A brief history of Chinese simplification

After a recent post about a Chinese director criticising simplification sparked some discussion as to the meaning of 正體字 “standard Chinese”, here is a translation of the history of Chinese simplification in China (albeit a brief history) from the same article. This is from Taiwanese newspaper so it’ll be interesting to see if there are inconsistencies with the Chinese account of events.

October 1949

成立中國文字改革協會

開始研究簡化字

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成立中国文字改革协会

开始研究简化字

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chéng lì zhōng guó wén zì gǎi gé xié huì

kāi shǐ yán jiù jiǎn huà zì

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The Chinese writing system reform association was formed
Research into simplification begins

January 1956

國務院通過漢字簡化方案

簡化字的字數共515個,簡化偏旁54個

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国务院通过汉字简化方案

简化字的字数共515个,简化偏旁54个

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guó wù yuàn tōng guò hàn zì jiǎn huà fāng àn

jiǎn huà zì de zì shù gòng 515 ge, jiǎn huà piān páng 54 ge

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The State Council passes the simplification proposal
515 characters were simplified, along with 54 radicals

1957

中共發動「反右鬥爭」

不少知識份子因為曾對「漢字簡化」提出異議而遭到迫害,大陸對漢字簡化的質疑自此中止

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中共发动“反右斗争”

不少知识份子因为曾对“汉字简化”提出异议而遭到迫害,大陆对汉字简化的质疑自此中止

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zhōng gòng fā dòng “fǎn yòu dòu zhēng”

bù shǎo zhī shì fèn zi yīn wèi céng duì “hàn zì jiǎn huà” tí chū yì yì ér zāo dào pò hài, dà lù duì hàn zì jiǎn huà de zhì yí zì cǐ zhōng zhǐ

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The Chinese communist party initiated the “anti-right movement”
A large number of the intelligentsia were persecuted for voicing objection against simplification, any doubt about the simplification of Chinese ended here

December 1977

公布「第二次漢子簡化方案」

由於過度簡化,因發混亂

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公布“第二次汉子简化方案”

由于过度简化,因发混乱

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gōng bù “dì èr cì hàn zi jiǎn huà fāng àn”

yóu yú guò dù jiǎn huà, yīn fā hùn luàn

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The “second simplification programme” is announced
Though confusion is caused due to excessive simplification

June 1986

廢除「二簡字」

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废除“二简字”

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fèi chú “èr jiǎn zì”

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The second simplification programme is abolished

December 1986

公布第三套簡化字

國務院重新發表「簡化字總表」,共收錄2235個簡化字

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公布第三套简化字

国务院重新发表“简化字总表”,共收录2235个简化字

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gōng bù dì sān tào jiǎn huà zì

guó wù yuàn chóng xīn fā biǎo “jiǎn huà zì zǒng biǎo”, gòng shōu lù 2235 ge jiǎn huà zì

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The third set of simplified characters are announced
The State Council re-releases the “simplification tables”, totalling 2235 simplified characters

August 2009

「通用規範和字表」草案公布

共收字8300個,整合了歷年大陸公布的各套簡化字,未來正式頒布後,將成為大陸最新的漢字規範

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“通用规范和字表”草案公布

共收字8300个,整合了历年大陆公布的各套简化字,未来正式颁布后,将成为大陆最新的汉字规范

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“tōng yòng guī fàn hé zì biǎo” cǎo àn gōng bù

gòng shōu zì 8300 ge, zhěng hé le lì nián dà lù gōng bù de gè tào jiǎn huà zì, wèi lái zhèng shì bān bù hòu, jiāng chéng wéi dà lù zuì xīn de hàn zì guī fàn

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“Standard Table of Chinese Characters” draft proposal announced
A collection of 8300 characters comprised of all the simplified characters that were announced over the previous years. In the future when it is officially released, this become China’s newest Chinese character standard.

資料來源:聯合知識庫

Data Source: United Knowledge Base

Keywords

中共(中共)

Pinyin: zhōng gòng
English: abbreviation of  Chinese Communist Party 中國共產黨 (中国共产党), though 中共 may also be used as a derogatory term used to refer to the party: (中)共匪 meaning something like communist bandits

改革(改革)

Pinyin: gǎi gé
English: reform
Example: 成立中國文字改革協會 (成立中国文字改革协会); the Chinese writing system reform association was formed

研究(研究)

Pinyin: yán jiù
English: research
Example: 開始研究簡化字 (开始研究简化字); research into simplification began

簡化(简化)

Pinyin: jiǎn huà
English: to simplify, simplification
Example: see above

通過(通过)

Pinyin: tōng guò
English: to pass ( a law etc)
Example: 國務院通過漢字簡化方案 (国务院通过汉字简化方案); The State Council passed the simplification proposal

方案(方案 )

Pinyin: fāng àn
English: a plan, a programme, a proposal
Example: see above

過度(过度)

Pinyin: guò dù
English: excessive,
Example: 由過度簡化,因發混亂 (由过度简化,因发混乱); confusion was caused due to the excessive simplification

廢除(废除)

Pinyin: fèi chú
English: to abolish
Example: 廢除「二簡字」(废除“二简字”); the second stage of simplification was abolished

草案(草案)

Pinyin: cǎo àn
English: a draft proposal
Example: 「通用規範和字表」草案公布 (“通用规范和字表”草案公布); The “standard table of characters” draft proposal was announced

正式(正式)

Pinyin: zhèng shì
English: official, officially

頒佈(颁布)

Pinyin: bān bù
English: to issue, to release

規範(规范)

Pinyin: guī fàn
English: standard, specification
Example: 未來正式頒布後,將成為大陸最新的漢字規範 (未来正式颁布后,将成为大陆最新的汉字规范); After it’s official release will become China’s newest character standard