Advertising and Marketing

Characters in the public interest

"The country promotes Mandarin and the use of standard characters"

Exhortations to "write standard characters" appear on banners and billboards throughout Beijing. This clever full-page spread in The Beijing News on Tuesday announces itself as a "public service advertisement," (公益广告), only the composer has mistakenly replaced "public welfare" (公益) with the homophone "justice" (公义), [and his editor has called him on it].

The copy (click the image for the full thing) reads:

Chinese characters are among the world's oldest writing, and are a treasure of cultural riches for the Chinese people as well as all of world civilization. Every Chinese person should respect Chinese characters and use Chinese characters properly. At present, there are a multitude of non-standard uses of Chinese characters in society; mistaken and variant characters are relatively common, harming the elegance and purity of Chinese characters. The Commercial Press is world-renowned for the quality of its books. During the long course of its experience in editing, and with reference to the national standards on Chinese characters, the editing department has collected a register of easily confused and misused characters that appear relatively frequently. Listed below is an excerpt for the reader's perusal.

An image of the list of one-hundred misused characters is here; errors are in red and corrections are in parentheses. The characters are judged according to the 5th edition of the Dictionary of Modern Chinese, published by The Commercial Press, so there may be more wrong with the "public service advertisement" line than just a mistaken character.

Links and Sources
There are currently 2 Comments for Characters in the public interest.

Comments on Characters in the public interest

Did you add the correct character (益), or was it already there in the original ad?

I mean, was it an intentional mistake to point out how silly it can look, or did they actual print the add with the wrong character accidentally?'re right, that's not very clear. The image is all original. I'll make a clarification.

China Media Timeline
Major media events over the last three decades
Danwei Model Workers
The latest recommended blogs and new media
From 2008
Front Page of the Day
A different newspaper every weekday
From the Vault
Classic Danwei posts
+ Culture and corporate propaganda in Soho Xiaobao (2007.11): Mid-2007 issues of Soho Xiaobao (SOHO小报), illustrating the complicated identity of in-house magazines run by real estate companies.
+ Internet executives complain about excessive Net censorship (2010.03): Internet executives complain about excessive Net censorship at an officially sanctioned meeting in Shenzhen.
+ Crowd-sourced cheating on the 2010 gaokao (2010.06): A student in Sichuan seeks help with the ancient Chinese section of this year's college entrance exam -- while the test is going on!
Danwei Archives