Language Diversity of China and National Security

Publication type Article
Status Published
Occupation: Leading Researcher
Affiliation: Institute of Far Eastern Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences
Address: Russian Federation,
Journal nameProblemy Dalnego Vostoka
EditionIssue 4

China with its dozens of languages of national minorities and numerous Chinese dialects is still a linguistically very diverse country, and this diversity regularly finds its reflection during the events in various regions. In 2020, medical teams sent to Wuhan during the coronavirus outbreak faced difficulties with understanding the patients speaking local Mandarin dialects. Later on, language problems in Wuhan were urgently solved by the local administration. Starting from 2019, language confrontation became more visible during the protests in Hong Kong. Already in 2021, a volume devoted to the complicated language situation in the recently created economic cluster of the Greater Bay Area, which is to combine Hong Kong and Macau with nine cities across the Pearl River Delta, was published in the series of the annual reports of the State Language Commission. According to the model proposed by the linguists, Standard Chinese is to become the main spoken language both within the Greater Bay area and in contacts with other regions of China. Cantonese is to be used only as an additional local means of communication, while English and partially Portuguese in Macao are to be preserved as the languages of contacts with foreign countries. To solve various problems of the economic cluster, new structures are to be created with the help of the latest information technologies and participation of the linguists. Language unity as a whole is considered to be a key guarantee of the national security of China.

KeywordsChinese dialects, national security, Mandarin dialects, Cantonese, Standard Chinese (Putonghua), Wuhan, Hongkong, Greater Bay Area
Publication date20.08.2021
Number of characters18839
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