10,000 Guangdong Residents March to Safeguard Cantonese Language

July 29, 2010 Updated: October 1, 2015

Chinese oppose replacement of Cantonese TV broadcasts – 7/16

Part of the 10,000 crowd at the protest in Guangzhou. (Internet photo)
Part of the 10,000 crowd at the protest in Guangzhou. (Internet photo)
More than 10,000 residents in China’s Southern Province of Guangdong protested on July 25 against an initiative by the Chinese regime to clamp down on their native Cantonese language.

Witnesses at the protest said that TV programming will soon be dominated by the Mandarin language –a move that some compared to the destruction of traditional culture during the Cultural Revolution.

A witness of the event, Guangzhou human rights lawyer, Dang Jingling told The Epoch Times that this time the residents of Guangzhou had gathered to oppose cultural totalitarianism.

Mr. Dang also explained the reason behind the march.  “An official wanted to decrease Cantonese programing on TV, especially during prime time. This proposal backfired among the Cantonese viewers.”

Sound of Hope Radio interviewed Xiao Yong, a human rights activist in Guangzhou who had just arrived back from the march. He said: “I think as many as 15,000 people were present at the event. The crowd remained peaceful and orderly.”

Some residents who wore shirts with logos were followed and harassed by plain-clothed police. Mr. Xiao Yong said: “A friend wore a shirt with ‘Speech is not a crime' written on it and a few police tried to arrest him. Other residents at the scene called out to support him and stopped the police.”

A lawyer in Guangzhou, Mr. Liu Shihui, also attended and confirmed that the entire event was very peaceful, but that police looked like they were ready for combat.

“There were a lot of shields stacked up in a large house. Looked like the police were well prepared, combat ready. However, the entire event process was very peaceful.”

“There are over 100 million people in mainland China who speak Cantonese, a very large population. They have the right to speak this language and should be respected and protected. This is also their law given right.”

Some participant said the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) destroyed a lot of Chinese traditional culture during the cultural revolution. They came because they did not want Cantonese to be destroyed like other elements of Chinese culture.

Cantonese is a language spoken as a lingua franca in southern China, including Guangdong Province, eastern Guangxi Province, and some neighboring areas. Some scholars hold that Cantonese has a longer history and closer ties to ancient Chinese than Mandarin.

Read the original Chinese article