UNWTO Declares Chinese as Official Language

UN Chinese Language Day

UNWTO Recognizes Chinese as Official Language(UNWTO承认中文为官方语言)
Chinese is one of the leading languages of the world. It is the number 1 language spoken by native speakers in the world. 1.3 billion speakers speak Chinese as their mother tongue. It is such a prestigious language that holds the second position in regards to the total number of speakers in the world. Chinese has formally become an official language of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) on January 25, 2021 (中文已于2021年1月25日正式成为联合国世界旅游组织 UNWTO 的官方语言). It is a great honor to the Chinese people and the Chinese language too.

United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO)
UNWTO is a wing of the United Nations Organization that works for the international tourism industry. It is the world’s most influential authority in the international tourism sector. The organization headquartered in Madrid, the capital city of Spain, has 159 member-states. The United Nations Organization (UNWTO) the government of Spain as well declared Chinese as an official language of UNWTO, 联合国组织(UNWTO)西班牙政府并宣布中文为UNWTO 官方语言, on the same day. Consequently, Chinese is now the latest official language of the organization (中文现在是联合国最新的官方语言). UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili congratulated and celebrated the recognition on a video message. Hungary also recognized Chinese as an official language of UNWTO. This recognition is prestigious not only to the Chinese but also to the organizations and institutions being part of such a highly esteemed event.

The Official Languages of UN (联合国的官方语言)
The current official languages of the United Nations (UN) are
1. Arabic
2. Chinese
3. English
4. French
5. Russian
6. Spanish
But in the early years, all the official documents of the United Nations were documented in Arabic, English, French, Russian, and Spanish language. As Chinese has been added to the list of official languages, all the documents have been being documented in the Chinese language since then (1974).

Chinese at the UN
In 1946, the first five official languages of the UN were English, French, Spanish, Chinese, and Russian. However, Chinese was not a commonly used official language in the UN in the early years. After China regained the lawful rights in the UN in 1971, the situation was improved. In the year 1973, the General Assembly added Chinese as one of the working languages. Later in 1974, the Security Council of The UN also included Chinese as a working language.

China and UNWTO Tie (中国与世贸组织的关系)
China became a member state of UNWTO in 1993 (中国于1993年成为世界旅游组织的成员国). The country proposed the UNWTO declare Chinese as an official language of the organization during its 17th session of the General Assembly in November 2007. The assembly adapted it and amended Article 38 of the “Constitution of the UNWTO”. The amendment established Chinese as one of the 6 official languages of the United Nations World Tourism Organization. Finally, in January 2021, the amendment came into force with the approval of 106 member states.

UN Chinese Language Day (联合国中文日)
UNESCO celebrates UN Chinese Language Day every year since its establishment in 2010. The day was first observed on November 12, 2010. But since the year 2011, the United Nations Chinese Language Day has been being held on April 20. The day is observed every year as an honor to Cangjie, the legend who invented Chinese characters. Seeking to spread multilingual cultural diversity and promote equal use of all the 6 UN official languages, UNESCO celebrates the day every year with great honor to Cangjie. Various cultural events like Chinese musical concerts, martial-arts shows, and calligraphy exhibitions are organized to demonstrate the beauty and rich cultural history of the Chinese language on the day. Workshops and seminars are also held to promote renowned Chinese poets, authors, and calligraphers’ works on the day (联合国中文日).

Why April 20?
The Chinese Language Day is observed on 20th April every year. The UN also celebrates the day on the same day. The day was chosen from Guyu (Rain of Millet), the 6th of 24 solar terms in the traditional East Asian calendar, to pay tribute to Cangjie. In ancient China, Cangjie was a very important figure, who is claimed to be the inventor of Chinese characters and an official historian of the Yellow Emperor. It was believed that he had four eyes with four pupils; the deities and ghosts cried and the sky rained millet when he invented the characters. In honor of Cangji, Chinese people observe the day of Guyu. The day normally starts around April 20.

The Impact of the UNWTO Recognition (联合国对中国官方承认的影响)
This recognition stimulates the role of China in international tourism affairs and the contributions to the development of the world tourism industry. Since the declaration, the country can share its experience and opportunities more with the member states. Thus, China can bring remarkable positive changes to the world tourism sector. Moreover, the prestigious declaration will bring new opportunities to China. China can now work on air pollution and carbon emission in China’s tourism industry (中国旅游业) more diversely. The investors will be more interested to invest in China’s tourism sector that will create more employment. The recognition will add a new pace to the research on China’s tourism sector. As a result, China’s tourism industry will boost.

Related Quick Answers
Below are the questions arise in the people’s mind regarding the UN languages. The following section of this article provides the answers to the frequently asked questions on it.
Why the languages were selected as the official languages of the UN?
English was selected as an official language of the UN because of the United States’ position on the global stage. French was chosen for its honor as the international language of diplomacy. Spanish was chosen because it was the official language of 20 countries. Chinese was awarded the honor to be an official language because it was the most widely used language by the sheer population. Russian was chosen because of the political power of the Soviet Union where the language was widely spoken. Arabic was also selected as a UN official language for the number of speakers of the language.

What are the 6 UN official language days (联合国6天的官方语言是什么)?
Six days out of the year are designated by the Department of Global Communications. On the days, the respective language is used and celebrated. The days are listed below:
Chinese – April 20
English – April 23
Spanish – April 23
French – March 20
Russian – June 6
Arabic – December 18

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