by: David Snape
Recently, a trend has developed in high schools and communities around the United States. Many people want to or are now learning the Chinese language. This could be a good turn of events, but it can also be problematic. This is particularly so for those who know nothing about Chinese culture, history and the state of affairs in China today.
In mainland China they no longer use the traditional Chinese characters that go hand in hand with Chinese history. For some reason, the Chinese Communist Party decided to alter the Chinese language and thereby change the vehicle for written communication.
Traditional Chinese characters evolved naturally over a period of time from pictographs or small drawings. By contrast the simplified Chinese created by the Chinese Communist Party has watered many of the traditional characters down to the point that they no longer are rooted in more ancient traditions.
Here is an example. The traditional Chinese character for the word ‘love’ contains a picture of a heart in it. This makes sense because love is closely associated to the heart. Not so in simplified Chinese. There is no heart in the word ‘love’ in simplified Chinese. One may ponder how you can love without a heart.
Just as this example shows, in many ways the Chinese Communist Party has removed the heart of the entire language, distorting and altering it into a water downed version of its former self. In Taiwan, however, they still use traditional characters.
So if your community or children’s school is planning to teach Chinese, you may wish to ensure that you are getting the traditional variety. It more fully encompasses the rich history of China and the Chinese people. By contrast, those who teach our children simplified Chinese are from mainland China and unfortunately, they will also be passing on the values and ideas of the Chinese Communist Party. Whether they do so on purpose or automatically as a result of growing up in that environment, the end result is the same. Only you can decide if you want the influence of the Chinese Communist Party imparted to your children.
Be sure to insist that our children are taught traditional Chinese and not the simplified version. This way the richness of traditional Chinese culture can be more fully enjoyed and appreciated. There will be a more solid foundation to understand the more ancient Chinese traditions.