rightChinese writing is unlike any other writing system in the world (except for Japanese, Korean and some other Asian languages which have incorporated some Chinese characters). Of the several hundred written languages, Chinese is about the only one that relies on symbols to represent individual words. These symbols (characters) often are combined, though, to make different words. Each symbol has both a concept and a sound.

Written Chinese is described by linguists as logographic, which means that each symbol represents a spoken syllable. Alphabetic systems are more flexible than logographic ones because alphabets allow single syllables to be broken down into smaller parts. This make it easier to apply writing to different languages and dialects. Under the logographic system single syllables can not be broken down into smaller parts. It was only in the early 20th century that reformers began demanding that written Chinese be linked with spoken Chinese---in particular Mandarin. the dialect of Beijing and northern China.

From their inception writing and calligraphy have been inextricably linked to art in a way that does not have a counterpart in the West. Studying and learning written Chinese has always been greatly valued and pursed by many Chinese with great enthusiasm. In the old days there were special furnaces just for written documents so that any paper with writing could be given a respectable cremation.

The Chinese have traditionally read characters from right to left and up and down the page. These days they are used to reading across the page and don’t like reading up and down. Sometimes you can find English signs that are written the traditional Chinese way characters are read: from right to left. Peter Hessler found one that read: “DTL .OC YRENIHCAM REWOP GNISNAS IUHSIL (LISHUI SANSING POWER MACHINERY CO. LTD)

Good Websites and Sources: Omniglot omniglot.com ; Chinese Symbols. Com chinese-symbols.com ; Chinatown Connection chinatownconnection.com ; Wikipedia article Wikipedia ; Origin of Chinese Script China Vista chinavista.com ; Logoi.com logoi.com ; China Vista China Vista

Links in this Website: CHINESE LANGUAGE Factsanddetails.com/China ; CHINESE NAMES AND SYMBOLS Factsanddetails.com/China ; ENGLISH, CHINGLISH AND OTHER NON-CHINESE LANGUAGES IN CHINA Factsanddetails.com/China ; CLASSIC CHINESE LITERATURE Factsanddetails.com/China ; MODERN CHINESE LITERATURE Factsanddetails.com/China . See MINORITIES and TIBET for information on the languages of different Ethnic Groups.

Ageless Written Chinese

Written Chinese is the oldest contiguously used writing system in the world. Not only that it is the only ancient logographic system that never converted to an alphabet. What is particularly remarkable about written Chinese is that it has remained fundamentally since the same the time is it was conceived almost 4,000 years. In this way Chinese is unique in the history of human civilization.

All of the Chinese dialects share a common written form that has evolved and been standardized during two millennia and serves as a unifying bond amongst the Han Chinese. The government has aggressively developed both shorthand Chinese and Pinyin (phonetic spelling) as ways to increase literacy and transliterate Chinese names. The Pinyin system was introduced in 1958 and was approved by the State Council in 1978 as the standard system for the romanization of Chinese personal and geographic names. In 2000 the Hanyu (Han language) Pinyin phonetic alphabet was written into law as the unified standard for spelling and phonetic notation of the national language.

Modern Chinese citizens today can pick up a text written during the time of ancient Mesopotamia and Pharonic Egypt and make out much of what it says. The equivalent would be for a modern Americans to pick up the Dead Sea Scrolls, Egyptian hieroglyphics or texts written by Homer or Socrates in ancient Greek and make out what they say. When the 3,500-year-old Oracles bones were discovered in the 19th century scholars were able to decipher them immediately.

Writing in China is regarded as more than just writing. It is considered a bond to Chinese culture and is said to improve concentration, longevity and even martial arts skills. One calligraphy teacher told the Los Angeles Times, “These characters are in the soul of every Chinese person, The nation has to maintain its personality through its characters. They are our culture.”

Meaning of Written Chinese

Written Chinese remains a great unifier in China. Even though Chinese from one part of the country often can not understand the dialect of the people in another region, they all use the same written language. And even though individual characters may have many pronunciation they do have the same meaning.

The construction of classic written Chinese is often different from spoken Chinese. In the distant past the two were probably the same but over time they evolved apart. Classic literature and writing refers to material written in the old style. Vernacular writing and literature refers to material written in the spoken manner.

