Penetration rate of Putonghua reaches nearly 80 percent in China

Source:Global Times Published: 2019/9/19 19:43:40

A teacher is teaching Putonghua to students of the Miao ethnic group in a village in South China's Hainan Province in November 2017. Photo: VCG

During China's Putonghua promotion week, which falls on the third week of September, the Ministry of Education said the penetration rate of Putonghua reached nearly 80 percent in China, Guangming Daily reported.

The ratio of people who can use standard Chinese characters among the literate population surpassed 95 percent, and the domestic illiteracy rate has seen a large drop from 80 percent in the early stages of the founding of the People's Republic of China to below 4 percent, the ministry noted. 

As urbanization speeds up in China, the promotional work of Putonghua has changed its mode from "being asked to speak" to "I want to speak," the report said. 

Qin Heng, a migrant worker from South China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, told Guangming Daily that when she was looking for jobs, she lost many opportunities because of her poor Putonghua. "Since then, I kept watching TV to learn the language every night," Qin said. 

However, there is still a gap between the penetration rate of Putonghua in ethnic minority areas and rural China and that in urban cities, presenting an obstacle for targeted poverty reduction work. "To get rid of poverty, you should keep up your spirits; to keep up your spirits, you should speak the language." This idea has become a consensus in society. 

In Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, "the level of Putonghua spoken by local children has greatly improved. They can now use relatively standard Putonghua to communicate with people," Gulimila Tursunjiang, a graduate student who has taught children Putonghua in a summer camp, told Guangming Daily. 

"The promotion and popularization of Putonghua not only aims to help children communicate without barriers, but also to open the door to richer information, knowledge and access for them," Gulimila said. 

According to the Education Minister Chen Baosheng, "[We should] promote the national common language vigorously, enhance language work at schools and strive to achieve the goal to make Putonghua basically universal by 2020."

During the Putonghua promotion week, various activities were held in different parts of China, such as public speaking competitions in Putonghua, language plus vocational skills training and candidate selection events for the popular TV program Chinese Poetry Competition. 

Global Times


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