China has banned websites, publishers and newspapers from using “unnecessary” English words, prompting a wave of online sarcasm and criticism.
The General Administration of Press and Publication, which supervises all media in the country, said on Monday that foreign languages, in particular “English, English words and acronyms,” have diluted Chinese in recent years.
“Such abuse of language … destroys the harmonious and healthy cultural environment and causes an unhealthy social impact,” the government media watchdog said.
As a result of practices that damage the “purity of the Chinese language,” the regulator prohibited the “arbitrary” use of English words or acronyms from foreign languages mixed with Chinese. It also forbade the use of “ambiguous” words that are neither Chinese nor foreign.
When words in a foreign language have to be used, the government decreed that a note or annotation in Chinese must be added. And the names of foreign people, places and science terms also have to be translated into Chinese.
If the order was to be strictly exercised many English acronyms Chinese people often use, such as DNA, GDP, CEO and WTO, would have to disappear or be replaced by Chinese equivalents.