Perry Link, a professor of East Asian Studies at Princeton told the Los Angeles Times, “It is deeply imbedded in Chinese culture that the way you write language represents morality and appropriate behavior, including political behavior...There’s the whole tradition of calligraphy showing the moral worth and character of an individual. the whole computer revolution is going to eat away at these notions.”

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Chinese Characters

Chinese words are usually made up of combinations of two or more characters. Most simple Chinese characters were originally depictions of simple objects and actions. Linguists today count 56,000 characters (some requiring 20 brush strokes and most obsolete). Educated Chinese can read about 5,000 to 8,000 characters. To understand most of what is written in a newspaper article, requires knowledge of 1,200 to 1,500 characters; to understand almost everything else you need to know about 2,500 characters.

Linguists divide Chinese characters into six groups: 1) pictograms (stylized pictures of objects); 2) ideograms (abstract pictures); 3) compound ideograms (combinations of ideograms to represent an idea or object); 4) phonograms (characters with a meaning element and a phonetic element; and 5) the infrequently used phonetic loan characters and 6) derivative loan characters. About 90 percent of all Chinese characters are phonograms.

Hanzi is the term used in China to describe Chinese characters or ideograms. Hanzi is known as kanji in Japan. The Committee for Reforming the Chinese Language, established in 1954 by the Communist government, simplified around 2,200 Chinese characters. Traditional Chinese characters, which are considered much more attractive than the simplified versions, are still commonly in use.

basic Chinese strokes

Some combination characters are easy to understand. Two tree pictograms placed together means "forest”; the mouth of a bird means "song;" a sun and a moon together means "bright." The character for "crisis" (weiji) is a combination of the character for "dangerous" (wei) and the one for "opportunity" (ji). The symbols for woman and child combined together means "good," but two women means "argument" and three women means "noisy" or "gossip." The word for sincerity is a combination of the characters "man" and "word" and means a man standing by his word.

The logic behind some characters is somewhat mysterious. The symbol for "disuse," for example, is a combination of the character for a tree and the figure for a roof. When the character for roof is combined with the character for pig it equals the character for money.

Many of the characters originally contained clear visual clues that helped decipher their pronunciation and meaning but these have been altered by changes of speech are no longer recognizable, making them that much harder to learn.

Learning Written Chinese

Mandy Zu wrote in the South China Morning Post: “Chinese has one of the most complicated systems of writing in the world, and requires knowledge of several thousand characters for an adequate level of literacy. The pictorial forms are notoriously difficult to learn, requiring years of repeated handwriting. In the 1950s, the mainland began simplifying many commonly used characters to help improve literacy, although the traditional forms remain in use Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan. At about the same time, the phonetic pinyin system of romanised Putonghua was introduced. [Source: Mandy Zu, South China Morning Post, August 20, 2013]

Because written Chinese is so inflexible there is a large gap in China between the way people write and they way they speak. Written Chinese can not accommodate different Chinese dialects and languages. The result is that no matter what dialect people speak they have to write in Mandarin, which is essentially writing in a second language. A given word in written Chinese can sound completely different in different dialects and be unintelligible unless the person speaks the dialect of which the word is spoken.

Chinese spend much of their childhood memorizing and writing characters. By the time a student is 15 he or she has spent four or five hours a day over nine years learning to write a minimum of 3,000 characters. Moderate literacy requires memorizing a minimum of about 1,200 characters. Television programs are usually broadcast in Mandarin with Chinese subtitles so that people who speak other dialects can understand what is being said. Traditional Chinese is thought to have around 50,000 characters.

As a child growing up in France, Frenchman Thomas Sauvin told the Los Angeles Times he was vexed by dyslexia. When he was 13, a woman came into his class asking if anyone wanted to study Chinese and explained how the characters were composed. "She said, 'It's fun, look, if you want to say "tree," you have to make a picture of a tree,'" he remembered. "I was like, that's going to solve all my problems. And it's true — dyslexia doesn't bother me in Chinese. I don't miswrite characters." [Source: Julie Makinen, Los Angeles Times, July 13, 2013]


Introduced in 1954 and based on Beijing pronunciation, the Chinese Phonetic Alphabet System (Pinyin) is used for turning Chinese names and places into names and places written in the Roman alphabet. "Beijing," Mao Zedong" and "Zhou Enlai" are examples of Pinyin. "Peking," "Mao tse-tung" and "Chou en-lai" were written with the old Wade-Giles spelling system which has been abandoned. Pinyin means "putting together sounds".

