Hong Kong people rally to save Cantonese language

Hundreds of protesters rallied in Hong Kong against China`s bid to champion Mandarin over Cantonese, a week after a similar demonstration was staged in the nearby mainland city of Guangzhou.

Hong Kong: Hundreds of protesters rallied in
Hong Kong on Sunday against China`s bid to champion Mandarin over
Cantonese, a week after a similar demonstration was staged in
the nearby mainland city of Guangzhou.

The group marched to government headquarters to call for
the co-existence of the two Chinese language dialects and the
preservation of Cantonese culture.

"We want to show our support to our Guangzhou friends in
their campaign to protect Cantonese against any threat of
elimination," said Choi Suk-fong, organiser of the rally.

Participants wore white T-shirts with a logo which said:
"You want us to shut up! We will speak louder in Cantonese!"

The rally was called after a political advisory body in
Guangzhou wrote this month to bureaucrats proposing local TV
stations broadcast their prime-time shows in Mandarin instead
of Cantonese ahead of the Asian Games there in November.

Adopting China`s official language, also known as
Putonghua, would promote unity, "forge a good language
environment" and cater to non-Cantonese-speaking Chinese
visitors at the huge sporting event, authorities were quoted
as saying.

The proposal sparked fears among many Cantonese speakers
about the future of a language that is the mother tongue for
an estimated 70 million people in Hong Kong, Macau and China`s
southern Guangdong province, and is widely spoken in overseas
Chinese communities.

PTI

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