Measures to ensure foreigners in Beijing do not get "lost" are
being taken, the Foreign Affairs Office of Beijing Municipality
It expects to improve signs written in English on all the major
roads within the Sixth Ring Road and shopping malls by the end of
The capital city currently has 650,000 people from overseas
working and living in Beijing.
The figure is set to swell even further in the run-up to the
The signs correction group, supported by a linguist team, will
unveil correction plans for signs within the Third Ring Road
Meanwhile, by 2008, more Beijing residents than ever before will
be able to speak English well enough to help foreigners who ask for
Checking and correction work for the fourth, fifth and sixth
ring roads have already started, said Yang Liuyin, director of the
Chen Lin, an English language expert, said: "Creating a sound
and smooth language environment is the basic need for anyone."
A drive to promote residents' English oral skills to help build
up the city's international image was launched three years ago.
By the end of 2005, 29 out of every 100 Beijingers could speak
at least basic English, or 4.45 million people, according to the
foreign affairs office.
The figure is expected to increase to 35 per cent by 2008 when
the Olympic Games begin, said Yang.
A mass language learning program has been created covering all
ages, via TV shows, "English corners" and regional oral and writing
More than 150,000 people have taken part in hundreds of
non-profit public lectures on foreign language and culture learning
and etiquette studies.
The lectures received generous contributions from the country's
top language training institutes.
(China Daily January 12, 2006)