Geoffrey Wheatcroft wrote in the Washington Post, “For centuries, English-speakers called the Chinese capital Peking, until one day we were all told to say Beijing. This wasn't even to placate national sensitivities; it was to appease academic drudges who thought there was a "correct" spelling of Chinese, though how can there be one in a language written in ideograms?” [Source: Geoffrey Wheatcroft, Washington Post, November 4, 2007]

Pinyin as been used by American newspapers since the United States it normalized relations with China in the 1970s. Westerners sometimes have difficulty with all the x’s (the Pinyin symbol for the sounds close to "s" and “sh”) and q’s (the Pinyin symbol for the sound close to “ch”). Under the Pinyin system you have the city “Xi'an” and the “Qing” Dynasty. Under the old Wade-Giles system the were written “sian” and “Ching” respectively.

Pinyin can be used for transliterating all Chinese into the Roman alphabet is now used by hundreds of millions of language learners in China, as well as abroad. According to AFP: “It is used in schools across China and has been instrumental in boosting the country's literacy rate from around 20 percent in the 1950s to more than 90 percent today. "With Chinese characters, you can't tell the pronunciation just by looking. So Pinyin was useful in teaching," said Luo Weidong, a professor at Beijing Language and Culture University. "Pinyin made a big contribution to the literacy movement in China." In recent decades, Pinyin has become key to the easy creation of Chinese characters on computers.” [Source: Tom Hancock, AFP, January 13, 2015 \^/]


20080303-Wang Hsi chih, Chin dynatsy 4th c ad tapei2.jpg
4th century work by Wang Hsi chih
Calligraphy is a system of aesthetic Chinese writing expressed through a variety of brush movements and compositions of dots and strokes. Largely unintelligible to Westerns, calligraphy is regarded by Chinese as "the supreme art form” higher than painting and sculpture and more able to express lofty thoughts and feelings than words.

Fusing poetry, literature and painting into one art form, calligraphy was considered so important that ancient scholars could not pass their examinations unless they were masters at it. Good calligraphy possesses rhythm, emotion, aesthetic, beauty, spirituality and, perhaps most importantly, the character of the calligrapher. One ancient Chinese historian wrote: "calligraphy is like images without form, music without sound."

Describing the work of calligrapher Zhao Mengli the New York Times art critic Holland Carter wrote, the script ‘seems to have an aural dimension, like a dramatic reading. So expressive are the linear twists and turns of the brush. The pressure and weights of the ink, the sartorial; punctuations, that you can practically hear his voice.”

From an early age Chinese children are taught that calligraphy and beautiful handwriting are reflections of their character and personality. Rendered in quick fluid strokes calligraphy is more concerned with flow and feeling than skill and precision and is supposed to come straight from the heart. The characters themselves are a kind of poetry. To produce great works calligraphers must tap into the forces of qi, which Taoists believe permeate nature and the universe.

Most of works by famous calligraphers displayed in museums come from the eastern Chin dynasty, Tang, Sung, Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties.

Water calligraphy is a poetic activity that you can observe in many Chinese parks: Artists use a large brush to write Chinese characters using water instead of ink. Minutes after the characters are written, they disappear. Media Artist Nicholas Hanna built a tricycle that writes Chinese characters on the ground as it moves. [Source: Jeremy Goldkorn, Danwei.com, September 23, 2011]

For some Chinese there hobby go writing calligraphy in the street with with a brush and water, writing new characters when the old ones dry and disappear.

Written Chinese in Korea and Japan

Chinese, Koreans and Japanese use the same Chinese characters. The meanings of the characters is usually the same but the pronunciation is different. The character for soy sauce, for example, is pronounced "shoyu" in Japanese and "jiangyou" in Mandarin Chinese.

After World War II, the Japanese simplified their characters (made them easier to write) and changed their appearance. The Chinese did the same thing but used a different system, while the Koreans stuck to the old character system. Now the characters in all three languages are the same but they look different and are pronounced differently.

Difficulty of Adapting Chinese to Computers and Cell Phones

20080223-Large_chinese_keyboard experimenbtal for computers.jpg
Experimental Chinese keyboard
One problem with written Chinese is that the character system is not very adaptable to movable type printing and computers. Printing books has traditionally been a problem because it is more difficult to categorize and find 5,000 characters than 26 letters in an alphabet. As for computers, there are now sophisticated software programs that display thousands of Chinese characters on the screen but the difficult part is creating a keyboard system that allows the characters to be typed in.

