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China Considers Law to Regulate Foreign Words

With more and more words with foreign origins, like "Internet" and "WTO," entering into the everyday life of the Chinese, China's top legislature is working on a law to regulate the usage of these words in the country.

The draft National Common Language Law was presented once again to the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC) for deliberation and examination, which is holding its 17th meeting in Beijing.

How to regulate the use of foreign words has become a topic of heated discussion among Chinese lawmakers.

The draft stipulates that since Putonghua is the common speech of the Chinese language, and should be used in all broadcasts, TV programs, movies, public facilities, billboards, business names, as well as packages and directives of all goods marketed within the territory.

"Some of the goods carry with them no Chinese words but English letters. It's hard for consumers to understand," lawmakers said.

They proposed that all packaged goods have the Chinese language written on it, which should also apply to the directives.

Some lawmakers pointed out to the mistakes in the translation of foreign words. The country should designate some departments for official translations.

However, a few lawmakers voiced their concern about the feasibility to regulate the use of foreign words with laws. "It will be very difficult, though necessary," a lawmaker said.

(Xinhua 08/24/2000)

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