From October 23, Beijing citizens can take part in a 6-month national activity to correct wrong English usage via SMS (short messages), letters, emails, hot telephone lines, and other activities including writing articles for the media.
The campaign is co-organized by the Central Committee of the Communist Youth League of China, the Office for Promoting Cultural and Ideological Progress of the Communist Party of China, and the Information Office of the State Council. Hopefully, with help from the general public and the guidance from professional English organizations, common mistakes in daily usage like spelling errors, grammar mistakes, substandard translations, oral English mistakes and cultural misunderstandings are all expected to be found and corrected.
For convenience of participation, the organization committee has prepared six means of getting involved. Cell phone users can include the four letters "yyt" plus an SMS to 8002558 (China mobile) and 9002558 (China Unicom) while netizens can visit the official website at http://yingyutong.cycnet.com. Meanwhile, special letterboxes, hot lines and columns in the media are waiting to collect information and feedback.
It is said that in China there exists great amounts of incorrect English used in public spaces like advertisements, product endorsements, bilingual public signs, publicity material and handouts. For example, as Prof. Gong Yan mentioned, the word "toilet" is sometimes spelled as "toile."
(China.org.cn by Zheng Guihong October 24, 2003)