Language policy

Language policy

China’s trying to promote a national language. Not everyone is pleased
Every Tuesday and Thursday, Inkstone Explains unravels the ideas and context behind the headlines to help you understand news about China. China has been promoting the use of Mandarin as the country’s official language for decades, but this official push for “linguistic unity” has proved difficult in the vast country. China’s 1.4 billion residents speak hundreds of mutually unintelligible languages and dialects. National figures show that some 270 million people, or about one in five people, do not speak Mandarin. The official efforts to promote Mandarin have met resistance in regions with large ethnic minority populations who fear losing their culture and language. In August 2020, a governm