A single character requires up to five strokes on a typewriter. The character for "gold" can be written in four strokes as opposed to eight strokes by hand.

Some word processing programs allow users to type in Romanized Chinese and the computer translates them into Chinese characters. The problem with these programs is that many Romanized spellings produce a multitude of Chinese characters (the word ji for example brings up 122 different characters on the screen). Others systems allow users to "stroke" Chinese characters (very slow and tedious) and another codes each character with a number (requires a lot memorization). Billions of dollars have been spent in Japan, Korea, China, Taiwan, Singapore and Hong Kong to come up with a replacement keyboard but thus far none have been widely adopted.

Mandy Zu wrote in the South China Morning Post, “Today's computers and mobile devices offer many ways to input Chinese characters, or hanzi. Some allow characters to be physically written using a stylus or finger. The most popular, however, involved typing pinyin and choosing the appropriate character from a list of others with the same pronunciation. It is believed that the convenience of this system, which requires only knowledge of a word's sound, is eroding people's memory of certain characters, especially the more complicated or less commonly used. Like everywhere else, Chinese are falling out of the habit of writing with pen (or brush) and paper.” [Source: Mandy Zu, South China Morning Post, August 20, 2013]

Written Chinese Declines in Digital Era

When writing with a computer keyboard or texting on a cell phone most Chinese use a system in which they type out the sounds in pinyin, the most commonly used Romanization system, and are given a choice of characters from which they chose the one they want.

Mandy Zu wrote in the South China Morning Post, “A popular spelling competition run on state broadcaster CCTV has reinforced fears Chinese are losing their grasp of their own written language - thanks, it appears, to computer and mobile device keyboards. Seventy percent of adults in the audience of Chinese Characters Dictation Competition have been unable to write, by hand, the characters for the word "toad" correctly . The series, the first of its kind on national television, retriggered alarm among many Chinese about their growing difficulty in reading and writing their language in the keyboard era. [Source: Mandy Zu, South China Morning Post, August 20, 2013 ^|^]

“The programme, supposedly launched with a mission to resolve the Chinese character "crisis", was an instant hit when it was launched on CCTV. Altogether, 32 teams of middle-school pupils from across the mainland, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan are taking part in the competition. During the past two episodes, less than half of the adults randomly selected from the audience could write correctly such commonly used characters for the word "thick". ^|^

“Evidence of declining competence in written Chinese has emerged in several studies. In May, a survey by the Beijing-based Horizon Research Consultancy Group found that 94 percent of respondents in 12 mainland cities could not write correctly a character they assumed they knew. A quarter of the respondents encountered the same problem several times in the interview. Another study finds that mainland schoolchildren are slipping behind in their reading ability, which it attributes to writing pinyin on devices. ^|^

“In a paper published in January in the US journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, nearly a third of 5,000 mainland primary school pupils of normal intelligence were found to be two grades behind the expected reading level of examination standards. The test, conducted on grade three to five pupils in Beijing, Guangzhou, and Jining in Shandong province found that typing pinyin on electronic devices hindered children's reading development. "The Chinese language has survived the technological challenges of the digital era, but the benefits of communicating digitally may come with a cost in proficient learning of written Chinese", it concludes. ^|^

“Ma Long, a Chinese language teacher at the Hangzhou Foreign Languages School, said he and many other Chinese teachers at his school shared the problem. "You know what a character means and how to read it, and it seems that you also know what it looks like, but you just can't write it with your own hand," Ma said . He said that at many schools today, not just in his, students tended to attach more importance to the learning of foreign languages than Chinese. ^|^

“Hao Mingjian, editor-in-chief of the Yao Wen Jiao Zi magazine, a monthly publication dedicated to Chinese characters, said the deterioration of written Chinese had become more serious. On the one hand, he said, schools were putting less effort into teaching characters while, on the other, there were fewer opportunities for handwriting in the digital age. "It's also a reflection that we read too little - not those fragmented texts from the Web - but serious works in books," he said. ^|^

