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China to standardize names for places on the Moon
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A group of experts attended a workshop organized by the Institute of Standardization of Geographical Names in Beijing on Sept 28 to standardize Chinese geographical terms for locations on the Moon.

The experts, specialists in geography, linguistics, mapping, astronomy, journalism and publishing, came from the Ministry of Civil Affairs, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Information and Industry, the Bureau of Surveying and Mapping, Xinhua News Agency, the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

International organizations list over 9,000 geographical terms referring to the moon. But China's names for locations on the moon have never been standardized and different versions exist in various publications. "It's urgent to finalize a Chinese naming standard," said Liu Baoquan, director of the Institute of Geographical Names, which is affiliated to the Ministry of Civil Affairs.

The Ministry of Civil Affairs has overall responsibility for naming celestial bodies and the Institute of Geographical Names launched its standardization drive with its approval, on the Moon.

The standardization will be carried out in accordance with international rules issued by the United Nations. A first draft of a Manual on Translation of Places Names on the Moon has been compiled and is awaiting comment from experts and scholars.

The final version of the Chinese geographical names will include a single Romanization for each name.

A standardized Chinese geographical name system is of great practical importance in the light of China's plans for lunar exploration, scientific research and international exchanges.

(China.org.cn by Wang Zhiyong September 28, 2008)

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