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dated December 8, 1955: Script reform in China

China, in her sixth year of Communist rule, is planning to scrap her complex, 3,500-year-old written language and replace it with one based on Roman characters. The first stage in this switch-over, it was decided at the National Language Reforms Conference held in Peking in October, would be the popularisation among China's 600 million people of the Mandarin dialect spoken in Peking. The official reformers announced a two-stage plan. Mandarin would first be popularised "to promote the use of a common spoken language to conform to the pressing needs of the entire people. This would make it easier to proceed to the second phase, which would be to spell out unified Chinese spoken language in the Roman phonetic alphabet."

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