(TibetanReview.net, Apr21’22) – As the United Nations held its 12th annual “Chinese Language Day” on Apr 20, a celebration in collaboration with Communist Party of China entities that promote fluency in Mandarin and traditional Chinese culture, a question arises as to what Chinese language really means and represents.
China uses the term “Chinese” to refer to all the diverse ethnic groups whose historical territories make up its current People’s Republic of China (PRC) empire – the so-called Han-majority people of China proper, as well as the Uyghurs of East Turkestan (Xinjiang), Tibetans of Tibet, and Mongols of Inner Mongolia.
However, when it comes to the Chinese language, it is only Mandarin, common only to Beijing and northeast China, which is recognized and enforced. The Chinese government calls it putonghua (“common language”) and uses it to carry out a sweeping national campaign to eradicate minorities’ languages and culture in China, noted the breitbart.com in a report Apr 20.
The theme for this year’s celebration, which also featured a video festival that the Chinese government helped organize beginning in February, was “China Chic” – which UN organizers described as “a modern take on traditional Chinese heritage,” the report noted.
Mandarin is not native even to vast swathes of China proper, including the south, where Cantonese is common.
However, under President Xi Jinping’s rule, the Chinese Communist Party has implemented policies to replace local languages with Mandarin that range from switching schools from local languages to Mandarin to forcing Mandarin language instruction even on prisoners at concentration camps.
Given this fact, the report accused the UN of partnering with the architects of what victims insist is a cultural genocide to promote China’s preferred language on Apr 20. Among the activities to celebrate Mandarin was stated to be a “video festival” to celebrate Chinese culture organized by Communist Party media organs.
The report said the UN had also hosted an online event on Apr 19 to discuss the value of the Mandarin language to the rest of the world featuring two agents of the Chinese communist regime.
The report said the event did not appear to include any of the other languages spoken within the PRC or mention of the government campaign to eradicate the native Tibetan, Uyghur, and Mongolian languages.
China is home to over 300 recognized languages, though the government claims over 80% of citizens now speak Mandarin, the report added.
The report said the strategy of the communist regime under Xi Jinping to replace local languages with Mandarin was similar throughout ethnic minority regions. In Tibet, the Communist Party has imposed Mandarin as the official school language in the occupied region despite the language not being traditionally spoken there. Tibetans have expressed alarm that their language appears to be disappearing, as children become more used to spending all day speaking Mandarin, the report noted.
The United Nations has six official languages and has established a day for each one. English and Spanish share a day, Apr 23, because both William Shakespeare and Miguel Cervantes died on that day. The UN observes French language day on Mar 20, Russian language day on Jun 6, and Arabic language day on Dec 18.
However, unlike the other five languages the United Nations celebrates, Mandarin is the subject of a sweeping national campaign to eradicate minority languages and culture in the PRC, the report noted.