been displayed on radio, television, buses and other public venues recently.

But some of the intense local government campaigns to push Putonghua have been viewed as controversial and have incited discontent in societies that suspect Beijing is intent on eliminating their manner of speaking.

In the summer of 2010, thousands of Cantonese-speaking citizens in the southern province of Guangdong took to the streets following reports of a plan to change television content on local channels from Cantonese to Putonghua for part of each day.

In Hong Kong, residents have expressed concern over worries an increasing emphasis on Putonghua education in schools is coming at the expense of Cantonese, the dialect overwhelming used by the population. Some fear local culture and identity could wane over time as a consequence.

PUBLISHED : Monday, 22 September, 2014, 4:54pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 23 September, 2014, 9:43am#Putonghua

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Robert Chaen

Global CEO-Founder of ChangeU and Movsha Movers & Shakers, Hero-CEO Whisperer, Writer, The #1 Alpha Change Expert, Father of Asian FireWalking Robert Chaen is an International Keynote Speaker, writer, researcher, and corp games designer. He is famously known to be the “Hero-CEO Whisperer”, 1-on1 coaching with many CEOs and Celebrities for corporate strategies, staff & office political issues, personal branding, and even public figure OSHA safety drilling called Drager Defense. He has transformed CEOs and managers in Coca-Cola China, TVB Hong Kong, Cathay Pacific, Hong Kong Airport Services, VADS, TM, Public Bank, Auditor General's Office Maldives, etc. He is the prolific creator and online Author of innovative management tools such as DragonCEO, Diamond Leader, Papillon Personal Effectiveness, OSHA Drager Defense, KPI Bank, etc. He is also the Founder of Movsha, an international networking with monthly mingles with MOVers & SHAkers, Angels, Entrepreneurs, CEOs, Celebrities, HR-PR-CSR, HODs, and the Most Influential IDEA people. ​Chaen is widely considered as one of the top International Platform Keynote Speakers for Resorts World Genting Senior Management Conference (Manila), 7-Eleven HK, Samsung, Coca-Cola China Mini-MBA @Tsing Hua University, Cathay Pacific, Hong Kong Jockey Club, The Story Conference where he interviewed Datuk Kamarudin (Chairman of AirAsia) and Siti Nurhaliza. He has been widely featured in TVB, AWSJ, CNBC, SCMP, The Star, and Sin Chew. As “The Father of Asian FireWalking”, he coached TVB celebrities (Ekin Cheng Yee-Kin) to walk on 650°C fire; and raised HK$68M in the world’s 1st and only live TV Charity FireWalk (TVB Tung Wah Charity Show), before Tony Robbins even came to Asia. If Robert can get you to walk on 650⁰C fire, he can inspire you to be THE BEST. He champions CN-HK-EU-US Tycoons to be philanthropic, and to be angel investors to support the next generation of Jack Mas, Steve Jobs, Richard Bransons, Steven Spielbergs, or Barrack Obamas. With some slick motivational speakers with fake doctorates out there, graduates often describe Robert to be "the most credible, empowering, truthful Coach" who believe in his graduates to believe in themselves. ​However, clients have described Robert as "The #1 Cool Badass Alpha Change Expert". He has the coolest first class stature, rapport and trust from clients. He will not hesitate to tell the badass truth ever so gently because clients are paying him big bucks to reveal the truth, find solutions, persuade the hostile HODs, and align cross-teams within the organization. Originally based in Hong Kong for 20+ years, he had worked with top Branding/Ad agencies at J Walter Thompson and Leo Burnett, and was a certified FranklinCovey (7 Habits) in USA, and NLP MasterCoach (USA). His warmth is known to soften the most hardened, resistant sceptics. He will inspire your team to Go for Top 1, or to be a Dragon CEO. With boundless energies, Robert owns 15+ successful business Joint-Ventures, and created unique products under his global VC network called Chaen's Angels VC. He is deeply passionate about ChangeUTH Youth CSR, Science-Based Medicine (vs. quackery), short films and Reality TV. Touched by a personal tragedy through the loss of his HK-born Portuguese wife, co-coach and business partner, Brenda José of 18 years, Robert explores the many ways in which the spirit world is communicating with the living with real scientific studies and evidence. He gives inspiring conferences on The Secret Afterlife.

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