Archive for the ‘Mandarin’ Category

Britain boosts Mandarin in schools as China’s power grows

February 7, 2008

LONDON (AFP) – Teenagers in England will be able to study for a new national qualification in Mandarin, reflecting the growing importance of China as a global power, an exam board announced Thursday.

Students aged 15 and 16 will get the chance to study the subject for their GCSE exams, which all young people in the country have to sit, from next year, the Assessments and Qualifications Alliance said.

The board said it was making the announcement to coincide with the start of Lunar New Year.

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High school students leave a school in London. Teenagers in ...
High school students leave a school in London. Teenagers in England will be able to study for a new national qualification in Mandarin, reflecting the growing importance of China as a global power, an exam board announced Thursday.(AFP/File/Carl de Souza)


China’s Party Congress: Not Like An American Political Meeting At All

October 22, 2007

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
October 22, 2007

On Monday, China’s Communist Party Congress, which is only held every five years, on concluded a week long session that featured discussions with representatives  from across China.

October 22, 2007 was the day that President Hu Jintao introduced to the media his newly chosen inner circle, the members of the Standing Committee’s Political Bureau.

The new senior member of the Standing Committee is Xi Jinping, the son of a Chinese guerrilla leader who rose through the ranks to become Communist Party chief in Shanghai. Mr. Xi is considered an expert on business development, the economy and the Taiwan issue. He is 57 years old and has a PhD in economics.  His elevation means he is the likely successor of Mr. Hu when his presidential term ends in five years.

The party Congress is always shrouded in secrecy.  In fact, in years past, the Congress was often only announced to the media after it had concluded. To gain a better understanding of the Congress for our Peace and Freedom readers, we spoke to several Chinese academics and China watchers.

Mr. Hi Hu Shung at Beijing’s Peoples’ University told us not to confuse the Congress with an open and well publicized American political convention. He said all the key decisions were made before the Congress and the Congress is a mere stage play to give delegates the feeling of participation.

Mr. Yo Dashung of the Provisional Party School at Jangsu confirmed this by quoting an old Chinese proverb: “Little things are accomplished in big meetings. Big things are accomplished in small meetings. And things of vital importance are decided with no meeting at all.”

The Congress also features the crashing together of several languages and regional cultures. Although the official language of government in China is Mandarin, about one-third of the delegates to the party Congress do no speak Mandarin or have trouble with the language. Cantonese is the second language of China but there also exists the language of the Tibetans, Uighurs, Yis and Zhuangs, which further confuses the mix. There are also numerous local dialects — some say as many as 300.

One delegate to the Congress told us, “We have so many different groups in China we have to have our own translating staff — like at the U.N.  It can be great fun but it also leads to misunderstanding and confusion.  But the Communist Party doesn’t let us handle much of real importance at the Congress so it is harmless, really.”

Communist Party General Secretary and Chinese President Hu Jintao, ... 
Communist Party General Secretary and Chinese President Hu Jintao, center, waves as he stands with the new members of the Politburo Standing Committee, in Beijing’s Great Hall of the People Monday Oct. 22, 2007. From left are Public Security Minister Zhou Yongkang, Liaoning Party Secretary Li Keqiang, head of Communist Party Ideology Department Li Changchun, Premier Wen Jiabao, President Hu Jintao, National People’s Congress Chairman Wu Bangguo, Chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference Jia Qinglin, Shanghai Party Secretary Xi Jinping, and He Guoqiang, the head of the Communist Party Organization Department. The Standing Committee, the inner circle of Chinese political power, was paraded in front of assembled media on the first day following the end of the 17th Communist Party Congress.(AP Photo/Greg Baker)

China Ushers Into Position Its Next Era Of Leaders

Culture and Language: Words Mangled as Officials Tongue-tied in China

China’s Hu Jintao: Big Winner from Communist Party Congress

Clinton-China Fundraising Connection

October 21, 2007

The candidate’s unparalleled China-connected fundraising success relies largely on the least-affluent residents of New York’s Chinatown — most of whom can’t be tracked down.

By Peter Nicholas and Tom Hamburger
Los Angeles Times Staff Writers
October 19, 2007

NEW YORK — Something remarkable happened at 44 Henry St., a grimy Chinatown tenement with peeling walls. It also happened nearby at a dimly lighted apartment building with trash bins clustered by the front door.

And again not too far away, at 88 E. Broadway beneath the Manhattan bridge, where vendors chatter in Mandarin and Fujianese as they hawk rubber sandals and bargain-basement clothes.

All three locations, along with scores of others scattered throughout some of the poorest Chinese neighborhoods in Queens, Brooklyn and the Bronx, have been swept by an extraordinary impulse to shower money on one particular presidential candidate — Democratic front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Dishwashers, waiters and others whose jobs and dilapidated home addresses seem to make them unpromising targets for political fundraisers are pouring $1,000 and $2,000 contributions into Clinton’s campaign treasury. In April, a single fundraiser in an area long known for its gritty urban poverty yielded a whopping $380,000. When Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) ran for president in 2004, he received $24,000 from Chinatown.

At this point in the presidential campaign cycle, Clinton has raised more money than any candidate in history.

Those Chinese dishwashers, waiters and street stall hawkers are a significant part of the reason.

Campaign concerns

As with other campaigns looking for dollars in unpromising places, the Clinton operation also has accepted what it later conceded were improper donations. At least one reported donor denies making a contribution. Another admitted to lacking the legal-resident status required for giving campaign money. Clinton aides said they were concerned about some of the Chinatown contributions.

The Times examined the cases of more than 150 donors who provided checks to Clinton after fundraising events geared to the Chinese community. One-third of those donors could not be found using property, telephone or business records. Most have not registered to vote, according to public records.

And several dozen were described in financial reports as holding jobs — including dishwasher, server or chef — that would normally make it difficult to donate amounts ranging from $500 to the legal maximum of $2,300 per election.

Of 74 residents of New York’s Chinatown, Flushing, the Bronx or Brooklyn that The Times called or visited, only 24 could be reached for comment.

Culture and Language: Words Mangled as Officials Tongue-tied in China

October 17, 2007

By Ben Blanchard

BEIJING (Reuters) – China may have one official national language — Mandarin — but as delegates at this week’s Communist Party Congress have shown, fluency and accuracy remain distant goals for many citizens.

Only half China’s 1.3 billion people actually speak Mandarin, according to government figures. Poverty, lack of resources, remoteness and attachment to local dialects have hampered language promotion efforts.

Minority tongues, ranging from Tibetan and Uighur to Yi and Zhuang, further confuse the mix. Not to mention the numerous foreign reporters covering the meeting who either speak poor Chinese or none at all.
A man watches a screen showing China’s President Hu Jintao delivering a speech during the opening ceremony of the 17th Party Congress.  In China, the most understood languages are power, money and repression.

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China’s Golden Cyber-Shield

August 7, 2007

By Andy Greenberg
July 31, 2007 

The Chinese government is an infamous enforcer of digital apartheid; when its citizens try to access prominent international Web sites like Global Cyber Risk, they hit a filter that blocks politically sensitive material. In the West, that information blockade is often described as the “Great Firewall of China.”

But in Mandarin, it is called jindun gongcheng, the Golden Shield. As that name implies, China’s controls on the Internet are capable of blocking inbound as well as outbound traffic. And according to some security professionals, that means the Golden Shield is more than just a barrier to free expression; it may also be China’s advantage in a future cyber-war.

“China has powerful controls over content going out and coming in at every gateway….

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Cyber officials: Chinese hackers attack ‘anything and everything’