Chinese vote on the buzziest words in 2014

World Today

With a little over 10 days of 2014 remaining, an annual vote has been held in China for people to nominate the key characters or words that best sum up the year. It’s a window on how Chinese people perceive the events of the year gone by and an indication of future shifts in language trends. Stanley Lee reported this story from Beijing.

The most used buzz words and characters were announced in Beijing on Friday.

Chinese vote on the buzziest words in 2014

With a little over 10 days of 2014 remaining, an annual vote has been held in China for people to nominate the key characters or words that best sum up the year. It's a window on how Chinese people perceive the events of the year gone by and an indication of future shifts in language trends. Stanley Lee reported this story from Beijing.

The character “Fa” came top of the list. It means “law” and reflects a strong public desire for a more effective and just legal system in China. It was chosen from a shortlist of ten words that got the highest votes online.

“Fanfu” translates as anti-corruption, and was the top word of 2014. China’s massive campaign against corruption obviously garnered a lot of attention both in and beyond China.

“This is much more than a word game. It reflects the beauty of the Chinese language and the concerns and hopes of the people. The words and characters used are closely related to the daily lives of Chinese people,” Yu Dianli, general manager of the Commercial Press said.

There were also individual categories, covering media, the economy and public wellbeing. Entrepeneur Ma Yun’s name featured very heavily on websites and search engines in 2014, after he became Asia’s richest man with the US sell-off of his Alibaba group.

“This shows that the internet is indispensable now. Our survey shows people in China check their phones 150 times per day on average, that’s once every 6.5 minutes,” Zhu Huaxin of www.People.cn said.

Words related to the loosening of China’s one child policy, as well as pollution, and air quality were also popular this year.

Analysts believe such surveys help the government identify hot issues of public concern and allocate appropriate resources in working towards a solution.