English names may be introduced in every public place in the growing southern city of Guangzhou.
The Guangzhou Language Committee said the city government has asked relevant departments and organizations to introduce English names for city streets, scenic spots, parks, residential areas, bus stops, metro stations, piers, museums and even public toilets.
The municipal government is striving to turn the city into an international metropolis.
Currently, most of the city's public places have only pinyin or local Cantonese style pronunciation names that confuse most foreigners.
At the same time, the language committee will soon launch a city-wide campaign to check English usage in the city.
The committee plans to set up a task force to help inspect all public places in the city to further promote and standardize the use of English names.
The public venues that have no English names will be asked to provide one while those with inappropriate names or bad translations will be required to come up with a better alternative, official said.
Cantonese style expressions widely used in the Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions will no longer be considered English names.
The pace of change is not slow.
New police cars are already being converted, with the pinyin of the Chinese word for police, "Jing Cha," substituted by the word "police" on both sides of the car.
The first group of new patrol wagons were put into service in Guangzhou late last week.
By September 2006, all the patrol wagons in service will be replaced by the new 2004 version ones, or re-painted in the new style that includes white, blue and yellow colors, said the official Tuesday.
Meanwhile all the grass-roots police offices and sub-stations will also be required to put up signs that include their English names in front of the their gates before the end of the year to provide better service, the official added.
An English police hotline has also opened to serve the English-speaking people in Guangzhou.
(China Daily October 20, 2004)