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Don´t forget your Chinese, lawmaker tells sign makers

Source: Xinhuanet | 03-12-2007 10:16

Special Report:   2007 NPC & CPPCC sessions

BEIJING, March 9 (Xinhua) -- City managers should regulate public signs on the compulsory use of the Chinese language to give convenience to those confused by English-only information, a lawmaker said on the sidelines of the ongoing parliament session on Friday.

"Too many signs in public place carry only English information, leaving those who don't know the language puzzled and embarrassed like a foreigner in their homeland," complained Tu Yaqing, a deputy to the National People's Congress (NPC), China's top legislature.

Tu, a military researcher, said he is ready to submit a proposal on the compulsory use of Chinese on public signs, urging sign makers and information releasers to abide by the country's law on language use.

"I'm not opposed to using foreign languages, but they can't replace Chinese," said Tu.

"Surrounded by the English language on billboards, guideposts, street nameplates and traffic signs, sometimes we even cannot make out whether we are in China or a foreign country," Tu said.

The lawmaker cited the encounter of an old man he witnessed in Chongqing, who, after painful search, finally found his way to a public toilet in a park but was dumbfounded at the English signs of "MEN" and "WOMEN".

"Don't take it as a joke! You can see similar encounters anywhere. Some English-only information on air tickets and receipts of supermarkets all means trouble and frustration to non-English learners," Tu said.

The lawmaker suggested the use of multiple languages on public signs to satisfy both locals and foreigners.

Nearly 3,000 NPC deputies gathered in Beijing for the annual full session of the national parliament, which opened on March 5 and is scheduled to last till March 16.


Editor:Du Xiaodan