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Antarctic Islands to Get Pinyin Names

In Antarctica, most places are named in English, French, German, Russian and Italian. In the next year, for the first time, some newly surveyed places will be given Chinese names.


China plans to publish its first scientific map about Antarctica next year, which will include the first 46 islands named in Pinyin, Chinese polar researchers said yesterday.


Pinyin is a system of using the Roman alphabet to pronounce Chinese characters.


The researchers announced the naming plan as they returned to Pudong yesterday as part of China's 22nd Antarctica Expedition Team aboard Icebreaker Xuelong.


During the four months of their expedition, the team members mainly surveyed the mountainous Grove Area of the Antarctica and collected more than 5,000 meteorites including one from the moon.


"This first map will be a landmark contribution made by China to the world in Antarctic research," Zhao Yue, a scientist of the expedition team, said yesterday.


He said the map will reflect the geographical, historic and mining features of the Grove Area -- a mountainous region covering 3,200 square kilometers in the ice-capped hinterland of eastern Antarctica.


"The area is considered the most spectacular region of the coldest continent on Earth," said Zhao, noting that China will introduce the map at the International Antarctica Meeting in the United States this September.


It will be completed next March.


Since last September, the Chinese Arctic and Antarctica Administration has worked with Sina.com to collect candidate names for islands.


The names are in nine categories including well-known Chinese thinkers, ancient politicians, artists, writers, scientists, mountains, animals and plants.


(Shanghai Daily March 30, 2006)



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