Shanghai lawmakers propose statute restricting written usage

More from Shanghai:

Some Shanghai lawmakers think the Internet is pulling a PK on the Chinese language and fear that Mandarin will no longer shine like an MM.

Translation: Cyber argot and other languages are polluting standard Chinese, and if a draft law is passed by Shanghai People’s Congress, they will no longer be allowed in schools, official documents and business transactions.

So, Shanghai residents may soon be saying goodbye to Player Killer, which means competitor in online gaming parlance, and Mei Mei, or pretty girl.

“The new law aims to further standardize the use of the Chinese language and achieve better communication among people from different parts of the country,” Xia Xiurong, a member of the Standing Committee of Shanghai People’s Congress, said yesterday.

In her view, new phrases that haven’t been given an official definition by the language authority can lead to ambiguity, causing problems in school and at work.

The committee, which comprises the city’s top legislators, began discussing the draft law yesterday. It is expected to be adopted in the next two to three months.

If passed, schools, Chinese publishing houses and government departments will not be allowed to use non-standard phrases or abbreviations.

In addition, dialects and languages other than Mandarin cannot be used as the sole language employed by any city government department, school, social group or domestic company.

“Designating a foreign language or dialect as the only language deprives citizens of the right to learn and use the country’s language,” said Zhang Weijiang, director of the Shanghai Education Commission.

The draft also requires advertising companies to use only standard Chinese in their Mandarin promotions.

Standard Chinese constitutes the simplified characters that are found in official dictionaries, the draft said.

Offenders won’t be hauled off to jail, or even fined, however. The measure provides only that the government will seek an immediate correction.

source: City set to PK those who mess with lingo, Shanghai Daily, September 24, 2005

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