"English Banned in Chinese Writing"

For those who wonder whether governments can successfully regulate every part of the internet, just look at China. My friend Victor Mair, who teaches at Penn, has this post at Language Log. Presumably part of the reason for the ban is also to restrict discussions between Chinese and those who live outside of China. Indeed, I wouldn't be surprised if that is actually the real reason for the regulations.

Back in April, I wrote a blog entitled "A Ban on Roman Letter Acronyms?" In it, I discussed the proposal by the Chinese chairman of the International Federation of Translators, Huang Youyi, to purify Chinese of English expressions. At the time, no one (outside of Chinese rulership circles) ever thought that it would really happen. It seemed too preposterous and unworkable. No matter how much the language censors and purity zealots detested the look of English words and Roman letters in Chinese writing, they'd never be able to enforce such a ban.

Lo and behold, the news coming out of China the last few days is that the government has gotten serious and is really clamping down on the use of English words and expressions, Roman letter acronyms, and other contaminating elements, all in the interest of maintaining the purity of the mother tongue. The decree outlawing English has come forth from the General Administration of Press and Publication (GAPP), China's regulator of news, print media, and internet publications. . . .

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