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Rewritten Chinese characters plan sparks controversy

A DRAFT plan by the country's education authority to change the writing style of some Chinese characters has roused controversy.

The plan, unveiled after eight years' study by Chinese language experts, is inviting pubic opinion, today's Tianfu Morning Post reported.

Forty-four characters, many frequently used, get changes to their strokes or structures according to the revised standard Chinese character list published on August 12 by the Ministry of Education.

Another 51 characters - including six original complex forms of simplified characters - which were ruled out of the existing standard character list have been reinstated in the revised version.

The existing list, all simplified Chinese characters, was introduced more than five decades ago to unify character writing used across the country.

Experts said the renewal of the six characters is a must considering their specific use in expression. But few Netizens agree with the changes.

An online poll cited by Tianfu Moring Post indicated up to 87 percent of voters dismissed the list as a waste of time and only 3 percent agreed with the changes.

Another 7 percent suggested the language authority think carefully before putting the plan into effect and 3 percent said they had no interest.

Netizen "Tayezhufeng" said the authority should be careful about changing the standard characters to avoid chaos in the language. "Lanhuacao" is worried the changes may cause disunity in Chinese characters.

On the same day as the revised list was published, Li Yuming, an education official, said the Ministry decided not to fully reintroduce the original complex forms of Chinese characters and replace the existing simplified characters as advised by language experts.


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