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Nanjing students recommend <EM>ren</EM> as message to the world

听中国日报 2013-03-06 10:24

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The Chinese character ren, a word that generally means "benevolence", has been selected by high school students in Nanjing, Jiangsu province, in a poll to highlight Chinese culture around the world.

The character ren was selected by 8.33 percent of the 3,000 respondents who took part in the poll, according to Dai Yizhi, a student from Nanjing Foreign Language School and one of the organizers.

It was followed by the characters ai, yi, meng and xiao, which mean "love", "one", "dream" and "filial piety". Those characters ranked in the "top-20 most beautiful Chinese characters".

"We hold this activity to promote Chinese culture," Dai said. "For many foreigners, Chinese characters are very hard to accept and understand, so we want to choose some that can reflect the country's culture."

He added that similar polls will be launched in cities such as Xi'an and Guangzhou to collect more opinions from high school students.

The character ultimately chosen to recommend to the world will be announced in March next year, Dai said.

Chen Yi, a sophomore in the city's Xuanwu district, said the thought process involved in selecting the character also helped students better understand and appreciate Chinese culture.

"It's a pity that some of my classmates refused to participate. They said it was a waste of their time and might infringe on their study."

Some experts and teachers have also criticized the poll.

"The activity does have some advantages in promoting traditional Chinese culture among students," said Xiong Bingqi, deputy director of the 21st Century Education Research Institute in Beijing. "But it also conforms to a typical characteristic of most of the activities held by Chinese students - following social trends."

Since 2006, a character that best represents the whole year has been selected as the Chinese character of the year. Japan, Singapore, South Korea and Malaysia also hold similar polls each year.

QUESTIONS

1 What was the winning Chinese character in a poll?

2 Who picked the winner?

3 What other characters were in the top 20?

Answers:

1. ren, meaning "benevolence"

2. High school students in Nanjing, Jiangsu province

3. ai, yi, meng and xiao, which mean "love", "one", "dream" and "filial piety"

(中国日报网英语点津 Julie 编辑)

About the broadcaster:

Nelly Min is an editor at China Daily with more than 10 years of experience as a newspaper editor and photographer. She has worked at major newspapers in the U.S., including the Los Angeles Times and the Detroit Free Press. She is also fluent in Korean.

 

 

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