Forgetting How to Write Chinese

In part because so many Chinese peck out words with keyboards and cell phones and don’t write by hand anymore, they are losing there ability to write and often forget how to make the characters for even simple words. In a 2010 survey by the China Youth Daily, 83 percent of the 2,072 respondents said they had trouble writing characters. There is even a name for the problem: tibiwangzi (“take pen, forget character”). [Source:Barbara Demick, Los Angeles Times, July 2010

Dexter Roberts of Bloomberg wrote: “The authorities fear the Chinese are losing mastery over their written language. With smartphones, tablets, and computers equipped with character recognition software, Chinese have less need to remember the strokes for the 3,500 to 4,000 characters the average high school graduate is expected to know. A 2013 survey by Beijing-based Horizon Research Consultancy Group found that 94.1 percent of Chinese occasionally had trouble remembering characters, while 26.8 percent said the problem occurred frequently. Television shows such as Hero of Hanzi (hanzi means Chinese character), where contestants compete to write characters—the equivalent of a spelling bee—have become national hits. [Source: Dexter Roberts, Bloomberg Businessweek, May 22, 2014 *-*]

People in their 20s estimate they have forgotten about 20 percent of the characters they learned in school. Among the suggestions offered for remedying the situation are requiring college students to write their papers out by hand and encouraging more people to take up calligraphy.

Amusing NBA Chinese Tattoos

In recent years it has become common for Americans---most visibly on pop stars and NBA basketball players who reveal a fair amount of upper body skin---to have Chinese characters tattooed on their arms and shoulders. Marcus Camby of the Denver Nuggets has one that reads the equivalent of ‘strive to be the best.” He had his made in 1996 and claims to be first NBA player to get a Chinese character tattoo. Larry Hughes of the Cleveland Cavaliers has a character that means “loyalty” emblazoned on a basketball. When a New Jersey Nets guard decided to get a tattoo to commemorate the birth of his son Jeff with a character that read “state of bliss” he checked with Yao Ming to make sure symbols meant what he was told by the tatto artist they meant.

Other people have not been so careful. Britney Spears got a Chinese character tattoo that she thought said “mysterious” but in reality it read ‘strange.” Marquis Daniels of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks thought his Chinese character tattoo were representations of his name but in actuality they said “healthy woman roof.” There is also a story of one man who got a tattoo thinking it said “one love” only to be informed by a clerk of Chinese decent at a Staples store that it really said “love hurts.”

Few of the American tattoos artists that make the tattoos know Chinese. They simply follow templates often of dubious origin. Hazni Smatter (www.hanzismatter.com ) is a website devoted to humorous tattoos. One tattoo listed on the site read “power piglet.” Another found on a woman’s lower back read “motherly beast blessing.”

The Chinese character tattoos craze began in earnest in the late 1980s and early 1990s and has it origins in the turn of the 20th century when sailors traveling to Asian ports picked up tattoos, sometimes with Chinese characters on them.

Chinese Character Tattoos on World Cup Soccer Players

Jennifer Hui of Shanghaiist wrote: On the eve of the 2014 World Cup, “footie fans in China have been especially observant of the Chinese characters splashed across the, ahem, hard-to-miss muscles of several players, and many netizens have taken to forums to ponder the intended meaning of each player's ink. We've picked out a few to oglebreak down. The Greek striker Theofanis Gekas has a tattoo of five Chinese characters on the inside of his right arm——which would translate to "cold-blooded killer" or "cold-blooded killing demon". If tattoos really represent one’s personality, we're hoping Theofanis is telling us that he is a cool killer for his impressive scoring skills and not satan incarnate.” [Source:Jennifer Hui, Shanghaiist, June 27, 2014 <^>]

“Spanish defender Sergio Ramos also has a Chinese character tattooed behind his ear which simply means "wolf". The tattoo seen on the right arm of Fredy Guarin from Colombia is a bit more inexplicable. The characters, as Kotaku's Eric Jou points out are most likely meant to be read phonetically as the Chinese name Danny Zong. So, should he be called Fredy or Danny? It's all very unclear. The most baffling Chinese character tattoo might belong to the former Germany midfielder Torsten Frings. The five characters across his right arm read: "dragon, snake, fortune, brave, sheep". He also said that he has a tattoo on his back, meaning "sweet and sour duck 7.99 euro". We can only imagine the significance attached, but we don't want to. <^>

