CHINA / National

Chinese language a 'spectator' in scientific fields - report
By Xiao Guo (
Updated: 2006-07-05 16:13

China is urging the whole nation to pay attention to the fate of the Chinese language as more and more Chinese professors in academic circles are following a so-called international trend of addressing their speeches in English, according to a report carried by the China Youth Daily on July 5.

A PHD student from the China Academy of Society and Science wonders if speakers could address the audience in Chinese when he listens to speeches delivered by China's celebrated mathematicians Cao Huaidong and Zhu Xiping, who recently made headlines for working out the resolution of the Poincare conjecture, a mathematic puzzle, the newspaper says.

English is spreading across China as the most populous nation in the world is gets ready to hold the 28th Olympic Games in Beijing in 2008. But the nation is also concerned about the fate of the Chinese language when China's high profile academic professors insist on delivering speeches in English instead of Chinese.

It's not rare for Chinese professors to address their speeches in English instead of Chinese.

Chinese was not used in the International Conference on String Theory in Beijing in 2006.

English was also commonly spoken during the opening of the fourth Global Chinese Physical Scientist Conference in Shanghai two years ago.

"The organization committee turned down some requests from overseas Chinese scientists to deliver bilingual speeches," the paper says.

The common explanation for English taking priority is that most of the research is conducted by foreigners, especially British and American, according to the paper.

People think it's hard to reach an academic peak if they don't make English a priority, says the paper.

State media have commented that China will not be a parochial nationalist as it steps up its pace toward internationalization, but Chinese people should show self-esteem amongst their compatriots.

"The Chinese language is playing the role of spectator," the newspaper says. Polls conducted by - one of China's leading news portals - show that 78.94 per cent of respondents think it is time to 'protect' the Chinese language.