history bite: around this time in 1977

Thirty-three years ago the third United Nations Conference on the Standardization of Geographical Names voted 43-1 in favor of adopting Hanyu Pinyin as “the international system for the romanization of Chinese geographical names,” which was a major step in establishing the use of Hanyu Pinyin internationally.

The one nay vote came from the United States, which said that changing the Library of Congress’s records from Wade-Giles to Pinyin would be prohibitively expensive. (The Library of Congress did not begin its Pinyin-conversion project until twenty years later.) This may also have had to do with the fact that at the time the United States did not recognize the People’s Republic of China but instead had diplomatic relations with the Republic of China (i.e., Taiwan), which didn’t adopt Hanyu Pinyin itself until more than thirty years later (and its implementation here is still incomplete).

1977 nián zài Yǎdiǎn jǔxíng de Liánhéguó dì-sān jiè dìmíng biāozhǔnhuà huìyì shàng, yǐ 43 piào zànchéng, 1 piào fǎnduì de jiéguǒ, tōngguò le cǎiyòng Hànyǔ Pīnyīn zuòwéi Zhōngguó dìmíng Luómǎ zìmǔ de guójì biāozhǔn de tí’àn. 1 piào fǎnduì de shì Měiguó. Jùshuō shì yīnwèi rúguǒ gǎiyòng Hànyǔ Pīnyīn, Měiguó Guóhuì Túshūguǎn jiāng “hàozī tài dà” (cǐ túshūguǎn de Zhōngwén shūkān míng yǐqián quán yòng Wēituǒmǎshì pīnyīn).

source: Xinhua Pinxie Cidian, by Yin Binyong.

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