“Still, we mustn't ignore the many meaningful tattoos scrawled across Western football players, those appearing in this 2014 World Cup or those who do not. Croatian striker Mario Mandzukic has a Chinese character tattoo signifying “great strength, luck, family and faith”. Dimitar Berbatov from Bulgaria,” whose team didn’t make it to 2014 World Cup, “has a tattoo reading “no holds barred” ("no restrictions"). Kevin Prince Boateng also has five words inked across his right side, meaning "family, health, love, success and trust". Indeed, the world-famous English former footballer David Beckham is well-known in China for his ink. During a talk at Peking University in 2013, he lifted his shirt to show students the tattoo on his left flank, a famous Chinese saying translated to: “Life and death are determined by fate, rank and riches decreed by Heaven” . <^>

Overseas Protest Signs in Chinese

Victor Mair wrote in the Language Log: “During the Arab Spring earlier this year, we noticed some demonstrators holding signs in Chinese that were not always idiomatic or were written incorrectly. In the "Occupy Wall Street" actions, one marcher was likewise seen with a Chinese sign of dubious credentials. Any fluent speaker of Chinese is going to smile at that sign, because it is like Chinglish in reverse. You can figure out what was intended, but it just doesn't sound right. With some Chinglish, it takes a huge amount of effort to decipher what was meant, but that's not the case with this specimen of Englishy Chinese, whose message is fairly obvious, despite the unidiomatic expression. [Source:Victor Mair, Language Log, October 7, 2011]

To a Chinese reader, this sign seems at first glance to be saying "There isn't any more corruption." The fact that the first two segments of the sentence are incorrectly worded throws into question the interpretation of the last part, fu(bài , which, depending upon the circumstances, might mean any of the following: "corruption, rottenness, decay, decomposition, putrefaction, putridity, putrescence, putridness, canker, depravity, staleness, leprosy", as well as their verbal and adjectival forms. [Ibid]

“Let us first determine how the translation came about. If we enter "No more corruption" in popular online translating services, we get: Google Translate: méiyo(u gèng duo- de fu(bài (identical with what's on the Occupy Wall Street sign) Baidu Fanyi: méiyo(u gèng duo- de fu(bài (identical with what's on the Occupy Wall Street sign) Babel Fish: méiyo(u fu(bài ("there is no corruption")

We have demonstrated many times how Google Translate has now become the standard online translation service for Chinese speakers who know little or no English, but want an English version of something in Chinese. It is now beginning to emerge that Google Translate has also become the choice for speakers of English who know little or no Chinese, but want a Chinese version of something in English. So we can't blame the wording of this Occupy Wall Street sign on the imperfect Chinese of an elementary or intermediate American learner. It is, rather, most likely to be attributed to Google Translate (or, far less likely, to Baidu Fanyi or similar service). [Ibid]

“Enough of what the Englishy Chinese means to a Chinese speaker and how it came about. What should have been written on the sign instead? Expansive, more vernacular versions might be something like these: (wo(men) bùyào ta-nwu- "Don't be corrupt" (or "Let's not be corrupt" with the optional wo(men at the beginning) (wo(men) bùyào fu(bài); "Don't be corrupt" (or "Let's not be corrupt" with the optional wo(men at the beginning) Succinct, more literar, formal versions might be something like these: dùjué fu(bài "Put an end to corruption" ; xia-omi( ta-nwu- / fu(bài / "Eliminate corruption"; (qi(ngqiú) ge-nzhì fu(bài "Eradicate corruption" (the optional qi(ngqiú at the beginning indicates that a request is being made)

Note that, in English "No more corruption", as in the numerous possible Chinese versions, what is being expressed is an injunction or exhortation---whether or not there is an explicit verb at the beginning of the sentence. What's most amazing to me about this sign, though, is that the calligraphy is quite impressive! Of course, I've known plenty of Americans who don't know a single word of Chinese who yet become rather proficient at writing Chinese characters purely as an art form. [Ibid]

Image Sources: 1) Early characters, Nolls China website http://www.paulnoll.com/China/index.html ; 2) Later characters, omniglot ; 3 Oracle bone, United College Hong Kong ; 4) Making an oracle bone, British Museum; 5) Experimental keyboard, wikipedia

Text Sources: New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Times of London, National Geographic, The New Yorker, Time, Newsweek, Reuters, AP, Lonely Planet Guides, Compton’s Encyclopedia and various books and other publications.

Last updated June 2015

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